WorkLog.py – work logging

Apr 26, 2016 in Python

I wrote this little script and thought it might be useful for others. WorkLog.py allows you to keep track of what you are working on by writing a timestamped message to a CSV file.
It turns out it helps me stay in tack during a long day of work.

worklog

I’ve put the latest code is on GitHub but also enclosed a version here:

#v1.0.2
from random import choice
from datetime import datetime

phases = [
    'Ok, noted.', 'Right, back to work then!', 'Looking good bud.', 'Cheers, mate.'
]

now = datetime.now()
answer = ''
with open("worklog.csv", "a") as f:
    while answer.strip() != 'exit':
        f.write('"{}","{}"\n'.format(now,answer.strip()))
        answer = input("What're you working on? ")
        now = datetime.now()
        print("[{}]".format(now),choice(phases), "\n")

A great little bit of python code. It requires Python 3. Then just run the file.

Mar 2, 2016 in Snippets

“From now on, our cars will more deeply understand that buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles.”

Traktor streaming to SHOUTcast servers using LiquidSoap

Feb 27, 2016 in Music, OS X

I’ve been using Traktor for years now as my deejaying solution and broadcasting tool. The one missing feature on the broadcasting side is that it can only stream directly to Icecast servers, lacking the ability to stream to SHOUTcast based servers. Most servers use the SHOUTcast streaming protocol which grew popular through the MP3 movement back around the turn of the century. We will setup a transcoding link to enable streaming to SHOUTcast servers.

This guide will focus on OS X but on a general level is also applicable to Windows users.

This replaces my previous guide at https://sites.google.com/site/traktorshoutcast/

Overview

We will need the do the following things:

  1. Install Homebrew, a package manager to help set things up.(OS X)
  2. Install and setup Icecast, a streaming server that will accept the Traktor stream. (aka local streaming server)
  3. Install and setup LiquidSoap, a transcoder that will connect to the local stream, and broadcast it in SHOUTcast format.
  4. Configure Traktor’s broadcasting settings to point to the local streaming server.

Also useful is to keep the SHOUTcast stream (remote stream) details to connect to at hand (host, port, password).

signal flow

1) Install Homebrew

Homebrew is a terminal package manager to add / remove / update OS X software and compile it from source code for us, so we don’t have to.

Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.

To install, follow the directions on http://brew.sh. Currently (as of Feb 16) that says:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Run /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

Follow any instructions about the Xcode commandline tools.

After everything is setup you can run brew update to update your formulae, brew upgrade to upgrade to their latest versions, and brew doctor to diagnose any issues with your particular installation. Keep the terminal open for the next step.

2) Install and setup Icecast

Icecast is a streaming media server which […] can be used to create an Internet radio station or a privately running jukebox and many things in between.

We will setup the local streaming server so that we can connect Traktor and the transcoder to it.

Install

In the terminal window you left open, run brew install icecast.

If I remember correctly, everything should go smoothly and before long you’ll get a message saying it’s successfully installed.

Configuration

To keep the configuration files we are about to create nicely together, create a broadcast folder somewhere (I used ~/Music/Broadcast).

I have prepared a very simple configuration file for you, download it from https://gist.github.com/svandragt/f7ecb720416a68f096a1 (right click the raw button and select Download Linked File As.. and save it as icecast.xml in the broadcast folder you just created).

  • This configuration file is insecure and uses the default Icecast passwords, please change them as I have done so that others on your network cannot login and disconnect your stream whilst broadcasting.
  • Notice that the mount point is /traktor.ogg, on port 8000, on localhost (your own machine).
  • I’ve taken out everything that is not necessary to keep the file as simple as possible. There are all kinds of settings you can add, see http://www.Icecast.org/docs/Icecast-2.4.1/config-file.html

You won’t have to change the contents of this file, apart from the passwords.
This configuration creates a mount point on http://localhost:8000/traktor.ogg for Traktor and LiquidSoap to connect to.

Starting and Stopping the Local Streaming Server

In the terminal window, in your broadcast folder, run icecast -c icecast.xml. It should show a few warnings but no errors, and your local streaming server is now running. Stop it now by pressing ctrl+c.

3) Install and setup LiquidSoap

Our flagship is liquidsoap, a swiss-army knife for multimedia streaming, notably used for netradios and webtvs. Liquidsoap is a powerful and flexible language for describing your streams. It offers a rich collection of operators that you can combine at will, giving you more power than you need for creating or transforming streams. But liquidsoap is still very light and easy to use, in the Unix tradition of simple strong components working together.

We will install the program and setup a flow (configuration) to connect to the local streaming server, and broadcast it to the remote stream.

It should have been simple to install using brew, but unfortunately it was not. After several days of debugging here is a working set of instructions I produced.

Install

In the terminal window you left open, we will run the following commands:

  1. brew tap drfill/liquidsoap — This enabled homebrew to install it.
  2. brew install --env=std liquidsoap --with-shout — this installs LiquidSoap using the standard build environment with shoutcast support

Grab a drink. After a while hopefully all works fine. I noticed that LiquidSoap is now recommending OPAM to install it so you could try that if this doesn’t work for you. (http://liquidsoap.fm/download.html) – I have not tried it.

Configuration

As before, I have created a very simple flow. You will need to setup one flow per destination stream so if you play at multiple radio stations / SecondLife clubs then you will need multiple flows.

Download it from https://gist.github.com/svandragt/af43c07d5842c9c429d5 (right click the raw button and select Download Linked File As.. and save it as example.liq in the broadcast folder).

This time you have to edit it, to add the remote stream details. Change the following lines to suit your purposes:

  • output_host = "example.com"
  • output_port = 8124
  • output_pass = "mypassword"

The configuration above is for broadcasting to a SHOUTcast server at http://example.com:8124 (using the password mypassword). Leave the rest of the file alone or make a copy and start experimenting LATER, see http://liquidsoap.fm/documentation.html. LiquidSoap is very powerful.

Starting and Stopping the Transcoder

In the terminal window, in your broadcast folder, run liquidsoap example.liq. It will start showing a lot of messages, and because you are not currently broadcasting also some errors. Stop it now by pressing ctrl+c.

Traktor

Start Traktor and open the Preferences menu item. Open the Broadcasting tab.

Use the following information to point to the local streaming server:

Server settings:

  • Address: localhost
  • Port: 8000
  • Mount path: traktor.ogg
  • Password: hackme (but you changed this, right)
  • Format: Ogg Vorbis, 44100 Hz, 192 kBit/s (highest quality, bottom option)

You can enter whatever you like in the Metadata Settings.

tractor broadcasting settings

In Traktor, click the broadcast button (the little attenna). It will flash because the local streaming server isn’t running and therefore Traktor cannot connect to it. Whenever Icecast is running but the button is still flashing, check that the password and other connection details match.

For now, click it again to stop broadcasting.

All together now

Before you start streaming:

  1. Start Icecast and keep it running.
  2. In Traktor, click the broadcast button and confirm its not flashing.
  3. Open another terminal window / tab in the broadcast folder for the next step.

When you start streaming:

  1. Start LiquidSoap with the flow of your remote stream. Keep it running.
  2. Start deejaying!

When you are finished

  1. Stop broadcasting with Traktor.
  2. Stop liquidSoap to let the next DJ on the stream.
  3. Stop Icecast because nothing is connected to it now.

Final thoughts

I hope this helps anyone having trouble deejaying online, I enjoy it very much and if you’d like to listen to deep house / electronica, please hit me up in SecondLife or listen to my mixes.

First Thoughts on “Day One 2”

Feb 5, 2016 in iOS

Day One 2 is out. I think it’s a well rounded app although my first experience wasn’t completely smooth. Still worth buying.

After a quick think, being happy with Day One Classic, I bought it assuming that the previous version won’t be maintained for much longer even though I’m a very light user.

Everything imported well and quickly. The previous version synced to iCloud but now you must create an account and sync through that. This isn’t explained in the interface so I was tapping on the sync preference wondering why no options popped up. Until you sign in it is unable to sync.

The app asks for your location permissions even when not using the app. This is a pet peeve of mine because I’m aware of the additional power consumption this brings. In addition I don’t like being followed. When declined any feature that depends on location is still enabled but just won’t do anything when tapped. Going into the system settings reveals a third preferred option of only using location when using the app. I prefer being in control of things like this.

Day One doesn’t explain what is new in the app although it is instantly apparent that you can have multiple journals. Not sure why I would want this though, because I’m mostly using it to record how long ago it’s been since certain events happened (light user).

Conclusion

It’s clear this is a premium iOS app and all of the above niggles can be easily addressed. I have removed the classic version as a sign of confidence.

Feb 4, 2016 in Snippets

More projects should point to single tweets for conversation starting.

Feb 4, 2016 in Snippets

Listening to Under the Radar: 12 https://overcast.fm/+Fgm3X4nfc. Represent yourself as your client does basically.

Jan 29, 2016 in Snippets

I’m really impressed with the @WordPress theme customisation UI from within the product.

Alternative Football Manager

Nov 16, 2015 in Games

Jack Arnott writes for Eurogamer in the Football Manager 2016 review:

Anything beyond that, though, and, once again, I’m stumped. It won’t tell you whether you’ve lost because you were closing down too much, or too little. Or because your defensive line was too high, or too low. Would Prozone analysis have helped me tame those pesky Shrews? Not without a hireable in-game performance analyst. This is no panacea for those, like me, who crave some FM feedback.

[…]

Despite a couple of neat additions, Football Manager 2016 is an iterative release that’s sadly short on big new ideas.

None of this directly applies to this review or the quality of the game but is a bit more generalist rambling on my part — I feel SI is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
It’s difficult to make a game that is seen as holding realism above all other values and then see it being criticsed for lack of feedback.

The hypothetical version that sorts this out would be surely used by all real world managers as this gives them the winning formula for winning their own leagues! The marketing of FM being used by real world managers only strangthens this conflicted ideal in my mind.

With all features already in the game the developer might be making enourmous investments now to advance the simulation just that little bit, unable to make great leaps as there is no great leap to make.

I used to think that making Football Manager light was the solution to create a more playable game but as people expect “all of the realism with less options” I don’t think that is ever going to work either.

As long as it keeps selling though they would be silly to overhaul it, as it would alienate the existing fanbase.

I’m hoping there will sometime be an approximation of the FM lineage but with fun and passion as the core values under a different name, perhaps with fantasy clubs and players, silly things happening, no numbers and passion for the athmosphere of football.

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