Category Archives: open source

Spotify Singles Chart playlists

I’ve been using Spotify premium for a few months and I’ve been loving it. There are tons of sites with Spotify playlists but none for listing the current UK or US charts. I decided to write a playlist generator which parsed RSS feeds of the singles chart and then created a Spotify playlist based on them. The script also queries Spotify’s Metadata API to make sure the track exists (queries based on song name on chart list so it’s not 100% yet). Currently I am using feeds for the US and UK charts, the official UK Top 40 Chart – see Billboard Hot 100, Billboard United Kingdom Songs Chart and Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart. I also plan to use spotify-api to create an actual playlist based on the tracks found.

I’ll be uploading the source soon once I have some encoding issues sorted. If you know of any RSS feeds with any song charts – let me know and I’ll generate a playlist for them.

Update –

Further Update -integration with spotify-api now working so full Spotify playlists are now generated

Django project dependency management and deployment

I’m not our server admin here at Ticket-Text but the whole issue of project dependency management and deployment does interest me. As such I’ve been looking at ways to help and have compiled the following list of what I have found most useful. I admit I have not read all of these yet but Fabric and virtualenv do definitely seem to be standard now for any django project and they could save alot of work. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Some Djangocon 2009 videos that might be of interest (I have the videos in mp3 format if anybody wants them). The slides are also available @

If you’re looking for a simpler way to deploy SVN changesets check out my python script SVNArchiveByChangeset which still works a treat for packaging SVN changesets as a zip or tar file.

Ran out space on virtual machine (Virtual Box)

I use VirtualBox OSE for my virtual machines and really love it. I tried to change to the non-free VirtualBox (so I could use USB) but moving from one to the other in Ubuntu was not a simple process and eventually I rolled back (thank Christ for CloneZilla).

I’ve got a Win XP virtual machine with a 10GB hard disk which was getting full so I needed to expand it. The simplest way I found was to use the excellent CloneVDI tool. The tool runs perfectly under wine so I was able to double the size of the disk.

This did not however increase the size of the C drive in Win XP so I installed Partition Magic and resized C to take all available space. Now I’ve got a Win XP virtual machine with tons and tons of space 🙂

Selenium RC supported browsers

I searched and searched through the Selenium documentation but could not find a list of the supported browsers and their start commands. So I ran off in a huff and downloaded the source to find the list that way and voila :

From – trunk\server-coreless\src\main\java\org\openqa\selenium\server\browserlaunchers\

  • firefoxproxy = FirefoxCustomProfileLauncher
  • firefox = FirefoxLauncher
  • chrome = FirefoxChromeLauncher
  • firefoxchrome = FirefoxChromeLauncher
  • firefox2 = Firefox2Launcher
  • firefox3 = Firefox3Launcher
  • iexploreproxy = InternetExplorerCustomProxyLauncher
  • safari = SafariLauncher
  • safariproxy = SafariCustomProfileLauncher
  • iehta = HTABrowserLauncher
  • iexplore = InternetExplorerLauncher
  • opera = OperaCustomProfileLauncher
  • piiexplore = ProxyInjectionInternetExplorerCustomProxyLauncher
  • pifirefox = ProxyInjectionFirefoxCustomProfileLauncher
  • // DGF pisafari isn’t working yet
  • //pisafari = ProxyInjectionSafariCustomProfileLauncher
  • konqueror = KonquerorLauncher
  • mock = MockBrowserLauncher
  • googlechrome = GoogleChromeLauncher


Will I move to Spicebird??

Eh… No.

We’ll be moving to Google Apps soon at Ticket-Text so I wanted to try out a few clients to see which would suit us best. I’ve used thunderbird but thought I’d try out spicebird too. Downloaded it and installed. I could not set up an email account at all. Wizard had a load of blank screens and never set up the account. I uninstalled the app and was going to leave feedback to them to tell them why I uninstalled but the feedback form was broken.

Spicebid uninstall survey

Potentially a great app but I’d need to be able to set up an account firt me thinks.. maybe waith till 1.0.

Using mencoder for my first youtube upload

I’ve been watching the BBC’s Gavin and Stacey series again and found just as hilarious as I did when I watched it first. I wanted to view the wedding speeches again but they weren’t on Youtube anywhere so I figured I’d upload my first youtube video with the speeches (probably violating all sorts of copyrights in the process).

I have used ffmpeg from the windows SUPER installer before but I used mencoder from the same install this time to cut the speeches from the episode. Just as ffmpeg is, mencoder is an awesome utility.

mencoder -ss 00:15:00 -endpos 00:03:20 -ovc copy -oac copy Episode6.avi -o ClippedEpisode6.avi

I love it when he whips out the toast – nearly wet myself when I saw that first. Enjoy – Gavin and Stacey – Wedding Speeches

Moving to Ubuntu (….kind of)

I’ve signed up for a masters in UCD (Advanced Software Engineering in University College Dublin) starting in December. I’m really looking forward to it and as a treat I bought a new (used) laptop that’ll be just for Uni work. It’s an IBM Thinkpad T43 (Centrino 1.7Ghz and 1GB ram with 40GB HD, Wifi, Bluetooth, PCMCIA, Expresscard and all the other usuals) I bought it on ebay (where else?) for £240 delivered. The build quality is excellent and I’m very happy with it. I’ve got Ubuntu 8.04 running on it and it’s going quite well. I’ve encountered the following problems:

  • I get an “not enough memory” error when I try and hibernate
  • Wireless seems kind of flaky especially with the upgraded NetworkManager, I can’t connect to my Dad’s network and keep getting a 169 IP address but this happens on my Vaio too so I suspect it is the Intel Wireless hardware and my Dad’s DHCP server not playing nice together.
  • I can’t get mobile broadband working (either using the new NetworkManager or UMTSMON)
  • Audio when playing video took a while to get working and had to change from Pulse to the ALSA sound architecture.

Lest not forget that there are millions of positives with Ubuntu, especially the Synaptic package manager and power management.

I’m loving Gnome and I’m trying to find a few cycles to play with MonoDevelop properly. I’ve been trying to get the localising feature in MonoDevelop working with an ASP.NET web application but no joy yet. I can get it working on a command line app though :).

Web Application installations with Wix…. Awesome

This week I set off with the goal of making one of our web applications alot easier to deploy. The tools I chose were –

  1. Web Application Installer (WAI)
  2. Wix (Windows Installer XML)
  3. WixEdit

I’d played with all three before but never really got past prototype stage. I’ve spent the last day learning wix and all the elements relevant to me. The Web Application Installer is collection of scripts and a template for different types of web applications. Firstly you use WAI to generate a list of files to install and the use WixEdit to edit that list and many other properties of the wix installation. Once happy with the configuration of the installation WixEdit will generate an msi for installation on your target machine. They truly are an excellent collection of tools. I now have an msi installer that sets up a web site in IIS, sets the ASP.NET version to 2, sets all the required permissions, creates a DB in SQL Server Express (specifying where to save the mdf and ldf files too) and changes the connection string in web.config accordingly. Todays quota of job satisfaction has now been achieved – saving about an hour per install (I’ve to install this app 28 times for different clients so the work was definitely worth while).

One huge pit fall which made me silly amounts of angry was that the SQL script you use to generate the tables and initial data for your database MUST be saved in Unicode (UTF-8). If it’s not then wix won’t be able to read it. I lost 3 hours yesterday with this!!!! as SQL server management studio express by default saves to UCS-2 Big Endian. Very little documentation on this fact so hopefully this post will help a little.