Archive for September, 2010

Just Playlists 3.6.4—Last.fm Scrobbling, Streaming Improvements and Fixes, etc.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

I’ve integrated Last.fm scrobbling support.  That means, if you install a program from the Android Market like Simple Last.fm Scrobbler (SLS), it will detect when Just Playlists starts and finishes songs that are on your phone and send this information to Last.fm to update your listening stats.  If you don’t have SLS installed, scrobbling won’t happen.   Also, streamed music isn’t scrobbled, at least for now.  Information about song titles and artists isn’t sent to JP in a consistent format with SHOUTcast streams, so it would be a bit problematic to scrobble the info.

Thanks to Eric and others, I’ve been able to improve streaming a bit–particularly for MP3’s hosted on a server and played by clicking on an M3U playlist file in a browser.  There were problems getting JP to work reliably while doing this.  I was able to make some changes to the program that made it work, at least in most cases.  I also learned about a really neat program called GNUmp3d.  It is a streaming server that can be installed under Linux or Windows and which indexes your music collection and lets you browse and play it via a web browser.  If you are using an Android phone with JP installed, you can click on a “Play” link and a hosted M3U file will be sent to the phone which JP can play.  The only problem I’ve found is that Android doesn’t always seem to stream VBR (variable bit rate) files all that well, so if your music collection is VBR, you might have to set GNUmp3d to dynamically transcode your files to CBR (constant bit rate) for reliable playback.  Other than that, it’s a great way to avoid copying files to your phone if you have a large music collection.

I made a few other small fixes and improvements behind the scenes.  The one that is most visible is making Windows Media files (.wma) visible during playlist creation.  If you have a phone or app with support for WMA playback, you can use JP to play WMA’s or a least create playlists for play by apps that support WMA.

Just Playlists 3.5.3—Bug Fix for First-Time Use

Monday, September 6th, 2010

I was able to reproduce the crash people were getting with version 3.5.0.  The fix in 3.5.2 kept the program from crashing but still gave an erroneous error message.  This was only happening on the initial run of JP or JPP by someone who had not installed it before.  It was caused by the Java getCanonicalPath() method resolving a “” into a “/”, for the programmers out there.  That doesn’t seem quite right to me, but, either way, it will no longer cause problems.

Just Playlists 3.5.2—Fixed Crash When Loading External Playlist

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

I’ve received quite a few reports of force closes that seem to be caused when users are opening playlist files without an .m3u or .pls suffix.  I haven’t been able to duplicate the crash but have added code to the program that will prevent a crash and instead produce an error message.

I’ve also received several queries about playlist editing in Just Playlists.  This is my next major goal for the program.  I hope to have it done within the next month or so.  It will be a feature only available in the Plus version.  I’m also going to see if I can integrate scrobbling soon, as requested by a user a while back.

Just Playlists 3.5.0—Album Artwork for Radio Paradise, and No External Media Required

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

This release doesn’t have any major new features and all changes are in both JP and JPP.  The most visible change is that, if you are a fan of the awesome streaming station called Radio Paradise, you will now see album artwork displayed when you play their 128Kbps MP3 SHOUTcast stream.  Though it might sound like I’m favoring RP with a special feature, it’s really their ingenuity that allows for the artwork.  They attach a URL pointing to the album artwork hosted on their website for the current song within the “StreamUrl” metadata tag for their 128Kbps stream.  Most SHOUTcast streams either don’t use the StreamURL tag or just have a URL for their main website.  So, though Radio Paradise is the only stream I know of that uses the tag in this fashion, any stream doing something similar will end up with the image showing up in Just Playlists as album art.  I wish many more streamers did this.

If you want to listen to Radio Paradise and see/hear for yourself, a direct link to their 128Kbps MP3 SHOUTcast stream is http://www.radioparadise.com/musiclinks/rp_128.m3u.  You can tap this URL on your Android phone and choose to open it with Just Playlists.  That’s all there is to it.  To save this as a permanent playlist on your phone, choose the “Create playlist” item from the main display menu after you’ve loaded up the stream as described above and, once there, choose “Save hosted playlist” from the menu and give the playlist a name and save it.

The main website for Radio Paradise is http://www.radioparadise.com, if you’re interested in finding out what’s playing, looking up information on the songs they’re playing, or giving them a donation—their broadcast is listener-supported.  If you access their website from your phone, you’ll be directed to a mobile website.  Choose the “Listen” link to access their stream links.  Make sure you scroll down to their MP3 links if you want to use Just Playlists to listen to the stream.

The other useful change I’ve made to JP/JPP is that you no longer need to have an SD card installed in your phone to use the program.  Since I first wrote Just Playlists, many phones have started to come with an “internal SD card”—that is, there is storage built into the phone that acts like an SD card and on which you can store music and playlists.  How this is implemented seems to differ between phones, and I’ve never worked with a phone that has such a storage space.   But if you do store music in this space, you can also create playlists there and play them via Just Playlists.

One other thing you may notice if you are running Android 2.2/Froyo on your phone.  I’m no longer hard-coding the SD card’s top-level directory in as “/sdcard.”  I’m letting Android tell the program what this directory is called.  Under 2.2, it’s called “/mnt/sdcard.”  There is still a “/sdcard” directory, but I believe it’s actually what is called a symbolic link in Unix parlance.  You can navigate to either location to access the SD card but, by default, you’ll be placed in the “/mnt/sdcard” location, since that is the mount point for the SD card file system, from what I can tell (more Unix talk there).