The Racks and Tags blog

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Archive for the ‘tips’ category

Tip #2: How to populate Played tab

There was some confusion and misunderstanding about Played tab in user profile pages. For some users, it is filled with fine albums – mostly new, some old – and it gets updated every hour. For other users, it is forever empty.

It all depends on how you play your music. Technically speaking, Played tab contains albums that Racks and Tags knows you played recently, in reversed chronological order – starting from the most recent. The content of the list is determined by Last Played field in OrangeCD Catalog’s album properties, which gets filled automatically with current date every time you play the album from OrangeCD interface. There are several ways to play albums in OrangeCD – for example, by selecting a menu option, by clicking Play link in album display, or by using a shortcut key – but whatever method you prefer, the date and time of playback is always remembered in Last Played field.

There is even an option that allows OrangeCD to update your online profile in real time. You can find this option in View Preferences, Racks and Tags tab, where it’s called “Publish new album ratings and playbacks automatically”. If the option is enabled, OrangeCD will update your profile with most recent playback as soon as the album starts playing. However, if the option is unchecked¸ your album playbacks will still appear in your profile, but only after you manually update your online collection using ToolsPublish on Racks and Tags.

Does it all mean that only CDs or media files can be added to the Played tab? What about my LPs, SACDs, any archival media?

Fortunately, there is a solution for the rest of us, who does not rely on PCs to play wonderful music. There is a simple plugin that you can obtain here [direct download link, 4 KB]. Unpack contents of the archive into the plugin installation directory, which is typically C:\Program Files\OrangeCD\Plugins. If OrangeCD Catalog is running, close it and start again. Right-click any album and you should see the new item in the command menu that says “I am playing this now!

If you click “I am playing this now!”, OrangeCD will record current time in that album’s Last Played field and, if live publishing option is enabled, update your online profile, letting your friends know that you are playing this album now. The beauty of it is that it works for any music albums in your database, not just digital media. LPs, SACDs, even old tapes playing in your car or home stereo can be “now playing” and therefore populate your profile’s Played tab.

Apology and announcement: there was unexpected service outage yesterday, for which we deeply apologize. The problem was caused by improperly configured server software which led to server overload, and it took a couple of hours to diagnose and fix. To prevent this happening in future, we are installing server health monitoring tools which may require short downtimes in next 72 hours (less than 15 minutes each).

Tip #1: How to use Racks and Tags with social aggregator websites

If you are, like me, an avid user of social aggregator websites (e.g. FriendFeed), you may already wonder if Racks and Tags feeds can be used to inform your social network friends when you add new cool albums, post album ratings, or play some obscure records.Aggregator websites offer many benefits besides just sending update to your friends. For example:

  • It feels great to keep all your news in one place.
  • It’s easy to start conversations around music. Your feed visitors are likely to notice if you have some interesting and non-trivial music in stock.
  • It’s easy to find soul friends – nothing talks about a person more than his or her music feed.
  • and let’s not forget about the cool factor.

ff.gifFortunately, there is an easy way to automatically send your CD collection updates to your social network buddies. The instructions below are for the added albums feed, but you can also do it for the rated and played albums as well.Note: this will not work if your Racks and Tags collection is private or friends-only! Private means private, we take it seriously and don’t show private information to anyone – not even to friendly websites. So before continuing, check your collection privacy status here and make sure it is public.Then click Your Collection link in menu bar to go to your profile page. Right-click the Added tab on the right, and select “Copy shortcut” from the popup menu. (Tip: this menu command is called “Copy link location” in Firefox.) Then go to your FriendFeed page and click “Share something” on top of your feed.  Click “Import your stuff”,  select “Blog” and paste your link. The resulting URL should look like this:http://www.racksandtags.com/<username>/?m=addedFinally, press “Import Feed” button.Now, when you add new album to your collection, the update will be immediately posted on Racks and Tags RSS feed. Shortly FriendFeed will detect the change and display it in your personalized feed, ready to be seen and commented on by your friends.This was the first in Weekly Tips series of blog posts that I plan to publish regularly. If you discovered some cool and non-trivial way to use your Racks and Tags, have a suggestion for the future tips, or would like to add something to the current tip – please comment or send e-mail to webmaster@racksandtags.com.