Documentation pending...

I'm now in Giocoso 3 documentation mode: writing up what functionality exists; what functionality doesn't exist; and how best to use the software to do its principal job of playing classical music in a quasi-intelligent way.

There are (pause to count...) 28 distros to install onto, perform functional tests and make notes on quirks, weirdnesses and showstoppers. Each distro tends to ship with three or four desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, Budgie, Pantheon, XFCE and the like), so the number of permutations at this stage is a bit bewildering. Not to say, time consuming. [...] 

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Buy me a coffee, please?!

The Other Half has long berated me for not selling my software, or otherwise attempting to monetise this site. I have long resisted doing so -but as buying new music or new computers to test and develop things on is getting expensive, I've finally relented, in a modest way: I've just opened an account at 'buy me a coffee', a trustworthy site that takes donations from grateful members of the public and sees them on their way to creators. I've labelled my account as 'buy me a music score', as that's what I'll probably end up doing with any amounts of cash I get from it, though a newer desktop PC is on the wishlist, too!

There's zero obligation and I'm not going to promote it heavily, but if you value anything I've produced here and can spare a fiver or so, I'd be grateful (and it might just keep the Other Half quiet, too!). Check it out at: [...] 

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I've reached the persnickety bug-hunting phase of Giocoso Version 3 development! This is good, because it means a release of Version 3 is not too far away. It's bad, though, because as you uncover new, obviously stupid bugs, you spend your days thinking, 'How could I be so stupid!'

A case in point was just triggered by what I thought was going to be a trivial little addition to this website: adding a 'play count' column to my music play history listing. Adding the column itself and getting it populated from my Giocoso database was indeed quite simple. What wasn't expected was this: [...] 

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An IT Tour

A recent correspondent put me in mind of the fact that, having at last settled into my new home, it was perhaps time to do a sort-of guided tour through it as far as explaining what, technologically speaking, makes my music play. I notice, for example, that just a few weeks ago I took a photo of my music 'cabinet' in which an Apple Mac Mini (vintage 2012) took pride of place as the music-producing PC. Well, that's not true these days (as regular readers will probably know, I suffer from a bad case of operating system re-installationitis, with consequent side-effects of PC moving-aroundism):

As you can see, I don't exactly do a lot of dusting! As you can also see, the Mac Mini has been replaced by my Raspberry Pi 4: though it can have a fan fitted to keep it cool, mine is housed within an aluminium case that acts as a very good passive heatsink. Temperatures are therefore seldom above 50°C, and I've accordingly not bothered to fit the fan: the Pi is completely silent in operation in consequence ...and that's a key requirement of any IT equipment that sits in my music listening room (for hopefully obvious reasons!) [...] 

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At last, I've just added the 600th composer to my music collection. The composer in question is Cipriano Potter, whose grim visage you see at the left. Despite his first name, he was born and bred in London, UK (in 1791, in fact, dying some 80 years later, in 1871). His music is not especially well-known, though he was on first name terms with Beethoven (who thought him 'a good fellow') and Wagner called him an 'amiable contrapuntist'. His obscurity owes much to his decision to stop composing completely around his 45th year so that he could concentrate on his administration duties at the Royal Academy of Music, of which he was then principal. He was thus influential on English music, without necessarily having composed a lot of it (though he still managed to write nine symphonies, three piano concertos and a bazillion solo piano pieces).

I mention the new addition only because I remember being ticked off by a good friend of mine in Sydney, back in around 2005, that the fact that my music collection consisted mostly of Britten and Handel was "a bit sad". A pursuit of musical diversity on my part thus ensued, and I think my friend would be pleased today with the sexta-centennial results of his gentle nagging! [...] 

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A minor detail...

I am old-school. I remember doing X server stuff in 1987. I like X Server. The ability to pipe a desktop across the ends of the Earth, courtesy of X and a bit of Ethernet never ceases to amaze me.

But X is old-hat, not just old-school and Wayland is the new kid on the block, stealing its milk money and cigarettes. [...] 

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Offline Warning!

Just a short note to advise that at some point today, we're having solar panels fitted. That means the electricity will have to be turned off for (so we are told) "a number of hours". That in turn means the web server hosting this site will... er, stop hosting it, for a number of hours!

The short version is: I'll have to go off-line at some point today, but normal service should resume a few hours thereafter. [...] 

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Sorted. Sort of.

The photograph you see at the left was taken on April 30th, 2023 -about four days after we've physically moved into our new house. You'll note that one of the rooms cannot really be walked into, since it is jam-packed with boxes and belongings! The rest of the house was never quite that bad, but it was pretty bad: there were 150+ boxes and on day four I think we'd unpacked about 4 of them 🙂

Around three weeks later (on May 24th, to be exact), the room destined to become my music room looked like this: [...] 

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I'm back...

Well, it took a couple of days longer than anticipated... and my new "server room" is currently (and temporarily!) the laundry, but if you're reading this, you'll have worked out that I am indeed back on line and things are working OK.

In ten or so days' time, electricians are supposed to be turning up to electrify the loft space. I have no idea how long that will take. Once it's done, the server will be taken offline for as brief a period as I can manage, allowing it to be hauled into its final, permanent location in the loft. That will be fun: the new loft lacks dedicated loft stairs, so it will be a matter of balancing precariously at the top of a stepladder whilst holding on with one hand and balancing a very heavy server in the other. Fun times ahead, then! [...] 

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A word about GMG

I just wanted to put on record that I was sorry to have to cease my membership of the GMG Classical Music Forum a week or so ago. There were at least a half-dozen members there whose contributions I valued highly (Harry, Vandermolen, Karl Henning and others, for example). There were dozens more who were utterly decent people with a lot to contribute. There were also terribly pretentious Irish members, as well as at least one Australian member with zero sense of humour; but these were in a minority, whom it was easy to ignore.

Unfortuately, there were several members who thought that, presented with a CD album art image of a female artist, it was OK to comment on her cleavage. One in particular, was recorded to have posted, "Poor girl. She can't even find a dress to fit", because a bit of cleavage was visible in the black dress sported by the fine, professional and highly-skilled pianist in question. The poster was 74 and, I think, ought to have known better that women do sport cleavages but that one doesn't reduce a highly-skilled, professional woman to her cleavage. Some of us could hear the heavy breathing and dripping spittle accompanying such commentary. [...] 

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Software Updates

Before this website goes offline for nearly a fortnight, I thought I'd better release a couple of software updates that have been in my 'pending' tray for quite a while now.

First, Giocoso is bumped from version 2.03 to 2.04. The updates are mostly minor and inconsequential -except for one 'bugfix'. All versions of Giocoso have long contacted this website to obtain a new version of the program's error/messages file, whenever it detects that the program version number doesn't match the error/messages file version number. That all works fine, when this website is up! If, however, this site is not contactable (because, say, its host managed to blow up its Hungarian webserver!) then the program sits there, apparently locked up, trying to contact the uncontactable. Eventually it gives up and resumes working as normal -but now without the ability to display any error or progress message text at all. The new version now adds in a 'ping test' before trying to fetch the new message file: if the site's not accessible for some reason, Giocoso shouldn't hang for minutes trying to reach it, and the old error messages file is retained, not wiped. [...] 

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