Last week I said I'd dig up some more material, the first new downloads in three months, to celebrate the good work that several tracks and their players did in getting us into the Design Museum (and Ember last year, in fact). So, every day this week I'm adding one new track from neglected sections of four previous gigs. The quality of these is not first rate, otherwise they might have gone up first time round, nor does this grade of material usually do well out of a rushed mix-job, but there's something good in all of them and they are definitely worth a listen. And some comments. And a score. Nudge.
The first went up last night, and came from 30 Oct 2008 at The Plough, with Jim Lampi (pictured). It was a pretty good gig, and I've got another download lined up from there later this week. I didn't have time to sort them out back then because we were playing again a fortnight later at Ember. The second one went up earlier this evening, and features Simeon Harris and Mike Captain from 29 May 08 at Imbibe. Wow. The last time Mike appeared on the downloads page, you could still smoke indoors. And when Simeon's name was last on our audio, petrol was about 80p a litre. Put the two together and you get: an explosion! Which is not really what today's download sounds like... where am I going with this... oh forget it.
These new downloads present one immediate problem. I don't reckon I can add them without elbowing off some from the other end of the list. I have less than a month to decide whether to renew my current hosting contract, because I don't want to be throwing this stuff away. Meanwhile, first I have to write an interface for the site that will let me delete a track. (In fact I just want to park it on another server, not shred it.) Then I have to decide which ones to chop. The oldest? The worst scorers? The least listened-to? None of those criteria is much good. Ultimately I think I'm just going to sling stuff I don't like. Especially if I'm on it.
One reason I don't want to use hit counts as a basis for scrapping tracks is that it has often depended on the interval between uploading one track and the next. Before this week, the most recent track had enjoyed four months of being the first featured download on the front page, and got twice as many hits as the one before.
With this in mind, I've made a subtle change on the front page. I've now put three tracks there. The last is a random selection, which was there before, and encourages people to check out a track without having to chose it. The second is the newest addition, as before. But the first on the list is the one that has most recently been commented on.
Almost all discussion groups are topic-based. Our discussion topics are the audio tracks. But where most good discussion groups will close off a thread because it's not news any more, and is therefore out-of-date and boring and sooooo yesterday and irrelevant and vacuous and dull and ... just shite... revisiting old music is much more fun, and entirely reasonable to expect people to do. We all look back over our record collections. Especially when we load the whole attic-load onto a 20GB iPod. And we have Heart FM. (What is that?) Anyway, to bring a track back to the top of our homepage list, as seems such a reasonable and standard thing to want to do, you or I need only write a comment about it. This was already possible on the downloads page itself by choosing the latest comments view and sorting by date. Now it happens automatically on the homepage, to try and impose some influence over people who select tracks from there.
One other thing I've done, for fun, is added a hit count for these blog articles things. In fact I've been quietly logging hits since the end of last year. By and large the recent articles are getting the most hits. So people might interested in my kindergarten visuals experiments after all. Actually no they're not, but I am, so I'm going to keep writing about them.