The bagel was delicious. Lightly smeared with all-American cream cheese. I was so enamored with this treat that I almost missed Sam’s parting words as he wandered off to the iPhone expert lab. Sam is our iPhone developer, and this was July. We were attending the Apple Wordwide Developer Conference, just before the launch of iPhone 3G.
That was all very exciting. The iPhone stuff. But I had more important things to attend to. The Last.fm Scrobbler wasn’t working great with OS X 10.3. I made my way over to the compatibility lab, licking the breadcrumbs from my fingertips.
Sadly, the lab was less useful than I had hoped. As I turned to leave, the gangly technician mentioned that two French chaps had just been there before me with the same problem.
“They were the VLC guys”
“Oh neat,” I said, trying not to look too excited, “did you see where they went?”
He hadn’t. But I decided I had to find them and meet them and get pictures taken with them. My geek-cred really needed the boost. However there were five thousand delegates at WWDC that year, and I didn’t have time to go round them all listening for French accents. And anyway, I had a session on Core Animation in 40 minutes. As usual, in such seemingly hopeless situations, IRC came to the rescue. #videolan on irc.freenode.net.
At a conference for computery types, it was almost certain they would be logged onto their chat channel 24 hours a day. And I wasn’t wrong. After virtual introductions, we made arrangements to meet somewhere physical and were amused when it turned out we were already sitting at adjacent tables.
VLC is amazingly well known media player, probably somewhat because they have solved the, “what media player can I use to play this file?” question by providing a simple three syllable retort; “VLC”. And somewhat due to its amazing modularity and clean design which appeals to geeks. But mostly I think its popularity is because it is so clearly awesome. And there’s nothing like over 100 million downloads to confirm that kind of sentiment.
It was great to meet the VLC team and learn about the problems they face working on such a high profile open source project. The fruits of our meeting were scrobbling support in VLC 0.9.2. You can scrobble VLC via the official Last.fm Scrobbler, if you have it installed, or directly with VLC, if that’s what rocks your boat.
At Last.fm we don’t believe in closed technologies. We believe in open ones. That way, everyone benefits.