Avalanche of productivity

Weird how project management works out.

There’s the 80/20 rule… you know … 80% of the work takes 20% of the time and the last 20% of work takes 80% of the time. I’ve never seen a project that doesn’t follow this pattern.

But I’ve discovered a new pattern too. The last 2% of the work seems to just burst out of thin air onto the table, very quickly. There’s a kind of “I can see the finish line” enthusiasm that energises and ups the results.

 Spring Snow Burst from Sister72

Spring Snow Burst from Sister72

Check it out: www.soundofspace.com. Its not ready for public release yet. Still have the real-time stats graphing to complete. That wont be too difficult, but the tipping system will take a few months yet (because of e-commerce challenges). But hey … its real. Its not just talk anymore. What a relief.

www.soundofspace.com has all the features that were lacking in ambisonia.com. Most importantly … it has streaming 5.1 direct from the webpage. That’s revolutionary. It just makes it so easy to listen to surround now.

You can also mix up tracks together. I’ve done the navigation largely in AJAX … so you can navigate around and look for other things to play _whilst_ you’re listening to something.

Uploads are done directly in the web browser … no application is required to download.

Transcodes are done instantly … no waiting for little old me to log in, download tracks, transcode them, and re-load them again (hmmmm, that was never going to work).

The server is hosted in the US (Amazon EC2), so no more slow speeds from my home server in Australia.

The streaming audio downloads are also hosted in the US, from a highly performative and scalable service provider (Amazon S3), so good performance can always be expected.

The server has been implemented with a caching system, so page delivery should be fast.

The site has been implemented, from scratch, with the best web-application-platform I could find. Rails. Love Rails.

All plays and downloads are registered in real-time, so for the premium account subscribers, real-time statistics are right there (or will be very soon).

And there’s an e-commerce system for subscriptions to cover the expensive audio streaming costs.

Now all I need to do is implement the tipping system and WHAMO … I will have fulfilled my long-stated goal of creating a micro-economy around ambisonics. This part will take a while. I have to work out how to minimise credit card transaction commissions … and to forge the web site’s useage patterns to optimise encouragement for people to tip. That’s going to be the big big final challenge.

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2 Responses to Avalanche of productivity

  1. Martin says:

    Congratulations!

    Sorry to add to your work load, but if uploads happen without human intervention at your end, a validator would be useful. This would check that the “.amb” file is valid by checking it:

    1. is a WAVE-EX file
    2. has a special GUID in the SubFormat field of the ‘fmt ‘ chunk
    3. has a permitted number of channels
    4. has zero in the dwChannelMask field of the ‘fmt ‘ chunk
    5. has the file extension “.amb”

    The layout of the site is still a little rough. Text fields are obscured, etc. This was under Firefox 1.5.0.12, Netscape 7.02, IE 5.50. (These are all old browsers.)

    It’s looking good, though.

    • Hi Martin,

      Yes a validator would not be difficult at all. Especially given that the automatic transcoding is all done by way of shell scripts. It would be easy to throw in an extra script in there (in any language) that would check all that stuff. I’ll add it to my list (would be nice if mctools had that … hmm maybe it does already).

      Ofcourse, it would be even easier if this was done in an uploader, because you wouldn’t have to wait 30 minutes for the full upload to happen and be told that your file isn’t valid.

      An other possibility, which I also plan on doing is offer 4 independent fields for the W, X, Y and Z, and do the *.amb creation myself.

      I know the site isn’t so good on old browsers. I’ve been tossing up whether I should support IE6 … and decided I wouldn’t. I’ll wait and have a look at the website logs to see how many people are using IE6. IE 5?…. arghhh that would be too difficult!

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