GrooveBot updates

Today I'm going to talk about something a bit more understandable, I hope.

Back around the summer of 2010, the FOSSBox wanted some ambient music to play in the background. One of the things we wanted was a way to have control over the songs played be available to anyone, even if they weren't here to listen with us. Jlew was working on some IRC bots at the time, so he wrote up a bot that could hook into the GrooveShark API and play music that users requested through IRC. It was cool, when it worked, and it was fun having community control over song selections, even when that sometimes led to a bit of musical griefing.

Then GrooveShark kept changing it's API without warning, then they changed their pricing for access to said API, and then the bot stopped working. Plans to build a more robust bot around GrooveBot, as it was now called, were scrapped, and the FOSSBox was quiet once more.

Then turntable.fm happened. While we are not their optimal use-case, it did allow us a measure of community choice in our songs, and generally got us back to playing some sweet tunes while we work, with the added bonus that anyone could run it, not just people with premium access. Everything was pretty good, all things considered, and we could continue on with our lives.

Except for one thing.

Now with GrooveBot, you could send all kinds of commands to the bot and it would tell you what songs were playing, queue additional songs, pause or resume playback, and so on, all from the IRC windows we were already using to communicate with people outside of the area. I don't expect any of this to be available for Turntable any time soon, but there is one function that I have sorely missed. And that is the ability to change the volume from my computer without having to get up and manually prod whoever's running the audio.

So now there is a stripped version of GrooveBot on gitorious called volbot, and all he does is respond to requests to change the volume. Hopefully, when a new, free music API becomes available that we can hook into, it should be easier to reimplement those functions in a more general way so that multiple backends can be used for a more varied music experience. And then we can get back to the OS grooving.


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