Monthly Archives: November 2006

Collaboration of the Month

Collaboration of the Month is a month long, group effort at cleaning up a well-known artists MusicBrainz entry. The first subject is The Beatles.

You don’t need to know a lot about the artist to help out, just make sure you do your research and enter edit notes. It’s a great way to learn about more about an artist. Impress your friends with your in-depth knowledge of The Beatles Mexican promo singles!

Resources can be listed on the wiki page and problems can be discussed in the forum topic.

Should we accept sponsorships from… poker sites? UPDATED

For the second time now I’ve received a sponsorship request from a Poker site. This poker site would like to pay us $500 in exchange for putting a link to their poker site on the metabrainz.org sponsors page. I’m certain that this is just a way for these sites to boost their Google PageRank — a marketing campaign of sorts. They obviously cannot expect much traffic from us (that page was visited less than 5000 times last month), and I doubt that anyone would click on that link.

MusicBrainz/MetaBrainz has nothing to do with Poker, but we could always use $500.

I’m at a loss what to do. What do you think we should do?

UPDATE: The feedback I’ve gotten has been mixed, but the comment from Chris DiBona of Google cinched it for me — no poker links on MusicBrainz/MetaBrainz.

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Who wants to go and have a beer… in Amsterdam?

Faced with everyone and their mom leaving town for the thanksgiving break and friend of mine and myself found some really cheap tickets to Amsterdam. So, I’m off for a week starting tomorrow — fortunately this trip is all vacation and no business. Hopefully it will be low stress, leaving some room for me to have a beer with fellow MusicBrainerz:

What: Have a beer with the MusicBrainz evil overlord

Where: Amsterdam, exact location TBD

When: Sunday, November 26th, 6pm

Who: You and any brainerz who care to sit and chat about MusicBrainz

If you’re interested, please send me an email at rob [at] musicbrainz (dot) org. If you have a suggestion on where we should meet, please send it along. If I get no suggestions, we’ll probably go to my favorite Belgian beer bar off Nieuwendijk where we had beers last time we met in Amsterdam.

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Please come and test new and improved features

The test server has been updated and is running the latest version of the next server source code. All of the lucene/searching bugs in the milestone for the next release have been fixed and seem to be running well now. Just yesterday I finished off the bugs by adding paging to the search results and redirecting if the search results in only one hit. This should pretty much close out the outstanding searching issues.

That leaves a host of Web Service related issues that I will tackle after the Thanksgiving break (more on that in the next post).

Finally, there have been some changes with the Amazon cover-art servers. The test server is now running with the latest mappings to these servers, but we’re not entirely sure that these are all correct. If you care about Amazon cover-art working well, please take a minute and see if the cover art on the test server is working well. For this and any other issues, please report any bugs.

Currently the next release is scheduled for December 10th. If too many bugs crop up or other issues arise, we’ll hold off with the release until December 17th.

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Search fixes: Artists, annotations, FreeDB

I just committed the latest round of bug fixes/improvements for the MusicBrainz search facilities. On the road of the promised mini-release I’ve created the a milestone to keep track of the changes and have updated the test server with the latest fixes/improvements:

Artist searching:

With tons of useful community feedback, I’ve fixed up the toughest search cases. Accented characters are now being escaped, so that a search for “Bjork” will return “Bj√∂rk“. Aliases are now being searched by default and no longer interfering with the ranking so that a search for “Jennifer” will return the artist “Jennifer” as the first search hit and not buried down below. I’ve also implemented a checkbox for advanced search to avoid confusion with the lucene search syntax. By default the advanced search will be off and all punctuation in a search will be ignored. If the advanced search box is checked, punctuation will be interpreted as lucene query syntax.

I think these changes will make the search behave more according to what people would expect. Please go test it!

Annotation searching:

You can now search annotations using the indexed search.

FreeDB searching:

You can now search all FreeDB CDs with our own search features. Once you find a CD you want to import, click on the category/id link and the import process starts. No more funky HTML frames with a crappy FreeDB search that goes away every other week.


I’ve taken a lot of heat over these search issues — please go test these to make sure everything is working right!

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Development update: search fixes, release locking and tagging

I’ve been busy hacking on all sorts of projects for the MusicBrainz server in the past few weeks. Fall is a nice time where the business world slows down as people prepare to hunker down for the holidays and the weather turns more temperamental. That’s the perfect time to get some hacking done!

The projects I’ve been working on are:

Search fixes:

Yesterday Lukas started a new branch to fix a number of pressing bugs related to the search features. Unbeknownst to him, I had already started hacking on the lucene_index and lucene_server projects to bring about more search features and to fix nagging bugs. Besides fixing issues like the less-than-perfect search result ranking and unaccenting, I’m also adding support for searching annotations. Given user feedback related to FreeDB searching (or the general lack of a decent FreeDB web search) I’ve decided that our search server can handle the addition of searching for FreeDB CDs that can be imported to MusicBrainz.

Theses search fixes/improvements will eventually (in the next few weeks) be rolled out as a server mini-release, rather than waiting for the next full server release that brings about many new features and thus will require an extensive testing cycle. If you have some must-fix bugs that you want to see fixed in the upcoming mini-release, post a comment with the bug number that needs fixing. We’ll see what we can do — the rest will have to wait for the next major release. Remember, I can be bribed with good chocolate. :)

Once I do a few more hours of work, I will point you to a server where you can play with these new features.

Release locking & Voting improvements:

I’ve started work on creating the release locking system. The idea is to create three strictness levels (loose, normal, strict) where changes to a album will require few, the usual or more votes to make changes. The strictness level depends on if an album is locked and how many subscribers the albums has. This feature will also bring about a system where every edit type will have a defined voting duration, number of unanimous votes required to pass, action after expiry (keep open, remove, accept) and wether or not an edit type is an autoedit. These will be defined for each strictness level, which should give us much more control over tuning how various edit types will behave.

The voting improvements will take into account your feedback from this blog post. The general idea with both of these features is to tune the editing/voting system so that we can optimize the work that editors do. Right now the system is too rigid and applies the same rules to all edit types, which makes the system more cumbersome than it should be.

Please read the release locking wiki page and give us some feedback about this feature!

Tagging:

An enthusiasic user (Chris Ovenden) recently sent me mail expressing interest in adding social tagging (folksonomy) support to MusicBrainz. I mentioned to him that Keschte, Yalaforge and myself hacked the beginnings of this feature out when we met up in Germany 18 months ago. I’ve dusted off that old code and updated it for the new layout of our pages. I’ve also finally taken some time to set up the test server so that we have more than one test sandbox running on it. If you care to take a look at the very incomplete tagging features, go to the tagging sandbox at http://tags.musicbrainz.org . You will need to log in and then go to an artist, album or track. The header for each of these entities will have a new pink box that allows you to attach a tag to the entity. You can click on the tag to see what other entities have this tag attached to them.

What’s still needed:

  • View your tags you applied to entities
  • JavaScript improvements to make the tagging UI more intuitive and pretty
  • Remove tags
  • A script to aggregate user’s tags and apply them to general tags that everyone can see, even those who are not logged in
  • Consider who this will affect our database server before we roll this out. We may need to get a separate DB server for this feature.
  • Consider the privacy implications — should we allow the world to see what people tagged files with or only the aggregated data? Make it an option?

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