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Saturday, 30 January 2010

New release: build 20100124

This week's release turbo-charges the change art screen. For any album, we now offer the ability to choose from a range of alternatives bliss has found, provide your own URL, or ask bliss to refresh and have another go at picking (this could be useful if there was, say, a temporary problem with your Internet connection).

Check it out:
Choosing an alternative album
Providing your own URL

We also made some BIG improvements in the amount of data downloaded as bliss works. This amount should be much smaller now.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

New release: build 20100116

This week's release is all about improving the first time experience for new users. The settings are now an expandable region in the activity page, and pop open on first use. I have also hidden the size options so that fewer options are presented immediately.
How settings appear now

Press the 'settings' link to reveal the settings, and press 'hide settings' to hide them again. Each '?' reveals extra information about the setting, and the size options are hidden behind the 'advanced' link.

I changed the status indicator so progress is fed back quicker once you have changed music library. For large music libraries there would sometimes be a noticeable gap between starting bliss and getting any information back that bliss had even started scanning your music library.

Finally, a bug in the Amazon art downloader has been fixed which may have caused bliss to hang under certain situations. Not good, but fixed now!

As usual, existing licences will work for this release.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

New release: build 20100109

It's been a little longer between releases than I'd like. We endeavour to produce weekly releases with new features and any bug fixes. Over Christmas we started work on some more complex re-writes of the underpinnings of bliss, which took longer than anticipated, but now the changes are complete, tested, and ready for download!

We've made a number of improvements to the UI. First, the albums are now all sorted alphabetically and paginated, so you can filter down the list of albums and pending questions to a more manageable size if you prefer.

Pagination in action

A status indicator now lets you know when bliss is working and how much it has left to do.

The screens in bliss also now reload automatically as bliss works, so no more refreshing the page is required! When artwork has been downloaded for an album, it will appear automatically.

We also added in the ability to ignore pending questions where there is no suitable cover art.

As ever, installing this version will not invalidate your current license, so feel free to try it and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ode to a couple of friends

I lost a couple of dear friends last Friday: my pair of Ultimate Ears 3 Studio Earphones.

They were the best in-ear headphones I ever owned.

When I'm on the move I need in-ear earphones to listen to music and podcasts. Primarily I wear them each morning and evening, walking to and from work in London.

Over the years I've tried numerous headsets/earbuds. I tried expensive Sennheiser and Sony earphones where one earbud would just stop working (and clumsy attempts with a soldering iron didn't improve things). I tried earbuds that come free with other equipment; but they all sound tinny and don't block out road noise. I tried a Bluetooth set for a while; the things kept disconnecting, treating everyone around to a sample of my music (for some reason it always seemed to be something embarrassing playing at the time).

I needed a pair of earphones robust enough to withstand my walking and that sound good enough so I can enjoy what I am listening to.

I found that in the Ultimate Ears earphones. The buds themselves are very robust. A 5cm or so length of wire where the cable connects to the buds is mouldable to the shape of your ear, so the wire goes up and over the ear. This lessens the impact on the wire when walking. The earbuds themselves are removable and replaceable, lest they stop working (they never did). Musically they sound good. Not as rich in bass as some Sennheiser 'phones I used, but then at least they worked longer than a couple of months.

The last time I saw my earphones was when I was returning a hire car. For all I know, they're lying in a car hire car park in King's Cross right now. Fair well, old friends.

If you are looking for a pair of tough, robust, long lived earphones, I strongly recommend the Ultimate Ears 3 Studio Earphones. Don't tell the old pair, but a replacement pair are already on order.