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discchord v3.5: Seek and Ye Shall Find!

This is an update that I've been putting off for ages because I knew it would suck to code it. I was right.

Fortunately the results are super useful. This finally addresses the awful search that has been on the site since day 1. It is fantastic now! This includes both article search and app search! Now if you search for Audiobus the first result is Audiobus, and not any of the 838 other apps in the site's database that mentions Audiobus.

What's new in discchord v3.5:

+ New Search! Better, slower, way way more accurate and helpful!
- Fixed Android! Updated scraping to latest Google changes, and made some tweaks to database.
- Fixed # at the end of App Store links, so that the # doesn't end up in the database.
- Fixed YouTube links to other @channels
- Fixed Exploit in Search that exposed Patron Only Posts (Thanks Cosmo for letting me know!)
- Fixed anti-cheat in contests to avoid false positives. Sorry!

Brought to You By Medicinal Amphetamines

This long awaited update would not be possible without the aid of amphetamines! Under medical supervision I've been experimenting with Vyvanse to treat my, now extremely problematic, ADHD. Things started off rough. I've now found a dosage that works for me! I'm finally able to tackle problems that before seemed too boring, or dangerous. Addressing search here was a bit of both.

Search is Hard

I've known the search here sucked. I was relatively new to Python in early 2016 when I wrote it. Surfacing relevant search results is tricky and I just didn't know how to do it back then. I've known how to do it right for a while now, but search is kind of woven into the code all over the place and I knew it'd be a long and boring process to retrofit a better search. The code base for discchord is huge now, and it is a little dangerous for me to go poking around at fundamental portions of it. I was able to face both of these problems with patience!

I'm quite proud of the new search and hope it will be much more useful to you.

Android is Shit

Regular readers here will know that I hate Apple. In fact I strongly resisted buying an iPad because I was waiting for Android tablets to get their shit together. When Korg released iMS-20 I caved and bought an iPad 2. I'm glad I did or I'd still be waiting for Android to get its shit together. Despite my hopes, Android has not become a relevant platform for music makers. So I find it particularly galling when Google keeps fucking with the web scraping I use to include Android apps in the site's database.

I was pretty close to throwing in the towel after the last attempt to block me. I've updated the scraping again to bring Android support back in-line with iOS in the Music App Guide. This may be the last time I do so unless I hear from a lot of Android fans that actually care.

discchord is becoming self-aware!

I split the roll-out of this update into two stages, so that if something went wrong I would know where to begin bug hunting. I was keeping Twitter apprised of the situation and soliciting feedback on any bugs. After the Stage 2 post this morning, Audio Damage developer Chris Randall made a very prescient tweet.

There were also a lot of changes in the backend. They're not mentioned in these update notes because that would just be a wall of [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] in the [REDACTED]. One of these is a very early stage Machine Learning project I'm experimenting with on the site. I go through hundreds of YouTube videos every day, and I'm trying to train an AI model to help me do that. It isn't actually doing anything right now, but yes, Stage 3 is world domination.

User Suggestions

The last time I asked for user suggestions there was one idea that almost made it into v3.5.

Set Pagination in reverse so that people viewing page "995" always go back to the same page when they refresh. (Markus Gräser)

I like this idea a lot, but I want to get your feedback. I can see how this would be useful, but I'm worried that this is going to break something that I'm not thinking about. I use the site differently than you, so I'd like to hear what your thoughts are! If you have any other suggestions this is probably a place to post them.

And as always, please report bugs! Do not assume that I know about it. As far as I know the site is amazing and nothing is wrong. I can't fix problems unless you let me know about them.

Reader Comments 25

Excellent. Thanks for all of your hard work!!!
January 24, 2020  | person_outline Marc S Langelier
This awesome Tim! Thanks homie!!
Congrats on the new search and thank you for running this site!

The one suggestion I would make would be for a responsive design. My stubborn refusal to upgrade my iPhone 6S and rapidly aging eyes means looking at Discchord on a phone involves a whole lot of zooming and scrolling! Frankly, it wouldn't need to be a "typical" phone design, if if the articles were just half the width that would be a lot easier to read.

One iPhone-related bug: On a computer, when on a Search page, pressing return on the keyboard will initiate the search. On the phone, pressing "Search" on the phone's keyboard doesn't work, you have to click the button on the site.
January 24, 2020  | favorite_border ajp
Sweet!
But stop, why I can't just say "sweet"?
The site claiming that "the comment is duplicate. Do you have something new to say"?
January 24, 2020  | favorite_border eVr
On January 24, 2020 - @ajp said:
One iPhone-related bug: On a computer, when on a Search page, pressing return on the keyboard will initiate the search. On the phone, pressing "Search" on the phone's keyboard doesn't work, you have to click the button on the site.

What version of iOS are you on? I just tested on my iPad and iPhone, with Safari and Chrome, and both worked as expected.

I know the site looks like shit on phones and I really want to do a responsive design. Unfortunately to do it right you need to first design for phones, and then expand that for iPads and desktop. You can try to go backwards, but the results tend to look very poor. I don't want to throw anyone under the bus, but there are some major sites in music tech space that are guilty of this. I am aware of this important need though!
On January 24, 2020 - @eVr said:
Sweet!
But stop, why I can't just say "sweet"?
The site claiming that "the comment is duplicate. Do you have something new to say"?

Specifically so you can't just say "sweet" ... ;)

I guess I could let Patrons do it, but there is a philosophical reason behind preventing people from doing short comments. This is not directed at you, just some Old Man Internet philosophizing:

Back in the bad old days... Men were real men. Women were real women. And "brain-dead AOLers" were the bane of them all.

There was a period in the early public Internet where you would be hard pressed to find an idiot. Because of the scarcity of ISPs, and various economic and educational factors, most of the people conversing online were pretty smart and their conversations reflected that. You would have to go into a FidoNet's flamewars to find morons, and even then it was really smart people just acting stupid.

Then AOL gave their users access to the Internet and it all went downhill in a hurry. Suddenly message boards and chat rooms were flooded with comments that weren't actually contributing to the discussion. "Nice", "Me too!", "woah" just random inane comments that did nothing but act as speed bumps between the thoughtful comments.

The first time I saw #MeToo trending I thought they were making fun of AOLers, because "Me Too" was their most common input in any forum. It was so common, and so hated, that it even got a mention in a Weird Al song!

https://youtu.be/qpMvS1Q1sos

Once again, this is not directed at you. I'm just explaining why I put that limitation in there. I know it runs counter to modern Internet usage and etiquette. This is just me being old. If you'd like I can make it so that it ignores the restriction for Patrons.
Awesome, congrats! My respect for this work has increased over the years as ive learned how fucking much time you all put into such projects. I been watching my partner go through school to learn some of this stuf and shes been at the screen (3 actually) 12 hours a day somtimes longer i think. Its just mindfucking the level of complexity some folks enjoy? Much love for you Tim! This makes me feel like a loser, my website doesnt even have content yet!!!!!
January 24, 2020  | person_outline Cyp3
Great job Tim!

Next step set up btcpayserver for donations :)

Thanks for all your hard work :)
January 25, 2020  | person_outline Joe
On January 24, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:

What version of iOS are you on? I just tested on my iPad and iPhone, with Safari and Chrome, and both worked as expected.
Sorry, I should have knee clearer. Not the general search field on the side above Recent Comments; that does work on iOS. I was discussing the blue search button at the top of the page that you get when you go to e.g. the Music App Guide section. The blue button doesn't respond to the iOS keyboard, but does work for the Mac return key.

Tested on iOS 13.3, 12.3.1, 8.3 (guess I like 3rd revisions), Safari and Chrome.


I know the site looks like shit on phones and I really want to do a responsive design. Unfortunately to do it right you need to first design for phones, and then expand that for iPads and desktop. You can try to go backwards, but the results tend to look very poor. I don't want to throw anyone under the bus, but there are some major sites in music tech space that are guilty of this. I am aware of this important need though!
Eh, not "important", but would be nice. Like I said, if the columns were just half the width on the phones, tapping the text to fill the screen would be fine. It doesn't really need to be a typical, completely different design (frankly, I don't really like those).
January 25, 2020  | favorite_border ajp
On January 25, 2020 - @ajp said:
I was discussing the blue search button at the top of the page that you get when you go to e.g. the Music App Guide section. The blue button doesn't respond to the iOS keyboard, but does work for the Mac return key.
Ohhh! Weird. You're right, that's not working at all. I wonder why that is. I'll have to figure it out.

Thanks for letting me know!
Congratulations on wrangling the various issues that were blocking your site update, Tim. I’m sorry that you have issues with attention. At this point in my life, it would take the creation of obsessiveness from amphetamines (been there, done that, hated it) to get me to focus on some things because I’m just so fed up with every dogdamned thing in my life... so I sympathize and I wish there was a drug-free solution for you (since I’ve found amphetamines to be horrific).

Regarding iPhone usage of the site:

Just making all of the text fields (including this too-wide edit field) a half or one quarter narrower would help with all the zooming and eye strain while reading on iPhones. Don’t even worry about an entire “responsive” redesign; just tweak it a bit overall.

I have no idea why certain text boxes on certain sites are even worse for Apple’s fucking shitty mobile Safari text handling, but the ones here are interfering with double tapping to select words in edit fields, for one example. It’s also utterly inconsistent.

And it seems that using the back button after posting comments still leaves extra page history states to travel through to go back.
January 25, 2020  | person dysamoria
And I still hate the animated ads... :-p I don’t mind the ones that don’t move. Flashing and motion is an irritant for reading content. :-/

But hey, I still like you and come here daily, so... :-)
January 25, 2020  | person dysamoria
PS: the extra steps for page history I mentioned above... don’t seem to appear in the actual history list. It’s the behavior i experience nonetheless. [shrug]
January 25, 2020  | person dysamoria
On January 25, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
Just making all of the text fields (including this too-wide edit field) a half or one quarter narrower would help with all the zooming and eye strain while reading on iPhones. Don’t even worry about an entire “responsive” redesign; just tweak it a bit overall.
Hmm! This got me thinking. I'm going to think some more about this!
On January 25, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
And I still hate the animated ads... :-p I don’t mind the ones that don’t move. Flashing and motion is an irritant for reading content. :-/

But hey, I still like you and come here daily, so... :-)
There is an editorial process with ads, where I have to approve them. I actually really like some of them! The Beats N Bobs one gets the most complaints, but it's my favorite. I love the psychotic smiley face.

Though from a professional standpoint, I wish they were all as elegant as the new one for Continua.

Fortunately I've built a system that allows you to easily disable all ads! https://discchord.com/supporters
Tim, great to hear that Vyvanse is working for you.
Please continue to rigorously monitor it’s effects, your reactions, and use. I have seen it work wonders. Most of the time.
January 26, 2020  | person JeffChasteen
On January 26, 2020 - @JeffChasteen said:
Tim, great to hear that Vyvanse is working for you.
Please continue to rigorously monitor it’s effects, your reactions, and use. I have seen it work wonders. Most of the time.
Thanks, yeah. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 25 because I've got non-kinetic ADHD. I tried a few medications and Adderall was the only one that really helped, but I did not enjoy the experience. There was a steep crash when it wore off, and it was giving me severe gastrointestinal problems. I stopped after about 4 months when it was clear my body was never going to get used to it.

My symptoms have gotten a lot worse over the last 15 years. I'm basically always in a hurried and hectic state. Now I can't even play video games in genres that I used to like, because I need constant excitement and activity. It can be hard to understand for people who don't suffer from this condition, but being bored is actually painful... and I bore fast. I used to read a lot as a kid, but I haven't been able to read a book in about 10 years. Passive media like watching movies, something I've always loved, has now become a chore. I seriously needed to seek treatment again.

Fortunately Vyvanse is basically the same chemical as Adderall, so it works for me, but it is much gentler. Adderall was a Square Wave, where you are ON and then you are OFF. Vyvanse is a gentle slow Sine Wave. Now I'm able to do things I haven't been able to do since I was a kid; like reading and meditating! The 20 minutes I spend every day meditating is now my favorite time of day! After decades of being frantic, it is such a relief to spend some time just being absolutely calm.
Great work Tim. The world needs to appreciate what a great resource Discchord is!
On being unable to read books: SSNRI drugs stopped me being able to read books. It was a horrible discovery. It took ten months to get off of each of the two drugs I was put on and being able to read fiction again was the first sign of recovery from that shit.
January 28, 2020  | person dysamoria
On January 28, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
On being unable to read books: SSNRI drugs stopped me being able to read books. It was a horrible discovery. It took ten months to get off of each of the two drugs I was put on and being able to read fiction again was the first sign of recovery from that shit.

You have my sympathizes man. I seriously hate all of the drugs that screw with serotonin. I had to go through a few of those with my shrink when we were trying to address my anxiety.

I've written passionately about the classical music riots, because of my experience coming off SSRIs. I absolutely understand that overwhelming hatred for everything that you feel when your serotonin is going bat shit.

https://discchord.com/appnews/2019/01/04/mqtldb-nucleic-acid-analysis-iii
Having gone the route with ADD/ADHD accelerants and SSRIs, I just want to underscore the importance of listening to your body. Some side-effects are minor and/or temporary, but others can be debilitating and ongoing. Currently recovering from my last round of SSRIs & trying to keep an eye on my depressive tendencies
January 28, 2020  | person Trilobyte
On January 24, 2020 - @ajp said:
One iPhone-related bug: On a computer, when on a Search page, pressing return on the keyboard will initiate the search. On the phone, pressing "Search" on the phone's keyboard doesn't work, you have to click the button on the site.

I fixed it! This was a tricky one to figure out. I wrote most of the code for discchord back in 2016, and I'm getting old so I don't remember half of it. I could see that I had made an attempt to solve this problem before. And I guess it worked for a while? But it seems to have stopped working and I couldn't figure out why. I tried searching around to see if anyone else had a solution and they were all suggesting using the old method that stopped working.

I had to come up with an entirely different solution over the last couple of days, but I got there! I know how annoying it is when I'm on sites that don't actually do the thing when you press the "Search" or "Submit" button on the iOS keyboard. discchord: Now 0.5% less annoying!
On January 28, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:

I fixed it! This was a tricky one to figure out. I wrote most of the code for discchord back in 2016, and I'm getting old so I don't remember half of it. I could see that I had made an attempt to solve this problem before. And I guess it worked for a while? But it seems to have stopped working and I couldn't figure out why. I tried searching around to see if anyone else had a solution and they were all suggesting using the old method that stopped working.

I had to come up with an entirely different solution over the last couple of days, but I got there! I know how annoying it is when I'm on sites that don't actually do the thing when you press the "Search" or "Submit" button on the iOS keyboard. discchord: Now 0.5% less annoying!

Fantastic! Tested and verified working on my phone.
January 29, 2020  | favorite_border ajp
On January 25, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:
Fortunately I've built a system that allows you to easily disable all ads! https://discchord.com/supporters

Yeah, I know. Sorry, Tim, but I live off of SSD and SNAP. It’s hard enough to even hold on to extra money for my music hobby, which is a life-enhancer and may be one thing keeping me from jumping in front of a train. I’ve been sitting on a number of project purchases because I just can’t put priority on ANY ONE THING. It results in basically eating the money or paying some new surprise bill with it (I love my cats, and I’m fulfilling my responsibilities toward them, but I hate having cats anymore).
January 29, 2020  | person dysamoria
@dysamoria: Yikes! I'm sorry to hear that. Keep the cats! They're probably also helping with the train aversion. Petting animals has been proven to be beneficial to your mood and general well-being.
On January 29, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:
@dysamoria: Yikes! I'm sorry to hear that. Keep the cats! They're probably also helping with the train aversion. Petting animals has been proven to be beneficial to your mood and general well-being.

Ha ha, the cats are part of the stress. Elderly cats. Two antithyroid pills a day per cat. Puke cleanup. One cat thinks the litter boxes cause his constipation... I love ‘em and will fulfill my responsibilities to them, but I won’t do pets again.
January 31, 2020  | person dysamoria
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