Heard – a mirror

I love I love music, and I love data, so it makes sense., for you unhep cats out there, allows you to keep a log of what you listen to by “scrobbling” your music – that is – it submits the info about the songs you listen to the web site via various bits of software. There’s scrobbling clients that work with iTunes, and your iPod, and your iPhone, and other things that don’t start with ‘i’ or come from Apple. (Oh, I’m rasterweb at

It’s interesting to see what I listen to, and who my top artists are, and all that jazz that comes with logging data… charts, graphs, etc. Fun stuff!

But as you’ve seen, I’ve been on a kick lately to pull all that data back to my own site. (See Also: Scuttle rides again!, Tweet Nest: Archive Your Tweets, Data goes in, Data comes out., Reclaim What’s Yours… Take Back Your Data!) So I figured it was time to get the data I’ve been feeding into since 2006 back to me, and back to my own site…. thusly “Heard” was born.


Heard is a bit of PHP code I whipped up which uses the API to pull my scrobbled data back to my own site and stuff it into MySQL, and from there it simply displays the data. Once again, this is my insurance policy. If goes down, disappears, loses all it’s data, or something else happens, I’ve at least got an archive of all of my listening data. is a great service, and they’ve provided a great API that makes doing these sorts of things possible, and I thank them for that.

So Heard is really just some hacked together code right now… I don’t think I’ve spent more than a few hours on it, but it is functional, and syncs data once per hour. Once I implement all the ideas I have for ways to improve it, I’ll upgrade my version, and think about releasing some code if there is any interest in it. I’m a pretty poor PHP programmer, but I’m dangerous enough to build simple things. If someone else loves this idea and wants to run with it, let me know, and I’ll share whatever I can.

And yes, the design (or lack of design) of Heard is minimalist to say the least. In one part it pays homage to’s display of data, and in another part, I didn’t want to get too caught up in the look at this point, but I do have some plans for later.

(And one more thing: Thanks goes out to Pixis Creative for doing a bit of CSS debugging for me.)

Update: The code for Heard is on GitHub. I’d love if people smarter than myself found ways to make it better.


Reclaim What’s Yours… Take Back Your Data!


The BarCampMadison folks are gearing up for August 28, 2010, and they’ve got something called Google Moderator in place to gauge interest in topics. I’d never heard of Google Moderator, but you see, I’m learning already… way to go BarCamp!

I’ve proposed a session titled “Reclaim What’s Yours… Take Back Your Data!” (You can vote on it if you like.) The idea is such… We spend a lot of time putting out data into other people’s streams, be it Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Delicious,, and on and on… Our input makes these sites exist, and really, what would they be without us, the users, the contributors, the lifeblood of these sites.

Call it “user generated content” or “Social Media” or whatever… The fact is, you are probably creating content and giving it to others. Does that data still belong to you once you post it on those sites? Do you have the rights to it? How do you get it back? That’s the topic… That’s the problem… I have a few solutions, but I’m guessing others do as well.

That’s my idea…. What do you think?


z2marketing at

So we decided to try an experiment… instead of everyone using headphones or listening to music on their own computer, we loaded up our Living Room Mac with a bunch of songs and turned it into a jukebox. It plays through the office sound system so pretty much everyone can hear it. Since everyone contributed songs, we’re starting to hear a good variety. But in order to solve that “What song is this!?” problem, I set up a account at (It started with just my music for the first day, so the stats were a little screwy at first… well, they still are, but it will even out over time.)

Z2 Marketing at

So far it’s proved interesting… and it’ll be neat over time to see what the office collectively listens to. The new office is a lot larger, so this has sort of helped to pull things together and make it feel more comfortable and not as spread out, which it felt at first due to how much room we have now.)

Anyway, if you want to see what we are listening to, check it out at:


Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

We saw Ted Leo and the Pharmacists last weekend at the Metro in Chicago, and it was awesome. Awesome times ten. (Here’s a terrible shot from my phone. Flickr has some way better photos from others.)

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

If you’ve seen my profile you should know Ted Leo is at the top of my list. I like Ted Leo for a number of reasons, musically, politically, and personally. We’re about the same age, and got started in the same music scene at about the same time. Of course nowadays I just type commands in the terminal, and Ted rocks out like nobody’s business. I’m glad I made it to this show, as I meant to see him in 2005 but missed it due to unreliable transportation issues.

I sort of consider Ted Leo the modern-day Joe Strummer. He even played “Johnny Appleseed” in the middle of the show, while the drummer was busy moving stuff around. Of course, The Clash is also in my top 5 bands of all time list, so this was equally awesome. Seriously, I think he should just be called Ted “Awesome” Leo. (Am I gushing? I really don’t do that too often.)

For a taste of Ted Leo live, check the Internet Archive, or NPR for a show from 2007.


iTunes, Playlists, Sharing, Recommending…

I was thinking about music recommendation sites/engines (which seem to be all the rage nowadays) as well as the proliferation of iPods (and iTunes users) and the fact that the Zune thinks it so cool because it does some sort of simple sharing (which is supposedly “social” in nature.)

So if it really is “all about the playlist” (I think Lucas Gonze said this once, so I’ll give him credit) why doesn’t Apple follow through… Here’s my thought:

If you’ve got an iPod, chances really good that you use iTunes. iTunes does playlists. It can even do things like make a smart playlist of tracks you have recently played, and feed them back to a service like, which can show you neat stuff like what you listen to the most, what your friends are listening to, who your musical neighbors are, etc. doesn’t really feed back to iTunes or your iPod though – here’s where Apple could step in…

Let’s say that your iPod feeds back to Apple’s iTunes Music Store the tracks you’ve played, and does the “people who like X also like Y” thing, but then also provided samples (low bitrate, 30 second preview, whatever) back to you as downloads in iTunes (heck, they could be automated, podcast-style) which then get synced to your iPod. So each day you sync and get something new, of which you might want to purchase.

This is just a rough idea, I’m sure Apple could create a good experience for sharing playlist data, and recommending music.

I know there are sites that do somewhat similar things for podcasts (AmigoFish, GigaDial) but they require some sort of manual labor on the user’s part. Automation and simplicity would be the key though, provide benefits to the users without forcing them to do any/much work.