Exaile as a DJ workstation

Turning This…

Exaile out the box

Exaile, out of the box, is a smart looking multi-platform music player. The Exaile website lists “Simple interface” as its number-one feature, and mentions that it has lots of plugins. Exaile should be the first choice for Swing-dance DJs, and anyone else who wants to build play-lists on the fly.

Into This…

Screenshot from 2015-04-01 21:15:04

Exaile does stuff other music players haven’t even heard of. To get the most out of it you have to enable and configure some of its plugins. Here’s how I set up mine:
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Re-thinking dates

Thinking about how to tackle an up-coming open-data project, I found the impressive RethinkDB. Rather than convert the data on-import into a relational database, I want to load the raw data into a NoSql database, and then map to a converted table with links back to the raw source-rows. RethinkDB imports csv out of the box. And it’s ReQL query language is expressive enough even to parse arse-about-face ‘dd/mm/yyyy’ British dates (though that turns out to be a bit of a mouthful):

r.table('raw').update({
  newDate: r.time( 
    r.row('DATE').split('/').nth(2).coerceTo('NUMBER'),
    r.row('DATE').split('/').nth(1).coerceTo('NUMBER'),
    r.row('DATE').split('/').nth(0).coerceTo('NUMBER'),
    'Z'
  )
}).run(...)

Apache upgrade

We use the Ubuntu biannual releases as reminder to do backups. Backup; upgrade; work through the bugs. Just upgraded to 13.10 Saucy Salamander without noticing much change. Played with Unity for an hour or so, to see if it had become amazing; then switched back to Xmonad, and back to work on my website project.

Ah! Local websites not working. I just got the default page for my local apache instance.

First off I tried to re-enable the site with ‘a2ensite’, which complained that my config file didn’t exist. But it was looking for the file with ‘.conf’ extension. Easily fixed.

Next I was told permission to access the site was denied by the server configuration. At this point I got derailed. I thought there was something wrong with my virtual host setup. Lots of websites told me I had to have a ‘NameVirtualHost’ directive. So I added one. And was then told by apache that this had no effect and would be removed in future.

Although this was a change, the conf files had been upgraded properly, as you’d hope. Problem was, of course, with my virtual host files. I have worked round the permission error by adding

<Directory "">;
OptionsĀ  All
AllowOverride All
Require all granted
</Directory>

Chili sin carne

I’m feeling delighted that someone has asked me for my veggie chili recipe. When I turned veggie, back in ’87, chili was one off the last things to go, because I couldn’t build the flavor I wanted… Until I discovered the secret ingredient (iled and drained, or user tinned, probably 2 tins)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Black olives with stones removed, aboutĀ  a cup full, this is the magic ingredient.

Chili powder
Cloves
Caraway seeds
Nutmeg

Dried soya mince

Two tablespoons of Marmite
Three tablespoons of dark soy sauce

Fry garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add red pepper and spices.

Two tablespoons of Marmite
Three tablespoons of dark soy sauce

Fry garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add red pepper and spices. Cover and braze, turn occasionally to prevent burning.
Meanwhile boil kettle and pour over soy sauce, and Marmite. Add soya mince and leave to hydrate.
Add kidney beans, olives and tomatoes; simmer to reduce until tomato juice is thick.
Add the soy mince and stir lightly so as not to spoil its texture.
Bring to back to boil and you’re done.

Mail constallation

As earlier posts suggest, there have been no cartoons here for a while because such spare time as I can steal these days has been absorbed by the mail project. Thunderbird just can’t hack my work email any more. It’s search functionality is broken (why is there separate quick search and find in messages?) and the dark thunderclouds of compiz fall upon its face if I ask it to find some useful or important message.
Mutt Mindmap Switching to Mutt (actually Mutt-KZ — with built-in support for Notmuch) was more work than I expected. There isn’t just one program but a whole constellation. Most have their own configuration files; tweaking those is a lifetime’s work.
Today I compiled Notmuch 0.15.1 from source and then recompiled Mutt-kz to use the new version of libnotmuch. I don’t enjoy building source packages. Fortunately it’s easy (./configure; make; make install) and the results are rewarding.
Notmuch searches my mail very fast and with a convenient command-line interface. Mutt displays the results and lets me live in a world of vim-like key bindings and dark console colours. The new version of notmuch allows convenient date searches, e.g.: “date:last-week..”, and I’m starting to play with custom tags.
Mail is coming coming under control. What’s this button next to the keyboard? Oh, my laptop has a stylus…

Heads up Unity

I want to like the HUD. I’m a vi user; I like the idea of command mode for everything, I think it’s a great idea, and I have already found it useful. But, despite Precise Pangolin’s proclaimed pixel perfection, it has obvious failings.

gimpunityThe Gimp is a prime candidate for intentional programming. Its menus are often three levels deep so being able to hit Alt and type White for white balance saves a lot of mousin’ about. But every time I hit the HUD, the Gimp’s image window looses its focus. Want to do two menu operations in a row? You’ll have to “click” back in the window between them, to re-focus it. Has Scott Gilbertson actually used this in anger?

And what about the Dash?bollocks The tool tip pops up and obscures the input area. Pixel perfect or partially perplexing?

Finally, the icons have been missing from Inkscape’s menus for three Ubuntu releases now. My bug at Inkscape dev has a few “me toos” and I live in hope. I wondered for a moment if this would be solved by the icons appearing in HUD. I use Inkscape’s menu items to tell the difference between Path Division and Cut Path. Is HUD for people who think in words? Where does that leave us Gimp and Inkscape users?