Saturday, December 31, 2011

Filling the Queue

As an independent writer/publisher, that means I have to share my time between writing, and getting those words out where people can see them. (Also called marketing.)

That means, in addition to book signings and science fiction conventions, I also spend quite a bit of time using the Internet to make contact.  Now, I've had a personal writer's website for ages, about as long as the web has been in existence.  I also have this blog, and if you take a look at the archive over in the sidebar, you can see how long I've been doing this.  Then came Facebook and Twitter and I'm even toying with Google+, but over the past year I've been keeping a new bloggish kind of site running, Henry's Stories.

This is a magazine, where I'm responsible for new content every MWF.

Over the past year, I've serialized a novel (Emperor Dad), many new stories that have never been previously published, and many of my stories that were first published in the science fiction magazines and various anthologies.  Sometimes it's a bit of a race to see if I can keep the queue filled before it runs out, and a couple of times I missed a day.

But, in spite of it all, I put a number of stories out this year, all in chapter-sized chunks.  I've taken a couple of days off from my other projects to fill the beginning of the year with another novel, starting on January 2.  You are all well welcome to come watch it unfold, chapter by chapter, for free.  Or click one of the links below and read one of the 2011 stories.  If it appeals to you, please spread the word.  I don't make anything off of this (not even advertising), other than enjoying the comments and hopefully convincing people to buy my books.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tagging My iTunes Songs

I'm an enthusiastic adopter of iTunes Match, but I have also been an extensive builder of Smart Playlists.  Unfortunately, not all Smart Playlists that work in the Mac's iTunes window will be accepted by iTunes Match.  This is my failed attempt to work around it.

For example, consider this one:

For some reason, this one is rejected by iTunes Match with the comment that it doesn't like playlists that are dependent on other playlists.  (This doesn't seem to always apply.)
(Ignore the fact that I'm showing you the wrong playlist.  I screenshotted the wrong one, but the mark is what I was talking about.)

So in the playlist pane, there is a slashed cloud marker and it doesn't appear on my iPhone and iPhone and on another Mac, there's an error marker.  I hope eventually iTunes Match will handle it, but until then, I've chosen to work around it by adding tags to my music.  I'm sure you're familiar with #hashtags in Twitter and other places.  I needed a way to mark all my Instrumental songs, without just making a playlist of them.

My first thought was to re-purpose the Genre marker, but that would lose possibly valuable information.  There are Holiday instrumentals and Jazz instrumentals and many others.  So I could just add the information to the Comments field.  Of course that could be laborious to add manually (to avoid wiping out any existing comments).

So.  Applescript.  But before I opened up the Script Editor and wasted some time writing one of my own, I went to the Doug's Scripts site and there it was, exactly what I had intended to write for myself.  Append to Comments.  It's donationware, and worth making a trip to Paypal.

I loaded the script, went to my Instrumental playlist, selected all tracks and ran the script from the pulldown:
I chose to use the < > markers so that I could easily mark the beginning and end of the flag when hunting for it.  That way I can have multiword tags and tags that are subsets of other tags.  I then changed the Smart Playlist to:

Now iTunes Match is happy on the Mac side of things and it shows up on my other mac with the right songs.

Unfortunately, the IOS versions aren't showing correctly.  The playlists show up, but not the songs.  Solve one problem and discover others.  Oh well.  I told you it was a failed attempt.
Still, the flexible tagging option will pay off on the Mac side and I can always hope that we reach parity between OSX and IOS eventually.