Expect some Downtime on a few Perceptus Websites

November 9th, 2014

We’re doing some house cleaning on our web servers. Some of our websites have been, and will be, moving around over the next couple weeks. If you happen to get an error about the server being down, this would be the reason. For our more important websites, we will be taking great care to minimize the downtime.

Control Your Music Playback from an iDevice without using iTunes? Yes!

October 26th, 2014

For a variety of reasons, I prefer not to run iTunes on the old Windows XP computer that I have connected to the TV and amplifier at home.

Kids these days might call it a HTPC (home theatre PC), but in my case, it really is just a generic used computer – in fact, it doubles as the box I infrequently use for tasks like testing a hard drive, trying to image or salvage data from a disk, or testing other desktop computer components.

By number of hours of use, the machines #1 job is to be a physically enormously MP3 player. For the last couple years, I have used the trusty old WinAmp and either the wired keyboard, or the wireless keyboard, or remotely connected via VNC to add and remove tracks. It wasn’t ideal, but it generally worked fine. I really wanted a way to add items from the library to the playlist from my phone, though. Either an App or a functional mobile web page would be great.

It had been a couple years since I had thought about this, so I did some research and tried a few things. I tested both MusicBee (totally free), and the free edition of MediaMonkey. Both are highly rated, and quite good, media players. However, neither had built-in web sites for web controls or iPhone controls. There were plugins or extensions that offered these features, but, either they didn’t have an interface that worked for my needs, or they just didn’t work on my setup. This box runs XP, and the media playing runs under a Limited User account in Windows, these were at least part of the the problems. Admittedly, I didn’t want to spend too much time on this project, so I didn’t spend too much time trying to get these working.

Thanks to browsing the plugin library of MediaMonkey, I did learn the term DACP, this is the proprietary standard that Apple created to control iTunes (and other media devices) from iOS, i.e. the free Apple Remote app.

With the term DACP in hand, I was able to find out that there was a plugin for Foobar2000 that provided DACP support. I am somewhat familiar with Foobar2000, so, giving this DACP plugin, foo_touchremote, from http://wintense.com/plugins/foo_touchremote – was a no-brainer.

It worked. Surprisingly easily (given my troubles with the other packages that I had tried yesterday).

And, even better, the Apple Remote user interface on my iPhone is fantastically better than anything I could hope for from a web based interface. There are, apparently, Android DACP apps too.

So, the moral of this blog post? I would think that remote control of music (even just volume controls and pause/play) would be a high priority feature of media players by now – I don’t really understand why these highly rated media players don’t have built-in, well-tested, support for either a mobile web controls or a app controls.

Anyway, I’m happy for now with Foobar2000 + foo_touchremote plugin.


A print-bingo.com Video Spotted on YouTube

June 25th, 2014

We’re long-overdue for another blog post, so, we were happy to stumble on another YouTube video from late last year of someone using print-bingo.com for playing while watching horror movies. We don’t have a template for that, but we have a bunch of other bingo templates for our users.

Thanks for the video, librarianfanmail.

Minor Updates to Naque

March 10th, 2014

We don’t often post about Naque, the site with a nack for creating unique names and words. So, even though today’s updates are relatively modest, it’s a good time to post about it.

What’s changed? The old Flash powered fonts, which broke a long time ago, are finally replaced with Google powered fonts. And we’ve decided to centre the site in the web browser – as screens have gotten much wider over the years, the site has started to feel lopsided, at least to us.

It’s crazy, Naque is over 10 years old now! And crazier still, hundreds of people use it every day!

Oscar’s Bingo for reddit? Yes… we can do that.

March 1st, 2014

We had an interesting email the other day from a moderator of the movie subreddit on … er… reddit.com. They wanted some help with their Oscars Bingo game.

Several emails, and a little bit of one-off work using print-bingo.com, and we had a system that worked for everyone.

And it’s live now:  official reddit thread. It’s not a typical use of our custom bingo card generator, print-bingo.com, but, it is not the first custom job that we have ever done, nor is it likely to be the last.