From cassette tapes, CDs, Google Play Music to Spotify and beyond

Found at http://motleynews.netStarting with cassette tapes, either recorded from radio shows or audio cds, I figure that I am already that old to know why a pencil is important 😉 Once in a while I switched to using audio cds and a huge set of playlists (DJ Winamp was calling) during my studies. While I’ve started listening to pop and rock tracks (Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, etc) that taste changed over time.

Writing my diploma thesis back in 2006 required a change in music which is kind of similar to work-out music: beats, not too much house involved, not that many vocals. Just keep pushing forward while writing text and hacking Linux. Tiesto – Live on Trance Airwaves 2004 was one of those mixes found on the net, after a while I’ve spotted Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance radio show, starting with 288. Tiesto’s Club Life radio show also got my attention.

I did not really change my music taste though – depending on the mood, I prefer to listen whatever comes to mind, and I am fairly certain I’ve tried new movements as well. Some don’t play well (I don’t like black metal that much for instance), others get my attention (the deep house / electric movement). And some are just a fun fact when your group likes it – as we do at NETWAYS with Helene Fischer or any other “Après Ski” hit. Not that I generally like that kind of music, but going out and enjoying life together is what matters 😉

IMG_0114Afterall I did not really catch up with charts or other “current” music although I tend to know quite of lot of tracks by hearing just the first seconds. Querying Youtube for such tracks and keeping them organized doesn’t work well if you’re moving from Austria to Germany – most of these tracks are either blocked (GEMA-wise) or get deleted by their uploader once in a while. But I wanted some sort of “Listen to whatever I like” stuff. So I looked into the various streaming offers around. I did not like Spotify in the first place, as it required a Facebook login to stream free media (and Android/Linux wasn’t supported that well). Using the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Play Music was doing a good job and I liked the idea of organizing playlists and tracks.

Although I have to admit that Google Play Music is just yet another service by Google (and there are too many of them). They overhauled the interface quite a bit in past year, but the app still crashed when you were navigating from authors to suggestions, adding stuff to playlists, going deeper. Sadly this happened to often, and also the navigation was not as intuitive as it could be. By the end of 2014 I decided to switch from Android to iOS and try something new. I’m not going into details here what’s better on these operating systems, it’s just – how much is Google Play Music optimized for iOS?

IMG_0222After some weeks of trying to keep up with it, I must say – it does not really fit into iOS, and you’re better with alternatives. It sure scales better than on the old Nexus 7 or Galaxy S3 hardware, but when you’ve learnt the Apple iOS way of doing things, it somehow feels borked. It’s the same with Gmail and Chrome, they do not integrate well into Apple stuff. Further you cannot quit the subscription on iOS – the app store forwards you to the website (mobile) which tells you to open the app! (inside the Android app store it’s perfectly integrated and you can quit. Workaround: Switch Safari to Desktop mode and then Google let’s you quit the subscription).

I then looked into Spotify – mainly because many of my colleagues at Netways use it as well and I like to share playlists with them. Installing Spotify and opening the application, getting an account and browsing all the stuff was tremendously easy. The app integrates well into iOS and is rather fast in navigation and search. And it does not burn your bandwidth that much, nor the offline storage is exceeded. I was a bit surprised when comparing that to Play Music, but I don’t have any comparison numbers – only a feeling that it’s less. I do use wifi at home, and have Telekom LTE on the road, so not really an issue.

IMG_0115IMG_0128What I really like about Spotify is that it’s just one service, and it’s perfect for what it is and does. Even if Tiesto’s Club Life is exclusive to TheFuture.fm (their iOS app is magnificant too), I even get to listen to Armin van Buurens ASOT exclusively. And looking at Bernd’s playlists I feel confident that mine fit perfectly in there. Including my strange taste for every mood.

Besides, if you’re wondering which music I’m playing when hacking Icinga – that’s currently Club Life 404 and 400 (4h best of!) and a Minimal // Deep House playlist. Icinga wouldn’t have happened without this kind of music, I’m fairly certain about that 🙂

 

Watch sportschau.de stream on linux

Once in a while I am watching sports on tv, and sometimes I am missing it. So luckily there are some streams available, but their players mostly suck on linux. So does sportschau.de in my chromium with flash installed. youtube actually works.

So this video looks like this on the source code, which is pretty awesome to build an rtmp url from.

sportschau_player_url

Combine the 2 strings into one url and copy paste it into VLC and start the video.

sportschau_player_url1

 

 

Not that easy, but still better than those sucky embedded players. Especially since you can rtmpdump these streams then too. Still, that one could be illegal, so check on that first.

# rtmpdump -r "<URL>" -o filename.mp4

Upgrade THECUS N4200 Pro to Twonky 7.0 Special UPnP DLNA Server

The new Twonky 7.0 Special release (replacing former Twonkymedia Server 6.x naming) is still compatible with my THECUS N4200 PRO NAS, and the best part is – the serial number is still valid.

Since THECUS itsself is a huge fail in upgrading the natively shipped modules, especially Twonky, I highly depend on user contributed modules like Twonky 7.0.9 Special – previously I was using Peter Futterknecht’s modules, but this was discontinued for private reasons.

In order to upgrade the N4200 PRO, I did first open the old Twonky interface (normally at http://nas.ip:9000) and saving the serial key, then installed the downloaded app within “Application Server” – “Module Installation”.

thecus_n4200pro_modules

After successful install, disable the old module, and enable the new Twonky 7.0.9 Special. Once enabled, click on the name’s url and configure the new stylish web interface by enabling your serial key, as well as setting up your folders for sharing.

VoilĂ  – upgrade time over 🙂

ESC Stermann & Grissemann audio commentary streams

For those having missed the wonderful audio commentary by Stermann & Grissemann on the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 (which can only watched being drunk, but those comments make it worth listening, at least a bit) – you can view the streams over here: http://fm4.orf.at/stories/1698640/

If you prefer to keep things offline, and archive these streams, open up the source code on that page, and grep for mp4 streams. Since those are rtmp streams, you’ll need a special dump tool (mplayer does not like this format, as it’s kind of http tunneled – infamous “can’t connect to socket” errors…).

# apt-get install rtmpdump

and then dump all the 4 streams one by one. Keep in mind, that all will require ~5,6GB as it’s uncompressed mp4a and avc.

$ rtmpdump -r "rtmp://apasfw.apa.at/nocms-worldwide/mp4:2012-05-26_2100_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4086801__o__0000046495__s4094247___12_ORF1ADHiRes_21000313P_21593119P_Q6A.mp4" -o 2012-05-26_2100_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4086801__o__0000046495__s4094247___12_ORF1ADHiRes_21000313P_21593119P_Q6A.mp4
$ rtmpdump -r "rtmp://apasfw.apa.at/nocms-worldwide/mp4:2012-05-26_2200_sd_01_EUROVISION-SONG-CONT_Vorstellung-der-Song__ORF1ADHiRes_22010601P_23163618P_Q6A.mp4" -o 2012-05-26_2200_sd_01_EUROVISION-SONG-CONT_Vorstellung-der-Song__ORF1ADHiRes_22010601P_23163618P_Q6A.mp4
$ rtmpdump -r "rtmp://apasfw.apa.at/nocms-worldwide/mp4:2012-05-26_2315_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4081993__o__0000046497__s4094639___21_ORF1ADHiRes_23252013P_23521202P_Q6A.mp4" -o 2012-05-26_2315_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4081993__o__0000046497__s4094639___21_ORF1ADHiRes_23252013P_23521202P_Q6A.mp4
$ rtmpdump -r "rtmp://apasfw.apa.at/nocms-worldwide/mp4:2012-05-26_2340_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4081995__o__0000046509__s4094745___42_ORF1ADHiRes_23534823P_00242523P_Q6A.mp4" -o 2012-05-26_2340_sd_01_Eurovision-Song-Cont_____4081995__o__0000046509__s4094745___42_ORF1ADHiRes_23534823P_00242523P_Q6A.mp4

After that, you might want to encode to a different format (ffmpeg and friends), or upload it to your private streaming space as well. Keep in mind that this method downloads copyrighted material by the ORF, so if you do violate those, i do not take any responsibility 🙂

download youtube videos on debian squeeze

Downloading youtube videos is always a pita, some use firefox plugins, some install a windows app to snatch loaded flash videos, and some just want to use native shell without X – like me.

For gods sake, there is a debian package called youtube-dl which is available in wheezy and sid, but luckily backported to squeeze-backports as well.

IF using debian squeeze, first add the backports repository like described here.

# echo "deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list
# apt-get update

Install it from backports (which is lower priority than your systems repo).

# apt-get -t squeeze-backports install youtube-dl

and run “man youtube-dl” to see all available options.

Below is an example of a 10h set of ASOT 550 which is rather huge.

$ youtube-dl "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zJOJbJeSZc" -o A_State_of_Trance_550_Den_Bosch_-_Blue_Stage_Full_Set.flv
[youtube] Setting language
[youtube] 2zJOJbJeSZc: Downloading video webpage
[youtube] 2zJOJbJeSZc: Downloading video info webpage
[youtube] 2zJOJbJeSZc: Extracting video information
[download] Destination: A_State_of_Trance_550_Den_Bosch_-_Blue_Stage_Full_Set.flv
[download]   0.1% of 3.20G at    1.05M/s ETA 51:45

After downloading, you’ll get a flash video file (*.flv extension) which can be either played with VLC and comparable players, or encoded with ffmpeg, mplayer, etc. Keep in mind that h264 files will result in *.mp4 extension – so make sure to check that before defining the -o parameter.

For those interested in the origin source – it’s a python script kept updated on github: https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl/