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March 20, 2008

PSALM v3

The 'final' version of PSALM is now complete and available for download. This is the version that was shown in my project presentation, and may still change slightly when further testing is done to fix bugs. This is it for features though. (At least for this project... My current church (Jubilee Coventry) and a church affiliated to my parent's church (Oxford Community Church) have both expressed interest in using either my program, or in using something that my program may evolve into the solution for.)

The main new feature in this 'proper' third & final increment is the song recommender. Build your setlist (the bottom-left list), and click 'recommend' to open up a new dialog. Here, you can choose whether the next song should share chords (making it easy to flow between songs), be of a certain theme(s), or even have been played before in setlist history (see the history.xml file included in the download - this is my record of most of the 'sets' I have personally played in over the last 12 months). You can alter how important each of these factors should be in compiling the recommendations, as well as how strict the recommender should be (ie. returning more/less results). 

Hopefully, that explains how to use it. Before you jump into using it though, PLEASE note that this is just a tool, nothing more. If you are thinking of using my program - or any other computer tool - to run/guide/build your set, or even church service, think again. It is imperative that the 'Worship Leader' is in fact God. And he uses people to conduct these services. He did not choose computers to do it. There is far more to worshipping God than choosing a bunch of songs that 'fit criteria' like the way my program might see it. Read 'I did it His way' by Tim Hughes - this explains more of what I mean. The Holy Spirit should be conducting our worship of God, not any computer program, let alone mine!!!

At the heart of what I have built, is a desire to worship God 'better', and to help others in worshipping Him 'better'. It can help in finding songs, or displaying them as a prompt. But sometimes we must put the computers, the songbooks, and even the guitars away. We must allow God to speak, especially since he may speak in "a gentle whisper" (1 Kings 19:12 (NIV Bible)). 

Anyway, thank you for bearing with me through that notice.

If you want to download PSALM, here it is: PSALM 3 (239kb). 


February 28, 2008

PSALM 2.5

Okay so I disappeared for a while, mostly because I've been trapped in a small cupboard (with a java/netbeans-enabled computer) working on the project. Well, maybe.

Anyway, today's news is:

1. Lots of work on the research side of things has been done. Almost 95 surveys have done - Thank you so much if you have done one! (And if you haven't, please complete the survey!) Books and papers have been read, including plenty of rather complicated ones to do with Latent Semantic Indexing/Analysis and some rather more interesting & surprisingly helpful (for personal reasons as well as for the project) books.

Two books I've read recently are: 'Wired for Ministry - How the Internet, Visual Media, and Other New Technologies Can Serve Your Church' (2004) by John P. Jewell (see my interesting/amusing quotes post), and 'High-Tech Worship?: Using Presentational Technologies Wisely' (2005) by Quentin J.Schultze. 

I don't really have time to go into too much detail on these books, but basically, Jewell's book was very practical and advocating balancing technology with theology; while Schultze focusses much more on the theological/liturgical reasons for (or not) using technology in worship. I found Schultze's book incredibly useful for myself as someone who leads music in a church, as it helps to ask questions and place worship in a wider liturgical perspective. As for what it says about technology, its biggest contribution is to discuss why it should or should not be used, rather than just why it is or is not used.

2. The next increment (and more!) of PSALM can be unleashed on the internet! Originally, the plan was to do 4 increments, focussing on:

  1. Song organisation system
  2. Theme recognition & search facility
  3. Transposition & capo features
  4. Setlist/song recommendation toolPSALM v2.5 screenshot

The first two are complete, and the third has been evaluated to be utterly pointless (as it only involved one, or maybe two at a push, dropdown boxes to transpose a song) and was amalgamated into the first two. So by this plan, the first 3 have all been done. I am also pleased to announce that work on the setlist 'increment' has begun already with the GUI having been re-designed from the prototype/first increment layout to look much closer to the final design mock-up drawn up in the project's early stages. This means that a very basic setlist builder is already working and included in this release. Take a peek at how PSALM 2.5 looks in the image to the right (click to enlarge).

So rather than releasing this version of PSALM as a particular increment, here is the deliberately-ambiguously-named PSALM 2.5! (ZIP file, 236kb)


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  • Congrats for ur final report,, I dinn have ne problem veiwing the report, its seems to be gud,, ..! … by Veda Informatics on this entry
  • By the way, if you have any problems with viewing the report, or in using PSALM, please still let me… by on this entry
  • It appears that when I tested PSALM, the computer that I tested it on already had the Bitstream Vera… by on this entry
  • Ah… thank you. The font hasn't been picked up. I'll have a look at what needs to be done. by on this entry
  • Chords aren't displayed in the right place for me. The spacing seems to drift slowly left, so that c… by Steve Rumsby on this entry

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