The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Playing video and audio

Continuing difficulty thereof

Usefulness: 🔧
Novelty: 💡
Uncertainty: 🤪
Incompleteness: 🚧 🚧


See DJing.

Desktop listening

Hate iTunes? I do. It syncs to my phone, good. It integrates well into the OS. There endeth the advantages. Whilst it was cutting edge when I first started using it more than 15 years ago, iTunes has stagnated in features and forged ahead with annoyances even as is slides backwards on performance. It also tries to constantly sell me shitty pop songs and is generally an eyesore.

Moreover, it is increasingly based on streaming music from the cloud which is nice if you live in Silicon Valley and don’t DJ. Otherwise, you need options. I don’t live in Silicon Valley and fail to not DJ, so I seek other alternatives.


Music discovery

Slightly obsessive completist personality? Don’t worry, it afflicts many nerds. How about you channel that twitchy compulsion into something productive, analysing your music collection so that you can be a better DJ, which is the most socially acceptable type of completist obsessiveness there is?

So anyway, my preferred service in the quantifed-self race was This catalogues your music listening history and puts it online, often with cute graphs. Hey, at least letting the world know about that is less harmful than other data people collected about you without your consent Unfortunately, development has languished for years, and the client is shitty, enormous, slow, crashes a lot, and fills your syslog up with weird errors. I already have iTunes to do that. Alternatives to the client for Mac:

Increasingly this product has become irrelevant – just use Apple music or Spotify or Tidal or whatever.

More satisfactory audio on portable devices

🚧; mention Overcast app for iOS.

Media centers


Sonos, et al, for people who find wires too complicated, and actual access to the audio to be too flexible and creative, and a heavy wallet a great burden.


Raspberry Pi-based home media system hacks, perhaps? volumio is a cheap computer-oriented player in the form of a music-focussed linux distro.

The boss of the project, Michelangelo, is a very entertaining guy and his work deserves a shout out on that basis too.

Volumio is meant to be an headless dap (digital audio player), just connect it to your home stereo system or your DAC.

Then, connect it to your home network and control it just from a browser: Pc, Mac, Android or iOS.

Volumio can take your music from USB, Network Storage, streaming services like Spotify and act as a DLNA Player or Airplay receiver.

Kodi (formerly XMBC) is the media centre at the heart of lots of rasppi media centres. But how to package it up? A million different ways all of which are tedious to compare against each other and differ in ways you’d rather not know anything about! Welcome to the 21st century.

As a rule, the JeOS distributions run their own tweaked packaging systems so you have to do more work to get unsupported software, but less work to get supported software.