Semplice Version 2.01 Released

As previously promised, an upgrade release of Semplice Version 2 has now been made available. It fixes the issue whereby several distros now appear to be shipping Version 7 of ImageMagick (the image manipulation program) rather than the Version 6 that was being shipped on all distros when Semplice Version 2 first shipped. If you try issuing Version 6 commands when you have Version 7 of ImageMagick installed, you get ugly warnings about 'convert is deprecated in IM7'.

Since it's not entirely clear to me which distros have decided to run with ImageMagick 7 and which have chosen to stick with ImageMagick 6, I've had to add code to Semplice which works out what version is installed and then use the appropriate image editing commands accordingly. [...] 

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Semplice Version 2 Released!


Today, I'm releasing Semplice Version 2, and simultaneously retiring Version 1 (it's still downloadable, installable and documented, but I wouldn't recommend anyone use it now and I'm certainly doing no further development work on it to fix bugs or add new features or offer support on it: it's dead, Jim, and Version 2 is where it's at now!!) [...] 

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BSD Progress

So the site was down today for several hours: my apologies for the unanticipated outage.

The fact is, however, that I have learned at least how to move the website from one ZFS storage pool to another, on the same host. Thus, this site is now running from an SSD instead of a bunch of spinning hard disks: hopefully, it is, in consequence, a bit more responsive than it was. More to the point, I now know how to move this website from one server to another, provided the new server is at least running FreeBSD. In the language of my last post, I am certainly still tied to the FreeBSD bottle, but at least I can navigate that particular ship in directions I find acceptable. I've even been able to migrate this website to run from a 2009 laptop that's running FreeBSD: I am therefore no longer particularly bound to a specific choice of OS appliance. [...] 

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Choppy Waters...

I find myself in a bit of a pickle of my own devising!

Back at the start of the year, I acquired a nice, new server and stuck TrueNAS on it (an 'appliance variant' of FreeBSD, run through a web interface). I then migrated this website off a Linux server I've used since 2014 or thereabouts and installed it into a FreeBSD 'jail' running on that machine (FreeBSD jails being that operating system's equivalent of KVM on Linux or Hyper-V on Windows: the OS's 'native', built-in and free virtualisation technology. As can be told from the fact that you're reading these words now, it's pretty obvious that everything converted across nicely and has been running well ever since. So, what's the issue? [...] 

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Service Interruption!

A couple of months ago, I bought an old 27" iMac and installed it with Endeavour OS (an Arch Linux derivative) as its operating system. All has been fine since: Linux doesn't understand how to do the iMac's 5K screen resolution, but has no problem with the hardware otherwise and the 4K resolution I'm currently using is a delight. I've never previously used anything higher than 1980x1200, so 3840x2160 has been a (literally!) eye-opening experience. I'm never going back to 'standard high res' after this, anyway. Short version is, therefore: Apple make gorgeous hardware and an appalling operating system, but at least with Intel Macs, you can have the hardware with a sensible operating system after all!

Unfortunately, just last Thursday I attempted to install ZFS on the PC and although the installation seemed to work fine, rebooting the computer resulted in a 'no boot disk found' error state. I thought perhaps the internal SSD had failed, which would have been an expensive thing to fix... but, booting a live distro from a USB stick, the internal SSD was there, present and correct. Clearly, I had mangled its 'bootability' somehow, however, and rather than faff around with a bazillion possible fixes, I decided to wipe and re-install. [...] 

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Giocoso Version 3.06 Released

A new release of Giocoso has been made available, fixing a recently-discovered minor, but annoying, bug. This brings the current version of Giocoso up to 3.06.

The bug was that if you used any of the non-default methods of selecting music to play from the Play Music menu (such as Option 2, where you specify filters to control the selection, or Option 5, where a playlist is used to determine what to play and in what order), the number of 'selections' to be played would be remembered if you halted those non-default plays early and then switched to using Option 1's 'play music with defaults' menu option. For example: take Option 2 and say 'play only music that lasts less than 10 minutes': maybe that will generate a list of things to be played that numbers 1345. After playing 4 things from that list, you interrupt the play (by issuing an Autostop request, for example) but do not quit Giocoso. Then you take Play Music option 1: the default, randomised selection of music now takes place... but Giocoso will still declare that there are 1345 items to be played (the top right-hand corner will display something like 'Selection 1 of 1345'). That's because it's a bug of omission: the default play method didn't explicitly set the limit on plays, so if another play option did, the default play method was stuck using that number of selections. [...] 

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Reaching the limits

The graph at the left tells a tale! The context for that tale is that since June 3rd 2021, I've been using Giocoso to play (almost exclusively) only those recordings which have not previously been recorded as having been played, in an attempt to ensure that by the time I come to kick the bucket, I can say, hand-on-heart, that I've listened to every recording I ever bought. On the one hand, the tale is of good news: the graph shows that only 7.1% of my entire collection has not yet been played by Giocoso. So, I've played around 93% of it, which is pretty good going.

It's even better going when you consider that for much of the time since June 2021, I've had time restrictions on my plays: in other words, I've told Giocoso 'play unplayed recordings that last less than 20 minutes' or something similar. As a result, I haven't listened to Wagner's Ring cycle with Giocoso, but I know for certain I've played those recordings multiple, multiple times in the years before 2021. Which is to say: even the 7.1% I haven't 'officially' played contains substantial chunks of recorded music which I know I've played using different tools... so the amount of my collection which is truly unplayed is significantly less than 7%. [...] 

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Work in Progress: Semplice Version 2

It's finally time to mention what I've been up to for the past couple of months: re-writing Semplice, my digital music file manager. It's the tool that lets you tag your FLACs, volume boost them, merge them into 'SuperFLACs' (and split them back out into per-track FLACs if you prefer), convert them into MP3s or most other audio formats, analyse them to make sure they're really high resolution FLACs, and much more besides.

To be honest, I didn't think there was a lot wrong with the original version of Semplice (currently sitting at version 1.02). There wasn't a huge amount of functionality that was missing, in other words: it was more that the user interface was a bit klunky and old-fashioned, particularly in light of the user interface advances I'd implemented when developing Giocoso Version 3. So, Semplice Version 2 was going to be more of a user interface refresh than anything else... but, as I suspected it would, mission creep has resulted in a few additions to Semplice functionality that it turns out I'm rather fond of! [...] 

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Giocoso Tips

I just thought I'd show you how I run Giocoso on my main desktop these days: see the screenshot at the left.

That's just a picture of KDE's default terminal, Konsole, running in 'split view' mode. Open Konsole, click the Split View button at the top of the program area to obtain the drop-down menu and from that select Split View Left/Right[...] 

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