Introducing Blofeld

July 22nd, 2010

I’m happy to announce the initial “release” of a project I’ve been working on for quite some time now: Blofeld.

What is Blofeld?

In short, Blofeld is a music server. You install it on a Linux PC and tell it where your music is, and it provides a web interface that allows you to listen to that music almost anywhere you have internet access and a web browser. Blofeld is fairly similar to applications like Jinzora, Subsonic or Ampache.

So, why not use one of those apps you just mentioned?

There are a few reasons I decided to write Blofeld. First of all, I really just wanted a project to work on and an excuse to learn some interesting technology. Additionally, I found most of the existing options to be severely lacking in a few areas. Particularly, I find that they’re…

  • Very slow to import/update the library
  • Difficult to install and configure
  • Too complicated (have you seen some of the transcoding or ACL stuff?)
  • Invasive (e.g., modifying tags or adding images to the music folder)
  • Generally clunky and just not very friendly

Features

Blofeld is a very young project, but it still has a fairly respectable set of features. Currently it supports:

  • Automatic on-the-fly transcoding
  • Extremely fast library import/update
  • Cover art (including embedded art)
  • Nearly any audio container and codec
  • A modern, friendly web interface
  • Themes
  • Song downloads (in a zip file, with artwork)
  • Basic users, groups and permissions
  • JSON based API

What does it look like?

Blofeld is completely themeable, but here are a few screenshots of the default theme.

Installing on Linux

If you’re using Ubuntu Linux, you can install Blofeld from my PPA. You can do that by running these commands in a terminal:

# Add the PPA to your Software Sources
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dwhayes/ppa
# Update the package list
sudo apt-get update
# Install the package
sudo apt-get install blofeld

Once you have it installed, you should be able to just run blofeld at the terminal and a configuration file will be created for you at ~/blofeld/blofeld.cfg. Edit it using your favorite text editor (you probably only need to change the path option, which should point to the folder that contains your music).

Run blofeld on the terminal again to start the application. Blofeld will immediately start scanning your music into its library. Point your web browser to http://localhost:8083 and you should be greeted with the web interface. You can stop Blofeld by hitting ctrl+c on your keyboard in the terminal where you started the program.

If you would prefer to have Blofeld run as a system service (i.e., start up when you turn your computer on and run in the background), then you’ll need to edit /etc/default/blofeld and set ENABLE_DAEMON=true and then run sudo start blofeld. This will create a configuration file at /etc/blofeld/blofeld.cfg which you need to edit (again, be sure and set the path to your music directory). Run sudo start blofeld again to actually start the application, and Blofeld will start automatically when your computer boots up from now on.

If you’re using Linux, but not Ubuntu, then download the latest release and follow the instructions in the INSTALL file.

Installing on Windows

Version 0.2.5 introduces Windows support. There are 2 different Windows builds available:

The installer will install the program on your system and all of the configuration, cache and log files will be stored as part of your user profile. CouchDB and GStreamer are included as part of the installer.

The zip file is intended to run the program out of a directory you could put anywhere you like. All of the configuration information, cached files and logs will be stored in the directory with the program. This is suitable for running as a portable application. If you plan to use this build, you will need to install CouchDB from Apache and GStreamer 0.2.17 Beta 2 from OSSBuild before you can run the application.

The first time you run the program, nothing will appear to happen. Blofeld will create a configuration file for you and then exit. If you used the zip file, you should find a file called blofeld.cfg in the directory with the application. If you used the installer, this file is probably in either "C:\Documents and Settings\[YourName]\Application Data\Blofeld" (Windows 2000/XP/2003) or "C:\Users\[YourName]\AppData\Roaming\Blofeld" (Windows Vista/7/2008). Obviously, you’d need to replace [YourName] with your actual username. Probably all you need to do at this point is check the configuration file and make sure that the path is actually pointing to the directory containing your music (e.g., path = C:\Users\Dave\Music).

At this point, you can run the program again. Once again, it will look like nothing is happening, but Blofeld is working in the background to scan all of your music into its library. To use the application, open up a web browser and navigate to http://localhost:8083 and you should be greeted with the web interface. Hopefully you can figure things out from there.

Being that this is the first release with Windows support, expect to run into problems. If you do, please report it (you can just leave a comment on this post if you like).

What’s with the stupid name?

Blofeld is named for the Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I have no idea why.

Am I the only one that sees a problem here?

October 19th, 2009

Just did a search and copy-and-pasted some headlines.

  • 26 die as terror attacks rock Israel
  • 30 Are Killed in Sinai as Bombs rock Egyptian Resort City
  • 350 bombs rock across Bangladesh, 2 killed
  • 37 killed as 9 bombs rock Iraqi capital
  • 4 bombs rock Baghdad; US kills 5, captures 30 near Fallujah
  • 5 Bombs rock Philippine Capital
  • 5 Car Bombs rock Baghdad in Effort to Disrupt Elections
  • 50 killed as bomb blasts rock Delhi — Police suspect Lashkar-e-Toiba
  • 60 die as car bombs rock two cities in Iraq
  • 7 bombs rock Haiti as vote nears; 1 killed
  • 7 hurt as car bombs rock Spain ; Separatists strike during EU summit
  • 7 killed as blasts rock Assam towns
  • 80 dead as three bombs rock Baghdad market
  • Army officer killed as car bombs rock Madrid
  • At least 18 dead as bomb blasts rock New Delhi
  • Attacks, suicide bomb rock Israel
  • Blasts rock Baghdad before reconciliation talks
  • Blasts rock Baghdad, at least 13 killed
  • Blasts rock churches in 3 states, 2 injured
  • Blasts rock Iraq, Israel ; Bus bomb in Jerusalem kills 18
  • Blasts rock Jakarta hotels; 3rd bomb found
  • Blasts rock north-west Pakistan
  • Blasts rock restive Thai south
  • Bomb attacks rock S Thailand
  • Bomb Blasts rock Algerian Capital, Kill at Least 24
  • Bomb blasts rock Bali, at least 25 dead
  • Bomb blasts rock Bangladesh terminals, one hurt
  • Bomb blasts rock Burmese capital
  • Bomb blasts rock casinos
  • Bomb blasts rock Colombian capital
  • Bomb blasts rock Indian state
  • Bomb blasts rock Iraqi churches
  • Bomb blasts rock Mosul, Baghdad
  • Bomb blasts rock Nepalese capital
  • Bomb blasts rock Pakistan
  • Bomb blasts rock southern Thailand
  • Bomb blasts rock three Pak cities, 45 injured
  • Bomb explosions rock Iran, killing at least 9
  • Bomb-blasts rock India for second day
  • Bombers rock Baghdad university
  • Bombings rock 2 Turkish Cities
  • Bombs rock ‘safe’ heart of Baghdad
  • Bombs rock Baghdad
  • Bombs rock Baghdad and Iraq’s North
  • Bombs rock Baghdad, Killing 70, as Unity Government Crumbles
  • Bombs rock Buenos Aires’ banks
  • Bombs rock central Athens police station
  • Bombs rock Jerusalem as Arab summit convenes
  • Bombs rock Jolo, Iligan
  • Bombs rock pair of Indonesia churches
  • Bombs rock Pakistan killing 20
  • Bombs rock Taliban offices in Kabul
  • Bombs, gun battle, rock Pakistan’s Peshawar
  • Bombs, hostage-taking rock streets of Baghdad; 24 dead
  • Bombs, Shelling rock Somali Capital
  • Car bomb blasts rock Iraqi town
  • Car Bombs rock Central Baghdad
  • Car bombs rock Colombia’s city centres
  • Car bombs rock Israeli town
  • Car bombs rock Madrid
  • Car bombs rock streets of Algeria for 2nd day, killing 11
  • Church Massacre, Bomb rock Pakistan
  • Coordinated bomb attacks rock 3 cities in northern India
  • Deadly car bombs rock Baghdad
  • Dozens Killed in Terror Attack Bomb Blasts rock Algerian Capital
  • Dozens Killed in Terror Attack Bomb Blasts rock Algerian Capital
  • Explosions rock Sri Lanka
  • Fourteen die as suicide bombs rock Baghdad and Mosul
  • Hamas bombers rock Jerusalem market
  • Karzai Attack, Bomb rock Afghanistan
  • Multiple bomb blasts rock India’s Assam state
  • Multiple bombings rock Iraq
  • Nine car bombs rock Iraq in one day
  • Nine suicide bombs rock Baghdad
  • Pakistan urged to focus on ‘internal enemies’ as bombs rock northwest
  • Roadside bomb rock Kabul
  • Serial blasts rock Bangalore; 2 killed, several injured
  • Series of bombs rock Baghdad, dozens killed
  • Series of loud explosions rock Baghdad
  • Several Blasts rock Manila; 11 Reported Dead
  • Suicide blasts rock Iraq
  • Suicide blasts rock Quetta; seven killed
  • Suicide bomb blasts rock Baghdad
  • Suicide bomb blasts rock Tel Aviv
  • Suicide bomb, missiles in Gaza rock Mideast
  • Suicide bombers rock Baghdad
  • Suicide bombers rock Israel
  • Suicide bombers rock peace talks
  • Suicide bombers rock Somalia during crisis talks
  • Suicide Bombers rock Tel Aviv
  • Suicide bombing, fierce fighting rock Baghdad
  • Suicide car bombs rock the Baghdad Hotel, kill six
  • Twin car bombs rock grieving city ; ‘It just doesn’t stop,’ Jerusalem…
  • Two Bombs rock Tel Aviv Neighborhood, Killing at Least Six
  • Two car bombs rock Iraq police stations, seven dead
  • Two killed, 33 injured as eight bomb blasts rock Bangkok
  • Up to 15,000 troops storm Fallujah, bombs rock Baghdad
  • Violent attacks rock Afghanistan
  • Wave of attacks rock Pakistan
  • Waves of Bombs rock Baghdad

Every day I become more convinced that journalism is a haven for mentally defective people.

Apple Pie FTW

October 6th, 2009

Now that the wonderful Fall weather is finally starting to set in, the orchard near to my parents’ house is stocked with their delicious raw apple cider. In celebration, I thought I’d share the recipe for my favorite adult beverage that makes use of the stuff. This is perfect for Halloween parties because the recipe makes a rather large amount, and it’s always a hit.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 750mL Everclear
  • 750mL Captain Morgan’s
  • 3 cups regular sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 8 cinnamon sticks

Instructions

Heat the apple juice and cinnamon sticks in a large pot until almost boiling and then stir in the sugar until it’s all dissolved. Then mix everything together, leaving the cinnamon sticks in. Chill and serve over ice. Awesome.

Notes

You can use all regular sugar if you want, I don’t think it will make a difference. It might be worth it to check with a couple of local orchards and see if you can get good apple cider. If so, I’d just use all apple cider and no apple juice. If you’re going for authenticity, the kids from Alabama that gave me the recipe were serving the stuff out of a gas can…

Linux Browser Shootout with Peacekeeper

June 30th, 2009

Some time ago, I discovered a great tool from Futuremark called Peacekeeper. Peacekeeper is a browser benchmarking tool that gives you the ability to benchmark as many different browsers as you like, save the results and compare them to one another as well as some other common browsers.

Given some of the grumblings about Firefox performance on Linux, and the current debate about WebKit vs. Gecko, I thought it might be fun to take a handful of popular Linux browsers and see how they compare from a purely performance standpoint. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Cool Things to Do With Linux

January 16th, 2009

So you’ve taken the plunge and installed Linux. You’ve followed all the HOWTOs all over the net. You’ve got your wireless card working flawlessly. You’ve got your video card working (and you’ve begun to loathe that spinning cube). You’ve installed all the “restricted” software like Adobe Flash, Sun Java and Google Earth. You’ve got all the patent restricted codecs and even DVD playback working just like you want. Now what? You want to know what you can do with Linux outside of the surfing, emailing, chatting and media consumption you normally do? Well, here are a few things to keep you busy. Read the rest of this entry »