Archive for the 'music' Category

Rockbox and playlist loading times

This is more for my own reference.  Rockbox, if you aren’t familiar, is a WONDERFUL open-source firmware replacement available for several MP3/media players.  I have a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ that, with Rockbox, supports at least 64gb MicroSD cards and likely beyond, which is way more than the stock firmware will support.  It also supports FLAC, Vorbis, and a cadre of other codecs.  I’ve been using this tiny player with near 70gb of storage as my main portable player since the day I installed Rockbox a couple years ago.  Recently, something happened after I dropped the player a couple times – it got stuck in a strange loop.  I thought I was hearing a song I heard before, but with about 9000 songs on the player, which I listen to in one big shuffled playlist, I have several remixes of some songs, so it took me a while to notice the same three songs in a row over a number of days.

In the course of looking into the problem, I recreated my playlist several times.  I did this mostly using Rockbox’s Database functionality.  I would find a top-level node in the Database (Artists, for instance) and long-press the select button to bring up the context menu, then choose Play Next.  This does insert them into the playlist.  The problem, though, was that it took like 2-3 minutes every single time I turned it on to resume playing.  This was new, it was instantaneous before.  I also tried saving the dynamic playlist to a file and loading it via the Playlist Catalog, but same delay.  Worse, when I plugged it in to a computer, it would take 2-3 minutes upon unplugging it, AND 2-3 minutes to resume playing.  The issue felt vaguely familiar, so I scoured the internet and found articles about database loading issues with the original Sansa firmware… lots of them.  I tried twiddling settings.  I created playlists in different ways.  I used crazy tricks regarding how the player is turned off and disconnected.  None of this made any difference.

Then, after really just a couple days of minor annoyance, I created the playlist in a very subtly different way.  In the Database, instead of using the context menu on a top-level node, I browsed into Artists and just selected the first item – incidentally, “<Untagged>” – which I assumed would open another “folder.”  Instead, it asked if I wanted to clear the playlist (I selected yes) and watched it load everything.  At that moment, I remembered having figured this all out before.  Instantaneous resumes once more.  I really don’t see why this is different from the other method, and the playlist it creates seems identical.  However, I’m glad to have a very snappy player once more.

Seldom annoying playlist issues aside, I do heartily recommend using Rockbox if you have one of the many supported players.  And the Sansa Clip+ is a very nice little media player that, with Rockbox and a large memory card, makes a good main portable.

foosic and last.fm

On my old blog (check the wayback machine), I posted about a music stats system called foosic. Mostly, I liked that it had a foobar2000 plugin and did a great job of identifying tracks (audio fingerprinting) such that if people all had different tags—which they do—it still keeps the stats in one place and reports the title, artist, genre, etc. as the most used form.

However, almost as long as I had been using foosic, there would be times when it was just down. I emailed some people, and it came back up. Then, earlier this year, the problems became persistent, and then it was gone. So, I figured I’d have to use last.fm (formerly AudioScrobbler, hence the “as” logo). Back when I found foosic, I tried last.fm and hated it. It was slow, I had to use a custom program to submit tracks, and I didn’t really need all of the “social” crap they laud.

Funny thing is, when you only have one choice, it starts looking pretty appealing! Plus, I found foo_audioscrobbler, which completely sidesteps the need for the external program. I still don’t really care about the last.fm community, but band suggestions are nice, and pretty relevant. So, certainly if you are a foobar user and want some external playback stats, last.fm should work for you. And, if you are interested, you can see what I’ve been listening to. I’ll even be your last.fm friend if I know you… isn’t that special?


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Thanks

I would like to thank Mike Hellrich for hosting a couple redirects for me while I sort out my web server problems.