Using app from Jon Udell to annotate web audio

I linked to a Jon Udell post on Sunday where he describes his recent experiments on annotating audio files available on the Web. It looked so good that I had to try it to annotate a podcast!

His app is at I then needed to find a URL to a MP3 file, which took a little bit of searching, since a lot of podcast play pages are not a direct link. Finally, I settled on an extended cut episode of Side Hustle School.  I hovered over  the “Listen Here” link for episode 12 and saw that it was a link to a MP3 file. I copied the link address and pasted it into the url text box in the Jon Udell app. Next, I entered a start time and stop time for the clip (from 1:00 to 2:00) in the selection boxes on the app page, then clicked the button “Play clip”. The app then started at 1 minute in and played for 1 minute – excellent! Finally, I clicked on the link at the bottom where it says “link to av editor with these settings” to get a URL for my clip. Now you can listen to it as well!

Thanks Jon!

How to get started (in programming)

I linked to an article on Linux Journal Saturday discussing how to get started in programming. I think this is a good article for several reasons, one of which is picking a skill to learn and getting started. For me, picking a small thing to create or learn, getting some success and getting that working, helps me to get enthusiastic. I am then ready to pick up a new thing. This is the process I am using to learn the Tone.js Javascript music library. I worked through some of the code examples, then came up with a small project, broke it down into a set of steps, and I am working through them one at a time. Success!

Learning something new can be hard

Even though I have been working in software development for over 30 years, it can still be hard to learn new things. You start on a tutorial, then find you have the wrong version of something, then discover that you need to install a development kit, only to find that there is still something not working. Sigh…

Example 1: I spent some time playing with RSS Cloud recently. I was trying to access the RSS Cloud server from my shared hosting webhost, but I was unsuccessful. I was able to access it from a second cloud server. Eventually, I found out that I could not access ports above 1000 from my shared hosting. Ugh.

Example 2: I was trying to export some old WordPress websites and render them as static websites using Jekyll. However, I could not use one of the standard converters because I did not have a Ruby development kit installed. I then tried several others and finally worked around this, but I am still not there yet.  Ugh ugh.

Example 3: I have recently been following the work of Melody Kramer and the 18F team at the GSA. I thought I would take a shot a cloning a repo from their Github site and trying to rebuild the repo using Jekyll, but ran into a number of tool issues (please note I am not blaming the 18F team!). Ugh ugh ugh.

Takeaways: Nobody ever said software development was easy, sometimes you just have to keep digging…and maybe backing up and taking smaller steps.

Thanks for listening…