A new website for GLAS

For more than a decade now GLAS – the Geneva Literary Aid Society – has been bringing theatre, music, poetry and prose to Geneva. I was at the first event in January 2005, when David Norris, a well-known Irish politician and gay rights activist, came to perform his one-man tribute to James Joyce.

Over the years since, GLAS has hosted more than 35 shows in Geneva, raising in excess of 80,000 CHF for a number of charities. Among my favourites were concerts by John Spillane, Luka Bloom, Moya Brennan and Maria Doyle Kennedy, a talk by journalist Robert Fisk, Conor McPherson’s play The Good Thief, and Ardal O’Hanlon’s stand-up comedy. (Glas is the Gaelic word for green; the organization was founded by an Irishman and most of its visiting acts have some connection with Ireland.)

I noticed recently that the GLAS website, which had at one stage been quite active, had been stripped back to nothing more than a feed from the Facebook page. I thought this was a pity, as it had built up such an impressive track record and deserved a better shop window. I helped the founder of GLAS, Denis McClean, to set up his mailing list in the early days; now that the kids are beyond the evening-consuming, sleepless night-inducing stage, I have the time and energy to get involved again. And so, late last year, I offered to create a new site and keep it updated as new shows are announced.

A shop window

The idea was to create a site that would give first time visitors an immediate impression of how active GLAS has been in the past, both in terms of the events staged and the charities supported. This will help to promote future shows and also, hopefully, can support efforts to identify much-needed sponsors.

Using WordPress is a no-brainer for projects like this. I picked the free version of a theme called Carton, as I was looking for one that used the Masonry layout. This automatically arranges blog posts into an attractive wall depending on the screen space available, which works really well where there is a featured image attached to each post. For GLAS it means the visitor gets a rich overview of what the organization does, while prioritizing the most recent post, which is where upcoming shows will be featured. It’s also fully responsive, so works well on smaller screens.

glaswebsite


Screenshot of the new GLAS site, available at http://theglas.org.

Populating the site with information about past events didn’t take too long, as I could pull text from Facebook posts, the mailing list archives and, particularly useful for the earliest shows, the Wayback Machine on archive.org, a super-useful tool that has snapshots of websites on random dates in the web’s history. (It’s very easy to disappear down a rabbit hole of looking up what favourite sites looked like in their early days.)

For the more recent shows there are photos and even reviews available, but unfortunately for some of the earliest events information is scarce. Hopefully in time we’ll dig up photos of some of the earliest events to add to the site.

I hope and expect that GLAS will be around for many years to come. For an Irishman in Switzerland it’s been a welcome cultural link with home, and one that I’m happy to support in any way that I can. The fact that it helps people in great need, most recently supporting the Edith Wilkins Foundation in their work with street children in India, is the icing on the cake.

If you’re in the Geneva area, I strongly recommend that you join the GLAS mailing list. You can, naturally, do so via the website: theglas.org/contact

 

Introducing Alumnographics… and other news from Ecolint

It’s five months since I began the latest phase of what’s turning out to be quite a varied career as an all-purpose comms guy. This time three years ago I was starting my final month with the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria, from an office at the back of Amsterdam Zoo; I then spent a little over two years back in the comfortable surroundings of the EBU in Grand-Saconnex, telling anyone that would listen about the work of the Technology & Innovation team there; and since 1 April I’ve been back at school, responsible for alumni relations at the International School of Geneva – or Ecolint.

Is there a common thread? Well in each case I arrived at an organisation or department where communications hadn’t previously been much more than an afterthought and was tasked with professionalising the approach, whether for events, publications, web, or any other communications channel. At EAZA and the EBU the role hadn’t existed prior to my arrival, and at Ecolint I’ve been hired to develop a largely reactive administrative role into one that’s more proactive and strategic.

eaza ebu ecolint

From EAZA to the EBU to Ecolint…my office is on the top floor of “le Manoir” (above right).

The Ecolint Alumni Office is based on the school’s La Grande Boissière campus, about the same distance south of Geneva’s city centre as the EBU is to the north. There are two other campuses, one in the international district and one in the countryside out along the lake a bit, with a total of eight schools (pre-school, primary, middle and secondary). While the teaching staff tend to be tied to a specific campus and school, I work for “the Foundation”, which is the entity that binds it all together. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that has a deserved reputation for providing a really top class internationally-oriented education. (It is, admittedly, an expensive school to attend, at around CHF 30,000 per year, but for many students the fees are paid or subsidised by their parents’ employers, be they multinational companies or part of the UN system.)

The raw materials

Alumni programmes tend to be associated with universities. However, with a history stretching back to 1924 and a student body that currently stands at 4,400, Ecolint’s alumni are both numerous and, for the school, very important. Those who attend Ecolint tend to develop a strong bond with the place, even if they only spend a year or two before moving on. The school’s reputation is largely built on the fact that its alumni speak so highly of it. Indeed many that have remained in the region choose to send their own children there, despite the significant financial burden it can place on the family.

There are at least 30,000 Ecolint alumni around the world, and probably more. Our archives are far from complete so it’s hard to be sure how many have slipped through the net. We have around 6,000 registered as members of our web community. The website is built on a web-based software platform called YourMembership, which provides a range of tools designed to help membership-based organisations of all shapes and sizes. I spent much of the summer (after getting a big five-yearly reunion event out of the way in June) familiarising myself with the platform and making some changes to the website.

The site had become a little cluttered over the years and has, I think, benefited from a reorganisation. There are certain limitations that come with the platform and the templates we use, but I’m confident that any alum arriving at the site now should be able to find what they’re looking for without too much difficulty.

To be (social) or not to be

One challenge for people running alumni operations is how to strike a balance between your own platform and the various other social platforms that come and go. I’m slowly piecing together an approach that uses Facebook and LinkedIn to generate interest and host discussions, while also keeping most of the meat of the content on our own site.

I’m hoping that various initiatives planned for the months ahead (e.g. the 90-9-90 project) will help to drive a bit more traffic to the website and generally increase engagement levels. But it will be an uphill battle. People’s lives, and especially their digital lives, are so busy, with so many demands on their time and attention, that pulling them in to engage with activities related to their former school (even one they hold so dear) is always going to be a challenge.

It’s really just fundraising, right?

The general assumption that people have when I say I’m responsible for alumni relations is that I spend my time asking for donations. In fact fundraising is a very minor part of my job. We have fundraising staff in the Development Office (“development” being something of a euphemistic term for fundraising!) and the alumni are indeed a potential source of financial support. However, while I should and do support the fundraising efforts, I was not hired as a fundraiser. I see myself as a community manager, putting in place tools and content that help the alumni to share their stories with each other and the wider world. It’s an opportunity for me to develop a new set of skills to add to my comms toolbox.

So far I’m really enjoying this new professional adventure. My colleagues in the school’s Development Office are a nice bunch and I appreciate the fact that I have considerable autonomy with regard to the daily running of our alumni relations programme. I have the freedom to try new ideas; and there’s lots of potential for developing the role further.

Introducing Alumnographics

One thing I’ve just tried for the first time is the use of infographics. While these graphical representations of data and ideas are not new by any means, they have become rather trendy in recent years as an alternative way of presenting information. I had to spend some time analysing our member database, drilling through the data in spreadsheets and pivot tables. It was a natural next step to generate some charts and graphs and put them all together in a format that could be used as content to further promote the community. Thus was born the “ECOLINT ALUMNOGRAPHIC 2014”. (See below)

I think it’s not bad as a first effort. Our in-house graphic designer helped me to tidy it up, but using the Foundation’s basic colour palette had already helped me to give it a coherent feel. The format was chosen partly to fit with the long narrow content areas we have on the alumni website, but also because many of the infographics that I’ve liked the most were in a similar vertical layout.

It’s not (and not meant to be) groundbreaking in terms of infographics, but it does present the data and information in an attractive and engaging format. There will, I hope, be a 2015 version of this where I can develop it further. We’ll also (hopefully) have more data to work with by then, as we’ve just started asking for more info about third level education choices, for example.

(Click the image for a bigger version – or download the PDF here.)

ALUMNOGRAPHIC 2014

 

Reading more, paying less

My reading habits have been changing and it’s worrying me. Don’t worry, I haven’t started reading the Daily Mail or anything. On the contrary, I’ve been reading loads of great journalism recently (The Vitamin Myth: why we think we need supplements and The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Food, to mention but two articles). The thing is, I haven’t paid for any of it and that makes me wonder how such journalism can continue to exist in future.

Storability, Readability

Readability is a cross-platform app that does two things really well: it reformats articles on websites to make them easier to read on whatever screen you’re using and it stores articles in your own personal reading list for you to read later, even when you’re offline. If I spot something I want to read later I just click a little button on my browser (or share it to Readability on the smartphone). It adds it to my reading list, strips out most or all of the images and serves up the text in an easily readable layout.

Before having this app, if I came across an interesting looking article but didn’t have time to read it right away it was a case of bookmarking it (using the excellent Xmarks) and going back to it later. Readability has made it much easier which also means that I’ve started seeking out good sources of new articles.

Finding the good stuff

I’m referring here primarily to longer pieces that take 15 to 30 minutes to read, or maybe even a little longer. Sources would include, for example, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, Rolling Stone, feature articles in quality Sunday newspapers, etc., or even Readability’s own website. The subject matter could be politics, science, the arts, history – just about anything.

Sometimes I’ll visit a few of the sites mentioned above and bookmark some recent articles. I’ll also come across things via reddit or kottke.org. But the most useful source is a site called Longreads that aggregates together the best new articles over 1,500 words each week. Their weekly mailout usually throws up a handful of articles that end up on my reading list.

Who pays?

We once had a subscription to The New Yorker (and would have renewed after the gift expired if it hadn’t been for the fact that we struggled to find time to keep up with the weekly issues) and used to buy a lot of newspapers, particularly at the weekend. Now I’m using a free app that strips out the advertising to read the same quality journalism for free. It’s not sustainable.

I’ve just learned that I can become a member of Longreads, to contribute towards the upkeep and development of the service (and intend to do that), but it’s not clear whether any of that money supports the journalists and publications. I’ve seen that some publishers use Longreads to promote books by allowing them to publish an extract, but that doesn’t address the fundamental problem.

We stopped buying CDs more than five years ago, instead downloading our music. But we still pay for it all, so the artists are still getting some remuneration (at least from those of us that do still pay for music). With newspaper and magazine sales on a downward slide and the failure so far of paywalls as a viable model, what will enable quality journalism to continue to exist?

Gateway drug

One little personal postscript to all of the above is that I find I’m reading more and more on my smartphone, which naturally eats into the time I spend with an old-fashioned book in my hands. I’ve resisted the jump to an e-reader until now, claiming that I like the feel of a book in my hands, don’t want to read from a screen, want to be able to pass books on to others, etc. But I can see that I’m not that far from making the leap and joining many, many book-loving friends that now swear by their Kindle.

So it seems the combo of Readability and Longreads is pulling me inexorably to the world of the e-reader, which means our bookshelves might go the way of our CD racks before them. It makes me a little bit sad, but I guess it’s not worth getting too worried about. On the other hand, I’ll be interested to see what business models rise from the rubble when the publishing industry follows in the footsteps of the record industry. It’s all in flux for now.

A service that money can’t buy

Damn you Google and your excellent free products! I really, really wanted to pay somebody to store a back-up of our music collection online and make it available on a web-based player. The convenience and reassurance offered by such a service was/is something worth paying for. But in the end it’s Google Music that has solved the problem for us – and they’re not asking for any cash.

It was perhaps five or six years ago, soon after we gave up on buying CDs altogether, that we first started using MP3tunes.com, paying around $50 a year for a “locker” big enough to take our collection. The platform allowed you to upload your entire collection to the cloud and then access it from any browser. Their original idea had been to save you the hassle of actually uploading the music by just scanning your library and matching it against tracks they already had on the servers. But the record companies didn’t like this concept and forced them into keeping seperate copies of each track. (It took the best part of a week for our whole collection to synch up to their servers.) It was still a good service though, and it allowed Nadine and I to each listen to music at our respective workplaces as well as when away on holiday, at a party, etc.

mp3tunes

The now defunct MP3tunes.com player.

MP3tunes was good while it lasted, but in the end continued legal challenges from the record companies pushed them out of business in 2012. This brought us back to square one: a 50GB library of music looking for a home in the cloud. As we moved into 2013 I did quite a bit of research on the various options and saw that Google had launched what looked like a promising service, although only in the US initially. But I thought Google already had a big enough slice of my online life, so I kept looking.

Enter AudioBox

About six months ago I came upon AudioBox from a company called iCoreTech. It looked promising: “Synchronize, stream, manage and enjoy your content, on every supported device, anytime and anywhere.” For $5 per month we could have a 50GB drive to which we could upload our collection, accessing it via a web-based player. The player itself looked quite good, although I subsequently found it a bit lacking in features – not much flexibility on how you navigate through your collection and choose music (with similar problems on their Android app). But it wasn’t Google and it was worth a try.

Unfortunately AudioBox couldn’t deliver on its promise. We paid the montly subscription for six months but never actually managed to get our library uploaded. It couldn’t get beyond about 1,000 of our 13,000 or so tracks and, although they did try to get to the root of the problem, the tech support guys couldn’t find a solution. In frustration one evening in January I looked again to see what alternatives were out there, saw Google Music popping up again, signed in with my existing Google account and, hey presto, problem solved. By the next morning our entire library was available online, with a swish-looking interface and lots of different ways of choosing what to listen to (plus a superb Android app to match).

PlayMusicApp

Google’s lovely music app for Android.

Inevitably Google

It seems Google were able to get permission to do what MP3tunes could not: to scan and match your collection. This meant we only had to actually upload a small handful of tracks that they didn’t already have on their servers. The service will allow us to download the entire collection any time we need to, so it serves as a good back-up. And as long as we’re uploading only MP3s without digital rights management (such as those we buy from 7digital.com), it remains entirely our music with no restrictions from Google on what we can do with it.

One small drawback is that you can only actually play music off one device at a time. This means that Nadine and I can’t listen simultaneously at work. This should be a reasonable use, as we legally own the music together as part of the same household. Their T&Cs don’t allow for this, but hopefully in time sense will prevail on that front.

I feel a bit sorry for the likes of AudioBox. They can’t really compete with the Google juggernaut. But it’s hard to argue when it just works, without any hassle. Where will it all end?

(There’s another discusssion to be had about whether it makes sense to have one’s own music collection at all any more, in the days of unlimited streaming from vast libraries like Spotify and Google Music’s (paid-for) All Access option… but that’s for another day.)

Podcasts for Adrian

I discovered recently that my UK Mission FC teammate Adrian is also a fan of podcasts, so we agreed to exchange tips on some of our favourites. The list I emailed to him seemed like it would sit well here too. One we already had in common is Fighting Talk, a humourous weekly sports panel show from BBC Radio 5. Colin Murray presents. Highly recommended.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of the podcasts I listen to:

Playback (RTE Radio 1)
This and Fighting Talk are the two definites each week for me. This weekly show is a great way of keeping in touch with political, cultural, sporting, social life in Ireland. It’s a kind of compendium of the best bits of shows from across all of the RTE radio stations during the previous seven days.

This American Life
This is from public radio in the USA. Usually good, sometimes really excellent. I pick and choose depending on whether it looks like something that’ll interest me. Each one is only available free of charge for one week. This week’s one looks like it could be pretty good (Doppelgangers).

RadioLab
Radio documentaries about popular science. Always a good listen. The short show this week about doctors and death is good…and I enjoyed the one a few weeks back about kids and genetic inheritance. Not as heavy as it sounds.

The Nerdist
I used to listen to this a lot more, but the host has really started to annoy me. His two co-hosts are okay and it can be quite funny at times, but Chris Hardwick himself tries a bit too hard. Nonetheless, when the guest is someone that interests me, I’ll download and listen. Some of the guests are people I’ve never heard of or have no interest in, but recent interviews (actually they’re more like casual chats than interviews) have included Tom Hanks, Mel Brooks, Kevin Bacon and Larry King.

Coverville
Cover versions. Lots of them. The presenter is clearly passionate about covers but isn’t great on the microphone himself… I check the feed every couple of months to see whether any bands or themes that particularly interest me have passed by. Right now I’m about to download the 2012 Top 40, which should make for a few hours of good listening. (The covers in the Top 40 aren’t all from 2012, but are voted on by his subscribers. To keep it fresh he inducts those that appear repeatedly into a kind of Hall of Fame that removes them from the Top 40.)

The Guardian Tech Weekly
I’m not that big of a tech geek, despite what some may think, but the topics do interest me a bit, and it’s handy for my job to keep in touch with new developments. I dip in and out of this one.

Le Rendezvous Tech
Covers similar ground in the tech domain, but this time serving the twin purpose of helping me to improve my French.

Design Observer
Just recently came across this one…I’m not sure yet whether it’ll turn out to be my cup of tea, but a recent interview with Jason Kottke (whose blog is just brilliant) was quite interesting.

Philosphy Bites
I haven’t listened to this at all yet, but it comes highly recommended and I may give it a try over the coming months.

And that’s it! I may add one or two of Adrian’s recommendations to the mix in due course – but there’s only so much listening time available. Actually it was the fact that becoming a father ate into the amount of time I have for reading that started me on podcasts. Now I find I’m trying to strike a good balance between listening to music and listening to podcasts. Life’s tough, eh?!

Don’t Fence Him In

A little video I shot of Robert one day (the first one in the video, as it happens) inspired me to make this montage. He was in pre-crawling phase where he was dragging himself around the apartment noisily and enthusiastically. As you’ll see in the video, he had a habit of stopping just as he reached a room and peering around the corner before going on. And watch out for the little twirl towards the end.

I had a lot of fun a couple of mornings getting the rest of the shots – he was a little late to his childminder those mornings and I was late-ish for work…but it was worth it!

I love this Bing Crosby recording of Don’t Fence Me In. It comes from an album of Cole Porter songs where the original recordings from the 1940s have been cleaned up.

In case you’re wondering, I put it together using the Movie Maker software that comes bundled with Windows. It’s pretty basic but perfect for quickly throwing something like this together. Unfortunately the digital camera I used to shoot the videos was set to take quite low resolution videos, so it doesn’t blow up to full screen well.

When I uploaded it to YouTube I immediately got an email from them:

Dear eoghan1,

Your video “Don’t Fence Him In“, may have content that is owned or licensed by The Orchard Music, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it.

This claim is not penalising your account status. Visit your Copyright Notice page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

Yours sincerely,
– The YouTube Team

The Copyright Notice page further stated:

Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases, ads may appear next to your video. Please note that the video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. Learn more about copyright on YouTube.

This claim does not affect your account status.

I’m not sure whether they have a deal with The Orchard Music already or whether this is more of a preemptive thing in case a problem arises with that label. In any case it seems like a fair approach to me – they publish the video but let me know that the music is copyright protected.

Pimping our music collection

Having a couple of months off work after the move to Geneva, plus some late nights sitting up baby-watching during Robert’s first few weeks while Nadine caught up on sleep gave me some time to do a few things that have really given a new lease of life to our music collection.

A new toy

Logitech Squeezebox Touch

Rediscovering Teaser and the Firecat on the Squeezebox

When we moved into our new place we bought a Logitech Squeezebox Touch and, to accompany it, a NetGear ReadyNAS Duo (which is basically a 1TB home server). The Squeezebox sits underneath our TV connected to the stereo system, from where it communicates over our wifi network with the server. The Squeezebox is basically a touchscreen interface that lets you browse through your music collection or very easily access internet radio stations. There’s also a remote control and a smartphone app, either of which can be used to control it.

The user interface is really superb – I have the feeling that it was designed by people who listen to a lot of music and understand how music fans want to interact with their collections. Since we got it we’ve found ourselves listening to albums we forgot we had. There’s something about the interface that reduces the tendency to overlook albums you’re less familiar with and just skip straight to the stuff you listen to most often. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s a lot more satisfactory than playing from Windows Media Player, WinAmp, MediaSource, etc.

Spring cleaning the collection

Screenshot from Musicbrainz Picard

A screenshot from Musicbrainz Picard

Buying the Squeezebox also made me realise how messy our music collection had become, with incomplete tagging, duplicate files, missing album artwork, etc… None of this mattered until we had this super interface that gets so much out of the metadata attached to the music files (the ID3 tags that get added when you rip CDs or come attached to music downloaded). I found a great piece of software that made the task of cleaning up the tags on more than 40GB of music much easier. Musicbrainz Picard scans through your music collection, tries to recognise what the albums are, and adds the correct tags overwriting whatever errors crept into the collection over the years. It pulls its info from a huge and impressively complete database.

We stopped buying CDs altogether about three years ago. Just about all music we buy now comes from 7digital.com and therefore usually comes properly tagged. But some good tagging software is handy for when you get compilation CDs from friends (you can’t beat a good mixtape!) or buy music direct from artists at gigs, etc.. I’ve found Mp3tag to be really good for this.

Now I just need to find the time to work out how to access the home server remotely so that we can access our music collection from anywhere. For now we’ll continue to use MP3tunes.com for that.

Generating a customised Google map of zoo locations from a spreadsheet

In searching for a quick and effective way to map the members of the organisation I currently work for I came across a very useful tool from the Google Earth Outreach department. The Spreadsheet Mapper tool allows you to generate the code that Google Maps and Google Earth both use to display information. Very clear instructions are provided, but it basically boils down to the following steps:

  • Open the spreadsheet in Google Docs, select the basic configuration options and then publish the spreadsheet as a web page from Google Docs
  • Add the geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) of each point you want to map along with whatever data you want to display in the balloon that pops up
  • Update the layout templates provided so that the information is displayed in the way you want it to appear (this takes a little bit of time and some knowledge of html is helpful)
  • Republish the spreadsheet regularly to check your progress and view the results in Google Maps.

KML, which is the markup language used, doesn’t seem to be very forgiving of errors. I found it was quite easy to “break” my map if I added a tag in the wrong place when adjusting the template tabs, for example. But if you take your time, and check the results of each change made as you go, you can generally find the error causing the problem.

The map I created shows all of the members of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The placemarker icon I used came from the Map Icons Collection which allows you to generate placemarkers in just about any colour. This allowed me to take their “zoo” icon and generate various versions to represent the different categories of membership.

 


View Larger Map

Initial thoughts on Google+

[These are some thoughts I jotted down for a web professionals discussion group I follow. The question asked was how people are considering using Google+, the people in question working mostly for international organisations and associations.]

Google+ logoOne of the big differences with Facebook is the asynchronous nature of relationships: when you add a friend on Facebook they must grant you permission to do so, whereas on Plus anybody can add a contact to one of their circles. The person in question is notified by email that they’ve been added to one of your circles, but not which circle. (I don’t think the email notifications are going to non-users of Plus in all cases yet.) Incidentally, while the interface for manipulating circles is really quite slick, I can see it getting complicated very quickly: I don’t think it’s going to prove all that easy to decide which circle(s) to add somebody to or which circles to share particular content with.

One of the default circles created when you first sign in is “Following”, the idea being that you might use this circle for people that you don’t know personally but that you want to follow (as per Twitter) in your stream. I don’t know how this is going to pan out in terms of the issue of trust and authentication – how do you know the account you’re following is really that person? Of course that’s an issue on Twitter too, but there’s something about the ease with which circles are created and contacts added that suggests to me it will be a bigger problem on Plus.

If there is a big take-up of Google+, which seems quite likely, organisations will have to start thinking about how they manage their presence in the social network, where up to now they may have had a Facebook page or Like buttons on their own sites. Instead of a “Like” they’ll be looking for a “+1” on Plus. But whereas the Like button on Facebook is something that feeds into the user’s own social network, with Google+ I think the +1 will rather feed into search results as a kind of additional quality rating of some sort. So we see elements of a Reddit/Digg approach coming in here too.

It’s unclear to me so far how Google intends to allow organisations to have a presence or profile on Plus. Perhaps, given that they already have search and indexing more or less sewn up, we’ll see less emphasis on organisations having a separate dedicated page or profile on Plus, and instead the focus will shift back to your own website and how Google interacts with that. Personally I think less fragmentation of an organisation’s web presence can only be a good thing. Having said that, this blog and video points to a Google+ for Business coming along later this year. Oh well…maybe now we’ll have to maintain both Facebook and Google pages, plus that Twitter feed. (Maybe time to kill the MySpace page?!)

At the moment it feels like a new housing development with only a few people having moved in and the social amenities half-built. But I sense the impending arrival of the hordes on the horizon!

That’s my tuppence-worth for now.

I’m loving SoundCloud

I’ve never been 100% happy with the way I was presenting my own recordings on this website. I used a neat WordPress plugin called WPaudio that looking for links to mp3 files in the page and puts a little player on top of them. But what I was really looking for was a player where I could upload a whole lot of tracks and have them play sequentially – and ideally one that looks good too. Enter SoundCloud.

I first signed up for SoundCloud about three years ago, but I think it had only just launched then and didn’t have the full feature set it has today. I’ve seen it popping up here and there since then and I finally decided to take another look. It turns out that it does pretty much everything I’d like it to do now. I realise that BandCamp can probably do the same thing, but my recordings are all in mp3 format and I can’t be bothered trascoding them to a format that BandCamp will accept. So for now I’m going with SoundCloud. There are a couple of players like the one below now on my Songs & Music page, one featuring my own compositions and one with a few covers that I’ve recorded over the years.

My Songs by eoghan