Saturday, October 27, 2012

Select text size behaviour for list with v6.1

With the next version v6.1 of SmartPlaylist you can now choose:
  • Use always the small text size (as before) to see as much text as possible ("min.")  -- This is the default setting for the iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Adapt/optimise the text font to get a bigger text size, but only if the text is not truncated ("optim.") -- This will result in a small size for long texts and a large size for short texts
  • Always use a large text size ("max.") -- This is now the default setting for the iPad
The actual text size changes according to
  • portrait / landscape mode
  • row height S / M / L (which can be changed directly in the list view by using the 2-finger "pinch / spread" gesture)
With the smallest row height ("S") there is no difference between the 3 text size settings.

Example iPad with "max.":

Example iPhone with "optim.":

Unfortunately, "optim." needs quite some computer power, so it can at first slow down the scrolling on older devices.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Problem on iPhone 5 -- fixed

Currently (with v6.0 of SmartPlaylist) there is a problem on the iPhone 5: The toolbar at the bottom does not respond. This happens only on the iPhone 5 (taller screen) and only in portrait mode. In landscape mode it works fine also on the iPhone 5.

The fix will be out in about a week, hopefully.

UPDATE: Fix with version v6.0.1 is out now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

⊕⊖ Exclude/Include tutorial

Yesterday I downloaded 4 songs from the iTunes Store. Then I synced them to my iPhone. Then I discovered that each song was copied twice to the iPhone:

  1. One copy was OK (artwork, rating, playable)
  2. The other copy was "empty" / corrupt: no artwork, not playable, NOT DELETABLE!!!

In iTunes it just shows the 4 songs on my iPhone ("iPhone4"):


But on the iPhone I actually do have those corrupted duplicates:

... and I can NOT DELETE THEM on the iPhone!!!

Maybe I could erase all music on the iPhone and re-sync it. But unlike the music app, SmartPlaylist can do the following trick: You can hide (exclude) certain songs from one or all playlists.

You just navigate to the details of the undesired song (here: one of the 4 corrupted duplicates) and tap "⊕⊖":

In the pop-up dialogue you just tap on the playlist  A / B / C ... or F where the selected song should be excluded.
  1. With the first tap you get "⊕" (e.g. "A⊕"), i.e. "Include in A" -- like that you can manually add songs to a playlist
  2. With the second tap you get "⊖" (e.g. "A⊖"), i.e. "Exclude from A" -- like that you can manually hide (exclude) songs from a playlist (or from multiple or from all playlists).

Those excludes/includes are shown as a rule for each playlist:

With the blue/white ">" you can manage them:
  • Delete all (red button at the bottom)
  • Change playlists and/or ⊕ or ⊖


To apply the excludes/includes you have to requery the playlist with "⏎". As long as you don't use "⏎", songs with "⊖" are still in the list, but they are skipped and not played.

The 3 steps:
1. That's what I got at first in my "Saban" playlist:

 2. Then I marked them for excluding (as described above):

3. Then I ran the search again with "⏎" and was free of those 4 undesired duplicates:


So, that's how you can manually add or hide individual songs from one, multiple or all your playlists.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dilemma

With the arrival of iOS 6 & iPhone 5 I can

  1. either keep supporting iOS 4.1 and iPodTouch 2 (2nd generation) -- but without full support for iPhone 5
  2. or abandon iPodTouch 2, only support iOS 4.3 or greater -- with full support for iPhone 5
(Apple gives me no other options)

I chose 2. Sorry, no more updates for the iPodTouch 2nd generation -- i.e. DON'T update to the next version  of SmartPlaylist (v6.0) if you have an iPodTouch 2 or a device still with iOS 4.1!

The program code of SmartPlaylist has no problem with iOS 4.1 / iPodTouch 2, it's only Apple's development and distribution tools which force me to cut off support for older devices.

The way it looks now I can only support the following hardware (with iOS 4.3 or higher):
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4, iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • 3rd and 4th generation iPodTouch
  • All iPads
(I do not own all these devices, so I can test only a few of them: iPhone 4, iPad 1, iPodTouch 4)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

iTunes Match (iCloud) support with iOS 6

In the next version of SmartPlaylist you will be able to filter songs by their iCloud status:
"no ☁" --> select only songs which are actually stored on your device
"only ☁" --> select only songs which are in the cloud (but not downloaded to your device)
"All" --> well, all.



If you don't use iTunes Match (like myself) you can simply hide this rule in Settings.

"☁" is also displayed in the list and detail view for songs, which are in the cloud.

Note: This feature will only be available with iOS 6.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New icon

Early warning: This is going to be the new icon for SmartPlaylist:


It looks much more distinctive, simpler and easier to recognize and scales nicely for all sizes and resolutions.

UPDATE: If the icon is not updated when updating to SmartPlaylist v6.0:

  1. Delete SmartPlaylist on your device -- unfortunately, this will delete all the rules and settings :-(
  2. Re-install SmartPlaylist (via iTunes sync or via App Store > Updates > Purchased)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Copy / Paste rules

In the tools menu () there are the 2 commands "Save current rules" and "Load saved rules". They act like Copy / Paste to copy the rules from one playlist (say A) to another playlist (say B). (In the next version of SmartPlaylist they will be named "Copy current rules" / "Paste copied rules" to clarify their purpose).

The rules of a playlist are (only) saved when the query is started with "Enter" (⏎), so that you can always see what is actually "inside" the list. So, if you change the rules and switch to another playlist without using  "⏎", then those changes are not saved.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Corrupted AppStore download

There was / is also a problem some users have experienced: After downloading the latest version of SmartPlaylist (v5.9) SmartPlaylist crashes when opened. The same problem exists also with other apps. The reason for this seems to be corrupted files from the AppStore.
I have submitted a small update (v5.9.1) to Apple more than 10 days ago (fixing sorting after fusion / mix), but it has not yet been published by Apple. They seem to be really busy ...

UPDATE: OK, v5.9.1 has just been published in the App Store. I hope everyone gets a good copy this time.

Problem with iOS 5 and shuffle mode

When you switch to shuffle mode in SmartPlaylist with iOS 5 you might experience some funny effects where the playback stutters (goes on and off). So far I have no explanation for this problem. With iOS 4 it works just fine.

UPDATE: OK, I think I have found a way to prevent this problem. Fix will come soon (v5.9.2)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

v5.9: New features

Some more options for the list view:

  1. Show the row number (#1, #2, #3, ...)
  2. Show "Duration / Time to play": For the song now playing it shows how much time is left to play (e.g. 17 seconds in the example below)
  3. Make the first line with normal text and the second line with bold text (or both bold, if you wish)
  4. The option to show/hide the artwork is now separate from the row height option (S, M, L), meaning you can now also have large rows without artwork
  5. The row height and the show/hide artwork can now be changed/toggled both with the pinch/spread gesture, using 2 fingers: "Pinch" reduces the row height (L > M > S) and toggles show/hide artwork at the smalles height (S). "Spread" increases the the row height and again toggles show/hide artwork at the maximum height (L)

To start playing any song in the list or to play/pause the one playing (blue), just press on the row for half a second. Before, you had to tap on the artwork image, but the new method (long press) also works when you don't want to see the artwork.
In the detail view (single song) you can now also press on the artwork for half a second to start playing the selected title or to play/pause it, if it is already the now playing item. (Tap/double tap and pinch/spread still work to enlarge the artwork).
The greatest new feature is the "⇉ Show all titles with same ...", described in the previous post.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Load all titles with same ...

With SmartPlaylist v5.9 you can navigate from a song to all titles with the same ...
  • Genre
  • Composer
  • Groupings
  • Artist
  • Album
How:
  1. Select a title in the detail view (e.g. the song now playing).
  2. Tap "⇉". This opens the "⇉ Load all titles with same ..." dialogue.
  3. Pick "Genre = GenreOfSelectedTitle" or "Composer = ComposerOfSelectedTitle" or "Groupings = GroupingsOfSelectedTitle" or "Artist = ArtistOfSelectedTitle" or "Album = AlbumOfSelectedTitle"
Tap on""
Select where you want to go


















On the iPad
SmartPlaylist now creates a temporary playlist "T", which works just like the others (A, B, ..., F/G). From here you can jump yet to another temporary playlist using "⇉". To go back to the original (unchanged) playlist:
  • In the list view: Tap on the title on top (e.g. "SmartPlaylist T: 39")
  • In the rules view: Use "⏎ Search / Generate list" or "↻ Reload last list" or switch to another list (and then back again)
So, this feature allows you to search by example. You can also use it to drill down from a more general result list. I hope you will enjoy the flexibility this approach offers.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Design your own list view

With SmartPlaylistv 5.8 you will be able to configure exactly what information you want to see in the list view. You can select up to 6 different song attributes (3 in the main line, 3 in the sub-line) from the 11 available ones. You can also specify how (with which characters) to separate the different additional infos.
Here is an example:
Line 1: Title & " • " & Duration
Line 2: Artist & "  -- " & Album

... which is configured like this:
With the "⌥"-button you can select from the different available attributes:
  

Some more suggestions (for line 1 or 2), to show what is possible:

  • Artist & ": " & Title & " (" & Track# & ")"
  • Title & "  / bpm:" & BPM
  • Title & " | " & Year & " | " & Duration
  • ... 

Note:

  • Don't overload it. On old hardware (e.g. iPodTouch2) it is best to just use Title / Artist
  • On the iPad there is much more space that can be used
  • Rating, PlayCount & LastPlayed can be displayed seperately ("hide" / "as ▯▯▮▮▮" / "as text")



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Problem with SmartPlaylist v5.6 & v5.7 on iPad with iOS < 5.1

Due to a bug, SmartPlaylist v5.6 & v5.7 does not work on iPad with iOS less than 5.1.

What you can do to solve the problem:
Update your iPad to iOS 5.1 or wait for SmartPlaylist v5.8 (due to be out approx. on 25. April).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

v5.6 out already

Simple enough: Go to ⌘, "Settings..." and untick the rules you never use. They will be hidden.

If you hide a rule which is still used in a SmartPlaylist, you will still see it when you use ⌘, "Show only active rules".


With the next release (v5.7) you will also be able to configure what you want to see in the MusicBrowser "Genres➤Composers➤Groupings➤Artists➤Albums➤Titles", e.g. to make just "Genres➤Artists➤Albums➤Titles"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

v5.5: Options for list display

Some examples of how you can configure your list display in ⌘ > Settings:

This is the most basic and therefore fastest configuration


With artwork "medium" line 2 is folded into 2 lines, if necessary

With artwork "large" you get up to 4 lines.

Changing the artwork size can be done directly in the list view by using the "pinch" gesture.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

v5.4: More concise list-view

As you can see, the list-view now shows only the most important infos at a glance:
Artwork, title, artist and composer (in []). On the iPad you also get the album's name.

Plus: 3 graphical playback indicators on the left for each song.


The 1. indicator on top shows the rating (0-5):
"-" no rating
""  ★····
"▮▮"  ···
"▮▮▮"  ··
"▮▮▮▮"  ·
"▮▮▮▮▮"  

The 2. indicator in the middle shows the play count as graphical bars:
"-" never played
"" played 1-3 times
"▮▮" played 4-6 times
"▮▮▮" played 7-12 times
"▮▮▮▮" played 13-24 times
"▮▮▮▮▮" played more than 24 times

The bars at the bottom (3.) show how long ago the song was last played:
"-" never played
"" last played 1-6 days ago ("some days ago")
"▮▮" last played 7-30 days ago ("some weeks ago")
"▮▮▮" last played 31-180 days ago ("some months ago")
"▮▮▮▮" last played 181-365 days ago ("more than half a year ago")
"▮▮▮▮▮" last played more than 365 days ago ("more than a year ago")

Hope you like it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

v5.3: More Release Dates

So far SmartPlaylist could only support Release Dates after 2001, because Apple's programming framework only provided NULL/nil/nada/nothing for older dates (there was no life before the iPod, was there?). Now I have found a second way to also extract older Release Dates.
As this takes a bit of time, searching or sorting by Release Date is a bit slow at first. SmartPlaylist puts the extracted values in a cash to speed up sorting and searching the next time. This cache is emptied with "Empty cache after sync" (see other posts).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Support for iTunes Match in SmartPlaylist

Personally I cannot understand how you can entrust your dear music collection into the hands of Apple or Google, or anybody else. I want to do my own backups, my own syncs, I want to be master of my music.

Anyhow, there are SmartPlaylist customers who use iTunes Match. To help them a bit, two features will be in v5.3:

  1. Songs up somewhere in the clouds, i.e. not (yet) stored on the device, will be shown in the list in grey instead of in white (see screenshot below)
  2. Downloading a song to the device for listening will no longer trigger the message "MPMediaLibrary Notification" (see other posts)

In the above example title #25 and #28 are greyed, because they are DRM-protected. Titles in the cloud will (should) also be displayed like that.

Please report your experience with iTunes Match and SmartPlaylist to support.smartplaylist@gmail.com.

UPDATE: At the moment (v5.9) the features described above no longer work. With iOS 6 it will be possible to filter songs that are in the cloud or those which are not (stored on the device). I will add this filter as a search rule in an upcoming version of SmartPlaylist.

New in v5.3: Search, read, copy lyrics!

As already announced, with SmartPlaylist v5.3 you can also search in the lyrics stored inside your mp3-titles:


Extracting the lyrics takes a while, that's why this search rule is rather slow and that'y why SmartPlaylist puts the lyrics in a cache to make the search faster the next time (and that's why you have to use "Empty cache after sync" once you change the lyrics in iTunes).

You can also read the lyrics in the detail infos for a song, where you can copy some text as usual, or look up the meaning of a word:


Prerequisites:
  1. Store the lyrics inside your mp3s in iTunes or with other tools. (SmartPlaylist does not search for lyrics in the web)
  2. Get the lyrics to your iPod / iPhone / iPad by syncing to your device. Currently this does not work for songs downloaded from iTunes directly to your device (see other posts)

New in v5.3: Empty cache after sync

So far SmartPlaylist automatically switched to the rules page and emptied the cache whenever the MediaLibrary was changed by a sync. With iTunes Match this is rather annoying, because each time a song is downloaded from the cloud to listen to it on the device, this happened.
So now, with v5.3 nothing will happen in SmartPlaylist when the MediaLibrary changes (for whatever reason). As long as you add new titles, everything is OK, you don't need to do anything in SmartPlaylist. But once you change some attributes (like lyrics, genre, composer, cover artwork, etc.) you need run "Empty cache after sync" to make sure that the new values are used in SmartPlaylist.


The reason behind this is that SmartPlaylist stores certain values, which take time to get, in a cache, in order to speed up search and display. This happens with the hierarchical browser (Genre>Composer>Groupings>Artists>Albums>Titles), the cover artwork (for the list view only), the lyrics and the realeaseDate.

So whenever you think that SmartPlaylist does not take the latest values, it is time to "Empty cache after sync". On older devices with iOS 4, where apps don't run in the background and have to be restarted each time, this is not necessary, since like that SmartPlalyist is always started with an empty cache.

If you still don't see what you expect, then probably there is a problem with syncing/iCloud/iTunes Match.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

General problems with lyrics, syncing and iTunes (Match)

UPDATE (iOS 8 / iTunes 12):
Today I purchased some songs on the iPhone and later added the lyrics in iTunes - but the lyrics did not show up on the iPhone after syncing back to it -- this is the known problem.
But then I simply deleted the songs on the iPhone and then synced again from iTunes - after the second sync the lyrics were on the iPhone. Maybe this is the way to solve this problem.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With iCloud, iTunes Match and downloads directly to the iPhone it really get's complicated. You are no longer master of your own songs. When you add lyrics in iTunes on the mac and sync back to the iPhone, the lyrics don't show up! In other cases the old lyrics before the change show up!?

It is a problem with iOS 5. All this iCloud and Match stuff is even confusing Apple, it seems.

Deleting the song on the iPhone and then sync it back from the computer does not help.
What you have to do:

  1. Copy the song from iTunes to your desktop (or any other folder) -- the lyrics are contained within this file
  2. Delete the song in iTunes (with "move to trash")
  3. Delete the song on the device (in the built-in music app, with a swipe gesture)
  4. Sync from computer to device by cable
  5. Add the song back to iTunes
  6. Sync again

--- Now the song will display the lyrics both in the music app and in SmartPlaylist (in SmartPlaylist you must empty the cache with the new ⌘-command "Empty cache after sync" or do a complete restart)

Like that you will loose the Rating, Play Count and Skip Count and get a new Date Added. It is a pain.

Maybe it's better to download songs from Amazon, after all. Then you don't have those troubles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Search in lyrics, read lyrics

Finally. I have found a way to search for songs by looking for search patterns in their lyrics!
Examples:
Lyrics contain "slavery AND cruel"
Lyrics like "* neighb*r *"

As usual, you can combine this with any other rule in SmartPlaylist.
And as usual, you can copy from the lyrics to paste into mails, messages or notes.


This works only for songs actually stored on the device (it doesn't work for songs in the cloud of iTunes Match). For certain protected songs (DRM) it might also not work.
The lyrics must be stored inside the song (you can do that in iTunes) --- SmartPlaylist will not look up lyrics for you in the internet.

Friday, January 13, 2012

iTunes Match


SmartPlaylist relies completely on the MediaLibrary present on the device and has not been adapted to iTunes Match, if this is possible at all. Other developers are also struggling with this.

Accessing a song up in the cloud (iTunes Match) seems to change something in the MediaLibrary. Unfortunately I cannot distinguish between these Match-changes and real library changes after synching. Maybe I just have to ignore changes and people have to restart SmartPlaylist after synching, like before. Alas, Apple does not make it easy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Experiment: Price drop January/February

As an experiment I dropped the price of SmartPlaylist to just 1$ to see how this affects sales. I will review the price at the end of February.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Search and sort by Year

In v5.2 of SmartPlaylist you will be able to search and sort by Year.
As this function is not provided by Apple, but is only possible with an "nonofficial" workaround, this feature might be rejected by Apple. We will see.