Make your Raspberry Pi sing with Volumio

Volumio web interface

In the shared office space where I work, there’s an old 2nd generation iMac that we use to play music. It’s hooked up to a decent set of speakers, and plays music from the web or the local network. Over the last couple of years though, software support for non-intel Macs has all but disappeared, so we’ve been looking for alternatives.

Enter Volumio. The idea is really simple. Volumio transforms a Raspberry Pi computer into an audiophile music player. Simply install it onto an SD card, put it into the Pi, and you’re good to go.
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Experimenting with Memcached and Batcache

batmobile

WordPress is often accused of being slow, and you can definitely get it to grind to a halt if you try. But in true WordPress fashion, it also comes with interesting building blocks that helps speed it up to all the way to ludicrous speed. WordPress is like Lego, and I’ve been playing with a couple of interesting new bricks that promise to seriously improve performance.
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If you’re not using Google Keep, you’re missing out

Google Keep screenshot

Notably absent

When Android was first launched in 2007, it was criticized for not coming with a lot of apps. Unlike Apple’s iPhone, the HTC G1 didn’t come with a full set of vendor-supplied (“stock”) applications. One of the more important omissions was a good note-taking app. Since then, Google has released lots of apps, and most of them have been excellent. Google Keep is a fairly recent addition, and a new version came out this week. It’s a fast, lightweight note-taking app with an excellent featureset.
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Roy | August 24, 2013 | English,Software | Comments (4)
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Rando: Send pictures to strangers, get pictures from other strangers

rando-logoRecently, I discovered Rando, a photo sharing app for Android and iOS that’s pretty much the opposite of every other app in that category. With Rando, you don’t build a social network of fellow photographers, nor are there buttons to like, share or retweet photos. All you do is take pictures, and get pictures in return. You images are each delivered to a single random stranger, and the ones you get in return are from other random strangers. And somehow, all this randomness is fun.
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Roy | April 24, 2013 | English,Software | Comments (4)
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Unity’s fixed launcher position is terrible for multi-monitor setups

When Ubuntu moved from the Gnome desktop environment to Unity with version 11.04, I wasn’t one of the many people who thought it was a bad move. Gnome was starting to feel old, and I like many of Unity’s interface choices. But there’s one thing that makes no sense to me, and it’s driving me crazy.

The launcher bar in Unity is always positioned on the left side of the screen. You can choose to have it “autohide”, set its sensitivity, its icon size, but not it’s position on the screen. And Canonical has made it very clear that they’re not willing to reconsider this. Here’s why I think they should.
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Roy | February 11, 2013 | English,Software | Comments (1)
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You can now fork Cumulus 2.0 on Github

When I decided to no longer maintain my WP-Cumulus plugin a while ago, one of the reasons was that the project was in disarray. I wanted to improve so many things at once, that I ended up finishing none. One of the plugin’s parts however, the actual Flash movie, was 99% done. That’s why I’ve decided to put it on Github.

Note that this is “Cumulus”, without the “WP-“. It’s a new version of the movie, that uses a different, more generic XML format, and supports new things like unicode and device fonts. It’s not a WordPress plugin. If you’re looking to revive WP-Cumulus or incorporate the effect into other projects, it’s the ideal start. It’s the best incarnation of the effect, and I invite you to write stuff around it.

https://github.com/roytanck/cumulus

Five excellent Android apps that I recently discovered

One of the things I really like about Android is the enormous momentum the platform has. New phones come out almost daily, and it’s become completely undoable to keep track of new app releases. I find that my devices are usually full of apps that were the absolute best at the time when I bought the device. Apps that aren’t necessarily the “current champions”. I guess that’s why it important to share app tips. Here are couple of apps that I recently discovered, that are real gems.
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The WordPress-Apple Paradox

As a long time member of the WordPress community, I go to a lot of WP meetups, WordCamps and other WordPress-related gatherings. Often, people will pull out their laptops and start hacking away together. It’s a great community. What strikes me as somewhat odd however, is that the majority of those laptops are usually MacBooks. Now of course, everybody is completely welcome to use whatever type of computer they prefer, but to me there’s something strange about this situation. A WordPress developer with a Mac is a little like a church-going atheist.
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Creating more room for apps on the HTC Desire

A little while ago, I wrote about how I still love my HTC Desire phone. The hardware is excellent, and still on par with modern day mid-range Android handsets. It does have one tragic design flaw though. With Android 2.3 and HTC’s Sense skin installed, there’s only about 70 MB of internal phone storage left to install apps into. And with apps getting bigger and bigger, this is simply not enough.

The “Apps to SD” feature introduced in “Froyo” helps, but it doesn’t move all parts of the apps to the SD card. I must have spent hours moving apps around and cleaning caches, but I kept having to remove apps I really liked, just to free up space. This weekend, I decided I’d try to find a real long-term solution by fully hacking my phone. I’d been putting that off for months because I basically run half my business from this phone, but it needed to be done. And it worked.
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New WordPress plugin: Tag Pages

Ever since tags were introduced in WordPress 2.3, people have wanted to add tags to pages, not just to posts. For years now, Page Tagger has allowed you to do so. It’s a great plugin, and I’ve used it often. However, since it was created, WordPress has made it a lot easier to add tags to pages, and that new approach has some significant advantages.

I’ve been working with Bjorn Wijers on a project that uses Page Tagger, and we’ve found it to have some small – but pesky – issues. Bjorn gradually improved and simplified the code, and sent patches to the plugin’s author. Most of those changes are now part of Page Tagger, but Bjorn has decided to also release his own plugin.
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