Blog Main Archive - May 2016

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5/5/2016 - Apollia's Floating Volume Control v1.0 (Software - AutoHotkey)
5/22/2016 - Link: New-Age Bullsh*t Generator (Humor)
5/28/2016 - Disappointed by Apple Music (Music)

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Apollia's Floating Volume Control v1.0
Thursday, May 5th, 2016
19:49:46 GMT

Software
AutoHotkey

To my surprise, I recently ended up making this:

Apollia's Floating Volume Control v1.0

It's an AutoHotkey script, so, it's for Windows. It works for me in Windows 7 with AutoHotkey v1.1.23.05 (Unicode 64-bit). I haven't tested it with other versions of Windows and AutoHotkey, but hopefully it will work.

It's a slider which controls the volume of your computer's audio. The slider can be either horizontal or vertical. It can either constantly float in the foreground above all other windows, or it can easily be summoned by single-clicking the taskbar icon.

By default, the slider is unusually large because my Toughbook CF-C1 has a touchscreen, so I wanted the slider to be difficult to miss with my fingers. Also, to avoid accidental repositioning, you can configure the window to be impossible to drag around the screen.

The window can be configured to have whatever amount of transparency you want. Double-clicking the taskbar icon mutes or unmutes.


One flaw is that currently, the only way to permanently save your settings is to edit the source code.

But, since this software is free (as in freedom and as in price), libre, and open source, hopefully everything about this software can be changed or fixed however you like.


Why am I still using Windows at all? Because it's hard to get away from for some things, like listening to legally free (as in price) audiobooks from my local library website, Clevnet.

But also, releasing free (as in freedom), libre, open source software on non-libre platforms like Windows and Macs helps give those platforms' oppressed users a taste of freedom - which could result in a nice, healthy craving for even more freedom.


And why did I make this particular thing? Because I've finally been trying to put my Toughbook CF-C1 with an annoying widescreen (or less annoying tallscreen, if you turn it sideways and use it in tablet mode) to more use... and when I tried a few existing AHK volume slider scripts, none of them worked for me in Windows 7.

I also tried PKVolume (which is what I always used to use in Windows XP), but I couldn't get that to work either.


Fortunately, the Floating Volume Control took less than 4 days to put together. (The creation timestamp on the original script file is May 1, 2016, 3:54:22 PM EDT.)

That's largely thanks to a lot of very helpful AutoHotkey Forum posts, example scripts, and script snippets by many authors, and the excellent AutoHotkey documentation.

Also, AutoHotkey is overall really nice, easy, fun to work with, and actually one of my favorite things in Windows.

And I was able to ease the boring chore of making the About window by modifying some code from DimScreen.ahk by Skrommel. DimScreen and tons of other great AHK scripts are available from DonationCoder.com.

Thanks to everyone above, or connected with the above!


Also, thanks to Saki, the artist who made the GPL-licensed icons I used as the Floating Volume Control's taskbar icons.

IconsDesigns.com

http://sa-ki.deviantart.com/

http://www.iconarchive.com/artist/saki.html


And thanks to IconArchive.com, which makes it really easy to find nice icons.

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Link: New-Age Bullsh*t Generator
Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
14:11:25 GMT

Humor

An amusing random text generator I stumbled across today:

New-Age Bullsh*t Generator

Happily, the code for that is free, libre, and open source, and available on GitHub. :-)


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Disappointed by Apple Music
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
12:40:27 GMT

Music

I finally got around to trying Apple Music on a Mac desktop running OS X Lion. I think I find the audio quality acceptable. But, the iTunes interface for Apple Music is dreadful and very confusing. I think the iTunes interface is actually even worse than the Beats Music web interface was.

Apple still has such a reputation for nice user interfaces that even though Apple is thoroughly deplorable in many ways, I expected much better. I was hoping Apple might have the good sense to revive MOG's excellent web interface, since Apple bought Beats Music, and Beats Music had bought and unfortunately closed down the far superior MOG. Oh, well.

So, since I can't stand Apple Music's interface, I'm not the least bit tempted to subscribe to Apple Music.

(Addition, 5/28/2016, 10:45/11:31 AM. Just wanted to add that despite the above, I still appreciate the free 3 month trial, since I definitely like the audio quality. I'm getting a bit more used to the interface, but I'm sure I'm never going to find it acceptable as it currently is, because, among other flaws, it requires too much clicking through various menus to do things that ought to take one click at most. And I'm not sure how I could listen to it in GNU/Linux without probably having to use VirtualBox or Wine.)


Here's an odd quirk I noticed with both Spotify and Apple Music. Currently, when you try to play the album Stars Forever by one of my favorite singers/musicians, Momus - totally different non-Momus tracks play instead. And the same mistaken tracks play on both Spotify and Apple Music.

I think I first noticed this glitch years ago on Spotify. I can't remember whether or not it happened on the now-closed Music Unlimited (from Sony) or Beats Music. I think it played correctly on MOG, since, unless I'm mistaken, I believe MOG is where I first heard that album.

Anyway, I just thought it was sort of interesting that at least two different, competing streaming music services have the same glitch.


Addition, 5/28/2016, 11:20/11:27 AM. Overall, I find Apple Music's iTunes interface so bad that it's almost inspiring me to return to my old daydream of building my own streaming music interface, since I'm sure I could build something better, and it probably wouldn't be that difficult, either.

Even just the fact that mine would (or will) be free (as in freedom), libre, and open source will immediately make mine inherently superior. :-)

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