Not a Spotify Wrap-up

Okay, so lots of people are posting their end-of-year Spotify wrap-ups showing off their listening habits. I don’t subscribe to Spotify (they don’t pay their artists nearly enough, and they have a history of supporting podcasters I have issues with, so they don’t get my money), but I do have Apple Music (who, really, should also pay their artists more, but they’re at least better than Spotify), and Apple does an end-of-year “replay” thing.

Of course, even this is a very small peek at my listening habits, because I really don’t use Apple Music all that much. I get it as part of a subscription bundle, and only really use it briefly in the mornings before work, or occasionally in the evenings before bed. Most of the time I listen to songs from my local collection.

That said, though, here’s what Apple says about the, oh, 10% (if that) of my music listening that it knows about….

Top Artists

Top Artists
549 total artists
1
The Orb
137 minutes
2
Nine Inch Nails
136 minutes
3
4
Dolly Parton
128 minutes
Orbital
124 minutes
5
Underworld
89 minutes 6
Bonobo
71 minutes
7
Hooverphonic
69 minutes
8
Imperative Reaction
64 minutes
9
Velvet Acid Christ
61 minutes
10
Apoptygma Berzerk
51 minutes 11
VNV Nation
50 minutes
12
Seabound
50 minutes
13
Front Line Assembly
46 minutes
14
Rotersand
44 minutes
15
Icon of Coil
44 minutes

549 total artists

  1. The Orb 137 minutes
  2. Nine Inch Nails 136 minutes
  3. Dolly Parton 128 minutes
  4. Orbital 124 minutes
  5. Underworld 89 minutes
  6. Bonobo 71 minutes
  7. Hooverphonic 69 minutes
  8. Imperative Reaction 64 minutes
  9. Velvet Acid Christ 61 minutes
  10. Apoptygma Berzerk 51 minutes
  11. VNV Nation 50 minutes
  12. Seabound 50 minutes
  13. Front Line Assembly 46 minutes
  14. Rotersand 44 minutes
  15. Icon of Coil 44 minutes

I’m quite amused that Dolly landed so high on this list, particularly how out of place she looks. But her recent Rock Star album is great, and it has been getting a lot of plays since it came out. Worth it!

Top Songs

Top Songs
872 total songs
1
BAD GUYS
FEELIN' ALRIGHT
ELLE KING
Feelin' Alright (from...
Elle King
8 plays
2
Wide Open
The Crystal Method
6 plays
3
Cuts You Up
Peter Murphy
5 plays
4
Came Back Haunted
Nine Inch Nails
5 plays
5
Dial8
Velvet Acid Christ
5 plays 6
Modern Love
David Bowie
7
5 plays
HOOVERPHONIC
2Wicky
Hooverphonic
5 plays
8
IMMA ATE
Express Yourself (Edi...
Madonna
Madonna
5 plays
9
The Night (feat. Aliso...
Röyksopp
4 plays
10
Underworld
I Exhale
Underworld
4 plays 11
12
13
14
15
SOME NIGHTS
INVNATION
AUTOMATIC
Spock
VCMG
4 plays
Eraser E
Nine Inch Nails
4 plays
Some Nights E
Fun.
4 plays
Gratitude
VNV Nation
4 plays
Funk 4 Peace...
Fort Knox Five
4 plays

Again, I’ve listened to many of these tracks far more times this year than is represented here, and have listed to a lot of other stuff as well, probably far more than the 4-8 times shown in these screenshots. That said, it’s not really that bad of a sampler of what I listen to.

So…it’s a weird list, and only somewhat representative of my tastes. But hey, since I have a limited sample size to work from because I don’t stream much of what I listen to, it’s what we get.

Year 50 Day 213

Me holding three advent calendars.

Day 213: It’s advent calendar season! One from IKEA, one from Trader Joe’s, and one from…well, Kinder. I don’t remember where we bought that one. Oh, and not pictured is this year’s Lego City calendar. Three chocolates and a Lego goodie every day until Christmas. Not bad at all.

ABBYY FineReader Amazement and Disappointment

I’ve spent much of the past three days giving myself a crash-course in ABBYY FineReader on my (Windows) work laptop, and have been really impressed with its speed, accuracy, and ability to greatly streamline the process of making scanned PDFs searchable and accessible. After testing with the demo,I ended up getting approval to purchase a license for work, and I’m looking forward to giving it a lot of use – oddly, this seemingly tedious work of processing PDFs of scanned academic articles to produce good quality PDF/UA accessible PDFs (or Word docs, or other formats) is the kind of task that my geeky self really gets into.

Since I’m also working a lot with PDFs of old scanned documents for the Norwescon historical archives project, tonight after getting home I downloaded the trial of the Mac version, fully intending to buy a copy for myself.

I’m glad I tried the trial before buying.

It’s a much nicer UI on the Mac than on Windows (no surprise there), and what it does, it does well. Unfortunately, it does quite a bit less — most notably, it’s missing the part of the Windows version that I’ve spent the most time in: the OCR Editor.

On Windows, after doing an OCR scan, you can go through all the recognized text, correct any OCR errors, adjust the formatting of the OCR’d text, even to the point of using styles to designate headers so that the final output has the proper tagging for accessible navigation. (Yes, it still takes a little work in Acrobat to really fine-tune things, but ABBYY makes the entire process much easier, faster, and far more accurate than Acrobat’s rather sad excuse for OCR processing.)

On the Mac, while you can do a lot to set up what gets OCRd (designating areas to process or ignore, marking areas as text or graphic, etc.), there’s no way to check the results or do any other post-processing. All you can do is export the file. And while ABBYY’s OCR processing is extremely impressive, it’s still not perfect, especially (as is expected) with older documents with lower quality scan images. The missing OCR Editor capability is a major bummer, and I’m much less likely to be tossing them any of my own money after all.

And most distressingly, this missing feature was called out in a review of the software by PC Magazine…nearly 10 years ago, when ABBYY first released a Mac version of the FineReader software. If it’s been 10 years and this major feature still isn’t there? My guess — though I’d love to be proven wrong — is that it’s simply not going to happen.

Pity, that.

📚 Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

66/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Technically a time travel book, but the time travel itself is kind of the least important part, little more than a hand-waved MacGuffin necessary to get the characters in the right places. From there, you have the dual stories of near-future and historical pandemics. And, of course, any pandemic-centric tale can’t help but be read somewhat differently now than it would have been five years ago. In some ways, the near-future part seemed rather prescient, referring to a prior flu pandemic that would have hit in the mid-2010s, only about a decade off from our COVID reality, or the presence of protesters blaming the government; in others, it now seems sadly naïve (now that we know that most people’s reaction to a pandemic too quickly turns to “meh” or outright denial rather than taking it seriously). Both stories are excellently handled, often with a subtle dry humor in the “present day” portion balancing the tragedies of the historical portion.

Me holding Doomsday Book

Year 50 Day 209

Me, wearing a black face mask, sitting in an auto dealership lobby, with my work laptop open on my lap.

Day 209: The joys of remote work: on the one hand, I don’t have to take time off when the car needs to be serviced. On the other hand, I don’t get to take time off work when the car needs to be serviced. On the gripping hand, blogging about this means I’m not really working at the moment…. (Don’t worry. I’ll go back to being responsible after this is posted.)

Year 50 Day 208

Me sitting in a chair with my legs under a blanket and stretched out in front of me towards a wood burning fireplace with a fire burning in it. Christmas stockings are hung over the fireplace. I have a MacBook open on my lap, with a couple document windows visible.

Day 208: It’s quite chilly outside, but I’m quite cozy in front of the fire, working on correcting OCR scans of old Norwescon program books to upload to the convention archives while my wife dozes in the chair next to me. Not a bad way to spend the final day of this Thanksgiving break.