last.fm – a facebook for music lovers?

I realize I’m late to the party about last.fm, but I only decided to check it out recently. last.fm is a web 2.0 social networking site for folks that listen to a lot of music on their computer. I definitely fall into this category, in fact it’s the primary way I listen to music – I haven’t even owned a stereo in many years. The benefits of last.fm (a CBS owned site) only become apparent once you begin to publish some of the things you like listening to to it…
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Banshee (music player) howls

As folks who read this blog know, I’m always checking out new ways to access, sort through, catalog, and otherwise enjoy my music files. As a long time Mac user (at least since they dumped their old OS and started using BSD), iTunes has really been the slickest, easiest to use and most fully functional music player available to me. But Apple’s incessant attempts to impose more ingenious and arguably ever more diabolical forms of their DRM (digital rights management) upon me in order to limit what I can do with my own music have basically forced me into an as-yet unending search for a better, free and open solution.
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iTunes addiction

A form of addiction just sucked two hours of my life away. Now that I have all my music collected together in one place (I didn’t have room on the old machine for both the music and anything else), I’ve set about the monumental task of correcting all the ID3 tags and adding cover art to the files, filling in the missing information, etc. It is a task that is both tedious and exhilarating at the same time.
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Songbird takes off

Earlier last year I posted here that if you like playing music on your computer that you should check out Songbird. It’s been a long time since then, and the folks at Pioneers of the Inevitable have been hard at work “working on creating a non-proprietary, cross platform, extensible tool that will help enable new ways to playback, manage, and discover music”. It’s an open source iTunes based on Mozilla code (Firefox), and if you haven’t tried it in a while, nows the time as they have finally released version 1.0. I’ve been using Amarok lately on my Ubuntu desktop at work so Songbird is going to be a tough sell for me. My Amarok uses a MySQL database to store all the song info so searches and sorts are incredibly fast – I don’t know if Songbird has a similar integration or not. I know that Songbird is missing some other stuff I dig about Amarok, but since I can’t run Amarok on the Mac (yet), and have been forced into using iTunes (which I don’t really like) Songbird is looking more like a viable alternative. Watch the intro videos or read on for more info that I’ll try to update as I use the program.
Songbird mini player mode

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Take control of your iPod (shuffle)

If you have an iPod shuffle and you’re content dealing with iTunes, don’t bother reading this. I was getting fed up with the fact that every time I plugged my iPod into a friend’s machine, or into my work machine, iTunes would bark that the iPod was already synced with another iTunes installation (my Mac) and would ask if I wanted to erase everything on it and sync with this one instead. I realize I can apportion some of the iPod as regular flash space to carry files from one machine to another, but what I wanted to do was to copy music onto the iPod like any normal flash disk, listen to the music in the car on the way to work using the Ipod controls, then maybe grab some different music for the ride home from my work machine. Sometimes I wanted to rip a bunch of disks at one location, and listen to them in the car and then copy them off to my home machine at some point. Apple’s pact with the recording industry made simple uses like this impossible… that is, until an open source project developed in python opened up my iPod (shuffle) and let me use it the way I wanted to.
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