Newcastle Music Directory

Site Notices

How To Use This Website

Uptaded Daily – The following URLs are updated on a daily basis. Check back regularly for the latest updates.

Archived Information – This website contains a huge amount of information about the local music scene over the last decade.

  • Gig Archive – Explore a rich history of local music performances (Oct 2006 – October 2010)
  • Newcastle Music Week Archive – Archive of press releases relating to Newcastle Music Week ( 2003 – 2008)
  • Newcastle Music Awards Archive – Complete list of entrants and winners from the 1233 ABC Newcastle Music Awards (2002 – 2009)
  • News Archives – Archive of general news about the local scene (2003 – present)
  • TE Archive – Nearly 3000 articles about the Newcastle Music scene published in the Post’s TE liftout (1998 – 2006).
  • Ten Years Ago Today – Articles about bands from the local music scene as it was exactly ten years ago.

We also maintain a comprehensive list of links to music industry resources such as local recording studios, music photographers, booking agents, orchestras and organisations.

If you already know what you’re looking for you can always search this website.

Posted on July 29th, 2010 in Site Notices

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Automating the Creation of Website Thumbnails

Recently I undertook the task of making thunbnails of each and every website in the Newcastle Music Directory. It turned out to be a non-trivial excercise, taking a lot longer than I originally thought. Let me draw the distiction here between making a thumbnail of an image, and making a thumbnail of a website. The former involves reducing the dimensions of a single image so that it can be previewed at a smaller size whilst the latter involves rendering the componants of a webpage to produce a single image that represents what the user sees when browsing that page.

I explored several different options for doing this including the Thumbnail Grabber Application from the The University of Illinois Open Archives Initiative Metadata Harvesting Project, however this proved to be tricky to set up and I abandoned the idea of using that piece of software.

Another option was to manually use the Print Screen key while each webpage is being shown in the browser, but with 6500 links in the directory, this would be very time consuming indeed, especially if I were to repeat the task periodically as I intend to.

After almost giving up on the idea I stumbled upon the Page Snapshot class at I found that code to be bloated and cumbersome, but it did lead me along a path that lead to a solution. The Page Snapshot class executes a command vie the exec command in PHP that requests a given URL in a web browser, it then waits a predetermined amount of time and takes a screen capture using Hypersnap. I used this same process, rewriting the code to suit my needs.

Hypersnap can be invoked via the command line and the file save format and capture area can be specified via command line options, making it a suitable tool for my needs. Used in conjunction with NMBot my screen capture process obeys robots.txt rules.

I decided that Firefox was the best web browser to use for the rendering process because of the incredible amount of control users have over the application compared to other browsers such as Internet Explorer or Opera. For example I removed the status bar, address bar and links bar to mazimise the render area. I used the fantastic Web Developer plugin to set the render area to be exactly 1000 pixels wide. Javascript was left running on but I prevented popup windows, resizing of windows, image animations, marquee text and blinking text using Firefox’s extensive options. Although I have Adblock installed I decided to leave advertising on (could have turned off using adblock) so that the thumbnails represent the true look and feel of the original website. Finally I disabled the vertical and horizontal scrollbars so that they would not appear in the screen capture.

My PHP script allowed 20 seconds for all of the pages elements to be rendered, so the entire process took about 36 hours to complete. The thumbnails will be used on the Newcastle Music Directory website in the near future.

Here’s a video showing the first 4000 or so thumbnails:

Posted on January 29th, 2006 in Site Notices

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Live Bookmarks in Firefox

A new feature added to the site today was Live Bookmark functionality. Live bookmarks is a term used by Firefox web browser to describe the act of importing a dynamic list of bookmarks into the browser via RSS feeds from a remote site.

The Newcastle Music Directory has altered it’s HTML code to announce the presence of it’s RSS feeds to RSS enabled browsers.

If you use Firefox (highly reccomended) then you will see now this symbol Live Bookmarks Icon appear in the browser’s address bar when you visit the Newcastle Music Directory. If you click on the icon a dropdown list will appear describing what RSS feeds are available for the site.

Here is a good tutorial on using the Live Bookmark system in Firefox.

Posted on January 6th, 2006 in Site Notices

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Newcastle Music Directory Featured in the Newcastle Herald

The Newcastle Music Directory was featured in an article in the Newcastle Herald on Monday the 17th of October 2005. The article was a follow up from the Newcastle Community Volunteer Awards which were presented several weeks earlier.

Download a copy of the article (PDF format)

Download a copy of the article (PDF format)

Posted on October 20th, 2005 in Site Notices

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Newcastle Music Directory Recipient of a Newcastle Community Volunteer Award

On Wednesday the 28th of October 2005 the creator of the Newcastle Music Directory, Andrew Goodwin, was the recipient of a Newcastle Community Volunteer Award. The awards were open to people who live or volunteer in the federal electorate of Newcastle, and who are role models of how volunteering can contribute to the lives of others in our community.

The presentation was made by the Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Grierson at the New Lambton Community Centre.

Andrew is presented with his award by the Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson

Andrew is presented with his award by the Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson

The writeup the site received was very nice:

The Newcastle Music Directory ( is a detailed resource for Newcastle musicians and organisations, providing public access to information including upcoming events and news. The site showcases the music of the Hunter Region, providing access to accurate and interesting information. Since starting the site in 1999, Andrew has committed thousands of voluntary hours to creating and maintaining this comprehensive music directory for Novocastrians.

Many Thanks to Valerie Kost, webmaster of the Opera Hunter website for making the nomination.

Download the letter announcing Andrew's acceptance for the Volunteer Award (PDF format)

Download the letter announcing Andrew’s acceptance for the Volunteer Award (PDF format)

Posted on October 3rd, 2005 in Site Notices

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Climate Prediction

This site has been mentioned in several newspaper articles about the Climate Prediction Experiment being run by reasearchers at Oxford University. The Climate Prediction Model runs on the BOINC platform (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) and can be downloaded and run on your home PC from the Climate Prediction Website.

The Climate Prediction project began in 2003 and has undergone several client changes since that time. In the current phase of modelling Australia’s current ranking is 6th out of 126 countries participating in the project. If you are interested in participating in the project you might want to consider joining the Newcastle Music Team. Instructions on downloading the model and setting up an account are available from the Climate Prediction Website.

The operator of this site, Andrew Goodwin, has been participating in the project since it began and has used this site as the homepage for his Climate Prediction Team – Newcastle Music. You can view Andrew’s progress in the Climate Prediction experiment online at several different sites. Andrew’s username in the project is “dushbeer“.

Posted on January 27th, 2005 in Site Notices

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