May Travels

May will be a busy month:

Today I Bought a Pencil

Well, it wasn’t today actually. It was when I was in Berlin (my fav city) a few weeks ago. I got this cool pencil with a sharpener on the end. It is all part of my great leap backwards. What is cool is – I am actually using it. Y’know…now I’m getting increasingly out of the network, I start seeing these amazingly innovative new ways to do things …need to organise meetings? Use a (paper) calendar! Want to plan the rollout of new technology? Buy a cheap planning diary!

I know …I’m on the cutting edge. Analog scribal devices and reusable meaning-capture-surfaces. It’s the future (it’s my future at least…).

Editoria Editor

Below is a mock up of where the design is headed for the Editor in all (most) Coko platforms we work on. Including (in the first instance) Editoria. During discussions in Kenya we identified that we wanted an editor that would evolve into an identifiable Coko look and feel. The point being that we will develop many platforms and the editor will be a central interface for most of them. Hence we want something that you could look at and at first glance think ‘ahhh…that most be those Coko people’. This is the first step in that direction.


Going Backwards

I’ve been increasingly taking a leap backwards, out of the network and towards simple, non-privacy-invasive technologies like smart phones etc.

My first move was to get a feature (Voice and SMS only) phone. I chose the Punkt MP01. It is a very nice phone and I have had it for 5-6 weeks and love it. You don’t have to register on any giant data-stealing monster org like Google. Just press the on switch and away you go. Of course, it would be better if it ran Signal but whatever. Can’t have everything.

In that time I was still carrying around my smart phone (Samsung Android) for playing podcasts. This didn’t feel good so I got a Sony NW A35 which, according to their docs, runs a Linux OS. Whoot! Also it plays FLAC, the open source audio codec made by those good people at Vorbis. So, I use the open source gPodder to subscribe to, and download, my fav podcasts. Alas, they are all in MP3 format (an unfree format). So, I wrote a little script to re-encode the MP3 files in the gPodder Downloads folder from MP3 to FLAC and at the same time copy over the meta data in a nice way and embed the picture files so they display nice n the player. It all works pretty well! Below is the script:

rm Podcasts/*
find . -type f -name '*.mp3' -print0 | while IFS= read -r -d '' file; do
 DIR=$(dirname "${file}")
 Dater=$(date +%a)
 Title=$(exiftool -S -t -album -title "$file")

 if [ -f "$DIR/folder.png" ]
 convert "$DIR/folder.png" "$DIR/folder.jpg"

 madplay -q -o wave:- "$file" | flac --tag=Album=Podcasts --tag=Artist=Podcasts --tag=Genre=Podcasts --tag=Composer=Podcasts --tag=Title="$Dater : $Title" --picture="$DIR/folder.jpg" -s -f - -o "$file".flac
 cp "$file".flac Podcasts/

It’s not the most elegant script but it does the job. I run it from within the top level of the gPodder Downloads directory.

Now I can leave the smart phone at home!

Incidentally, if you do have a similar model and wish to run it with Ubuntu or another version of Linux then here are a few notes:

  • the player does not require registering an account (whoot!). Just start it up and away you go.
  • to manage playlists place an empty .m3u playlist file in the top level of the MUSIC directory. You can add/remove songs from the player interface.
  • the device mounts very quickly and reliably with Ubuntu 16.04 with no tweaks required.
  • copy music to the MUSIC directory in any way you wish. All files in one dir, or sorted into artist/album dirs. It doesn’t matter.
  • easytag is a good tag editor
  • soundconverter is a good transcoder

All in all it’s a great player.