[icecast] a new directory service
marekp at intallect.com
Mon Sep 17 14:54:25 UTC 2001
On September 17, 2001 01:31, you wrote:
> So I've been doing some research and thinking here and there about what
> a _good_ directory service for icecast would be like. I'd appreciate
> some feedback and some discussion on this topic, before I start putting
> a lot of effort into developing it.
> First off, I think getting rid of # of listeners is a must. It just
> creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and encourages cheating. I think the
> best way to facilitate finding streams that you really want to listen to
> is to make the information sortable, searchable, and filterable etc.
> I'll probably be making a stand alone client to help with this, although
> the web interface will still be there. How else can we present the
> information that takes the focus off of stupid, irrelevant things like
> number of listeners?
I'm going to have to take the opposite point of view on this one, but with a
slight modification.. Number of listeners is not irrelevant, especially to
broadcasters and their competition. Granted, broadcasters get their own
statistics with more detail than just a simple number - so the information is
still there - but I think it's a bit of a stretch to go as far as to say
that the number is irrelevant, rather, it's relevance has been misconstrued
to mean other things. My personal reason for paying attention to this
statistic when faced with thousands of possible streams is that I am looking
for music of a specific genre and stand a better chance of landing in a
stream that actually falls in to that category when it's being listened to by
a majority of people (e.g. It leaves the general impression that a consensus
has been reached as to the quality of the stream and the accuracy of it's
description.) Of course, this is simply a hacked way of making up for the
various shortcomings of current directory services and broadcaster oversights
and doesn't always work, but it helps. I imagine that other people use this
logic extrapolated to meet their own personal needs and desires.
Furthermore from a listeners point of view, it does seem to be a powerful
general motivator/gravitator ("What is everyone else listening to?" "Where's
the party at?") to plug in to a stream based on number of listeners - this
technology we're using is unique in giving us that ability, taking advantage
of it is not a bad thing in my opinion, tied in with the fact that we are
social animals and like to hang out in groups it almost seems as a necessity
to me and has the potential to adversely affect the success of such a
directory listing after having people conditioned by other directory
services, hit counters, etc..
That said, we are all aware of the fact that there is a large amount of
cheating going on, and therefore that number may not be so relevant nor
accurate. In addition, the abovementioned sentiment that seems common among
listeners has created an undesired emphasis on this head count, which I think
is the actual root of the problem. Perhaps one or all of two things can be
done to filter down it's importance while getting the same kind of usability
in the grand scheme of things in addition to investigating as to how cheating
can be significantly reduced:
1 - Represent the listeners on a different scale (was it live365 that
represented listeners by displaying one to four stars?)
2 - Don't sort streams according to their alleged listenership (maybe even go
so far as not allowing that column to be sorted), certainly don't present the
default listing of streams prioritized by this statistic.
In the case that number of listeners is no longer a value displayed to the
public I would place emphasis on *greatly* increasing the accuracy/importance
of other statistics to compensate for this possible removal, which is what I
think Jack is trying to accomplish below anyway. At least I've got to voice
my opinion that I feel it's a valuable statistic and rather would like to see
effort put in to strengthening it's validity while representing streams
without this number being the primary emphasis ... :)
> Here's my current list of information that each directory entry would
> contain. If you don't understand what 'auth' is, don't worry. it's
> there to provide a modicum of security. What else would you guys like
> to see or think should be there?
I'll add my musings below, though I am quite aware that some of it may break
some rules :)
> DIRECTORY VALUES
> the url to the stream
> ex.: http://streams.vorbis.com:8000/downtempo.ogg
In general: What about exploring the possibility of having multiple bitrates
of the same stream represented on the same row (perhaps 'auth' is geared for
enabling that kind of functionality)?
> type of the stream
> ex.: audio/mpeg or application/ogg
> bitrate of the stream in kilobits per second
> ex.: 64
Though we all know what kbps is, your average listener simply knows if they
have a modem, cable, DSL, or whatever. Though I would never want kbps to go
away, maybe there's a complimentary way to represent that figure in terms
that your average listener will understand.
> the name of the stream
> ex.: Jack's Funky Beats
> the genre of teh stream
> ex.: downtempo or talk
I'd like to see sub-genre(s) or a method to allow for tighter genre
definitions.. Let me illustrate by this observation: There's techno, and
then there's Techno - why? - because people aren't always aware of the proper
genre, some people call all electronic music techno, while others are far
more specific. We've had to resort to this minor, silly distinction.. It'd
be nice not to have to use valuable space in the description field to
emphasize that indeed one does play 'proper' techno, or a specific sub-set of
the genre. Having an optional subgenre would allow broadcasters not to be
left behind when sorted on a general list of streams while still being able
to accurately portray their stream and let people find them with ease.
> the homepage of the stream
> ex.: http://streams.vorbis.com/
> email address of the streams maintainer
> ex.: jack at xiph.org
A couple more suggestions shot from the hip:
Optional longitude/latitude values that can be used for representing the
location of the stream in a variety of ways; on a map, text, etc. Could also
be used for determining the timezone of the stream.
A boolean distinction between live and playlist driven streams
A general text field that can include alternate methods of being in touch
with the people behind the particular stream.
ex.: Phone number for the studio
Link to another URL that can be used to trigger a chat system,
message board, voting mechanism or something..
> short description of the stream
> ex.: All the funkiest beats from the funkiest people. Tune
> in now for some great downtempo music.
> time to live. number of minutes an entry is valid for. subsequent
> directory changes will refresh this value. when the value
> reaches 0, this entry will be removed.
> ex.: 5
> authorization string. this is a md5sum of of some
> random data.
> ex.: echo 'jack at xiph.org|Jack Moffitt|password' | md5sum
--- >8 ----
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