Happy New Year!!!
The new year is upon us (duh) and I have a lot of hopes for the months to come.
2013 was a complete mix of good and bad. On the good side I saw friends marry, babies born, old aquantences reunite. I aquired some much desired toys (Ableton Push!) and finally got my website back up and started again. I also ended the year with a pay rise and much accolades for a hard years work.
But the year was not without sadness and loss.
Another short film I was involved in was "Reactions" produced again by CLU Productions. This film is a funny little film where a man arrives home to find someone in his house. He sneaks insight to gain the drop on the intruder and after a big struggle where he demolishes his kitchen he finds a bit of a "surprise".
The Numark HDX is a "digital turntable" that uses a CD player or an inbuilt 80GB HDD to play the music but has a full sized 12" vinyl platter to control the playback. It offers the complete feel of vinyl but allows the convenience of direct CD/MP3/WAV to be used
Currently I am in the process of uploading all my old product reviews. I am updating some of the reviews to reflect my opinions after using some of the products for some time and will also be writing some new reviews on products I have aquired in the last few years.
The Freelance Soundlabs website is designed to be HTML5 compatible which means it does not rely purely on Flash for media playback.
Mobile devices such as iPads and android tablets, smart phones and the likes require different methods for playing media files such as mp3 and video than desktop PCs.
The biggest challenge I had was to find an audio player that would work with MP3 files on all platforms and browsers. I spent months testing and contacting developers and even lost some money on useless solutions.
In the end there were 2 clear winners for players which I will use throughout the site:
The website content (articles, categories, comments etc) are all part of the "K2" system installed on the site. This is an "advanced" article management system that adds a heap of extra features over the standard way Joomla manages articles on the site. All the lists and layout for the articles you read (including this one) are managed by this Joomla component.
As with most things when designing a website, there is not a "1 solution fits all" and there have been some problems to overcome which is why it takes sooooo long to get everything going.
One issue I discovered about this K2 system is the comment feature at the end of articles which allow visitors to leave their comments does not notify the web administrator (me) of new comments. This seems strange to me since most other comment systems I have tested have this as a basic feature.
Jcomments for instance has not only this feature but also the ability to delete comments or edit them directly from the email sent which means if someone posts a spam or offensive comment it can be removed in minutes just using my phone.
I wanted the integrated feature of the K2 comment system and simply wanted to know if a user has posted comments to an article and know the contents of what they posted. It appeared the only "plugin" solution would cost $20 and considering the K2 framework component was free it seemed a bit of a ripoff for a single simple feature.
The Hack Fix
I spent some time researching solutions and came over a posted hack that allowed a notification to be sent if you had comments NOT set to auto-publish. I wanted user comments to publish automatically so after some messing around I managed to create a simple solution that will send the following email:
From Freelance Soundlabs
Date Today 10:54
New User Comment Posted:
comment: This is a test comment with some words that say things to make up the volume of the message body so there is something in the damn message!!!
This will be sent whenever someone publishes a comment and has all the info to decide if it is a genuine comment or spam to be actioned. The email it is sent too is the email set in the K2 parameters for the Comment Reporting email where users can report comments to the admin.
This hack requires editing a file and will require this edit to be redone if the component is updated so it is not a perfect solution but a workable one. To apply it to your site follow these steps:
1. Open the file: components/com_k2/models/item.php
2. Search in the file for the line that contains: K2_COMMENT_ADDED_REFRESHING_PAGE
3. Directly above that line paste the following chunk of code:
$mainframe = &JFactory::getApplication();
$mail = &JFactory::getMailer();
$senderEmail = $mainframe->getCfg('mailfrom');
$senderName = $mainframe->getCfg('fromname');
$body = "
".JText::_('New User Comment Posted').":
Make sure you have an email set in the K2 parameters/comments section for comment reports.
Test by posting a new comment and you should receive an email.
If you want to set an email for comments to be "approved" then do exactly the same as above but search for the code: K2_COMMENT_ADDED_AND_WAITING_FOR_APPROVAL
The only extra information I would love to include in the message would be the article the comment was posted too. I am not an expert in this stuff so I am not sure but maybe a Joomla expert will help me out one day. For now, this works just fine.
Over the weekend we completed filming of a 60 second short film produced by CLU Productions called "Short Take".
This is a small short film being entered into a festival. One of 2 films being produced at the moment by CLU Productions that Freelance Soundlabs is involved in.
The small films tagline: John’s disappearing lunch draws him towards a breaking point that reveals the true culprit.
The film is produced by Christian Uppill and stars Rowan Hopkins (both are good friends. Director was Phil Sandell and camera operator was Matt Overy.
I was there operating the boom mic and sound recording equipment (image) as well as gathering foley etc. The shoot took place over 2 days (Sat/Sun) and was filmed in my office which I offered up as the location after issues in the last few weeks with the initial location.
So here is our first news announcement article. Today we have completed a lot of the initial design checks and component tests on the site and are now ready to start progressing with the website.
There is a LOT to do but much of the underlying framework has been completed (with the exception of the shopping component whcih we will start on next year). You will notice that as you visit from day to day new things will start to appear and change as we add and format things to fit. The site is online while we work so that it can be edited from the various locations that I am in and so it can start to be indexed by search engines.
The site now has music players that will work on all devices and content will be added and updated as the months roll by. Once the main site is completed I will begin work on a number of new projects from SFX packs to music productions. I am also working on making everything nice and stremlined so it is simple to find the information you are after. Artwork is a slower process because I am not a graphics designer so it takes me a little longer to generate artwork but it is moving along.
More news when I have some!
The Numark CDX is a "digital turntable" that uses a CD player to play the music but has a full sized 12" vinyl platter to control the playback. It offers the complete feel of vinyl but allows the convenience of direct CD or MP3 CD files to be played.