May 12, 2019

Podcast chapters 1.5 approaching

It has been a little while now since I took over development of Podcast chapters. Close to two months, in fact.

From the outside the only visible events have been one minor update fixing a small bug and a couple of changed references to owner and contact details. On the inside, I have been slowly but surely (well, sometimes quite hesitantly, to be honest) hammering away at the core of the app, mainly doing work I hope no end user will ever notice other than there being slightly fewer problems. The real point is cleaning up some technical debt and make a whole lot of fun stuff possible going forward.

So: 1.5 is coming. Big thing for me, hopefully not for anyone else.

Well, okay, it will also fix a couple of bugs and add a minor feature or two.

For those excited by code like myself, I do plan to talk about the story so far once this version is out. But first things first: finish thing, then talk about it.

The thing I really wanted to write about was having a couple of those wonderful moments where a bug is finally found, things click and become just that much clearer than they were before. Being in such unfamiliar territory, I have had minor moments like that along the whole way, but the last few days they were of the kind where that one minor problem is fixed and a whole chunk of code starts to just work. No matter how small the fix was, the combined relief and sense of accomplishment is just incredible.

(And in this particular case, once found the fixes have been truly minimal. We are talking being off by a byte and such things.)

If you read this and happen to be into podcast production involving chapters and other ID3 metadata: what would you like in a good chapter editing app for the Mac? What should it do to fit well into your workflow (new or old)?

May 01, 2019

Books I have read

Books and other literature I have read, in, somewhat uncertain, reverse chronological order. The list starts from the summer of 2008, and my main purpose with it is to be able to see what I have actually been reading. I do feel that I read many quite good books, but I never seem to be able to recall what I have recently read when asked for recommendations.

April 11, 2019

Saber beating

Is Beat saber a killer app for VR? I have not only played a lot in the past months, I have also let other people try it whenever the opportunity arises. From age six to forty, everyone who I have helped adjust the headset has been able to grasp the game and have a thoroughly good time from the first beat. The kids especially have a great time, with the no failures option letting them finish songs without worrying too much about the details of slicing. And when not playing, they are bouncing up and down centimetres from the TV, commenting on every move. It re-struck me (if there is such a concept) how much more social and graspable the Playstation VR becomes by having the real-time stream of the view right there on the TV:

Killing it?

The last time I wrote about the game I imagined a standalone, cable-free, version perfect for travel.

Since then, I realized the Oculus quest is on its way and that Beat saber will be on it.

I fear this is enough to make me buy another system, just to play a game I already own in a slightly better way.

That does sound a lot like a killer app, right?

March 24, 2019

The best kind of end

En podd om teknik, wrapping up En podd om teknik, wrapping up

There is a live recording of Pet shop boys at the Mermaid theatre with a full symphonic orchestra. They finish the regular set to tons of applause, and when they come back on I can hear the wide smile on Neil Tennant's face as he says "It's not really the end, of course."

That is how I feel right now, having had the honor to play a small part in En podd om teknik's marathon live charity event, also doubling as their final season. I have a wide smile, a lovely fuzzy feeling inside and a knowledge that it is not really the end. This particular podcast is wrapping up for sure, but it is doing it in a nice laidback way while both listeners and makers having a good time, and I know other good things will come out of it.

I want more experiences like this. And whoever wants to put on an event like this should definitely consult the crew here because everything worked so well as to almost be suspicious.

I needed to leave way before the very end of the evening, which was a little sad as I am sure the last part will be the very best for us long-time listeners. On the other hand, it means I will have some all-new material to consume at some later point when withdrawals become too bad.

Also, I now get to discover what comes next.

It is not really the end, of course.

March 17, 2019

Adopting Podcast chapters

In the early evening of March 6th 2019, I became the developer of Podcast chapters, the Mac app for managing chapters and other metadata in MP3 files. I am excited and very thankful to Thomas Pritchard, the original developer of the app, for giving me this opportunity. I have given him a hand with the last few versions of the app, so I think I speak for us both when I say this felt like the natural step once it became clear Thomas had too many other things going on.

What will happen?

My main goal here is to keep a good thing good: I use Podcast chapters several times per week and the most important thing for me is to keep up with fixing any bugs, keep the app evolving as a good Mac citizen and perhaps even add a feature or two some day.

It feels really great to have an app in an app store again, and even more so now that it is a Mac app. There are so many indie Mac developers I look up to for the love and craftsmanship they put into their creations. Native Mac apps seem to me to have a very high average quality and care level, perhaps the highest of any platform I know of, and I look forward to striving for that. I have often thought about building something Mac native, since web and other cross-platform stuff is most of what I do every day, but I have missed a suitable project. Podcast chapters is the right size for me to be exciting, meaningful and hopefully also decently managable inbetween everything else in life.

Request for comments

Oh, and if you use the app: I want to hear what you think! Do you miss something in it? Do you suffer from some bug I have not yet heard about? Get in touch! I have already had two support requests, one of which led straight to a bug which was just the right size for a new maintainer.

Other than that, I have started hacking on some internal parts. I am aware that parsing bytes out of MP3 files may not sound like a fun pastime to the average person, but trust me: it can be in the right circumstances.