May 06

Artwork and icon improvements in SqueezePad 1.9.5

Allgemein, News Comments Off on Artwork and icon improvements in SqueezePad 1.9.5

In SqueezePad 1.9.5 I focused on the small album art in the left menu. Of course the Retina display of the new iPad makes a huge difference but also on iPad 1 and 2 I found a bug, that made the artwork more blurry than it had to be.
On the following screenshots you can see a direct comparison. I scaled all images up to to be the same size for better comparison of the details – on a real iPad these images have a size of 12mm x 12mm.
Most obvious is the improved readability of all texts (despite the small size) – and one can also clearly see the improvements the Retina resolution can get you for the same image.


Also all icons got a makeover for the new iPad.As one can clearly see, the icons were not just scaled up but redrawn from scratch.The original set was drawn by a designer, but now I was on my own.Might look simple, but as I’m not the most talented graphics guy I guess it took me two hours on average for each icon.

Mar 17

Wow – some people already got their new iPad!

Unfortunately I’m not as fast as you, my order for the new iPad will only arrive on Monday (and I hope to catch the postman then).

I’ll then be able to see what areas of SqueezePad need improvements with the new Retina display. For instance the album art could be retrieved with twice the resolution and I’m pretty sure some icons will need some overhauling as well.

Please give me some time for the adjustments, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get an update soon!

[update 18.03.2012] I sent a first new release to Apple for review. It turned out, that most texts in SqueezePad didn’t adapt to the Retina resolution automatically. This has been fixed, lets see how fast Apple is reviewing nowaday.

[update 09.04.2012] While the first update improved the appearance of SqueezePad quite a lot, I spent some more time into improving the Retina capabilities: I’m almost finished with redrawing all icons and also the small album cover in the left menu will be retrieved in Retina resolution in the next SqueezePad version. Stay tuned!

[update 20.04.2012] the new version is out! Every corner now in high resolution – a joy for the eyes!

Dec 25

Me any my family celebrated christmas with a lot of christmas songs obviously.

A good companion of course was SqueezePad, which always showed us, what was playing right now.
Doesn’t it look nice drapped up on our board?

Unfortunately I’m not the very best at taking pictures when not too much light is around – anyway I think you’ll get the spirit 🙂

I’m subscribed to one of the many streaming services, so was able to fulfill everyones christmas song wishes.
My granny was quite astonished by all the possibilities and that my ‘library’ even had old classics she used to hear on the disc record.

I don’t think she’ll buy a Squeezebox and iPad now, but she will definitely come back next year 😉

Jul 27

Logitech just released version 7.6 yesterday (in my opinion a little bit rushed, based on the forum posts and problems people have).

Anyway: some users are reporting crashs with SqueezePad (and every other iPad App) now, which I haven’t been able to reproduce myself yet.
Current investigation shows that this is related to players having a bogus playlist, so if this is happening to you, please use the web-interface to start some new song on each player as a start.

[update 01.09.2011] The latest SqueezePad version does not crash anymore with the 7.6.0 server. Also Logitech officially released 7.6.1 in the meantime, which would have fixed the problem as well [/update]

[update 27.07.2011] Logitech fixed the bug causing the crashes really fast in the meantime (see this bug-report).

You will either need to wait until Logitech releases 7.6.1 or download the new beta version tomorrow from here (please make sure, the version number is greater than 32918, today only 32905 is available)

[/update]

Unfortunately such an error never turned up when trying the Betas of 7.6.

I keep you updated here if I find new information, sorry for the inconvenience.

Jul 18

So yes indeed – SqueezePad gets old 🙂

To celebrate an awesome year I decided to give a 50% discount this week (18.07-24.07), so if you didn’t try SqueezePad yet – now is your chance!

It all started as a little project on my vacation as I wanted to see how these App thingies worked at all. My daytime job doesn’t leave me too much time with developing stuff (all about project management nowadays 😉 ) so SqueezePad is where I do spend my nights developing when my wife and kid are sleeping.

SqueezePad has been the first iPad App for SqueezeBoxes. Only later iPeng and even later the Logitech App followed.
SqueezePad also was the first to bring you playback directly on your iPad around Christmas time – and it’s still the best playback implementation at the current time (supporting gapless playback and full synchronization over the whole course of an album).

SqueezePads main goal – back then and still today is about elegance and simplicity. I always strive to hide the complexities of the Squeezebox universe behind an easy to learn, intuitive and good looking interface. Still also advanced users are able to do whatever comes in their mind.
This is not always easy to achieve – and also comes with just not implementing everything that my users wish – hard decisions everytime!

Whats up to come in the future?

The next release (1.8) right now still in the works but almost finished will bring you some long requested features: buttons for shuffle and repeat (along with ThumbsUp/Down for Pandora and Love/Hate for Last.FM) and some means to switch players between multiple servers.

Version 1.9 will introduce a new feature I don’t want to talk about yet, as I want to keep some gunpowder for surprises.

Version 2.0 then sounds good enough to finally provide a full portrait mode.

Be aware that plans might change, but at least this is my current state of mind 🙂

 

Onward! the next twelve months are already lurking behing the corner …

Mar 05

<<update 30.03.2011>>SqueezePad 1.7.3 has been released. This version fixes all known problems with the current beta-versions of SqueezePad. So for a limited time (i.e. until Logitech again changes something 😉 ) you can have a lot of fun again with SqueezePad even when running beta-versions of Squeezebox-Server

<<update 18.03.2011>>No time to breath: in the meantime, Logitech changed the nightly 7.6 builds drastically again:  http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=618990
On my test-machine when I browse an album, ALL tracks of my library are shown. Unfortunately no workaround this time. I submitted a fix for all known problems to Apple today. If you want to use SqueezePad without problems, again I have to advise to not run the nightly beta builds of Squeezebox server.<<update>>

<<update 11.03.2011>>*sigh* Unfortunately there are still changes left, that makes SqueezePad not compatible to the latest nightlies. Squeezebox-Server now sends data compressed and SqueezePad is not uncompressing the data. There is only one workaround right now: enter the settings-screen of your Squeezebox-Server, go to Advanced->Logging and activate ‘Debug’ on the ‘network.cometd’ channel. Then hit ‘Apply’.
The debuglog will force the server to send uncompressed data. The next update of SqueezePad will be able to uncompress the data itself

<<update 10.03.2011>> As of today the major bug affecting SqueezePad has been fixed in the Squeezebox-Server Nightly 1.7.5/1.6.x Beta-Download. So if you are using beta-versions you are on the safe side again

<<update 06.03.2010>> I opened a bug-report for Logitech – please follow and vote for it if interested: http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=17030
I also documented a workaround on the forum: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=615856
<<original text 05.03.2011>>

This week Logitech developers changed some code that handles menus in the Squeezebox-Server in the latest development version of the Squeezebox-Server.
Unfortunately this change was not compatible to the way SqueezePad is evaluating menus, so anyone regularly running or updating unofficial beta-versions of Squeezebox-Server (7.6 or 7.5.4) will only see an empty settings menu now.

Right now I’m analysing the code changes and will decide whether I will adopt the code of SqueezePad or create a bug report for Logitechs developers.
Even if I decide to fix the issue it will still take Apple about one or two weeks to review a new version.

For now I can only advise to use the latest stable and official version 7.5.3 of the Squeezebox-Server (http://downloads.slimdevices.com/SqueezeboxServer_v7.5.3/) – or if you still have a copy a nightly build from last week.

As you can see, running nightly beta-builds not only might affect your Squeezebox in a negative way, but SqueezePad as well.

I’ll update this blog post, when I have further information.
Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

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 ?