pour l'amour de la musique

My newest obsession has to be Ampache. Shortly after I upgraded my hosting plan to "unlimited" I decided to use the storage to back-up my digital life (in case of fire/flood/toddler toilette experiments/etc). Since then, I have uploaded approx. 40 GB of media, most of which is home videos and music. I must admit I don't have a very impressive music library compared to many-a-cohort. Still, I always wondered if I could easily manage this lot with a web utility so I didn't always have to carry my external hard-drive around or copy my library whenever I get a new computer. I also like the idea of having it centralized since I'm not too good at keeping up on redundancy with media coming into possession using one of two laptops, home and work desktops, friends, and so on.

Introducing Ampache. Ampache has a lot of functionality that I am not able to exploit, designed for a server that you have total control over, which is not the case with my shared hosting service. However, I have successfully uploaded the PHP based installer, created a database, and configured it...and I'm not that smart so it has to be easy! The only problem that I haven't yet solved is increasing the maximum time my server will allow an Ampache PHP script to run. The default is set to 30 s, which is really not enough to catalog my entire library. My current work-around is to break the library up into many catalogs.

Nevertheless, I am happy with the user interface which allows me to either download a playlist .m3u file which then lets a media player (I use VLC) to stream from the web-server, or there is also a local flashplayer (xspf). I would prefer to use the xspf player since it is one click playback and has a nice interface which displays album art, however, lots of my music is in .ogg format which won't play. So I'm working on converting to .mp3s.


It has been some time since I have posted, and I have the day off today, the missus is out to brunch, the twins in a nap, and their big bro chillin with dad, some goldfish snacks and peanut butter sammies. An unlikely coincidence that allows for some writing. I guess I should get it done!

First, I should mention that I was not looking forward to the local yahoos setting off their shitty fireworks at odd intervals all night long in my "quiet" town. I don't mind fireworks, I just think they should be controlled by local fire stations and light-able by authorized individuals. I decided, however, that "you can't beat 'em...so join 'em." Although I think I would prefer to exercise my patriotism at a time of day more amenable to my schedule, like when the kids wake up at 6am. Perhaps next year I will set up my 2 2x12"/2x8" monster purple cabs powered by my 800 Watt junky Crate mixer outside and rip out some a shitty version of "America the Beautiful" (I should think it's easy with YouTube to find a rendition by an 8 yo girl at her first recital!) followed by a Sousa March (you know the one, the really patriotic one) at 6am to kick of the 4th with a real bang! Better still will be the reprise on the 5th. I can't think of a better cure for a hangover.

That being said, I actually had no problem listening to this racket at 10pm this year since the kids easily drowned it out during our routine bedtime ritual. Maybe the extra helping of cake and blueberry pie at my friends pig roast played a role. By the way, I would not recommend bringing 3 kids under 3 to a friends pig roast unless you are hell-bent on being a spectacular circus side-show for all the other guests. I think I managed to say "hi" to like 3 people out of 30, not that I knew many of them. Let's just say watching two adults chasing around midget tyrants who are busy swinging croquet rackets, screeching, falling, stomping on flower beds, etc. is the closest my friends have been to the Ringling Bros.

Additional updates:
- I somehow inadvertently rejoined Facebook - I really don't know how to use the internet. My wife is convinced that my profile picture is damaging to my career.
- I celebrated the anniversary of this blog quietly as I was driving in to work on the 30th of May. That was a while ago, but I thought it deserves mention regardless
- I am looking into a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Texas A&M. Very few members of my family have been initially supportive, but they should come around.
- I am brewing all-grain (details here)
- I have discovered a great web-tool to enable me to play my music library from the web (see later post)