Music In The Fields – KingsStock 2011

This past weekend I’ve been at KingsStock.

KingsStock is a micro music event held deep in the countryside of rural Cambridgeshire and aims to promote young and upcoming bands who take inspiration from their Faith.

In the lead up to KingsStock I’ve been updating the website with the line up and also promoting the festival using Twitter and Facebook. On the Thursday, the Main Stage went up on site and I was able to produce an amazing time lapse of the construction and is now posted on the KingsStock YouTube page.

It was an amazing weekend! Just to see so many young, talent people perform in front of a lovely crowd of people.

It was planned that the Main Stage performances would be live streamed to the KingsStock website on the Friday and Saturday evenings. There were a few technical issues, lack of internet connection being the main one, on the Friday evening meaning that not much of the evening was broadcast. On Saturday, fortunately I was able to broadcast a lot more of the proceedings, which not too much interruption. On the Saturday evening I also compered the Main Stage.

The official(ish) count of visitors on the Saturday evening (the main event) was about 186. It was a great turn out.

As part of the promotion, we were contacted by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and they asked that our organiser, James Stevens, went on their Sunday Breakfast Show (which focused on Faith topics). James was on air about 7:40am, after not much sleep. You can listen to the interview on the KingsStock Press page.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting photos and videos to the KingsStock website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Why Google+ Isn’t Winning Me Over

I read an article by The New Web about how their users are saying they would leave Facebook to use Google+ instead. You can read it here: stke.info/lfzsq

I have a Google+ account but I won’t be dropping Facebook or Twitter to use it. Here’s why:

1. Yet ANOTHER social networking site I need to convince people to join

For me that’s the biggest problem. I have problems trying to convince my friends to use Twitter. Plus will my Mum really want to use Google+? I don’t think it’s as friendly enough for my mum to get along with it. I got in just so I could see what was going on but I don’t think many of my actual, IRL friends will want to use this.

2. What information so I post in which circle?!

So I’ve got friends in my circles, but now I’ve got to decide which circle I post to! I like Twitter and Facebook because I can share the same information with everyone. If I didn’t want certain people to see it, I simply don’t post it. If you don’t want people to know about it, simply don’t post it!

3. What do I focus on posting?

I’ve got my friends on there and put them in circles and decided what I’m going to post, but what stops me from getting distracted? I like Twitter because those 140 characters keep me to the point and make sure I can’t waffle (unlike this post!). I just think that if I’m going to post on Google+ it’s going to be complete rubbish and irrelevant.

4. Will Google+ become a platform for companies?

I don’t think so. A company will then need your Google email address and permission for you to be added to a circle, whereas on Twitter & Facebook users don’t have to give any permissions! I might be wrong here but I don’t think it’s a good platform for this kind of interaction.

So if you hadn’t guessed, I’m not massively into Google+. I just don’t think that the ‘regular, non geeky’ internet users will migrate.

The ONE feature that I might use on Google+ is the Hangouts. I like that you can have up to 10 people with webcam and voices! This is something which Skype currently charges for! (Even then you can only have up to four.)

For now, I will be sticking to Facebook (which I’m using less and less) and Twitter.

The Cross Rhythms Radioplayer and I [Now Live]

For the past two weeks I have been constructing the Cross Rhythms Radioplayer.

So firstly, what is Radioplayer?

Radioplayer is an online audio player which gives you access to live, on demand and podcast radio from hundreds of stations in the UK. All of the stations on Radioplayer use the same player so that the experience is simple and familiar for users, no matter which station they listen to.

The first stations on the player were those from the BBC, Global Radio (including the Heart network), GMG Radio and the Absolute Radio network. These were also the founding stations of the project.

You can read more about Radioplayer at their website: www.radioplayer.co.uk

The most exciting thing for me is that Cross Rhythms will be the first Christian radio station on Radioplayer!

Now let’s get down to what I’ve been doing over the past two weeks!

So on a on Tuesday 21st June, I was asked by Richard (the head of IT at Cross Rhythms) if I would be prepared to start work on CR’s Radioplayer console. I LEAPED at the chance to get involved with this as I had told Richard about it as soon as I caught wind of it.

I hadn’t been given a deadline, but they knew that I would only be there for two weeks before I left them for the summer. So my personal target was to get it completed and on the Radioplayer database by today.

My first step was to gather all the information I needed before generating the station’s meta data which would be used in the search engine RP has. This was a bit of a task and took me several hours to do; this was before I had got to any actual creating of stuff!

Next I used the console generator that RP had provided. This gave me a great starting block and provided me with the outline and actual player. All I had to do now was customize it!

Cross Rhythms already had a great player so what I did was to take many of the great elements from the current player and put them inside RP. Fortunately Richard had spent lots of time ensuring that his console was technically sound. This meant that all of this made my job a lot easier in RP, all I had to do was design and style it.

One of the easiest things was to insert our current Listen Again feature into the RP OnDemand facility. It worked seamlessly! (Much to the surprise of myself and Richard.) All I had to do now was ensure that users were able to get back to the live stream.

I learnt a lot more about PHP whilst doing this and it was great to have to work to someone else’s design specification (the one which RP gave us so we didn’t destroy the player!).

Today we had to iron out a few little niggles before we were able to show it to the station manager and also the marketing department. They had a few suggestions and they helped shape a few areas I was a bit unsure about. But by about 4:30pm we had completed it!

So it took me 6 days, over two weeks, 9am to 5pm each day. It was well worth it!

Screenshots of the Cross Rhythms Radioplayer console (click to enlarge)

The Radioplayer console is not going to currently be replacing the current Cross Rhythms console.

At the time of writing this, unfortunately, the Radioplayer console I produced is not live on the system. This is due to a couple of things, which I don’t completely understand. Either way the console is ready to go on there but all I can do is tell you it will be there soon. I will update this post when it is ready for you to use.

Update: On Monday 6th July, the Cross Rhythms Radioplayer console went live! You can now view it by searching ‘Cross Rhythms’ in any Radioplayer console or by going to www.radioplayer.co.uk and using their Browse function.