Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beta update: playlist import, faster shutdown, improved UTF support

In a few hours I will fly to Hong Kong. So I'll be gone for a few weeks, but before I leave I want to give you a new and fresh beta to tear apart.

This update improves the playlist importer. You can now import playlist URLs from Digitally Imported ( without Stoffi crashing. There's also tons of updates regarding the playlist synchronization and listen statistics. Stoffi can now handle songs, artists and playlists containing special characters. This required a bit of work on both the server and client but hopefully it's working alright now. Let me know if you run into any problems.

The shutdown is now also faster, or at least it should feel like it, as the "Saving settings..." dialog is now gone. Stoffi will still save the settings and .NET's built in settings engine is still really slow, but now all that is done after the window disappears. This should make it appear as if Stoffi is shutting down in less than a second.

I also managed to find and fix a bug that caused Stoffi to crash while searching on YouTube. This crash didn't happen every time so it was a bit hard to pin it down but it's gone now.

Take the beta for a spin and report any bugs you may find. As far as I know all bugs are now fixed so unless anyone finds anything more I will release this to all users.

Take care!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Alpha update: more views, Jamendo, YouTube playlists

Time for another update to the alpha version of Stoffi.

The biggest of the new features in this update is the additional view mode. You can now select to view your songs as icons, content tiles, a simple list, or the old detailed list. It works just like in Windows Explorer except we don't support arbitrary icon sizes (yet). Hopefully this will make it a bit easier to browse your music.

Speaking of music, I've added more. This time the source is Jamendo. I haven't had time to really dig into Jamendo myself yet but it seems to be a bit different than what's available on SoundCloud. Also, the meta data seems to be much better at Jamendo.

The last big new feature is the ability to import YouTube playlists. Right now you can do this by selecting to add a playlist from YouTube in the context menu and then pasting the URL into the text box. Later I will do some magical connection between your YouTube account and Stoffi so your playlists can be automatically imported into Stoffi and synchronized back to YouTube.

As usual, there's also all the latest bug fixes coming in from the beta version of Stoffi as well. But you still shouldn't expect any stability in the alpha. Most of these new features are really untested and may crash a lot. But if you want to see the direction I'm taking Stoffi in for the next upcoming releases you can download the alpha and try it out. If you want to help out testing new stuff and send bug reports you should focus on the beta, though.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

In the meantime, at Stoffi HQ...


Today I took the last exam for the semester and when I got home I finished and submitted my last report.

So now I have almost three months before I start on my master thesis in the fall. This means that I can get some time to wrap things up with the new Stoffi version and hopefully release it. Yay!

However, I have a planned trip to Hong Kong with my family between June 11th and July 19th. So there may not be anything happening on the Stoffi front until after I get home. But don't worry! I have something for you while you wait. I found some cash a couple of months ago and one of the things I spent it on was my office/diaper room (this is were all the magic happens).

So I took some picture to show you the awesome results.

Here's some bad guys after running into Luke and Chewbacca.

But Luke and Chewie are backed up by a hiding Han Solo.

An overview of the stand off. Note Princess Leia coming in to rescue the boys with a sneak attack from behind.

This is really the place where I just put all the excess characters I got from all the other models. I may actually build some environment and incorporate the cables from the screens into it to make it look really cool. It would also make the characters less prone to falling over.

Here's Leia showing some of the tactical plans over at the rebel headquarters on the planet Hoth.

A lone rebel running for his X-wing.

Some imperial troopers going in for an attack on the rebel base. Also, a drone!

A TIE bomber, perhaps running away from that big bad-ass X-wing in the background?

The complete space scene with an A-wing, a B-wing, a Tantive IV and the planets Alderaan and Endoor. Also, an astroid field (which actually looks like a single planet, guess I have to paint the whole room black so it blends in more).

There's Yoda! He's in the middle of a fight with some droidekas. You may not see it clearly here but one droideka is actually destroyed. Two more standing. Yoda also has a AT-RT behind him and a clone trooper coming in from the left.

Luke is hanging from a snow speeder over the imperial troops.

Finally, the whole of my little HQ. There's still some stuff I didn't show (like ranging lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and old Obi-Wan Kenobi) but you can spot the Millennium Falcon in this picture which is my (so far) most expensive piece (except the desk with adjustable height).

Don't worry, there will be more. I plan on building both a scene from Tatooine and one from Endor later on.