Cooking with Linux - Your Media: Out of the Kitchen and into Every Other Place
You can check out Marcel's article on Amarok by visiting the Linux Journal Web site at /article/8558.
To use Amarok with Last.fm, click Settings on the menu bar and select Configure Amarok. The configuration window appears (Figure 5) with various categories listed in the left-hand sidebar. One of these is for the Last.fm service, courtesy of the Audioscrobbler program. Enter your Last.fm user name and password, then click OK.
On the GNOME side of things, there also has been some recognition of Last.fm's popularity with music lovers. That's reflected in the excellent Banshee music player. To start telling the world what you are listening to with Banshee, click Edit on the menu bar, and select Plugins. The Banshee plugins configuration window appears with the Audioscrobbler plugin selected. Click the Configuration tab (Figure 6). Click the check box that reads Enable song reporting, enter your user name and password, then click Close.
Audioscrobbler plugins are available in the downloads section of Last.fm for XMMS, Noatun and other Linux players.
Whether you choose to use Amarok or Banshee (or something else), the information regarding your musical tracks will now be transmitted to the Last.fm community and people can find out what you are listening to. Earlier on, I mentioned that people could listen to what you are playing as well, and that also is something you can do at Last.fm. Alas, to become a Last.fm DJ, you need to subscribe to the service. To take this service out for a spin, I spent my $3 US and added a personal radio station to my wftl account. With the paid account, your friends can tune in to your radio station using the free, GPLed, Linux music player distributed on the site (yes, versions are available for other operating systems).
To use the player, unpack the bundle into the directory of your choice (tar -xjvf LastfmLinux-1.1.4.tar.bz2). There is nothing to compile here, so running it is as easy as switching to the directory into which you have extracted it and running the player (./player). When you run the player the first time, the setting dialog appears. This is where you enter your Last.fm account information.
Once all the information is entered, you are ready to go. For your friends or family to tune in to the songs you are playing, they need to fire up their player by switching to the directory (or folder) and running the program. In addition to the player, a window labeled Radio Control appears. Before you can play a station, other than your own, you need to create, or add, a radio station to the list on your personal Last.fm page. Once done, you can click the Personal Radio button, and the player takes over, streaming whatever content is coming from your media player, whether it is Amarok, Banshee or anything else that uses Audioscrobbler.
If you would prefer to use a player other than this one, you can do that by clicking the settings button (the tool button on the lower right) and making your choice there. You also can specify a station by entering its address (for example, lastfm://user/wftl/personal).
Time appears to be running out, mes amis, but I do want to direct your attention momentarily back to Amarok. Once you are part of the Last.fm social network, you don't actually need to use the Last.fm player. Amarok can tune in directly to what Last.fm calls Neighbour Radio. As you play more and more songs, the site starts to create a profile of your musical tastes, then adds neighbours, stations of people whose musical tastes mirror your own.
On Amarok's menu bar, click Engage, then Play Last.fm Stream, then select Neighbour Radio. Even if you don't have any musical neighbours, you also can choose to listen to Global Tag Radio, which plays music based on the Last.fm community's collectively tagged music. Each of these stations is arranged according to genre, whether it be Rock, Pop, Dance, Rap or whatever. It's a great way to discover new music.
The clock on the wall, mes amis, she is telling us that closing time is upon us yet again. The collection of music being played here in the restaurant at your tables would make for a fascinating stream, indeed. I hear some excellent music—not surprising with a clientele of such impeccable taste. François, please refill our guests' glasses a final time so that we may raise a toast. Please raise your glasses, mes amis, and let us all drink to one another's health. A votre santé Bon appétit!
Resources for this article: /article/9172.
Marcel Gagné is an award-winning writer living in Mississauga, Ontario. He is the author of the all new Moving to Ubuntu Linux, his fifth book from Addison-Wesley. He also makes regular television appearances as Call for Help's Linux guy. Marcel is also a pilot, a past Top-40 disc jockey, writes science fiction and fantasy, and folds a mean Origami T-Rex. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. You can discover lots of other things (including great Wine links) from his Web site at www.marcelgagne.com.
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