Category: Coding

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Just over a year ago I started generating this blog not with Wordpress but with a Perl script. The first version, DmBlog was a dirty hack but proved the point. I then expanded this script into DmSite which was capable of building my whole site.

DmSite worked, just about, but was pretty creaky and in no way could be used by anyone else. I decided it was worth a bit of a refactor to tidy it up and the resulting project is Parakeet.

My previous post discussed modifying formats and metadata of music files to improve compatibility with Sonos music streamers. This post focuses on podcasts. I liked the idea of having podcasts automatically downloaded and made available for the Sonos, as it feeds into the idea of being a highly-available source of audio.

Several years ago I had a Squeezebox music streamer. I liked it, but gave it up as it was a pain to keep running due to the requirements and foibles of the server software. After that I just used a generic media streamer for living room music playback, but the interface is awful as you have to slowly scroll through directories with the remote.

I knew Sonos existed, but wasn’t really tempted until I saw someone else’s setup with a Connect Amp (streamer and integrated amp) with Play 1 and Play 5 speakers. The Connect Amp sounded pretty good with bookshelf speakers and the Play speakers were as good as you could expect for the size. Two things I particularly liked were how easy it was to start playing music, a touch on the iPad interface and music comes out, and the multiroom effect. Having the music coming out of all speakers mentally frees you to move around the house without losing the thread, even if it means shifting to a smaller playback device.

Since I discovered the Google PageSpeed Insights metrics I’ve been tweaking my blog output to maximise the score. Recent design changes mean I’m now scoring very well on these tests.

A few months ago I described how I switched this blog from Wordpress to my own static blog generation tool called DmBlog. DmBlog was quick and dirty but worked really well, and was a big improvement in usability over Wordpress.

I also found the generated site method really useful for making design changes easily and performing invisible tweaks to the output HTML. I wanted to extend DmBlog to also cover the non-blog sections of my site.

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