As I’m a pretty busy boy, I generally say “No” to custom software requests – quite often, the reason is the potential client’s budget (ie: very little) despite the time+labour saving involved for them once they are running the application. I try to point this out but it’s often not appreciated.
However, there are times when I say “Yes” because the job is either quite simple and/or a ruddy good idea. A recent example fell into the latter category because it was something that I had been looking at myself as part of a playout application and, as far as I’m aware, none of the available systems currently support it:
Pre-Scheduled Meta-Data (now playing). In short, it’s a playlist of song tracks with a time-stamp alongside each which is then sent at a given time to a “destination”. This could be a SHOUTcast Server, SQL Database or simple Text Log. The idea behind it is that when a pre-recorded show goes out, the Artist+Title info is sent at more/less the exact time the song starts were it played direct from a playlist as a bona-fide “song” item. So a 2-hour MP3/WAV file plays and my software, at the pre-determined times, pushes out the information for you.
The clever stuff is when you tell it where the actual audio files are – it can pre-fill the scheduled “air time” for each track based upon its length. This allows you to fine-tune it, allowing for links, advert breaks and such. For my client’s needs, they wanted to push an M3U of the show’s contents to my custom application to automatically determine the airtime of the music, jingles, adverts etc. Non-music items are ignored but songs are then “pushed” to the Now Playing routine as they occur.
One happy customer who can now display the songs they are playing during a pre-recorded show AND it’s managed by the presenters themselves. Designed as a simple to use system: Add a show, insert the contents and set the air-times.
A great idea for a custom application, and something to keep me fed and watered for a few weeks!