When will you make an end?

I just wanted to offer a further update on the progress of Giocoso Version 2, as I'd originally hoped (and possibly promised!) that it would be out by the end of June... and I can tell you now that that's a target date that isn't going to happen!

The short version is, that it's coming along nicely and though release dates have slipped, I think we're looking only a couple more weeks before final release. Unfortunately, I keep finding something new to tweak and fiddle with: I've had to implement a development freeze to stop that sort of mission creep becoming a habit! [...] 

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Progress Progesses...

I thought it was probably time for a progress report or two!

First, Giocoso Version 2.0 is practically ready. The only thing holding it back is the business of preparing documentation for it -and the fact as a new piece gets written, I get slightly annoyed with something or other and decide I need to tweak the code a bit to deal with it. Which then means going back and making sure all previously-written documentation still correctly describes the way I originally said the program works. It's a bit like a snake eating its own tail: we'll get there eventually, once I stop fiddling with things. But meanwhile, all the fiddling is making nice, if minor, improvements to things. I am still aiming for a June release ...but what with the Platinum Jubilee, summer weather and the like, it may yet slip into July. But it's close! [...] 

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Developments...

The thumbnail to this post, when clicked on, will show you a fairly significant development in the Giocoso story: it now runs on Windows!

The screenshot is of Windows 10 (fully updated, so it's running version 22H1) on my fairly ancient 2016-vintage Dell laptop, successfully playing some Benjamin Britten -complete with album art display- in Version 2 of Giocoso. [...] 

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First Impressions

I've now been using my "new" (i.e., second-hand and thus old!) Mac Mini for about a week, and it has been very much an enjoyable learning experience! There is much about it (and macOS) that I like a lot; there has also been much that has been mystifying or infuriating 🙂 I thought I would keep a sort-of 'diary' of things I've come across, as I came across them, so that any other Windows or Linux users out there even considering moving to the world of Apple will have at least a taste of what might be in store for them. I should emphasise that what follows is what a complete Mac neophyte (with about 40 years of Windows, Linux and Unix familiarity) is experiencing: I did once touch a G4 Mac back in about 2009, for around 20 minutes. I also once ran a drawing program for about an hour on the original Apple Mac back in 1985. Apart from those two brief brushes with the world of Apple, however, I had precisely zero familiarity with or understanding of macOS... so I came to this completely and utterly 'blind'. Long-term Mac users are probably, therefore, going to be tearing their hair out in despair at my clutzy approach to things, for which I apologise in advance: hold on to those hair follicles!

I should also perhaps explain that I have a very functional Linux PC at hand: my goal was, as far as possible, to match that experience on the Mac Mini, program for program. There may well be better programs available for the Mac than for either Windows or Linux -but learning what they are and how they work is a problem for another day. My present purposes simply require that what I do on my Linux PC I should be able to do equivalently on the Mac. Spoiler alert, however: there are already Mac-specific programs I prefer using to the open source options I've been using for years on Linux and Windows. For example, Apple Mail seems a perfectly decent alternative to Thunderbird; and Safari is a nice-enough browser that I've really cut back on the occasions when I'm running Firefox. There are probably other instances of the same sort of thing that will become apparent as I ramble on... [...] 

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More Pi(e)!

Giocoso has had its version number bumped again, this time to Version 1.13. The new version is not needed for anyone with an existing functioning version, but includes new software detection code allowing Giocoso to be successfully installed on the Raspberry Pi when it's running Manjaro. Giocoso was previously tested as working correctly on Raspbian (basically, Debian on Raspberry Pi and sometimes called Raspberry Pi OS), but not on the many other distros and operating systems that can be run on the Pi. I don't have the time (nor the inclination!) to test all those OS/Distro/Pi combinations, but I do run Manjaro as my main desktop (on an Intel processor), so I was naturally curious about how it would run on the Pi (OK, as it turns out!) and thus discovered by accident that Giocoso's detection of ImageMagick on that platform was faulty.

Anyway, it's fixed now. [...] 

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Spring Cleaning

A glance at my software downloads page will tell you that it wasn't just Giocoso which had lately developed a problem with accented characters on Manjaro+KDE. In fact, every piece of software I've written which uses the metaflac utility to read FLAC metadata tags suffered from the same problem. Accordingly, all needed to be fixed and all now have been fixed; each utility can therefore be updated whenever you're ready, using the utility name plus the --checkver run-time switch.

In other words, if you wanted to bump AES to its latest version, you'd type aes --checkver. If you needed to upgrade Niente, it would be niente --checkver. And so on. [...] 

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Foreign Character Woes...

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I recently re-installed Manjaro on a new small form factor Lenovo PC. All has been running well, except that in the last couple of days I noticed that Giocoso had developed a strange habit of not displaying "accented characters" properly: that is, Giocoso suddenly didn't seem able to display letters with their correct diacritic marks, such as é, ê, ß, ö, ç and so on.

For example, this is what Giocoso displayed this morning: [...] 

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Giocoso 1.10 Released ... And Ukraine Invaded

Well, it seems a bit superfluous to release a slightly-modified version of Giocoso on the day Russia decided to invade Ukraine, on zero rational, reasonable pretext.

But I'm going to do it anyway, albeit briefly: version 1.10 is out, with a new --autocolor (or --autocolour) option. This simply applies the Monopoly™ colour combinations mentioned in the post announcing version 1.09 in a sequential manner, depending on what day of the week it is. If it's a Monday, you'll get Old Kent Road colours; if it's a Tuesday, it'll be the light blues of the Angel Islington; Wednesdays will be Pall Mall purple; Thursdays will be Vine Street Orange; Fridays the scarlet of the Strand; and Saturdays will be the bright yellows of Piccadilly. Finally, on Sundays, you'll get the rich green of Bond Street. All the colours occur in sequence, as though you were traveling around the Monopoly™ board progressively. Unfortunately, because Monopoly™ has 8 colour sets and there are only 7 days in a week, the Park Lane/Mayfair colours would never ordinarily be used by the autocolor option, but I've added an extra bit of calculation: if it's the first day of a month, regardless of what day of the week it is, those Mayfair colours will be used anyway. [...] 

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A Touch of Monopoly®

Another month, another little update to Giocoso.

This time, the version number is bumped to 1.09 because I've found that picking appropriate colours for the album art caption bar is harder than it should be! That is to say, when Giocoso starts playing a new piece of music, if album art is being displayed, it will try to display the composer and composition name in a coloured bar underneath the actual album art embedded in the FLAC file being played. [...] 

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Emby Episode 4

To recap the story so far: I organise my music on disk in a Composer/Genre/Composition hierarchy. I sometimes play music via the Emby Media Server. Emby does not, however, really support a Composer/Genre/Composition hierarchy, tending to go directly from Composer to Composition. Fortunately, if you use Folders view, Emby will mirror your physical layout of files and folders on disk exactly. But -and this is the point we reached in the last post- Composer artwork you may have applied to Emby's Artist View doesn't display in the Folders view... but, if you arrange for JPGs of each composer to be present in each composer folder, named precisely the same as the folder, it will display composer artwork in Folders view automatically.

This gets us 90% of the way to a usable Emby interface -but, unfortunately, it leaves us with some fairly ugly display screens to wade through on the way to finding a particular piece of music to play. [...] 

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