last.fm to Spotify migration

When last.fm announced on 2012-12-13 that they were pulling out of Switzerland in mid-January, I requested a refund (unsuccessfully so far) and started looking around for an alternative immediately. Spotify seems to fit the bill nicely, and barring any glaring privacy or stability issues it’s probably worth a threefold price increase.

But how to migrate? last.fm has got XSPF and tab-separated values export functionality at /user/<username>/library/loved; great! Except that didn’t work the first half a dozen times I tried, and Ivy, the most promising import service, only supports some iTunes format and comma-separated values, so I ended up making a tool to convert lfmCOL.pl XML to CSV. Of course, after finishing that I tried last.fm again, and now the XSPF export worked, so I created another project to convert XSPF to CSV. Nice hacking exercise to ensure that it produces parseable CSV even with quotes and high-Unicode characters in the input.

Ivy kept telling me I didn’t select a track column in the second step, but would gladly accept the pasted result from xclip -in favorites.csv without even asking about columns. Out of 1222 last.fm tracks it found 734 (60%) on Spotify, which is not too terrible considering the impressive collection of obscure tracks on the former.

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Constantine – The real story

Constantine, the newest in a series of graphic novels going to the cinema, is the longest anti-smoking advertisement I’ve ever seen. There you go. It’s probably the first movie ever to have the surgeon general as the main sponsor, as they constantly fire away cheap shots at how bad and just plain stupid smoking is. Even the horrible, horrible last scene is devoted to the evils of smoking.

I guess it’s like Jar-Jar to die-hard Star Wars fans – it just destroys the whole image. There should be an oath for movie directors, where they solemnly swear to keep true to the original. Hellblazer is a dark horror series, and should be set into motion picture just as such. In the movie, there is hope even from the beginning, and of course it is fulfilled*.

A small disclaimer I believe is also in place: I have never smoked anything, and I’d love to be able to have a night out without smelling like $#!7 afterwards. But this movie – it’s just too much.

* There is more to it, but hey, I’m not trying to spoil the entire film for you.