Tunequest is 2!

Happy birthday tunequest!

It slipped my mind until this very moment, and I meant to commemorate it at the time, but tunequest is two years old. On March 1, 2006 I launched a small website to log my musical adventures as I listened to every last song in my ~15,000 song (at the time) iTunes Library. It was a modest post that simply stated what I had listened to that day.

I set a goal for the end of the year, which I met on New Years Eve, averaging more than 50 songs and 3 hours of music listening per day. The site’s slogan at the time as “No Repeats,” as I couldn’t spend the time to listen to any song more than once.

But the exploration of music didn’t end with the final play count. This decade has been an exciting time for music and technology, as they have been greatly influenced by each other. Thanks to the Internet, each day has more music instantaneously available than at any point in history. And after the tunequest ended, the site kept humming along, continuing to post thoughts and insights on music and technology.

Numbers wise, I consider tunequest@2 a modest success. The feed counter broke 100 for the first time today, so a friendly “hello and thanks” to all you feedfolk. The site also receives more than 3,000 unique visitors per week and manages to pay for itself, which I’m happy about. All-in-all not bad for a guy’s hobby.

If you’re a feed reader and haven’t been to the site lately, then you’ve been missing the tunequest reading list, frequently-updated, hand-selected articles, blog posts and links to interesting and noteworthy stories in my sidebar. Stop on by and check it.

Here’s to keepin’ on keepin’ on.

I’m quoted on the Star Wars wiki…

The other day, I was perusing the ol’ server logs, doing my periodic behind-the-scenes examination of this site. Mostly it was the usual stuff: popular URLs, a couple image hot-linkers and an ungodly amount of Googlebot crawls. But then something caught my eye: a new and intriguing referring site.


I checked it out, trying to find the connection to here, and discovered a lengthy and detailed encyclopedia article on the orchestral score to the Star Wars derived Shadows of the Empire project. Turns out the wikians behind it picked up part of a post that I wrote about it last year, during the actual tunequest.

Here’s me quoting the Star Wars Wiki quoting me:

Tunequest remarked that the highlight of the score was “The Seduction of Princess Leia,” saying that the piece is “built around a fabulous freakin’ waltz, a first for Star Wars.”

So yay for the slight ego boost.

It’s especially gratifying to see my work included with other prominent film score sites such as Filmtracks and Soundtracks.net. It does seem, however, that some of the factual assertions I made about the score may be in error. On that point, I must defer to the wiki, for it relies on quoted and referenced sources, whereas my own claims were based on the rickety and fragile strands of memory.

Still, the article holds up. Check it out. And if you’re into that sort of thing, explore the Star Wars Wiki (Wookieepedia); it’s crammed full of Star-Warsiness.


As of today, my active library contains 15,601 songs. Of those songs, 7,501 have been given star ratings, leaving 8,100 unrated. So, just as I spent last year listening to every song in my library, I will spend the rest of this year working to completely rate my library and assign stars to as many songs as I can.

The effort I’m putting into this is substantial, but not as all-consuming as the tunequest was. I’ve got plenty of audio to listen to without devoting huge swaths of time to this project. Hopefully, I’ll break the 10,000 mark by the end of the year.

I’ve got my playlists ready; first up: all unrated songs from before 1980 (1332 songs. 3:07:58:26).

Off I go!

New Hard Drive in the House

coolgear firewire sata enclosure housing a 500gb maxtor maxline pro
My new file storing powerhouse.

I like to keep my eye on on the price of hard disk storage. More storage more better is my philosophy. Not only can I never tell when I’ll need an extra gigabyte or two for projects, but I’m justifiably paranoid about data failure and have become something of fiend for backups as a result. So I’ve been watching with interest as the price of 500GB drives have fallen at a steady clip since the beginning of the year.

My interest was piqued recently when I noticed that a number of external 500GB drives have been hitting the ~$100 area lately, which is nearly too good a deal to pass up. My enthusiasm was tempered though, by the observation that all the drives I found were USB 2.0 only. USB is no slouch and a fine enough protocol, but real file transfers, particularly large ones, are best left to FireWire. Unfortunately, FireWire versions seem to cost $50-$90 more than their USB-only counterparts.

So I did what I’ve done for the last 5 drives I’ve purchased: I looked into do-it-yourself solutions. Assembling an external drive from an internal one plus an enclosure is a trivial task and it helps you get exactly what you want. In the past, that approach has helped me save some cash at the same time.

Unfortunately, the gap in price between internal and external drives doesn’t seem to be as great as it once was. Mail-in rebates can often bring the price of external drives to below that of internals. Realizing that I probably would be out of luck trying to save some dough, I set out to see how much I could get within the price range for an external 500GB hard drive with a FireWire connection ($160-190).

In the end, I think I did pretty well.

Continue reading

The attempt at all-out bribery continues, folks

The bribe is that, if you subscribe to the tunequest feed, I’ll use that medium to point you toward free music downloads that are worthy of your attention.

I had been using WordPress’ “Optional Excerpt” to point to the links whenever I wrote a post. But that was proving cumbersome. It unnecessarily tied the posting of links to my own erratic posting schedule and it was requiring me to bookmark and retrieve lists upon lists of those links. Then I had to format the excerpt for the feed version before posting. In short, it was turning into a major pain.

So I’ve outsourced that job to del.icio.us.

Starting today, those links will be posted as individual feed entries along side my regular posts. You’ll be able to tell the difference by the [del.icio.us] tag at the end of the title. I can point you to them as I find them, regardless of whether I have a post near completion, which hopefully means more great music for you and less work for me.

Plus, it means you don’t actually have to read my posts in order to get the links…

Go ahead and check the feed. You’ll find a link to my favorite song from 2006.

Learning to listen to music again

Even though the finale of the actual tunequest was a foreseen event, the end itself turned out to be quite abrupt. One moment there was music to listen to, the next I was all done, staring at an empty playlist. I took a day to revel in the accomplishment, then I ran into an interesting side-effect.

What’s next?

For nearly eleven months, I had abdicated my ability to choose for myself what music to listen to, relying on the tunequest Smart Playlist to select albums for my consideration. To be sure, I had freedom within the confines of that playlist, but for the most part, it was a press-play-and-see-what-we-get experience.

I’d been on autopilot for so long, that making a decision about what to do next is seriously challenging. Logically speaking, I know I have some acquisitions from the past year to revisit. And hours worth of podcasts to re-subscribe to and catch up on. There are audiobooks and iPod videos as well.

All of which I’m looking forward to tackling, but where to start?

For the time being, I’ve reactivated a couple playlists of randomly selected tunes. So I’ve at least got music to listen, but once again I’m not really in control of it. Which is fine–it’s all four and five star songs, but the casualness feels weird, not having a purpose behind it.

Popularity Graph

Have a graph.

years of release

This chart excludes film and classical music, focusing on popular releases. The blue line shows the total number of songs from each year of release in my library. The green line shows the cumulative playcount for records released that year. Make of it what you will, but apparently 2001 and 2003 were very good years for music.