handyfloss

Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

radio.blog

Posted by isilanes on May 26, 2006

Recently my friend L. drew my attention to a blog that had a nifty flash animation on a sidebar. That flash animation presented the visitor with a playlist of some songs, which she could play by clicking on them. Well the thing is called radio.blog, and can be downloaded from its homepage. BTW, it’s a Creative Commons software piece.

So, yes, I went ahead and implemented it in my blog… and the result is in the right hand side of this page.

Installation

You need to download the zip file you can find at the radio.blog site (direct link).

Unzipping that file will create a radio.blog.2.5/ directory, which contains a Instructions.txt file. Read it, because it is very simple and, of course, useful.

Basically, you will find two directories inside the main one: creat.sound/ and radio.blog/. The former can be used to place MP3 files into it, and then create RBS files making use of one of the BAT files therein (for MS Windows), and the latter is the directory that you have to place in your web server, because it contains the program itself (SWF and PHP files), along with the MP3 files you will upload.

Okay, so the first step is to convert the music into the RBS format. They include a (very simple) BAT file that can do the job if you’re on Windows (don’t sue me if it doesn’t work: I haven’t tried it), but whatever OS you are running, a RBS file is nothing more than a MP3 file renamed to .rbs. Yes, just that. However, the BAT files the makers give not only do that renaming: they also downsample the songs to 32 or 64 kbps. You can do it by hand using lame (toolame won’t work, because Layer II is not supported, only Layer III). The downsampling is desirable because, even though the quality goes down, so does the size, and it is crucial to make small files if we want a half-decent listening experience for our visitors. Myself, I use a 48 kbps bitrate. Important note: make sure the resulting MP3 has a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz (I think the default is to resample to 24 kHz, which will make the song sound like The Chipmunks singing it, because the player assumes it’s 44.1 kHz).

Once we have a bunch of RBS files, we will have to put them into the radio.blog/sounds/ directory and upload the whole radio.blog/ dir to our site. Next, you have to copy the code below into the source of the web page you want to put the radio into (e.g. the template of the blog):


<iframe src="http://YOUR_URL/radio.blog/index.php" name="radio" scrolling="no" frameborder=0 width=220 height=320></iframe>

In the code above, substitute YOUR_URL with the URL of the site you downloaded the radio.blog/ dir to.

Creating the RBS files

From WAV:

lame --abr 48 --resample 44.1 infile.wav -o outfile.rbs

where “48” is the desired bitrate. You can tune it up (better quality) or down (smaller size).

From OGG:

Convert to WAV,

oggdec infile.ogg -o infile.wav

and then, like above for WAV.

Or, in one step:

oggdec infile.ogg -o - | lame --abr 48 --resample 44.1 - -o outfile.rbs

From MP3:

lame --mp3input --abr 48 --resample 44.1 infile.mp3 -o outfile.rbs

Music I have uploaded

Due to the restrictive copyrights most mainstream songs bear, it is legally tricky to broadcast them at a place like this. Not only that, but I also refuse to give free publicity to a bunch of sobs who assume I am a criminal, and treat me like one, limiting my rights to access, share and spread their music.

However, there is little to fear. There are places like Jamedo, where all sorts of musicians publish their work under Creative Commons licenses, so that anyone can freely download, listen, copy, share and spread it any way they feel like, with the only price of acknowledging the author. This is the way to go, and this is the kind of artists I want to support. All the music you’ll find at my site, is, therefore, Creative Commons music.

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