And.. we’re back

Apologies for the outage here.. blog went offline due to a provider subscription issue.  All back now.  Looking forward to sharing more about what’s going on around here at ObjectivePixel and, more importantly, with BringCast.  That will come in a future post 🙂

thx

James

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New BringCast 4 build: 4.0.43

Hello Friends.  Hope this post finds you well.  For those of you living in the US, happy 4th of July Holiday weekend (and see end of post for a holiday special we’re running)!

On our end, now that the craziness of the day jobs have died down a bit we have been able to push out an update to our BringCast 4 UWP which fixes some bugs and adds, a couple of minor enhancements and one new experimental feature.  The change log for the former is as follows:

  • Fixed a bug with staggering animation in playlists, episode views
  • Enabled new animations by default
  • Fixed a bug preventing themepack 2 from working correctly
  • Some layout improvements to the lower playback strip region of the app
  • Added a setting for disabling the lighting effect that is used when buffering playback.  This was causing a crash on some Windows Phone devices.

Pickup where you left off on another device

This marks the first step towards our stated goal of being more multi-device friendly over time:  we have built a new experimental feature (hence available to Pro users of the app) which allows you to view all devices in your Windows device graph and continue listening to the current podcast episode on one of those devices.  Let’s say you’re listening to our good friends Carl and Richard (Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 2) over at .NET Rocks!  on your shiny new Surface Pro using BringCast:

By clicking on the new cast icon, you get a menu showing you your device graph:

And from there you can click on another device, like your Elite x3 and playback will continue there picking up at the same spot.

Why James”, you say,  “That’s great and all but I’d really love to have the same experience with my” (insert your favorite mobile device here).  We hear you.  Definitely looking into this scenario as well.

That’s all for now.. apart from.. because it is a celebrated holiday in the US, we are dropping the price of a BringCast 4 pro annual subscription from $6.99 to $1.99.  That’s over a 70% discount!  Get it while it’s hot.. offer ends on Friday 7/7/2017.  Subscriptions are what get’s you access to the full feature set of BringCast including experimental features and also is what helps to keep the lights on our end so we thank you for helping to keep things going here.

Happy Holidays.

James

BringCast 4 update

V4 is Out! Back in January we released the official version 4 release of BringCast after a marathon development process.  This was certainly a huge milestone for us as the porting journey ended with the codebase running as a Universal Windows Application on desktop and mobile Windows devices.  Thanks to all our loyal users and supporters who have stuck with us over the years.

On a related note, the “UWP beta” version of the app has been taken down from the store.. New policy does not allow apps with Beta as part of the name, hence all our current and future versions will go out from the official BringCast app that you can find at this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/bringcast/9nblggh093x1

Patch: Today we’re releasing the first patch for V4 including the following fixes / additions [in the final stage of certification / release at the time of writing]:

  • Fix an issue with telemetry reporting
  • Fix a race condition that could occur on application startup when downloads complete exactly at the same time as new downloads start
  • Fix an issue causing skins to not apply correctly on some machines
  • Pro feature: Ability to turn on experimental animation features for Pro subscribers
  • Experimental feature to enable clearing the current item from the player
  • Ability to disable the lighting effect when buffering playback for a new track.. This fixes an issue that can cause some mobile devices to reboot
  • New 1 week long Pro subscription

New Licensing Model: One of the changes we’ve made in V4 of the app is our approach to licensing.  There were really two main goals for this change: 1) have a fully free version of the app with no adverts and a decent entry level feature set 2) move our paid offering to a subscription model.  It is simply not economical to ship an app for a one-off payment of a dollar or two these days.  Hence we’re hoping that users that value the more advanced features are willing to invest in us and in future versions.  And for those that aren’t, we hope that the free offering will be good enough.  This is certainly something of an experiment and we’ll see how it goes.  Users who are willing to support us and invest in a Pro subscription will get all the latest features automatically before they become part of the main product.  We’re also hoping that the level of income that Pro generates is sufficient to support a cloud sync service.  Time will tell.

Next: We’re already working on new features that will be coming out in stages over the next few months.  We are looking closely at some of the new capabilities in the Windows 10 Creator’s update and will be incorporating some of those in due course.  We definitely don’t want to do any more “big bang” releases; instead we’ll introduce features more incrementally and therefore more rapidly.  We’ll also test out features via the experimental channel which is available to Pro subscribers.  As ever, let us know what you’d like us to work on and we’ll see what we can do 🙂

Thanks: Again, thanks to all who have stuck with us and continue to use the product.  You inspire us to keep going!  If you really want to help out, please do rate us in the store: it really does help us out.

thx y’all, you totally ROCK!

Love James and Mark

New BringCast 4 UWP public beta build: 4.0.225

We got to the bottom of the pending issue.. you will need to temporarily disable backup of BringCast under settings->Backup->More options.  We have developed a fix for this but it will only be deployed when we cut over to the production release app at RTM.  Use the above workaround in the meantime.  Other than that, this build is pretty much fixes only.

  • Fix: Playlist episode rollover when app is in the background causes now playing hero image to be incorrect
  • Fix: resizing window width doesn’t move thumb on scrubber
  • Fix: the text that share generates
  • Video playback doesn’t occur correctly when expected when rolling over in a mixed audio / video playlist
  • Update Icons in the drawer
  • Fix: username / password field width in settings
  • Fix: pending issue (note: fix is currently turned off until we cut over to the production Store app, disable backup of BringCast as a workaround)
  • Fix: the missing icon after reordering playlist
  • Fix: exceptions generated after multiple reorder operations
  • Fix: logic for unbinding items when scrolling
  • Fix: no placeholders when no network

Can’t launch BringCast 4 UWP beta because of “Pending” Issue

If you are testing the BringCast 4 UWP Beta build on Windows Phone Anniversary Update and are hitting an issue where the app goes into the Pending state where it will launch for a period of time, please

  • Go to the Feedback app
  • Create new feedback detailing what you’re seeing
  • Assign to the Developer Platform node, sub area App Deployment
  • Make sure you mark the issue as Problem and chose the option to file a bug if prompted

feedback

Once you’ve done the above send me email at with the tile of BringCast Pending along with a note of the bug number if you’re provided with one to this address

title

We’re actively trying to track this down.  Thx for your help.

New BringCast 4 UWP public beta build: 4.0.211

This is likely the last public build before we switch over to the RTM branch and push to the official app.  Thanks to all for the help with testing.  Cowabunga!

https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh5pm5q

Here is the changelog:

  • Fix application icon / tile scaling
  • Fix about dialog layout
  • Fix Feedback page won’t launch
  • Fix settings icon location
  • Rework the UI for Import / Export
  • It has it’s own page in the app
  • Onedrive login / logout has a dedicated page
  • Better error handling
  • Fix an issue where not enough space to view onedrive import on Lumia 950
  • Improve text on import / export page
  • Fix: remove from playlist on long press rebuilds whole playlist rather than removing item
  • Improve going to settings perf
  • buttons on Settings use the highlight color
  • Colors of pages.. About, feedback, tips, enhancements, downloads are now consistent
  • 3x playback added (only for desktop)
  • Diagnostics for helping find unhandled exceptions
  • Fix playlist reordering
  • Exchange previous / next positions, don’t increment / decrement
  • Ensure that the collection has positions, make sure FIC is not incorrectly initialized
  • Fix bad playlist state: If playlist items are position 0 bump them to the end of the playlist
  • Tap anywhere on the band player for home
  • Fix unhandled exception on Play button when nothing playing
  • Tweaks to the Drawer Design:
  • Remove circles
  • Add linesLines
  • Make settings button always present
  • Rename All to All Episodes by date
  • Fix infinite spinning progress after subscribing to a feed
  • Fix Slow scrolling on subscriptions generates un handled exception
  • Add Spinner in login button for onedrive to show login progress after app relaunch
  • Application banner now displays Pro if you have purchased a Pro subscription
  • More skip forward / backward incremenets
  • Right clicking on ff/rw buttons in player now works as a shortcut for configuring skip durations as well as press and hold
  • Fix UI for skip settings in settings to layout better

BringCast 4 public beta updated for Windows 10 Anniversary Update

It’s been rather quiet around here of late, primarily due to work being the focus as well as other general distractions from life.  For me the work in question has been shipping the Windows 10 Anniversary Update which went live at the end of June.  Mark has been busy being a new Dad 🙂

The good news is that the Anniversary Update has a ton of new end user and developer features and we now get to take advantage of the latter in BringCast.  To that end we’ve spent the last couple of months working on an update to the BringCast 4 public beta that specifically targets the Anniversary update.  A big focus for this update is stability and polish.. we’re now focused on shipping and the good news there is that this build is now feature complete.

Looking back through our source control system, we’ve made 1175 checkins since July fixing bugs and adding features.

So what’s new?

Improved Playback Stability:  This is the biggest item that has simplified the code and drastically improved stability of Playback.    For the developers amongst you we’re now using the Single Process background model which you can read more about here .

Improved Import Export workflow: increasingly we find ourselves listening to and watching podcasts across a number of different devices.  Since we don’t currently have a cloud backend (more on that in a future post) we wanted to offer an improved workflow with OneDrive.  Using the new import / export workflow accessible in settings it’s now possible to save and restore all your subscriptions, playlists, the state of what’s listened to and not as well as what’s downloaded.  It’s ease to restore back to the exact state that your in on a new device.  Items you downloaded before will be automatically downloaded again.

Improved Onedrive Login:  Coupled with the above, we’ve made it easier to log in to OneDrive by moving to using integrated authentication which means you can simply pick a Windows Live ID that you’ve already used to sign in on to OneDrive and use that to store and retrieve your podcast database for backing up or switching between devices.

More stuff is now free:  Looking at the number of podcasting solutions in the store, we decided that more functionality that was previously behind an in app purchase should be set free.  So now downloading, unlimited playlist items are all part of the free product.  That’s much better 🙂

Visual Layer goodness: We’ve added aspects of the new Visual Layer both by default in the app as well as behind an experimental setting.  If you turn that on you get more stuff.  Along the way we’ve also made a ton of performance improvements for example in page navigation.

  • Buffering is now indicated by a dynamic lighting effect
  • Drawer has a glass effect behind it
  • Listviews have a stagger animation
  • Connected animations are present between subscriptions and feed details
  • Layout animations are shown in subscriptions and on the player page for transport controls.

Adaptive UI: We’ve started to dip our toes into the water of adaptive UI.  There’s a ton more to do to make the UX better take advantage but we’ve started this effort.

Show notes display are back:  We took this away in the last update and now show notes are back in a new pop-up window.

Better telemetry: to help us identify and fix issues in deployment.  ‘Nough said.

Notable Bug fixes: reliability with downloading and playback but we’ve literally fixed err 88 bugs in this update.

So that’s what we’ve been up to.  Please feel free to download and play with the beta here.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/bringcast-4-uwp-public-beta/9nblggh5pm5q

In the next post we’ll talk about the release plan for BringCast 4 and what comes next.