Posts Below
8/27/2014 - Bash Script: Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template) (Site Update)
8/5/2014 - Procrastinating about checking my email (Site Update)
8/1/2014 - Video Link: Michio Kaku - "The Future of the Mind" (Science - Video Link)
7/27/2014 - Launched Non24.Org today (Health)
7/23/2014 - Finally launched Non24.Com today (Health)
7/23/2014 - Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API (Music)
7/21/2014 - Python Script: Apollia's Relative Scheduler v1.0 (Site Update - Software Release)
7/21/2014 - Astroblahhh Basic MP3 Player version 1, in JavaScript (Site Update - Software Release)
7/1/2014 - Trying Beats Music again for 30 days, and writing a barebones JavaScript music player - funding welcome! (Music)
6/18/2014 - Link: Free Software Foundation ideas (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web)

Welcome to Astroblahhh.Com. This site, consisting of both blog and non-blog pages, features a gradually growing assortment of miscellaneous things on a variety of topics. I, the author of most of the stuff on this site, usually go by the name Apollia on the internet.

This blog was generated by the WordsPlatz blog software, which I wrote from scratch.


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Bash Script: Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template)
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
04:15:04 GMT

Site Update

A new little Bash script:

Open Relative Folder on Current Disk (Landmark Template)

It works in both Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004, and Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.

This script makes it so you can easily open a folder on the same disk as the script, even if the disk containing that folder and this script gets mounted at a different than usual mountpoint.

I call these shortcuts "landmarks" (partly inspired by Second Life). I keep most of them in a "Landmarks" folder at the root level of many of my disks.

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Procrastinating about checking my email
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
18:54:06 GMT

Site Update

To anyone it might concern - I've been avoiding checking a lot of my email, for a variety of reasons. It's partly because it's such a nuisance to check a lot of it. I store my Thunderbird profile on an external hard drive that I usually don't have turned on.

And, I have my Thunderbird email client inside a Windows XP VirtualBox, since I still haven't migrated to a native Linux email client.

And, to my knowledge, I usually get hardly any mail from anyone. And, my email is typically full of spam, and I still don't have adequate spam filters. (Except with my Gmail, but I'm trying to reduce my dependence on Gmail, so, I don't want to share that address publicly.)

So, the bottom line is, checking most of my email addresses is generally a very unrewarding nuisance. On top of that, I'm also shy, as well as quite busy lately, so I'm sure I'm avoiding my email partly for those reasons too.

Sorry if anyone is awaiting replies!

Posts to my forums are actually a much better way to reach me than most of my email addresses, because of the lack of spam. So, things posted there are far more likely to be seen by me sooner than any email. (Even though I don't check the forums every day.)

Eryss.Com Forum

Non24.Com Forum

Another option is my Tumblr - though I haven't been using Tumblr much lately, and that's probably not going to change soon, since I have too much to do.

You can send me public or private messages via my forums or Tumblr. My forums and my Tumblr are moderated (and I'm the only moderator), so, messages won't be posted immediately or automatically, and, if you include a note in your message that says you don't want your message to appear publicly, I won't publish your message.

Happily, on my forums, there are almost never any spambot posts or spambot registrations, ever since 2013 when I changed some settings to make it harder for spambots to register or post.

(Except last month there were some spambot registrations when I made the mistake of replacing the anti-spam verification question with an easy math question. Spambots can do math, it seems.)

Just thought I should post this to explain to anyone why they might not have gotten a reply.

I'm not even aware of anyone who has sent me any non-spam mail (or I probably would have replied by now), but, it's very possible that important things got lost in the floods of spam I get.

I really need to figure out a better way of dealing with my email and filtering out spam. Suggestions and other comments are welcome!

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Video Link: Michio Kaku - "The Future of the Mind"
Friday, August 1st, 2014
15:20:55 GMT

Video Link

I don't often go out and do interesting things, but, one exception this year was - last March, I went to see the famed physicist Michio Kaku* speak at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio.

Due to my sleep issues, I almost stayed home to sleep instead of going, but, I'm glad I forced myself to stay awake and go anyway, since it was fun and interesting.

I don't feel inspired to write an in-depth summary or comments - but, here's a related YouTube link I found. It's not exactly the same talk I saw - the only footage from that I could find on YouTube was this.

Instead, it's a 1 hour recording of (if I'm not mistaken) basically the same talk given at a different time/place. Published on YouTube on April 2, 2014:

Michio Kaku (2014) "The Future of the Mind"

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Launched Non24.Org today
Sunday, July 27th, 2014
17:50:00 GMT


Today, I launched Non24.Org. (I neglected to mention before that I own that too.)

It's boring compared to Non24.Com.

But, I just thought I should put it to some use rather than just leaving it empty.

I might never get around to actually creating a non-profit organization related to Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. But, fortunately, according to Wikipedia, .org domain names aren't limited to only being for non-profit organizations.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Finally launched Non24.Com today
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
17:30:30 GMT


I finally got around to launching Non24.Com. For now, the most interesting thing there (aside from the intro blog post) is the Non24.Com Forum.

The name "Non24" is short for Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, a physical problem I believe I might have. I haven't been tested, but, I think I probably have either that, or some other circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

The site's main topics are Non-24 and other sleep disorders, but, I thought that limiting it to just those topics would be too boringly narrow, so, a lot of other topics are welcome there as well, and even people with no interest whatsoever in sleep disorders are welcome there. See the Non24.Com intro blog post for more details.

I bought Non24.Com in November 2012 (and it was quite cheap because it was a new domain which I think had probably never been registered before), but, I've been so preoccupied with other things, I didn't get around to doing anything with it until now.

I was recently reminded of it because of the fact that last May, as a result of an error with my domain name privacy settings, someone managed to contact me out of the blue and offered me $1,000 for it - which I declined, since I actually think it's probably worth much more than that, and I always intended to get around to putting up an actual website there.

Besides that, I've noticed lately there have been ads about Non-24 on TV and radio. So, to my surprise, there seems to be a pharmaceutical company that probably thinks there's money to be made by trying to treat Non-24. Maybe they're right?

Anyway, the reason I'm surprised is because I thought Non-24 was supposed to be fairly rare, and I'm guessing probably most people with Non-24 aren't particularly wealthy, because it tremendously impedes your ability to do a normal job, or anything else that takes place at a fixed time. Also, Non-24 reputedly mostly affects blind rather than sighted people - and blindness is doubtless even more debilitating (and I'm guessing, probably more impoverishing) than Non-24 itself.

So if that pharmaceutical company's plan is to sell expensive drugs to probably poor Non-24 sufferers - I really don't know how much money there is in that.

But, in any case, I guess it's nice that my possible condition is now getting more attention than it used to. And it would be nice if a cure is somehow found - but, in general, I'm very wary and skeptical of pharmaceutical drugs.

I personally probably wouldn't risk taking a pharmaceutical "cure" even if it was offered to me for free. I'd much rather experiment with things like improving my nutrition, becoming vegetarian, exercising a lot more, making enough money so that I'm not continually full of anxiety, etc.

But, despite my wariness of pharmaceuticals, I would still probably not refuse to let a pharmaceutical company pay me to put their ads on Non24.Com. I'm not really a fan of the concept of advertising in general, but, ads which are clearly and obviously ads seem OK enough on an ethical level, I guess.

I'll just make sure to say somewhere, something like, my allowing an advertiser to pay me for ad space doesn't necessarily mean I approve of or endorse their product or claims.

Anyway, my chronic financial problems (among other things) drew my attention away from Non24.Com for a long time.

But, seeing that a wealthy pharmaceutical company is interested in Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder seems a major clue that perhaps doing something with Non24.Com might be more helpful to me on a financial level than I originally thought, and that there might be more people with Non-24 than I realized existed who could benefit from Non24.Com - so, that recently inspired me to rearrange my priorities a bit and finally get the site launched.

Hopefully it will help others as well (both with and without sleep issues) - even financially, since the Non24.Com Forum welcomes commerce and charity, as well as discussions about commerce and charity, among plenty of other topics.

A very apt, succinct description of Non-24 (which I found on this web page) is "perpetual, shifting jet lag". (But fortunately, if I don't have to wake up for anything in particular and can sleep at whatever times I feel naturally inclined, I feel fine, not jet-lagged at all.)

And here's an excellent much longer description of what it's like to have Non-24. I found it on

Mark's Story With Non-24

My experiences have been similar. I would actually go as far as to say that my sleep issues are quite possibly the number one top problem which ruined my life, above and beyond even my family's financial problems, and my former depression and continuing shyness.

I think my sleep issues either greatly contributed to or caused (directly or indirectly) most of what ails me.

If my sleep issues didn't interfere so much with my ability to do any normal job with regular hours, I wouldn't have had so many financial problems, and I probably wouldn't have been so depressed for much of my life, largely as a result of being tortured by continual sleep deprivation, and later, as a result of being oppressed by the many problems resulting from not having enough money, and from having far less ability (at least before I became good at computer programming) to make enough money than most people, largely due to my sleep issues.

Without my sleep issues, I even might not have ended up with so much social anxiety, because sleep deprivation makes me a lot more emotionally sensitive, and when you're continually so tired that all you want to do is go to sleep, it's hard to have or even enjoy interesting conversations or other social activities, or even think of much at all to say. It takes a huge amount of willpower just to drag yourself through the day when you're sleep-deprived. You can't think as clearly, and you can far more easily end up saying dumb or absentminded-seeming things, and if that happens often enough to you, it might make you afraid to say much of anything.

For many years, I wasn't even aware I might actually have some sort of physical problem with my circadian rhythms/body clock.

It was, of course, impossible to ignore that I had sleep problems - they plagued me for my entire life since I was a child, and made going to school a far more torturous experience than it otherwise would have been.

But, since most everyone just takes it for granted that going to sleep and waking up at normal times is supposedly not that difficult to do, and no one around me had a clue that it's possible to have such a messed up body clock that you're physically incapable of being well-adjusted to a normal, regular schedule - I too remained clueless for many years.

I simply labeled my sleep problems "insomnia", and went on naively believing that maybe if I simply tried hard enough, I could theoretically force myself to be normal.

But no matter how hard I tried, I always failed. But rather than that making me think maybe I had a physical problem - I cynically assumed the worst about myself (back then, I was depressed and full of self-loathing), and assumed that probably my problem was that I had a shameful, pathetic lack of self-discipline, that I was just weak and lazy, and it was all my fault. Though also, at times, I could - and rightly - blame anxiety, poor nutrition, and toothaches.

It may have been in 2008 or 2009 when I finally found a web page (not sure which one, or I'd link to it) which clued me in to the existence of circadian rhythm disorders like Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

I have never undergone any official tests to determine if that's what I have, but, judging by how consistently varied and erratic my so-called schedule has been since I was a child, and how torturous it usually was to have to wake up for school every day and force myself to stay awake, and also how torturous even my part-time job from Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2004 with usually only 2 days of work a week was, I'd be astonished if I don't have that or something similar.

I'd only pay for an official test if there was some tangible benefit from doing so, like perhaps being able to get welfare or disability payments - options I never deeply explored, since I've always been able to live with my relatives, who, despite our struggles, have always refused to go on welfare.

I certainly wouldn't pay for such a test just to satisfy a curious whim. With so little money, I can't comfortably afford much of anything, and I've always had to practice ruthless triage and do without tons of beneficial things, simply because they weren't the absolute most beneficial things I could get for my usually very limited amount of money.

Anyway, finally finding out what my problem probably is was a great relief, since it helped free me of many vestiges of self-loathing for how weak, lazy, undisciplined, oversensitive, and otherwise flawed I believed I was.

Though by 2008-2009, well before I found that out, I actually already had somehow gotten over a lot of my self-loathing and shame for not being capable of being a more "normal", successful person. But, it was nice to find yet another legitimate reason not to be so down on myself.

(And still another reason is because what is "normal" to many Americans is actually freakishly bizarre in contrast to the status quo of much of the rest of the world. According to this page, at least 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day, which works out to only $3650 a year. So actually, being poor is normal, and being financially successful makes you a weirdo. :-) )

In fact, rather than being weak and undisciplined, I now think maybe I actually have quite above-average willpower and self-discipline, given that I was able to do quite well at some things even despite being tortured by chronic sleep-deprivation, and often having had to drag myself through day after day like a zombie. For example, I did quite well on most tests in school, and my former boss at my part-time job in 2002-2004 loved me, and once said I did the work of 3 people.

I might seem (when sleep-deprived) to have a lot less endurance for, for example, a typical workday than the average person. (Or actually, maybe I often don't even seem that way to others than myself - I think I'm often pretty good at concealing the depths of my despair and some of my fatigue, among other things, like my intense fearfulness and timidity from my social anxiety.)

However, if the average person had to continually struggle with such an agonizing craving for adequate sleep, maybe they'd be just as debilitated as me. Or maybe even worse, since they have far less practice forcing themselves to carry on despite agonizing sleep deprivation.

When well-rested, I find it very easy to focus for many hours on various projects (unless I'm worried about money or other things, or I know I have something more important I ought to work on instead). In fact, I easily lose track of time, and neglect to eat, etc., which I really shouldn't do, but do habitually anyway. I should probably use timer software to encourage myself to be more moderate.

But all I usually use is a useful little Python script I wrote which I call my "relative scheduler", which I finally released just two days ago. When I launch it, it asks for the time I woke up, and then produces a schedule for me with reminders of things to do like "eat breakfast at 8 PM", or whatever - most of them relative to the time I woke up. Too bad I often ignore the reminders.

Many of my personal hobby projects (many of which I haven't even released yet) have involved herculean efforts, weeks and months of entirely unlazy obsession. (Not the relative scheduler, though - that only took maybe a few days or less, way back in March and/or April 2012.)

All of which I would have had a much harder time doing if I had to try to force myself into a normal schedule because of a job or something. Or if I lived with relatives who disrespect my need to sleep at often bizarre-seeming times, and mistakenly think that if I just tried hard enough, or if I just take some sort of drugs, or if my relatives just force me awake at whatever times they deem appropriate, I could be normal.

Anyway, even though I don't yet know of any cure, it's at least nice to have finally identified by name the possible number one problem in my life - Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

If it's not the top problem, it's certainly close to it. My sleep issues doubtless contributed enormously to, and in some cases even outright created, many other evils in my life, such as depression, self-loathing, poverty, loneliness, social anxiety and my troublesome preference to usually avoid contact with people and the world as much as possible. All of which resulted in even more problems, creating the disaster area that is my life.

OK, my life isn't all bad, and it's now better than it used to be. And at least depression and self-loathing, and even loneliness, to an extent, are mostly no longer significant problems of mine.

But unfortunately, I doubt I can ever cure my sleep issues, and my shyness is also probably very unlikely to ever be fully cured. (Though I have more hope there, because there have been times and contexts in my life where they weren't a problem at all, and even now I can still have pretty good conversations with some relatives, and I've at least had some pretty interesting written online correspondences with a bunch of people.)

However, thanks to the internet, computers, maybe even Second Life, the years I've had to develop some computer programming skills and web design skills, at least having much better writing skills than in-person or phone communication skills, and the fact that with time I could probably acquire still more new and potentially profitable skills (video editing, or foreign languages?), etc. - anyway, thanks to all that (among other things), I now find it believable that my problems with poverty might be solvable.

And perhaps I could even circumvent my issues with shyness by somehow making a living anonymously in Second Life?

A big limitation of mine is that I'm only willing to write free (as in freedom), libre, open source software. But, perhaps I can make it easier for me and anyone to find work writing FLOSS software by starting yet another website. I already bought a suitable domain name for that just last April, and will announce it at some point once it's up.

Like Non24.Com, it will likely consist of little except a forum at first. And, similar to both the Non24.Com Forum and Eryss.Com Forum, that forum will be very welcoming of discussion, commerce, and charity.

Anyway, my need for money is even more pressing than usual at the moment, so, I'm quite possibly not going to work on very much for a while besides things that seem likely to pay off quickly, like maybe freelance jobs on various freelance job websites, or perhaps even Second Life.

As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.

Also, ideas are welcome - for example, ideas on what I should do for money, or, ideas on what to do with Non24.Com, or ideas on things I haven't even thought of asking for ideas about.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
05:22:39 GMT


Here's why I didn't release any code which uses the Beats Music Developer API, despite the fact that I did make an unreleased, incomplete, but functional Beats Music-API-using add-on for my released JavaScript music player.

Basically, I can't stomach the idea of doing free work for a $3 billion dollar company, especially one owned by Apple. Even paid work for such a company would be morally difficult for me (see Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products for some reasons why) - even if I remained the owner and copyright holder of my code and could release it all myself under a free, libre, open source license.

Besides that, I didn't want to possibly imperil the copyleft of my JavaScript music player by releasing a Beats-Music-API-using add-on for it.

Also, on July 13th, out of curiosity (and, admittedly, temptation resulting from needing money), I asked Beats Music if people can get paid for writing software using their developer API.

Alas, I received the disappointing reply that that the public API is for use for non-commercial purposes, but that "If you make an application with a strong use case, we can forward you to our partnership group. They would then contact you about steps to becoming a partner."

Then, on Tuesday, July 15th, I sent this message to Beats:

Thanks for your replies! Some more questions:

* Do partners get paid directly by Beats Music, and if so, how much does Beats Music pay on average?

* Or, do partners make money in other ways?

* Do partners remain the owner and copyright holder of their own code?

* Are partners allowed to release their code under a libre/open source license such as the GNU Affero General Public License?

* How close is Beats Music to releasing a complete official web player?

* Is Beats Music willing to pay for outside developers' help with that, or a Roku app?

I love the API, and have been having a fun time playing with it these past few weeks (though I haven't finished anything releasable so far).

Thanks again for your answers!

[name omitted]

I was told my message will be forwarded to the partnership group and that they should be contacting me directly.

But, over a week later, I still haven't heard anything from the "partnership group", and haven't yet received any answers to those questions.

Which I guess is not at all surprising, because mentioning free, libre, open source copyleft licenses to a closed-source software company is probably like waving garlic and a crucifix in front of a vampire. :-)

Anyway, my guess is "partner" is probably a euphemism for "sucker", similar to how "royalties" should usually actually be called "pittances". :-)

And I'm guessing probably all the answers to my questions would have been very disappointing.

I wonder if "partners" only get paid in free pairs of Beats headphones? :-)

So, despite my financial difficulties tempting me to flirt with the idea - I'm almost certainly not going to do anything for Beats Music or which involves their API.

The API was fun to play with, and I learned a bit from doing so, but, it definitely isn't fun enough to justify subscribing to Beats Music, especially when I'm not even sure Beats Music's alleged audio problems (described in detail here and here) have ever been fixed.

And, as of July 23, 2014, Beats Music's official web player (version 1.11.1-rc3) is still extremely lame and feature-deprived, despite the fact that Beats Music bought and mostly shut down (except in Australia) the tremendously superior MOG streaming music service, which had a fantastic web player.

The only obvious new feature I noticed in the official Beats Music web player is that you can now access the "My Library" section on the web. But, other than that, it seems about the same as I remember it being back in January/February 2014.

Apple (which owns Beats Music) should be ashamed, for that and many other reasons. (Again, here's Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products.)

So, I'm soon going to move on to trying out Sony's Music Unlimited and Google Play Music All Access. (One at a time, of course.)

I suspect I'll probably find them both satisfactory. But, after over a year of not being able to fix MOG's few but still annoying problems because MOG didn't have an API - it was really, really nice to finally have the opportunity to use my own, totally customizable music player. I don't know yet if Sony or Google provide APIs for their music services, but I hope they do, because even if I love their official web players, I'd still much rather use my own totally customizable one, and I might even choose a service with a crappy official web player as long as it has an API.

Anyway, if I ever do go the trouble to create a really complete player for streaming music, I'm likely to explore how to start my entire own streaming music service.

Perhaps it's not as hard as I suspect. I gleaned from this discussion that Beats Music and MOG both stream music from a service called MediaNet, located at

I most likely won't actually go the trouble of starting my entire own streaming music service, but, I've definitely been daydreaming about it, and if I had nothing better to do and didn't need money (or at least didn't need money sooner than I'd be likely to get it from starting my own streaming music service), I might really work on it. :-)

As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Python Script: Apollia's Relative Scheduler v1.0
Monday, July 21st, 2014
21:17:57 GMT

Site Update
Software Release

Here's a Python* script I first wrote back in March or April 2012.

Apollia's Relative Scheduler v1.0

As usual, it's only sure to work in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004.

All it does is, it asks you for the time you woke up, then generates a schedule for you with many events relative to the time you put in (and some fixed-time events, if you like). The schedule is an HTML file viewable in a web browser. The script also sets up cron to display reminders.

(Warning: this script will wipe out any existing cron events you've set up.)

It's definitely not my best work, and Python is definitely not my favorite language, but, it gets the job done.

Why did I write such a thing at all? Because my sleep issues are so severe that ordinary scheduler software (which typically only lets you put in events happening at fixed times) is largely useless to me.

I suspect I probably have Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, or something similar - a physical problem which messes up my circadian rhythms. I will actually be posting more about that quite soon.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Astroblahhh Basic MP3 Player version 1, in JavaScript
Monday, July 21st, 2014
07:10:10 GMT

Site Update
Software Release

OK, I finally made a simple JavaScript music player which seems good enough to release. It doesn't use any streaming music service's API. (I might write more about that in another blog post.)

All it can do is play MP3s hosted on a web server, and it's still rather rough around the edges.

Online demo of Astroblahhh Basic MP3 Player version 1, in JavaScript

Downloadable zip file (828 KB) - Readme

In a couple ways, it's not quite as nice as's very nice (and similar) web player, because I didn't bother to create a loading progress bar, or show the song duration.

But, you can play/pause, stop, skip to anyplace in the song, and change the volume. And, you can go to the next or previous tracks, since there's a very basic queue.

I'd like to build something more complete, but, that's all I can afford to do for now.

But, thanks to this little project, I'm now convinced that, given time and freedom from having to worry about money, I could probably eventually create something even nicer than MOG's web player.

If you like my web player and would like me to expand it, donations or microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.

Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Trying Beats Music again for 30 days, and writing a barebones JavaScript music player - funding welcome!
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
03:57:27 GMT


I decided not to accept the free 60 day trial of Beats Music* given to MOG* users. I refused it because apparently putting in credit or debit card info was required to get the free 60 days, and I'm still trying to mostly boycott credit cards (even though I occasionally make exceptions, like I did for MOG, since MOG didn't accept PayPal), and also, the billing errors I read about on the Beats Music support forums made me even more wary of giving Beats credit/debit card info.

If not for those billing errors I heard about, I probably would have done it, since it wouldn't have given a credit card company nor Apple* (which owns Beats Music) money if I canceled before my free 60 days ran out.

But, I didn't want to deal with the stress of knowing a potentially glitchy system has my debit card info. I don't even trust not-so-glitchy systems with my debit card info, because in my opinion, credit/debit cards seem to have really inadequate defenses against identity theft, etc. I believe credit card companies could and should do a lot more to protect their customers from identity theft, fraud, etc., and it's despicable for credit card companies not to.

I made some effort to try to get the 60-day Beats Music trial without a credit/debit card, but, alas, that didn't work out. After some contact with Beats customer support earlier this month, I got the mistaken impression that if I bought a gift card for Beats Music from Target, putting in credit card info wouldn't be necessary.

But alas, after I got a Target gift card for Beats Music on eBay and used it with Beats, Beats customer support told me I still had to put in credit card info. Oh, well.

So, from the gift card I bought, I got 30 days of Beats Music, which I started late on June 26th.

It turns out the Beats Music web player is still about as bad and feature-deprived as I remember it being in January/February 2014.

But, I've actually been enjoying my Beats Music trial, because I've been playing with the Beats Music Developer API.

In just a few days, I already managed to put together a very basic, barebones JavaScript music player which I already like much more than Beats Music's official web player. Though I definitely can't take all that much credit for it - I stand on the shoulders of giants. For example, the actual sound-playing part wasn't even built by me at all, but is instead handled by the JavaScript library SoundManager 2.

It's not ready for release yet, though. I need to figure out what kind of copyleft license(s) I can put on it, and also try to keep the web player code as separate as possible from code related to specific music streaming services.

I'd like to make it so it's easy to switch to using a different streaming music service. Spotify and Rdio both have APIs too:

However, if any of these streaming music services' APIs' legal terms are too obnoxious or grabby, then, I might have to release my player distinctly separate from any code associated with those music services.

At the very least, I will probably be able to release a simple free, libre, open source JavaScript music player that will play MP3 files, and could be modified to work with other things, like streaming music services.

I hope I'll get it releasable soon, and also hope that my and my family's financial issues won't pull me away from finishing it. Donations or microdonations or purchases of goods (none available yet) or services are very welcome!

And if Beats Music, Spotify, Rdio, or some other company like that might perhaps like to hire me or buy some of my work, please note that I am extremely stubborn about wanting to write only free (as in freedom), libre, open source software. So, while I'm not against getting paid, I'm generally against selling exclusive rights to any of my work.

Anyway, in some ways, I actually already like my barebones player even more than MOG*'s web player, because my barebones player is faster, modifiable, and doesn't have MOG's #1 most irritating glitch, where everything would freeze up and the page would become unuseable for maybe 30-60 seconds. That glitch used to happen to me pretty consistently, maybe several times per hour.

I also already like my barebones player more than Spotify and Rdio's players. Spotify's web player used to work OK for me, but sometime in the past few months, became horrendously, intolerably slow in my usual web browser. Meanwhile, Rdio's web player is very, very slick, and I actually like it a lot - but, I love having total control over my player's interface, and being able to totally do without needless user interface special effects like things fading in and out instead of appearing instantly. It's also nice not having to load album art, etc.

One disadvantage of my web player is that it doesn't run in Firefox 3.6.13 (a really old version of Firefox I still frequently use in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004), so I have to use it in Chromium 18.0.996.0 (Developer Build 116133. Also, I'm not sure there's way to make it run from a file:/// address in your web browser, so, I've had to run it on a web server, even though it's just a client-side JavaScript with no server-side code.

I wish I knew if my web player's audio quality is better than Beats Music's official web player (which is reputed by various users on both the MOG support forum and Beats support forum to have audio problems, especially in comparison to MOG). I think my web player might be a bit better, but I'm not totally sure, and haven't done any formal testing. My web player definitely doesn't sound worse to me - either the same or better. But I could be wrong.

The beatsmusic-node-rtmp script someone linked to from this StackOverflow page (in reply to a perfectly good enough question which didn't deserve to be closed by StackOverflow's overzealous moderators) was quite educational and useful, and I probably wouldn't have figured things out so quickly without it. Thanks to the author(s) of that!

Another thing which was educational (even though I haven't actually used code from it so far (Edit, July 1, 2014, 3:41 AM: I forgot, I did use and modify a couple snippets), and haven't yet been able to figure out how to make it work with Beats Music) was cashmusic.js, which is free, libre, open source JavaScript software from a non-profit organization called CASH Music*. Thanks to them too!

Like the beatsmusic-node-rtmp script, cashmusic.js uses the SoundManager 2 JavaScript library, which, if I'm not mistaken, can play audio via Flash or HTML5. SoundManager 2 is also free/libre/open source, under the BSD license.

I thought since both cashmusic.js and beatsmusic-node-rtmp use SoundManager 2, that might mean cashmusic.js could be useable with Beats Music, but, I can't figure out know how to make cashmusic.js play Beats Music's RTMP streams, and don't know if there's an easy way to do it or not.

One thing that wasn't so helpful was StackOverflow*'s reaction to this simple post of mine, formerly here:

Can cashmusic.js - - be used to play Beats Music music streams?

If so, how?


It received -3 votes, no answers, and 5 people put my post "on hold" for the questions supposedly being too broad. I edited it a bit, but in the end, I decided the answers (and waiting around for StackOverflow to remove the "on hold" status from my post) no longer really interested me, and I also dislike the idea that on StackOverflow, people could potentially edit my question posts and make it look like I wrote things I didn't write, so I just deleted it.

Happily, I surprisingly quickly figured out how to make make my own versions of everything that I thought I was most likely going to have to use cashmusic.js (or something similar) for - a song progress bar, song duration, and real-time updating of what time you're at in the song.

I managed to do this thanks to cashmusic.js itself, and also thanks to various educational posts and snippets of code I found by searching the web - which actually probably usually came from StackOverflow, which is still a useful resource despite its often rather overzealous and misguided moderation policies, and its total uselessness when I asked my questions above, the first questions I ever posted there.

Anyway - as usual, for financial reasons, I can't really afford to put that much time into my barebones music player (or anything else that interests me if it doesn't seem likely to make money somehow), so, I'm hoping I'll be able to make something releaseable in the next few days. I apologize in advance if it turns out I can't achieve that.

(Edit, 7/21/2014, 5:52 PM EDT: I released a basic player here: Astroblahhh Basic MP3 Player Version 1, in JavaScript.)

If you liked this post or found it useful, or would like to make it easier and less stressful for me to complete and/or release my barebones JavaScript music player, donations or microdonations or purchases of goods (none available yet) or services would be much appreciated!

Ideally, I'd like to somehow make at least $2400 a month, which is apparently around what my 4-person family needs to cover our expenses each month. Probably if I were living on my own in a small apartment, I could get by on far less than that, like maybe less than $800 per month. But, I don't actually want to move out - I'd rather just be able to afford to move out, and have a massive amount of savings built up, so we don't have to live in fear anymore.

If any rich person or people, or large multitudes of people sending smaller donations or microdonations, would like to rescue me and my family from having to worry about money all the time, that would be awesome. Thanks!

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Link: Free Software Foundation ideas
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
15:35:07 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web

I posted a few ideas to the Free Software Foundation ideas page at the wiki.

A couple here and one here.

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