Jan 04

I’m getting some comments on the AppStore now that people  miss AirPlay integration (AirPlay is a streaming technology from Apple).
But guess what: it’s available already – just well hidden 🙂

Prerequisites:

  • To allow airplay streaming, the music needs to arrive on your iPad first. This is possible with the new playback feature of SqueezePad 1.7.x. After you have activated/bought it (use the ‘activate playback’ in the player selection popup in the top right of SqueezePad), switch over to your iPad and start some tunes.

Now let’s move this music over to your AirPlay devices !

  • do a double tap on the home button of your iPad (the button which typically closes the current running App).
    A bar with all running applications will appear on the bottom of the screen.
  • swipe right in the bottom bar – you will now see a new dock, which will allow you to turn on the screen-lock, change brightness, volume … and … if you have any airplay devices … a control to route the Audio to your AirPlay device.

Voilá !

Have fun …

Dec 22

Today is the last day where Apple releases updates to the AppStore (until new year arrives)… and tell you what: SqueezePad 1.7.0 slipped through in the last minutes – must be christmas – and I am so very excited !

Now SqueezePad brings you a very special new feature: Music-Playback directly from your iPad.
After a lot of really hard work now your iPad becomes a little Squeezebox on its own.

Unlike other Apps out there, SqueezePad is able to stream:
– your local music
– internet radio stations
– songs from your Apps like Last.FM or WIMP (Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody are not support due to licensing issues. Napster will play with the help of a windows-bases Squeezebox server)

You find this feature as an in app purchase (half the price of SqueezePad) in the players menu. Just hit the ‘Activate iPad Playback’ button and you can either test the feature 15 minutes each day or buy it directly.
Please note, that this feature only works with a local Squeezebox-server install.

After that your iPad turns up in the players list.

squeezebox playback on iPad

As my beta testers and I cannot test all music streams and files of the world I definitely recommend testing first 😉 – if any of your preferred streams doesn’t work please contact support so that we can find a fix for that!

The following music formats are directly supported:
mp3, aac, alac, wav, aiff, pcm.

With the help of your Squeezebox Server you can also stream FLAC and OGG to your iPad (the server will convert them to either WAV or MP3, based on your server settings). WAV works out of the box, for mp3 you’ll need to install the LAME codec.
If your Squeezebox Server runs on a Windows machine even WMA-files are possible without problems!

SqueezePad does not support synchronization to other Squeezeboxes.

With iOS 4.2 (you did upgrade already, didn’t you) you will get even more convenience:
Your iPad will continue to play music even when you leave the App. Please be aware, that when you stop your music for more than two minutes, iOS will still suspend the App. You will need to enter the App again to start some new music.
You can also control playback outside the App via the ‘iPod Controls’. Double tap the home-button of your iPad and then swipe right – here you can control volume or skip tracks as well.

Other things changed in this version:

  • when showing coverart, embedded art is now preferred over album art. This makes it possible to have different cover for each song of an album
  • the alphabetical index in menus is much easier to tap, without erroneously selecting a song
  • there was a crash, when you tried to show a context menu on a menu separator
  • sometimes the playlists didn’t reload when you reentered the App (iOS4.2 only)
Nov 14

Only five weeks have passed since the last feature update … time for a new one, don’t you think ?

This release introduces:
– playlist protection
– album/artist/image-caching for your local library
– a reworked screensaver
– automatic server detection
– Wake-On-Lan
– iOS4.2 readyness
– some bugfixes

I also started a new vote to get priorities for the next features:  http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=83106.

Let’s get into the details of the current release!

Playlist protection
Ever created a big playlist and with a single wrong tap just erased it? Now SqueezePad offers you a ‘playlist modification mode’ on the settings screen.
You can either choose to
– always replace the playlist (old behavior)
– always add songs to the end
– always add songs after the current playing song
– always have SqueezePad ask you

The last option is really nice if you don’t wan’t to decide beforehand how to populate the playlist. It’s also very nice for parties because your guest can decide on the fly.

Album/artist/image-caching for your local library
SqueezePad now keeps a cache for album-lists, artist-lists and album images of your local library.
The cache is only filled when you browse a menu the first time. If you enter the album or artist list a second time (even after a restart) they will appear immediately.
The cache will be flushed automatically when:
– you do a full rescan of your library
– you do a scan for new music and the album-,artist-, track- or genre-count changes
– you change the server-url or update your server

Furthermore you’ll find a button on the settings screen for clearing the cache if something is not right (this might be needed, if just some album covers changed).

A reworked screensaver
The screensafer now looks much nicer overall. Gone is the boring black background.
But more important: if you tap it a bar with some controls (play,stop, rewind, next and volume) appears on the top so you can use the most important stuff right from the screensafer.
This is very handy when you use your iPad with the screensaver in the dock and just want to skip a song.

Automatic server detection
When one starts SqueezePad the first time, it will automatically search and connect to your Squeezebox-Server. No more fiddling with IP and Ports on the settings-screen.
SqueezePad will remember the name of the server, so if just the IP changes SqueezePad will now adopt automatically.

On the settings screen there is also a ‘Search’ button, which will give a list of all found servers.

Wake-On-Lan
If one enters the MAC of the server on the settings-screen, SqueezePad will send a Wake-On-Lan packet to this server upon start and every five minutes.

iOS4.2 ready
iOS4.2 is on the doorsteps to your iPad. SqueezePad now fully supports multitasking once this feature is available for the iPad.

Other Bugfixes
– if you have an album with more than 100 tracks starting a track 100+ now works
– the progress bar is hidden again when playing streams (bug introduced in 1.5.1)
– SqueezePad doesn’t crash anymore when you enter invalid URLs on the settings-screen
– when you clear the playlist also the image of the last played song is cleared correctly
– erroneously selecting a track when closing the playlist is now much much harder

Oct 16

Now with Apps like SqueezePad around one soon discovers, that the resolution of album art matters a lot. And if your collection is like mine – you never really cared and have all types of resolutions in there.

I recently stumbled about a program that claims upgrade all your coverart automatically: Bliss

I’m always a bit sceptical about programs that claim to do stuff automatically – but let’s give it a go. Installation (on a Mac) was a breeze – the program then works in the background and you access it via the browser.

For my first try I configured it to the folder of my music library, turned off coverart embedding (I always have a folder.jpg for each album) and also turned off automatic mode. You can also configure what your minimum and maximum wanted resolution is – I used 500×500 as a minimum.

Bliss then starts to scan your library and tells you if your files are ‘compliant’ or ‘not’. With my easy settings it’s just telling me if the cover art is below 500×500 – but that’s exactly what I need: all albums that need some work on the cover art !

Clicking on the small edit icon, Bliss then tries to find good cover-art for you from different sources (MusicBrainz, Discogs, Amazon, Google) – and with a single second click your album art will be replaced.

For finding album art I used MediaMonkey before (which searches on Amazon as well) – but changing a cover there involves much more clicks (and if you have constraints like a minimum artwork size actually with MediaMonkey it sort of gets an unsolvable problem).

Unfortunately sometimes the found images are a complete mismatch. No problem in manual mode of course – just cancel. But as there isn’t much documentation on how the automatic mode works I don’t dare to activate it. I spent too much time in the past with tagging and finding (maybe to small but correct) coverart.

One should also note, that Bliss is only free for your first 100 covers. 1000 additional covers will cost you a 10$ license. Unlimited covers 30$. Quite fair prices I think considering the time you will save if you really start changing all your coverart.

So my conclusion: Though I’m only using Bliss with it’s minimal feature set right now (manual mode, just looking for covers) I really find it very useful. I guess I’m not brave enough to turn on automatic mode – but if you don’t have many covers yet at all (Classic, Boom, Transporter-users ?) this might be an option for you.

What other tools are you using for this task ?

Oct 12

Up until now playlist management was ‘just’ the same as on a Squeezbox Touch.

But we can do a lot better of course 😀

How about this one:

You can access the playlist with the small button on the top right. Tap it or drag it – and the playlist will move into view.

Finally you can see the covers of your entries, title and artist name nicely rendered.
Use the small handles to reorder songs, swipe left or right to delete them … or just tap to select them.

Of course you can also start a context-menu with a long touch … and this is where the fun really starts. Now you can easily browse your library based on the current playlist – show songs from the same artist or the same year – read the Biography (if the corresponding plugin is installed).

Last but not least: loading, saving or clearing playlists is as easy as everything else in SqueezePad.

Along this main feature, the following things have changed as well:

  • if you change the volume or use the slider to change to song position, a small popup shows you the current and future value
  • when running against a local server, menus are now localized in the language you configured on the server. This gives access to languages like Swedish, Norwegian, Polish or Czech for most of the UI
  • rendering of menu-items with covers and long text have been improved. This improves WiMP and Napster menus very much for instance
  • rendering of cover art was improved. The aspect-ratio is not changed anymore so menus from BBCiPlayer or WiMP look much better.
Oct 01

Jeg har noen gode nyheter for alle nordmenn !

Earlier on this week it was announced that Aspiro Music’s WiMP-application is now available for SqueezeBox users in Norway.

I’m happy that SqueezePad integrates with this great service right away !
By the way SqueezePad  is the only iPad App (to my knowledge) that is able to render the covers of WiMP albums (as can be seen on the second picture).

WiMP Recommended Playlists in SqueezePad for iPad

WiMP - Top20 in SqueezePad

But it comes even better !

Though it looks quite good already there is enough room for improvement. I worked a bit on the menus and here is a preview of the next version:

WiMP reworked menu

preview of WiMP Top20 in next version of SqueezePad

As you can see images now keep their aspect-ratio. Furthermore items with a lot of text are rendered much better.
These improvements will be available to users of other services like BBCiPlayer or Napster as well.

A new version of SqueezePad will be ready in about two or three weeks.

Sep 17

So today we are going to change the looks of SqueezePad completely … how about this:

all squeezebox context menus

This new design looks so awesome – I don’t now anymore how I could even live with the old one !

So let us now observe a minute’s silence in memory of the old design – this screenshot will be the last one you see from it:

all squeezebox context menus

Aug 28

Version 1.3.0 + Authenticated Servers + Coverarts

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update: version 1.4.x is available now, which fixes the issue.

Oh dear – a gremlin sneaked into SqueezePad.

If you are using the 1.3.0 version you might get problems with all your local coverart when your server uses authentication (pictures from Internet streams don’t have any problems)
On the other hand: your iPad maybe knows your old password and still sends it to the server even with v1.3.0 (thats why I didn’t spot the bug before).

As a fast workaround I suggest turning off authentication until the next version is released (I expect 1.4.0 to be released in about two weeks).
If thats no option for you, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at ‘support(at)squeezepad.com’ and we then can think of ways to speed things up.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Aug 26

to keep up with frequent updates here is a new one, available today from the AppStore. Guess there’s cool stuff for anyone in there:

Screensafer mode: If just tap the big album art then SqueezePad switches to Screensafer mode: Huge Album Art, Huge Fonts – perfect to watch from far away.

fullscreen cover art on iPad

This mode supports both Landscape and Portrait so you can leave your iPad in the dock.
If people wouldn’t always hand around an iPad on parties *g* that would be a great addition to your next party … and if there was no ‘Home’ button we could even make this screen password protected … alas … next life maybe

MySqueezebox.com integration: On the settings screen you can now configure SqueezePad to connect to MySqueezebox.com. This makes your local-server obsolete (if you don’t use your own music library). Please Note: switching player between MySB.com and your local server isn’t supported though – you still need to switch Players directly on the device from a local server to MySB.com if needed.
So this is perfect if you use MySB.com only (or rarely) or have other means of switching players automatically (like srvpowerctrl http://code.google.com/p/srvrpowerctrl/).

Other stuff

  • the ‘Extras’ menu is hidden if you don’t have plugins that put some menu-items in there.
  • Spotify context menus now have playlist controls (like ‘Add Next’). Make sure to install the latest version of the Spotify plugin on your server to get this feature.
  • ‘Now Playing’ artwork is supported for 7.3-servers now – making life a bit nicer there. Please note that 7.3 is still not officially supported and I give no guarantee of which feature are working and which not.
Aug 20

1 month with SqueezePad

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One month with SqueezePad has passed … a month that I really enjoyed.

Not just because I like controlling my SqueezeBox on the iPad so much … more because overall I got really great reviews and enthusiastic users who like SqueezePad as much as I do.

A selection of all those voices you can read on the ‘testimonials’-page.

So who is actually using SqueezePad ?

Stats for SqueezePad

Though data from the first month of course isn’t very representative … its still interesting.
For some reason the Dutch passed the sales of every other european country … kudos to you guys !

Here the same data as a pie-chart for all information junkies … europe currently taking 66% of the market:

pie chart of iPad sales