Things, How Do They Work?

Thing 1

I scrobble all the music I listen to via Spotify these days. In the olden times the last.fm scrobbler was hooked into iTunes but the streams are what the kids use now. Files? What are they?

Anyway, that scrobbling rube goldburg machine all broke 24 hours ago for 25% of last.fm Spotify users. One of four shards last.fm uses to handle the flood of tracks returned by the Spotify API shat the bed.

So they're churning through the backlog. And hugops to the last.fm OPS team for cranking through all that. I'm still dead in the water, my user is on the newly resurrected shard. The shard so backlogged it can't keep up with anything ever. I get it, I've been in the industry for over two decades. But as a last.fm user of 14 years, I has a bit of a sad.

Thing 2

Out of the blue yesterday Disney+ no longer showed a picture for any content when playing on my TV. I had sound. I could see the Disney+ UI, all the thumbnails, read the preview things etc. But try watching anything? Nope, just the Disney+ logo in the top right, the scrubber at the bottom, but no actual content.

Perplexing stuff. Curious if my Apple TV was to blame I watched some things from other services. All worked; Apple TV+ shows, YouTube etc. So then did the obvious things reboot, uninstall Disney+, reinstall, logout, login all to no avail.

Disney+ live chat support weren't great, but I wasn't expecting much. It was a frustrating go around and all they gave me was a link to some generic help. Everything I'd already tried.

On a whim I just started unplugging HDMI cables and solved the problem. My TV has 3 HDMI ports. Disney+ will not show content while the Apple TV is plugged into HDMI port 1 or 2. But it works in port 3. Because reasons? I mean, it's good that it works now. But, quite frankly, what the fuck?

I don't know man, it's possible my 5 month old TV lost HDMI ports 1 & 2 on the same day? But it's only Disney+ experiencing this behavior. Which makes no sense. I'm at a loss.

On Disney+

About a month ago my wife surprised me with a Disney+ subscription. Thoughts, I has them.

The Good

The UI is nice, responsive, and gets out of your way. Pleasant both on mobile and on a big screen TV. Categories make sense, and searching is easy. Well as much as "typing" on an Apple Remote is easy.

The nostalgia factor was strong. Watching movies from my childhood with the kiddo has been so much fun. In the last week we watched Tron, The Black Hole, Escape To Witch Mountain, and Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

The Mandalorian has single handedly restored my faith in the Star Wars universe. It's utterly fantastic and I think Disney should just hand over the keys to the kingdom to Jon Favreau. Liking the slow weekly release of episodes instead of the all at once Stranger Things approach.

The World According To Jeff Goldblum also very very good. It's Jeff Goldblum, doing an Anthony Bourdain style show. What's not to love?

The Not Quite As Good

In 2020 all streaming interfaces should have table stakes "remember what I've seen and my position". Disney+ doesn't always get this right. I was 20 episodes into the first season of Clone Wars when it reset and recommended I start watching. "You might like this show". You think?

Licensing is a bit wacky. Avengers Endgame is fine to watch, but Avengers Infiniti War is "coming soon". Maleficent also "coming in October 2020". These titles all happily appear in the UI mind you and are clickable which is frustrating when you can't actually watch them. The majority of Andi Mack season 1 is missing because reasons.

The lack of new TV show content is a bit worrying. After watching The Mandalorian and all the old Disney/Marvel movies there is an element of "now what?". I know they've got big plans for various Marvel TV shows and the Obi-Wan Kenobi show with Ewan McGregor. But that's not where we are today.

Summary

Good outweighs the bad. The kiddo has lots to watch. That plus The Mandalorian & promise of future shows set in the Star Wars universe probably makes this a keeper. We have a year subscription already paid for so it's not like we're gonna bail now. I'll let you know if we renew it in December.

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Twenty

The olden were reminiscing at work this morning how 20 years ago we worked over midnight for Y2K "just in case". How can that have been 20 years ago, what is even happening? Happy New Year everyone.

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2019 In Scrobbles

So how did the year shake out music wise? last.fm says:

2019 In Music

Looks like I listened to slightly less music this year than the past couple, 23,958 tracks.

The kiddo loves her some Twenty One Pilots so they're usually a goto when we're driving to school. Hometown and Cut My Lip are two favorites.

The new Drab Majesty album this year was particularly good. I saw a bloke with one of their t-shirts in Starbucks the other week and got chatting about gigs we've been to.

In November I discovered Preoccupations and they were the find of the year. If Editors and Interpol had a child, its name would be Preoccupations.

Boy Harsher are an electroclash band and when they get going I defy anyone to not nod your head. Good driving music.

Rush. Because Rush.

Keychains & Snowstorms is Soft Cell's 10 disc box set. And it's amazing. The remix of Meet Murder My Angel is sublime. Bless Spotify for having it.

In 2018 Orbital released Monsters Exist and I still loved it this year. The synth melody on The Raid is the best.

And my old muckers Rammstein. Their new album is great. Go watch any of their 2019 concert footage on YouTube.

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I Has A Sad About Flickr

I really hope they're able to turn this around.

The world's most-beloved, money-losing business needs your help

We didn't buy Flickr because we thought it was a cash cow. Unlike platforms like Facebook, we also didn't buy it to invade your privacy and sell your data. We bought it because we love photographers, we love photography, and we believe Flickr deserves not only to live on but thrive. We think the world agrees; and we think the Flickr community does, too. But we cannot continue to operate it at a loss as we've been doing.

Flickr is the world's largest photographer-focused community. It's the world's best way to find great photography and connect with amazing photographers. Flickr hosts some of the world's most iconic, most priceless photos, freely available to the entire world. This community is home to more than 100 million accounts and tens of billions of photos. It serves billions of photos every single day. It's huge. It's a priceless treasure for the whole world. And it costs money to operate. Lots of money.

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Stream

It's colder here in the desert, foggy even. And that means everyone has their wood fireplaces going. Smells wonderful.

I take my daughter to school every day and I see "the kids" just have the left Apple Airpod in. Not both, because that wouldn't be cool, just one and it must be the left one.

Apple TV+ and Disney+ then. The Mandalorian and For All Mankind are the two standouts so far. The Morning Show is better than they say it is.

Americans sure like wings.

It's end of year list season. Could you tell?

And finally, England, what did you do?

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Your Best Shot 2019

Flickr have opened up the your best shot of 2019 group for submissions. It's fun to go back through the year's uploads to pick just one in particular. It came down to two of them, both black & white shots (shocker).

This one of our cat Mary Poppins was in the running.

Don't Look At Me It Hurts
Don't Look At Me It Hurts

But I ended up going with this one because I'm a sucker for (a) black & white (b) vanishing points.

Hesitation Marks
Hesitation Marks