If you're a blogger and a Firefox user, Performancing for Firefox is worth checking out. It's a nice little blogging extension. You hit F8 in Firefox when you're on a page and it splits the screen into the page you're viewing and a blog editor. So far I'm impressed with it and I've stayed with it for longer than any other blogging tool (three posts now!) We'll see.
This site's been getting overloaded with spam bots lately, to the point it's creating some intense load on the server. I've installed Bad Behavior which will hopefully redirect some of the worst offenders. If you find yourself being blocked even though you're not a dirty spammer, feel free to email me and I'll whitelist you. I'm looking into other alternatives that hopefully won't lock anyone out.
Thomas DolbyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a blog going on and it's a real good read. Particularly I liked the entry about his shed slash recording studio and how he likes it more than the swanky studio he had at the peak of his music career. [via Aaron] Update: gearheads out there might be interested in reading a list of what gear Thomas Dolby uses. [via]
After extensive help from RedChina and MarkJaquith on the #wordpress channel, I think my Wordpress 2.0 install is now fully functional. I have to say upgrading was not very pleasant. There's some some serious weirdness involving url rewriting. I don't even want to think about it anymore. The only real side effect should be that the full text RSS feed URL has changed. You can now get that here. There's a redirect in place so hopefully it won't be a big deal to folks who are already subscribed.
We're well into the new year now but I'm still technically on vacation. I'm trying to get caught up on email and a lot of things I've been putting off forever. Also my Wordpress 2.0 upgrade is still breaking in places (such as the full text RSS feed). 2005 was a pretty big one for me, a lot more action-packed than usual. A lot of life developments as well as a remix album as well as starting to play live (which has gone nicely so far thanks to the help of Bruce, Richard and Rob.)
I'm not generally into New Years resolutions, but I have a few music-related goals this year:
1. Finish my next album. I've been a bit paralyzed by even the minor expectations that it not completely blow. When I started doing music I was totally alone and there was little to no risk. Now there's a bit more and I guess I'm a huge baby who can't handle anything. Anyhow, this year I'll try to plow ahead regardless. And when people tell me my old stuff was better I'll become a Scientologist.
2. Blog better. I was blogging a lot about the music industry (particularly the online aspect) but in the past year I've become completely exhausted by it. I find most anti-RIAA and anti-DRM rants depressing these days and any time I go to blog one I eventually wind up quitting half way through. I'll try to find something else to fill the void but it may all be about Katamari Damacy.
3. Try to make some actual money. Through being a scaredy-cat and doing everything on my own and maybe some decent planning along the way, I'm not in the hole like a lot of my musician friends, but trying to justify spending the amount of time I do on this is getting more and more hilarious. In 2006 I would like Brad Sucks to be bought by Google or Yahoo! or even Ask Jeeves as the first ever Search Engine House Band. Which would be the true start of Music Industry 2.0.
Anyway, hope you all have a great 2006.
I had a chance to play with Wordpress 2.0 RC3 today. It's not tremendously different from 1.5.2 but the improvements are fantastic. The main thing I love is the new posting page, which adds WYSIWYG support, easy image uploading and the quick addition of new categories. Rumor is 2.0 final will be out on the 26th. Here's a list of the new features. Looking forward to it.
After a few people told me to do it, my album I Don't Know What I'm Doing is "Podsafe" now. You can find it here. Complaint #1: there seems to be basically an unlimited number of sites for musicians to upload their music to and they rarely, if ever, allow you to specify URLs. You have to upload each song individually off your hard drive like a chump. I'd like a meta-submitting/uploading service. Like an automated street team. Or sites should make it less annoying. I have MP3s on my fast website with neatly labeled ID3 tags. Please take advantage of that.
My other complaint is that these sites all have blogging services with no option to syndicate your own blog from somewhere else. I'm not going to start blogging on Myspace or Podsafe or whatever. There's no way. But if you were to syndicate my RSS feed, you'd have the illusion that I was participating and I would possibly build readers on your service (tying me to it, which is what you want) rather than just having a big empty blog there.
Google launched a blog search service. Exciting stuff! It's sparse and quick and it works decently enough. I like to keep tabs on who's linking to me, so I've subscribed to the search results for my site alongside my Technorati and IceRocket results. Google returns 80 results, Technorati returns "218 links from 157 sites" and IceRocket returns 106 results. I haven't done any research into the additional 26 links that IceRocket returns, but the way it displays its results is still my favorite, with the entries grouped by day.
So until Scoble posted about a boycott I had no idea that the issue of excerpts versus full text in feeds was so huge. I've been using RSS aggregators for a couple of years now and have always preferred headings and decent excerpts. I've unsubscribed from more feeds for having too much text than I have too little. I don't really want to switch my main feeds for that reason, but I've made a full text feed here for the people who want it:
I have no plans to add RSS ads because I think they're dumb and gross.
Also for any Wordpress hackers out there looking to do this on their own blogs, I've described what I did to make this work here.
It's the perfect tool for musicians who want to focus on their music, and not have to master HTML, spend a fortune, wait months, or be at the mercy of webmaster friends doing you favors.
It's free to sign up, free to try out for a month, and only $20/month if you decide to stay.
Cool service from a cool guy.
Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make is very good, though a bit nerd-centric. I obviously agree with just about everything written there and have been doing it for years. But I also know that most of the music buying public doesn't care about deep linking, RSS, or ID3 tags and they still think a cool looking Flash site is pretty cool looking.
That being said, I think the tips are essential for any indie record label and great for any musician who's thinking about relying on the Internet as a major source of promotion.
Update: Great Metafilter discussion here.
So I was complaining about how annoying setting up multiple Podcast / RSS enclosure feeds was last night. I want to Podcast all the remixes people do of my songs but I really don't want to make blog posts for all of them or maintain a whole other blog just for that. We came up with an idea and my pal Ryan whipped up a PHP script called dirCaster. Basically you drop this script into a web directory full of mp3s and it makes a Podcast feed of them sorted by file date, with data extracted from the ID3 tags. As you add new files to the directory, the feed will be updated dynamically. Quick, dirty and easy. My remix feed using it is here.
It has some pretty obvious limitations but seems to get the job done with minimum fuss. It should work for the usual talk radio-ish use of Podcasting, but I also like the potential of using it to share small feeds among friends. Like I can set up a directory of my current favorite songs I want to force my friends to listen to and they subscribe in iPodder or jPodder or what have you. Then they'll automatically download any new songs I throw in that directory. Pretty neat.