Totally OT… I got my Maryland state tax refund today — 48 hours after I filed with iFile. Can’t beat that turnaround time.

And, I’ve found a promising app for cataloguing and streaming my MP3 collection: mp3act. It’s a web based app that uses PHP, MySQL and Ajax. Setup was pretty straightforward. When I started out I had Apache, mod_php and MySQL already installed and running. It went kinda like this:

  • Download mp3act and untar under my Apache document tree
  • Create mp3act MySQL database:

    mysql> create database mp3act

  • Create mp3act MySQL user by adding appropriate entry to “users” table
  • Edit mp3act config file to tell it how to connect to the new database.
  • Point browser to mp3act config URL
  • Wonder why it doesn’t work. Scratch head.
  • Install PHP4 MySQL module (debian package php4-mysql). Works now.
  • Configure app and import my music library.

Initial impressions: Seems nice, Ajax interface is quite slick. It has a few quirks; for example, if an album has multiple artists (for example, a tribute album), mp3act doesn’t display it as a single album. It breaks everything out separately by artist and album, so if the album has 10 different artists, mp3act displays it as 10 albums with 1 track each. I wonder if there’s a workaround for this; will have to investigate. Also, it won’t import a file without an album tag. This causes some problems with singles, which don’t necessarily have albums associated with them.

Quirks aside, this looks like a great tool and I’m going to continue to play around with it. Supposedly it can use the web services API to download album art too. I’ve signed up for an web services ID so I can try that out. Stay tuned (pun intended)..

Followup: Still playing around with this. It definitely works better when all of the MP3s are tagged properly and consistently, so I’ve been slowly working through the collection doing this. It has another quirk which affects multi-CD sets; if you rip each CD into its own directory, say “Beatles White Album/disc1” and “Beatles White Album/disc2”, and number the tracks separately for each disc, mp3act intermingles the tracks when it displays the album. So, you see disc 1 track 1 first, followed by disc 2 track 1, then disc 1 track 2, disc 2 track 2, etc. One way to fix this would be to just eliminate the separate directories for each disc, comingle all of the tracks, and number them all sequentially. However, I’m wondering how hard it would be to hack the mp3act code to improve its handling of these kinds of albums as well as albums with varying artists. I may take a peek at the code to see how much trouble it would be.