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!

Second: my experiment with Apple macOS as my preferred main desktop OS is at an end! The hardware (an old 2012 Mac Mini and and equivalently-old 21.5" iMac) is superb: it looks good, runs incredibly cool and quiet and would be my ideal hardware, I think, for a music room where extraneous quietness is at a premium. But after two months of daily using it, I have reluctantly concluded that the operating system itself is a frightful mess! I mean, it does the basics well enough. But it's window management is awful: a maximise button that actually means 'go full screen', for example, rather than one that actually maximises the application without going full-screen. Doing something trivial like a quick cut-and-paste at the keyboard is a pain: Alt+C is much harder to type than Ctrl+C (the finger placement is profoundly different), and why macOS has to be unique in the copy/cut/paste keyboard shortcut key combo department in the first place, I have no idea. It means anyone who uses Windows and Mac, or Linux and Mac, is forever mis-typing in a way that a user of Windows and Linux, or Windows and Solaris, or Solaris and Linux never would. I could have fiddled with remapping things, I guess... but why should I have to? The lack of a proper compose key combo was also a pain, which I fixed of necessity, but I again shouldn't have had to. The inability to right-click a terminal session and say 'open this folder in File Manager' was a bit of a show-stopper, too. Things like: I want to see the hidden files in this folder? Well, in KDE's Dolphin, you'd click the settings button and select 'Show hidden files'. But in Finder? Well, obviously, it's press Command+Shift+period (full stop)! Why bury basic functionality like that under an obscure key-combo? I don't know... but macOS does that sort of thing a lot. For an operating system renowned for being visually gorgeous and 'just working', there's a hell of a lot of obscure key press combos to learn!

Anyway: I could go on, but won't! I think 8 weeks is a reasonable period in which to have given it a go, and I had every intention, about a week in, of making the transition permanent. But the annoyances and inflexibilities kept getting more obvious and more annoying, so yesterday I decided it was back to Manjaro for me. I may yet see if I can fiddle Manjaro onto the Mac Mini (because the hardware is so good), keeping the iMac for future macOS software development and testing purposes. I'm not in a rush to do that though, and I strongly suspect in any case that the hardware which is silent when running Apple's own OS will behave substantially differently (and more noisily) when running someone else's.

Third, I thought I'd re-visit this graph: it records how much of my listening has been to composers who are in my 'top ten' list of composers, and how much has been to composers who aren't in that list. Back in February 2021, I finally passed the 50:50 mark, having started recording that particular statistic in August 2019 with a 56:44 ratio. In other words, three years ago, almost 2/3rds of all my music listening was to just ten composers. The other 560 or so accounted for around a third of my listening between them. It was primarily to address this strange tendency to keep listening to the same people over-and-over again that I wrote Giocoso and its prototype: by randomising choices of music to play, it would help re-balance my listening history, so that more composers got more of a look (or listen!) in.

Well, here's the current state of play

The yellow line is the 'non-top ten composers' play count proportion; the blue line is the 'top-ten composers' play count proportion. Basically, as of this morning, the situation has been completely reversed from the way it was back in August 2019: the ratio is now 44:56 in the opposite direction, with non-top-ten composers now accounting for a substantial majority of my listening -a majority which only gets larger over time, too.

I guess the short version is that it has taken almost three years to turn this particular ship around ...and that it would have been good to not have gotten into such an unbalanced listening situation in the first place. Owning a wide range of stuff has never been the issue; getting off one's butt to actually listen to it was, though... but, happily, no longer! It's good to know that it's a problem that's being fixed; and I definitely feel my knowledge of the field of classical music has been enormously widened in the past few years as a consequence of switching to software music players like Giocoso.

Which wraps things up for now. Keep your eyes peeled for a Giocoso 2 release in a few weeks' time, anyway!

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