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BBobley
2005-08-17, 12:31
I'm posting this in praise of the Random Play plug-in (thanks kdf!). I figured that beginners might not know about it so that's why I'm posting in the General section. This plug-in *really* should be made part of the standard installation.

Here's a story that reflects why I feel this way: I've owned an ipod for about three years. Previously, setting up the ipod to listen to random songs was a bit of a pain. First you had to go into the Settings and change to the shuffle songs mode, then you had to go to and play "All" songs and it would then shuffle your entire set of songs (much like the way Squeezebox does it). But it was a pain. And non-technical folks (like my wife) could never get it right. She would get confused on what setting to change or after she was done, she'd accidentally leave it on Shuffle, so then everything played randomly.

Then Apple did something very smart: a few months back, they added a new top-level command called "Shuffle Songs." You just click one button and it starts spitting out songs randomly. And it doesn't affect any other settings. Brilliant. Now my wife (and I) use this feature all the time.

Previously, the Squeezebox had the same problem. There was no way my wife was going to learn all the steps to play all the songs randomly on the Squeezebox. Plus, it took a really long time to create the playlist and sometimes the machine would timeout because I have a lot of songs. Ugh....

So this new Random Play plug-in is just wonderful. Very simple and easy to use. Works instantly. I have moved it to the top-level menu and use it all the time. I think that as more and more "regular" people (e.g. non techies) start to buy and use the Squeezebox it is important that we have easy-to-use commands for basic stuff like listening to songs randomly. But if it remains a third-party plug-in, many users will never know about it. That's why I suggest making it part of the core product.

Just my 2 cents worth. And thanks again to kdf for writing that plug-in!

Brett

Jeff52
2005-08-17, 13:30
You said it well so I'll just say that I agree about the plugin.

Bruce Hartley
2005-08-17, 13:44
I'm posting this in praise of the Random Play plug-in (thanks kdf!). This plug-in *really* should be made part of the standard installation.

Don't you just hate "me too" posts.

But what the hell, ME TOO !!!!

kdf
2005-08-17, 14:00
Quoting BBobley <BBobley.1txbgb (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> I'm posting this in praise of the Random Play plug-in (thanks kdf!). I
> figured that beginners might not know about it so that's why I'm
> posting in the General section. This plug-in *really* should be made
> part of the standard installation.

Thanks for the compliments. As part of bug 1313, integrating the plugin is under
discussion for a future release (not exactly sure which one)

-kdf--
NOT a Slim Devices employee

dean
2005-08-17, 14:19
The people have spoken.

Let's do it for 6.2.
On Aug 17, 2005, at 2:00 PM, kdf wrote:

> Quoting BBobley <BBobley.1txbgb (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:
>
>
>>
>> I'm posting this in praise of the Random Play plug-in (thanks
>> kdf!). I
>> figured that beginners might not know about it so that's why I'm
>> posting in the General section. This plug-in *really* should be made
>> part of the standard installation.
>>
>
> Thanks for the compliments. As part of bug 1313, integrating the
> plugin is under
> discussion for a future release (not exactly sure which one)
>
> -kdf--
> NOT a Slim Devices employee
>

dannyg
2005-08-17, 21:35
Thanks for the recommendation BBobley.

This is the first plugin I've tried to load, and what a great plugin it is! I assumed that the SB2 would operate like this right out of the box; it is much easier than dealing with playlists.

Thank goodness for the plugin capability of SlimServer and Perl writers like KDF. This makes me want to learn Perl.


I like the ALBUM mode with the following settings:

-- Screensaver when playing: "Now Playing (Jump back on wake)"
-- Screensaver delay time in seconds: "1"
-- Scroll Mode: "Scroll once and stop"
-- Shuffle Mode: "Don't shuffle playlist"

Quick Description of operation:
----------------------------------
1) Hit Play; a random album is chosen.
2) Hit FWD and it goes to the next song on that album.

.

dannyg
2005-08-17, 22:21
Mr. KDF guru,

The following settings work great when used in conjunction with your "Random" plugin. But of course they are not optimal when using other menu items on the SB2; especially the 1 second screensaver delay.

-- Screensaver when playing: "Now Playing (Jump back on wake)"
-- Screensaver delay time in seconds: "1"

Can I get you to try the above settings on either the ALBUM, ARTIST or TRACK level of your plugin? It would be great if this was the default behavior while in the ALBUM/ARTIST/TRACK level.

However upon exiting this level, it would be nice to go back to the original "Screensaver while playing" and "screensaver delay" settings.

---
Another recommendation would to be to have the "+" key go backwards to the previous ablum that is skipped with the Play button. Sometimes I accidentally overshoot a good albumn and would like to "back up" to it with the "+" key.

-

kdf
2005-08-17, 23:32
On 17-Aug-05, at 10:21 PM, dannyg wrote:
>
> Can I get you to try the above settings on either the ALBUM, ARTIST or
> TRACK level of your plugin? It would be great if this was the default
> behavior while in the ALBUM/ARTIST/TRACK level.
>

I'm not sure I understand. Are you having a problem when using this
setting that I should be checking for? Or, are you asking that I force
these settings when the plugin is in use? I don't really feel that it
is right for a plugin to force settings on anyone.

Right now, Dan is working on integrating the plugin with the core
server, so I'm not really planning to do anything to it until that work
is completed. If you have found an issue, please elaborate so that I
or Dan may fix it.

cheers,
kdf

Craig, James (IT)
2005-08-18, 01:34
Slightly off-topic, but on my iPod,
I just press play from the main menu to playback from all my music in
the current shuffle mode.

James
--------------------------------------------------------

NOTICE: If received in error, please destroy and notify sender. Sender does not waive confidentiality or privilege, and use is prohibited.

dannyg
2005-08-18, 07:00
kdf,

I'm not having problems. I don't want to force anything on anybody, its just that I thought that having those settings as a default would make your plugin work a little better.

Being able to see the song name that is playing imediately after pressing PLAY or FWD is preferable to just displaying the word ALBUM for 20 seconds, or however long your screensaver timout is set to.

dip
2005-08-18, 07:06
Great Plugin!
The only improvement I would like to see is that I am able to restrict the selection (of the tracks, album or artist) to specific genres.

Usually I want to hear a random selection of my songs but without songs having the genre "classical", "audio book" or "children's songs". At the moment I do not use the random plugin but create a playlist having only songs of all other genres what is a pain (since I cannot select a plurality of genres) and play this playlist in shuffle mode. But when I add new songs to the library I have to add these songs also to the playlist or re-create it.

It would be great if in the settings of the random plugin all genres would be shown, each having a checkbox for inclusion in the random list or not.

dijon
2005-08-18, 08:03
seconded, that's a great idea.

----- Original Message -----
From: "dip" <dip.1tyr2n (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
To: <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 10:06 AM
Subject: [slim] Re: Praise for 'Random Play' Plug-in


>
> Great Plugin!
> The only improvement I would like to see is that I am able to restrict
> the selection (of the tracks, album or artist) to specific genres.
>
> Usually I want to hear a random selection of my songs but without songs
> having the genre "classical", "audio book" or "children's songs". At the
> moment I do not use the random plugin but create a playlist having only
> songs of all other genres what is a pain (since I cannot select a
> plurality of genres) and play this playlist in shuffle mode. But when I
> add new songs to the library I have to add these songs also to the
> playlist or re-create it.
>
> It would be great if in the settings of the random plugin all genres
> would be shown, each having a checkbox for inclusion in the random list
> or not.
>
>
> --
> dip
>

SlimPvC
2005-08-18, 08:08
I too agree with everything said before. Great plugin.

Maybe I shoud not re-start a plugin contest, but I really want to express my admiration (again) for the Biography and the Album Review plugin.
These are the two that really amazes my visitors!!

I'd also like to see these become part of the 'standard' package...(and on the webinterface they're even better, with photos and such!)
I cannot wait for the moment that I can choose to scroll the biography as text on the display while the music is playing...

Bye
Peter

fuzzyT
2005-08-18, 08:52
dip wrote:

> It would be great if in the settings of the random plugin all genres
> would be shown, each having a checkbox for inclusion in the random list
> or not.

(apologies if the below describes something much like what is already
implemented, i don't use Shuffle/Random very often and don't have an SB
or SoftSqueeze in front of me at the moment to test.)

another way to come at this would be to add a "random" option at other
points in the navigation. in other words, rather than have "random"
just appear at the top of the menu system, also include a random play
option as a submenu of nodes like the individual genera, albums or
artist. If this was a oft used option, a key mapping could be considered.

Browse
--Genre
----Rock
------Play
------Random Play

Browse
--Albums
----AnAlbum
------Play
------Random Play

Browse
--Artists
----AnArtist
------Play
------Random Play

granted, this arrangement wouldn't directly support random playback of
mixed genres. though you could get there with a smart playlist set up
to filter down to multiple genres, played back in Random Play.

--rt

kdf
2005-08-18, 08:59
On 18-Aug-05, at 7:00 AM, dannyg wrote:

>
> kdf,
>
> I'm not having problems. I don't want to force anything on anybody,
> its just that I thought that having those settings as a default would
> make your plugin work a little better.
>
ah, I see.

> Being able to see the song name that is playing imediately after
> pressing PLAY or FWD is preferable to just displaying the word ALBUM
> for 20 seconds, or however long your screensaver timout is set to.
>
i believe this is the same behaviour as it is from any browse mode. If
you play something, it simply stays where it is. I'm not sure that
every user would like it to change prefs. However, it could make sense
to jump to now playing after PLAY, since in this case, its not really a
browse mode.

Let's just see what Dan does with integrating it.

-kdf

Robin Bowes
2005-08-18, 09:01
ron thigpen wrote:

> another way to come at this would be to add a "random" option at other
> points in the navigation. in other words, rather than have "random"
> just appear at the top of the menu system, also include a random play
> option as a submenu of nodes like the individual genera, albums or
> artist. If this was a oft used option, a key mapping could be considered.

What's the difference between Random Play and Play with shuffle turned on?

R.

--
http://robinbowes.com

If a man speaks in a forest,
and his wife's not there,
is he still wrong?

kdf
2005-08-18, 09:08
On 18-Aug-05, at 8:52 AM, ron thigpen wrote:

> granted, this arrangement wouldn't directly support random playback of
> mixed genres. though you could get there with a smart playlist set up
> to filter down to multiple genres, played back in Random Play.
>

Having this kind of control was never the intent of the original
plugin, though I had considered this, since it would be an obvious
request. I my mind, it seemed easiest to accept a listref as an input,
such as a playlist or search results. This way, existing code, UI and
structure is re-used to create the same end results. This will allow
the focus to remain on the Search function for creating better control
over selections.

A random play item in browse lists might not be too hard too. We'll
have to see how the integration turns out :)

-kdf

kdf
2005-08-18, 09:26
Quoting Robin Bowes <robin-lists (AT) robinbowes (DOT) com>:


> What's the difference between Random Play and Play with shuffle turned on?
>
There were complaints that having shuffle on and playing the entire collection
would overload the server for a long time. The plugin took a different
approach, loading only 10 random tracks, or a single random artist or album.
In track mode, after playing one track, it is dropped from the playlist and a
new random track is added to the end. In Artist/Album mode, when the last song
is playing, a new random artist/album is added to the end of the playlist.
This way, the load is very short.

-kdf--
NOT a Slim Devices employee

fuzzyT
2005-08-18, 09:46
Robin Bowes wrote:

> What's the difference between Random Play and Play with shuffle turned on?

i think it's in how you access it.

shuffle/random are the same concepts, no? it's all in how you make the
function available.

this scheme would give direct access to either standard or random play
at the point where a user is making the decision to stop browsing and
begin playback. just seems right.

the current design seems like it's copied from a standard CD player
where shuffle/random is modal and applies automatically to all playback
while engaged. that arrangement makes sense if it's done in hardware.
CDPs generally have a shuffle/random button that is always available for
instant selection, as well as always visible on-screen visual feedback.

SBs have a shuffle key on the remote, but how does that work? (i really
am asking, don't have one in front of me). does it interrupt the browse
process to change the shuffle setting before choosing play? can you
jump back easily to where you were? what happens to the existing
playlist if selected during playback?

what i'm proposing would be a means to emulate in software a remote with
two play buttons: "play" and "random play".

not sure about every detail. but, again, it just seems that the point
of choosing to begin playback is the right point to choose random or
sequential track ordering.

--rt

Craig, James (IT)
2005-08-18, 09:50
No, the difference is that

'play with shuffle' applies to the whole playlist already created

'random play' creates a playlist chosen randomly from all tracks
available

The key difference being that if you only want to listen to 30 minutes
of truly random music you don't need to create a multi-thousand track
playlist if you're using the 'random play' plugin.

James
--------------------------------------------------------

NOTICE: If received in error, please destroy and notify sender. Sender does not waive confidentiality or privilege, and use is prohibited.

fuzzyT
2005-08-18, 10:03
Craig, James (IT) wrote:
> No, the difference is that
>
> 'play with shuffle' applies to the whole playlist already created
>
> 'random play' creates a playlist chosen randomly from all tracks
> available
>
> The key difference being that if you only want to listen to 30 minutes
> of truly random music you don't need to create a multi-thousand track
> playlist if you're using the 'random play' plugin.

so, while they're functionally equivalent to the user, they're different
in UI presentation and performance.

what happens when the random play plugin runs out of tracks? does it go
back to the well w/o being prompted?

--rt

fuzzyT
2005-08-18, 10:07
kdf wrote:

> In track mode, after playing one track, it is dropped from the playlist and a
> new random track is added to the end. In Artist/Album mode, when the last song
> is playing, a new random artist/album is added to the end of the playlist.
> This way, the load is very short.

ah. so the plugin addressed two issues: UI presentation of the option,
and internal design affecting performance.

then maybe there is an argument for reworking the internal operations of
the standard "shuffle" to get this performance gain. one wrinkle would
be in avoiding repeats.

this distinct from any UI design changes.

--rt

kdf
2005-08-18, 10:12
Quoting ron thigpen <ron (AT) fuzzsonic (DOT) com>:


> what happens when the random play plugin runs out of tracks? does it go
> back to the well w/o being prompted?

I mentioned this in a previous post.

In the current plugin version, it will add new tracks/artist/albums if you have
the pref set to be continuous mode.

"In track mode, after playing one track, it is dropped from the playlist and a
new random track is added to the end. In Artist/Album mode, when the last song
is playing, a new random artist/album is added to the end of the playlist.
This way, the load is very short"

-kdf--
NOT a Slim Devices employee

kdf
2005-08-18, 10:14
Quoting ron thigpen <ron (AT) fuzzsonic (DOT) com>:

> then maybe there is an argument for reworking the internal operations of
> the standard "shuffle" to get this performance gain. one wrinkle would
> be in avoiding repeats.

correct. the plugin calls a very barebones rand() function. it is not truly
random, nor does it care about repeats. The only intelligence is to make sure
its a valid, playable track. This, of course, is only speaking of the plugin.
It may or may not have any relation to what Dan is working on.


-kdf--
NOT a Slim Devices employee

Dan Sully
2005-08-18, 10:15
* dip shaped the electrons to say...

>The only improvement I would like to see is that I am able to restrict
>the selection (of the tracks, album or artist) to specific genres.

At this point - you're better off using MusicMagic for this type of feature.

-D
--
<fuz> deregulation will lead to greater competition, consumer choice, and lower prices.
my name is elmer fudd. I own a mansion and a yacht.

max.spicer
2005-08-18, 10:27
I was thinking about this yesterday, although not with respect to random play. I'd just browsed to a particular album that I wanted to hear, so pressed play. I then had to press Now Playing to see the track details. In this case it would have made more sense for the sb2 to go straight to now playing after I pressed play. However, what if I'd wanted to play that album straight away and then browse to some other to add to the end of the playlist? I don't think there's a solution to this, so I decided that the current behaviour was probably for the best. Somehow, I suspect that this isn't by coincidence. ;-)

Max



i believe this is the same behaviour as it is from any browse mode. If
you play something, it simply stays where it is. I'm not sure that
every user would like it to change prefs. However, it could make sense
to jump to now playing after PLAY, since in this case, its not really a
browse mode.

dip
2005-08-18, 13:54
* dip shaped the electrons to say...

>The only improvement I would like to see is that I am able to restrict
>the selection (of the tracks, album or artist) to specific genres.

At this point - you're better off using MusicMagic for this type of feature.

Do I really need MusicMagic for this?
I simply want to random play ALL my songs except classical, audio books and children's songs.

mherger
2005-08-18, 14:14
> Maybe I shoud not re-start a plugin contest, but I really want to
> express my admiration (again) for the Biography and the Album Review
> plugin.

Thanks!

> These are the two that really amazes my visitors!!

And this is most important ;-)

> I'd also like to see these become part of the 'standard' package...

We won't see this happen: the plugins are grabbing content from another
web site. This is not... hmmm... correct behaviour for a company.

> I cannot wait for the moment that I can choose to scroll the biography
> as text on the display while the music is playing...

Don't expect this to happen too soon. :-/

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

kdf
2005-08-18, 14:33
Quoting dip <dip.1tz9tn (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Dan Sully Wrote:
> > * dip shaped the electrons to say...
> >
> > >The only improvement I would like to see is that I am able to
> > restrict
> > >the selection (of the tracks, album or artist) to specific genres.
> >
> > At this point - you're better off using MusicMagic for this type of
> > feature.
> >
> Do I really need MusicMagic for this?
> I simply want to random play ALL my songs except classical, audio books
> and children's songs.

I believe the real key part of what Dan said was: "at this point". Try as you
might with the current plugin, you can't select genre. It wasn't worth the
effort to create a whole architecture inside a plugin to handle all of that.

MusicMagic can do what you want "Right Now" (tm), by using the filter features.
They ahve already done the heavy lifting, as it were, to create a mix function
with some intelligence.

That being said, I'm still liking the idea of accepting a list as input to the
plugin, but how that can be implemented is still unknown. I'm going to sit
back and see what Dan does with the integration. Then, if something comes to
mind that would be a simple (read: quick) fix, then I'll put forth a patch. If
I have no clear idea, or it will take too long, I'll simply leave it for
another time when there aren't other higher priorities. I can't speak for
Dan's plans but looking at the bug list, I'd guess he's fairly overloaded as
well.

Even if such a feature does come along, I expect MusicMagic will always offer
far more control than Random Play. If what you want is truly as simple as
"anything that's not books, childrens or classical" then I can say that I
certainly plan to try to implement such a thing.

-kdf--
NOT a Slim Devices employee

max.spicer
2005-08-18, 15:20
Whilst we're talking about incorrect behaviour, is there any chance you could grab the full version of the biography/review? The "go here for more" (or however it's phrased) arrives far too soon in the condensed bit on the first page.

Max


>We won't see this happen: the plugins are grabbing content from another
web site. This is not... hmmm... correct behaviour for a company.

mherger
2005-08-18, 21:25
> Whilst we're talking about incorrect behaviour, is there any chance you
> could grab the full version of the biography/review?

Little chance. As I don't have access to the db via an API or some other
well organised method, the plugin pretty often already hast to grap and
parse two different pages per review/biography: the search for artist and
album often only gives me a list of artists/albums from which I have to
choose a link to get to the actual page. I'd then have to parse it to get
the link to the _third_ page for the full biography. And allmusic.com
isn't exactly know for its speed...

And I like that "played with..." etc. information :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

Marc Sherman
2005-08-19, 05:13
dip wrote:
>
> It would be great if in the settings of the random plugin all genres
> would be shown, each having a checkbox for inclusion in the random list
> or not.

Make it a tri-state, not a check box. Exclude, Include, or Ignore for
each genre. (With precedence in that order.)

My collection is tagged with multiple genres. So I'll have say:

TrackA: Canadian;Folk
TrackB: Canadian;Spoken Word
TrackC: Folk
TrackD: Rock

So a reasonable random play setting, to include all tracks except B,
might be:

Canadian: ignore
Folk: include
Rock: include
Spoken Word: exclude

For lots of extra points, let us save "random playlists" by name with
the random mode (track/album/artist) and the genre list, so we can
quickly browse to a preset playlist depending on the kind of party we're
throwing. That'd be the feature that finally makes me upgrade my
slimserver.

- Marc

dip
2005-08-19, 05:22
Even if such a feature does come along, I expect MusicMagic will always offer far more control than Random Play. If what you want is truly as simple as "anything that's not books, childrens or classical" then I can say that I certainly plan to try to implement such a thing.

-kdf--
I will have a look at MusicMagic, but what I like on RandomPlay is that is is so simple to use and there is no need for explicit playlists (I have to admit that I have not looked into MusicMagic but at the moment I have the impression that it is related to created mixed playlists).

Indeed I very often simply like to play ALL songs of my library randomly to hear songs I did not hear for a long time mixed with my favorites. Only classical music, children's songs and audio books I (obviously) don't want to hear in this mix. Since I have all my music categorized in only a small number of genres (classical, audio books, children, jazz, rock, misc, soundtrack, and chanson) simply deselection the three above mentioned genres or selecting all other genres would be sufficient for me.

fuzzyT
2005-08-19, 07:28
kdf wrote:

> Having this kind of control was never the intent of the original plugin,
> though I had considered this, since it would be an obvious request. I my
> mind, it seemed easiest to accept a listref as an input, such as a
> playlist or search results. This way, existing code, UI and structure
> is re-used to create the same end results. This will allow the focus to
> remain on the Search function for creating better control over selections.

makes perfect sense. build filters to do filtering, build sequencers to
do ordering, feed sequencer filtered lists. wouldn't want it any other
way. as the filters get smarter the value of having a Random Play
option will increase.

> A random play item in browse lists might not be too hard too. We'll
> have to see how the integration turns out :)

yep. short of coding it up ourselves, we'll just have to wait and see.
as always, looking forward to good things from the SD crew.

--rt

Greg Klanderman
2005-08-19, 10:49
>>>>> Marc Sherman <msherman (AT) projectile (DOT) ca> writes:

> My collection is tagged with multiple genres. So I'll have say:

> TrackA: Canadian;Folk
> TrackB: Canadian;Spoken Word
> TrackC: Folk
> TrackD: Rock

Slimserver doesn't actually support multiple genre tags per track
separated by semicolons, does it? Now that would definitely make
the genres a lot more useful..

greg

Steve Bernard, Jr
2005-08-19, 11:30
On 8/19/05, Greg Klanderman wrote:
>
> Slimserver doesn't actually support multiple genre tags per track
> separated by semicolons, does it? Now that would definitely make
> the genres a lot more useful..

>From the Behavior portion of Server Settings:

"SlimServer can extract multiple artist, album titles and genres from
the tags inside your music files. If SlimServer finds any of the words
or characters below in your tags, it will create individual listings
for each item."

-Steve

Greg Klanderman
2005-08-19, 12:26
> "SlimServer can extract multiple artist, album titles and genres from
> the tags inside your music files. If SlimServer finds any of the words
> or characters below in your tags, it will create individual listings
> for each item."

Excellent, thanks Steve! I knew that worked for artists, but not genres..

greg

oreillymj
2005-08-19, 14:06
Since this plugin is going to be part of 6.2 by default, I just thought that I'd mention that it has a similar glitch to the one discussed in this thread http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=15544
...except in the opposite direction.

At the "Random Play" root menu, press right, the menu scrolls quickly across to "Track" and then slowly to "Track" again.

Press Left and it scrolls back fine.