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Category Archives: Internet

Christmasfm.ie on the PS3 (via PS3 Media Server)

I, quite unashamedly, like Christmas songs. Of course that only applies at Christmas and no earlier than 1st December. The problem is that it seems to be really hard to find decent Christmas song compilations – most contain all the most well known versions of older songs with only a few different here and there which means you end up hearing the same tunes over and over again.

The answer to this problem is the excellent Christmasfm.ie which is a charity radio station broadcasting in Ireland and on the net during December, playing a far larger selection of Christmas songs than you could hope to have in your personal collection. The only problem I had was that I wanted it playing in the lounge on my decent system, rather than my PC in the study. The simple answer should be to point the PS3 web browser at www.christmasfm.ie and it would all just work, and sadly we know that things are never that easy. Help is at hand though, and there is another sloution.

I have a server running PS3 Media Server (PSM) sharing various media items (video, audio, images) to the PS3, and it also will stream content off the net. So all you have to do is add the following to WEB.conf in your PMS main folder:

#shoutcast
audiostream.Web,Radios=Christmas FM,http://217.115.113.212:8000

You should then see a “Christmas FM” item under the Audio->Web->Radios menu.

Merry Christmas!

Website Language Re-visted

Back in June I vented my spleen a little bit about how frustrating I find it that websites choose a language on my behalf based on my IP address, which is a frankly stupid way of doing it.

Well, I’ve decided to revist that subject for a brief post because we have a new winner in the web language stupidity stakes. IMDb is one of, if not the, largest movie information sites in the world, and it has country specific sites listed for, among others, the US, Germany, Italy , Spain, France and Portugal. It is also, according to a proud banner in the footer, an ‘Amazon.com company’. So they must really know how to handle languages on the web right?

Doh! IMDb is so web savvy, that even when I explicity tell it I want the UK site, by going to uk.imdb.com, it serves up German language film titles when I’m in Germany. Frankly it’s a mess, half the site is in English and half in German. How smart is that? According to uk.imdb.com, this is the English box office at time of writing:

“UK Box Office

  1. Ich – Einfach unverbesserlich – £3.66M
  2. The Social Network – £2.49M
  3. Beilight – Biss zum Abendbrot – £1.09M
  4. Wall Street: Geld schläft nicht – £676K
  5. Life as We Know It – £624K”

To use my IP address to choose my language is stupid. Giving me a different language to the localised site I have specifically selected is even more stupid. Mixing the two up is frankly inexcusable.

The new King of Web Language Stupidity is IMDB.com, an Amazon.com Company.

An IP address does not give you language information

This might be a bit of a rant, because it’s about something that I encounter very often spending a lot of time where the main language is not my native tongue. It’s about geo-location using IP addresses, and the subsequent use of that location to determine which language to display content in.

For the uninitiated (and simplifying things a little) every computer connected to the internet access it via a TCP/IP address of some kind. Essentially this is the sign post that tells all the web servers you visit where to send the pages to. They are called IP addresses for short. They also, for the most part, country specific.  So, in theory, if you know the IP address of a computer, you know the country it is in. Websites you visit know the IP address of your computer (they have to in order to send you the web page you asked for), and so in theory they can look up your country, and they use that to decide what language to show you. Simples.

Except it’s not ‘simples’ because knowing which country you are in does not tell the website which languages you speak or understand. Even if you do happen to speak the language of the country you are in, you might want to read the website in a different language, perhaps your native one. Put simply, websites who use this mechansim to decide which language the user is forced to view are frankly stupid. Why? Because there is a much better solution for them.

All modern web browsers support setting the language in the browser. In fact most of the time the language gets set correctly without the user even needing to be aware – it usually defaults to the language of the operating system but you can change it. Web sites can use this information to decide which language to give, it’s even explained really well by the body which sets web standards, the W3C.

So why do large ‘web savvy’ companies like Google, who are also responsible for YouTube, Yahoo and all the rest, insist on using crappy IP based language selection. It really annoys me when I go to say, www.youtube.co.uk to search for the Coke World Cup Song, and it redirects me to a German language site because it thinks “you are in Germany right now, you must want to speak German”. It’s rubbish and there’s no excuse for it. It annoys me more because I travel a fair amount and am often in countries where English is not the native language and so I’m fighting this crapness all the time.

I’ll say it one more time, for the stress relief. Knowing the country I’m in does not tell you the language I speak. Try using the bit of information designed for exactly that purpose to determine what language I might want to view your website in.

Spelling Test

I have a tendency to re-read articles I post here every so often, and I have noticed that quite a few spelling errors and typos have slipped past my cursory proof reading before posting, so, I’ve just updated the editor I use to a new one which includes a spell checker. While it won’t stop me doing daft things like using an incorrect word, it should at least mean that the incorrect word is spelt correctly 😉

I have gone back over the previous articles with the spell checker, and made a few minor adjustments to the wording, and it all looks a bit more ship shape now.

All change (again)

I got a good lesson on why it’s important to back-up before doing maintenance updates yesterday. My previous site was running using WordPress, which seemed to do a pretty decent job. I hadn’t updated it in a while, and the admin panel said there was a new version so I foolishly clicked update without backing up, thinking ‘it will all be fine’. It wasn’t – the update failed, and it all went a bit pear shaped with the site serving up empty pages.

I took the decision to start from scratch (again) and here we are, with pretty much the same stuff done differently 🙂