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max.spicer
2005-09-17, 08:53
I've been giving the Random Mix plugin a try recently and have come up with something that I think could be improved, so thought I'd post here to see if anyone else agreed. Basically, I like the way that the SB2 does random play without the plugin. However, the lack of threading in SlimServer means that when I put all my music on shuffle, I have to wait at least 30 seconds before the first song starts (ideally it would pick one song at random, start it playing immediately then get on with picking the rest). Random Mix doesn't have this problem, which is why it's attractive. However, I'm not a fan of the way that Random Mix picks ten songs to play, then the moment the one song finishes, removes it from the head of the playlist and adds another one to the end. This means that you lose your history of played songs. With the standard shuffle behaviour, I really like the way that you can listen to an evening's worth of music and then go back and see what you were listening to. This is particularly useful if you aren't able to always check what is currently playing (think party). Rather than always keeping ten songs in the playlist by deleting any that have been played, could the random mix plugin not just append new tracks to the end of the list? Would this be possible, or does it go against the whole philosophy of the plugin?

I suppose what I'm really trying to do is use the plugin to fix the inconvienient behavior of shuffle. That sounds like a whinge, but it isn't meant to be one. I'd just like to see any possible ways of getting shuffling to work better. I imagine that a threaded server would be something of a major rewrite.

dean
2005-09-17, 10:01
I agree, I think that the random mix plugin should keep the
previously played songs in the playlist and add new songs to the end
as it goes.

On Sep 17, 2005, at 8:53 AM, max.spicer wrote:

>
> I've been giving the Random Mix plugin a try recently and have come up
> with something that I think could be improved, so thought I'd post
> here
> to see if anyone else agreed. Basically, I like the way that the SB2
> does random play without the plugin. However, the lack of
> threading in
> SlimServer means that when I put all my music on shuffle, I have to
> wait
> at least 30 seconds before the first song starts (ideally it would
> pick
> one song at random, start it playing immediately then get on with
> picking the rest). Random Mix doesn't have this problem, which is why
> it's attractive. However, I'm not a fan of the way that Random Mix
> picks ten songs to play, then the moment the one song finishes,
> removes
> it from the head of the playlist and adds another one to the end.
> This
> means that you lose your history of played songs. With the standard
> shuffle behaviour, I really like the way that you can listen to an
> evening's worth of music and then go back and see what you were
> listening to. This is particularly useful if you aren't able to
> always
> check what is currently playing (think party). Rather than always
> keeping ten songs in the playlist by deleting any that have been
> played, could the random mix plugin not just append new tracks to the
> end of the list? Would this be possible, or does it go against the
> whole philosophy of the plugin?
>
> I suppose what I'm really trying to do is use the plugin to fix the
> inconvienient behavior of shuffle. That sounds like a whinge, but it
> isn't meant to be one. I'd just like to see any possible ways of
> getting shuffling to work better. I imagine that a threaded server
> would be something of a major rewrite.
>
>
> --
> max.spicer
>
> The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible
> teeth
> and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
> but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye
>

dean
2005-09-17, 23:31
Ok, I've just added an option to not remove tracks from your random mix once they've been played. It's set to not remove them by default.

max.spicer
2005-09-18, 03:15
Thanks Dean. I do love the way you can make a suggestion on these forums one day then use it on your SqueezeBox the next!

Have you considered making the random mix plugin more visible? Hiding it under plugins seems strange given that this is providing quite a core feature. Would it not make sense to make it appear on the top-level menu by default?

Max


Ok, I've just added an option to not remove tracks from your random mix once they've been played. It's set to not remove them by default.

max.spicer
2005-09-18, 06:38
It's much better now that it preserves the history, but I've still got a few niggles. Again, I thought I'd post them here as suggestions:

1) As I've said before, I don't believe this should be hidden under the Plugins menu. Random mix is a good solution to the problem of the standard shuffle feature being slow and non-intuitive to some people. To make it easy for people, Random Mix should appear on the top-level menu by default (IMO).

2) There should be a random genre mix option. Ideally you would be able to go right from Random Genre Mix and "tick" the genre(s) that it should pick from. You'd therefore be able to press play on the Random Genre Mix item to get a random selection of tracks from a random genre, or press right to pick the genre(s).

3) It should be possible to press Add instead of Play to get the random tracks appended to the current playlist.

4) I find it confusing and a bit annoying that the random mix stops when you turn the device off (what else makes it do this?). I understand that there has to be some way to disable the random mix, but it's odd that you can be listening to a random playlist that never ends, turn the device off and on again, carry on listening to the same playlist but suddenly find that it stops after ten tracks. Part of the problem is that there is no indication that you are or are not in random mix mode. Ideally, there would be a way of finding out if it's on, and a clear way of turning it off. This would enable random mix state to be preserved across "power cycles". Suggestions for how to do this: Add a Disable option to the top of the Random Mix menu when it is enabled (don't bother with an Enable option though). Make the random mix disable if the playlist is cleared or replaced. You should still be able to add tracks to play next or at the end of the current 10, but pressing play on a track/genre/album should disable it.

I think that's it for now.

Max

dean
2005-09-18, 08:23
On Sep 18, 2005, at 6:38 AM, max.spicer wrote:
> 1) As I've said before, I don't believe this should be hidden under
> the Plugins menu. Random mix is a good solution to the problem of the
> standard shuffle feature being slow and non-intuitive to some people.
> To make it easy for people, Random Mix should appear on the top-level
> menu by default (IMO).
I agree. It's too useful to hide it.

> 2) There should be a random genre mix option. Ideally you would be
> able to go right from Random Genre Mix and "tick" the genre(s) that it
> should pick from. You'd therefore be able to press play on the Random
> Genre Mix item to get a random selection of tracks from a random
> genre,
> or press right to pick the genre(s).
I wonder if this option should be there for all Random Mixes rather
than adding another Random mode. We could add checkboxes to the
Random Mix page that apply to all mixes. Uncheck the genre's you
aren't interested in.

> 3) It should be possible to press Add instead of Play to get the
> random tracks appended to the current playlist.
Good point. I agree.

> 4) I find it confusing and a bit annoying that the random mix stops
> when you turn the device off (what else makes it do this?).
Agreed. It should stay in the Now Playing playlist until you replace
the list.

rme
2005-09-18, 08:31
Hey dean, it's Sunday, don't you ever take a break?

You guys are unbelievably responsive.

dean
2005-09-18, 08:51
My wife's away for the weekend. :)

On Sep 18, 2005, at 8:31 AM, rme wrote:

>
> Hey dean, it's Sunday, don't you ever take a break?
>
> You guys are unbelievably responsive.
>
>
> --
> rme
>

Patrick Dixon
2005-09-18, 09:06
> 2) There should be a random genre mix option. Ideally you would be
> able to go right from Random Genre Mix and "tick" the genre(s) that it
> should pick from. You'd therefore be able to press play on the Random
> Genre Mix item to get a random selection of tracks from a random
> genre,
> or press right to pick the genre(s).
I wonder if this option should be there for all Random Mixes rather
than adding another Random mode. We could add checkboxes to the
Random Mix page that apply to all mixes. Uncheck the genre's you
aren't interested in.That sounds really good.

max.spicer
2005-09-18, 09:28
Yes, I think that would work well. You could add another item, "Select Genres To Include" to the top level of Random Mix, below the existing entries ("Random Artist Mix" etc). It's probably worth having an All Genres entry at the top of the list that just ticks/unticks the lot. The list would look a bit like:

Press xxx to select/deselect a genre:
All Genres [ ]
Blues [X]
Electronica [ ]
Rock [X]

Is there an interface like this in the SB2 already? I'm sure I've seen one somewhere, but can't find it now! What button do you use to toggle the selection?

I suspect that this feature would be extremely popular as it is a big step towards the virtual playlists or multi-user collections that people often ask for. I for one would just be glad to stop spoken word appearing in the middle of my music. ;-)

Max


On Sep 18, 2005, at 6:38 AM, max.spicer wrote:
> 2) There should be a random genre mix option. Ideally you would be
> able to go right from Random Genre Mix and "tick" the genre(s) that it
> should pick from. You'd therefore be able to press play on the Random
> Genre Mix item to get a random selection of tracks from a random
> genre,
> or press right to pick the genre(s).
I wonder if this option should be there for all Random Mixes rather
than adding another Random mode. We could add checkboxes to the
Random Mix page that apply to all mixes. Uncheck the genre's you
aren't interested in.

dean
2005-09-18, 09:36
On Sep 18, 2005, at 9:28 AM, max.spicer wrote:

>
> Yes, I think that would work well. You could add another item,
> "Select
> Genres To Include" to the top level of Random Mix, below the existing
> entries ("Random Artist Mix" etc). It's probably worth having an All
> Genres entry at the top of the list that just ticks/unticks the lot.
> The list would look a bit like:
>
> Press xxx to select/deselect a genre:
> All Genres [ ]
> Blues [X]
> Electronica [ ]
> Rock [X]
Sounds good. Similar UI in the web view too.

>
> Is there an interface like this in the SB2 already? I'm sure I've
> seen
> one somewhere, but can't find it now! What button do you use to
> toggle
> the selection?
That UI is in a couple places in SqueezeNetwork. I'd like to see it
used more in SlimServer.

> I suspect that this feature would be extremely popular as it is a big
> step towards the virtual playlists or multi-user collections that
> people often ask for. I for one would just be glad to stop spoken
> word
> appearing in the middle of my music. ;-)
Absolutely!

-dean

dip
2005-09-18, 11:03
I strongly support to have checkboxes for selecting or deselecting genres for random play. That would it make possible to deselect classical, audio books and childrens' songs from random play (if you have set these genres).

oreillymj
2005-09-18, 11:23
BTW - without going too much off topic.

Has anyone else notice that when you go to Random Mix and press right, the display scrolls "Random Songs Mix" across the display for a split second, then displays it again as normal.

It's similar to a glitch that was fixed in the information section.

dean
2005-09-18, 11:39
Hm, I see it bump right, as it should...

On Sep 18, 2005, at 11:23 AM, oreillymj wrote:

>
> BTW - without going too much off topic.
>
> Has anyone else notice that when you go to Random Mix and press right,
> the display scrolls "Random Songs Mix" across the display for a split
> second, then displays it again as normal.
>
> It's similar to a glitch that was fixed in the information section.
>
>
> --
> oreillymj
>

oreillymj
2005-09-18, 12:46
Weird,

The menu works as expected in Slimsqueeze, but on my SB2, I see the double jump. I'm running on Windows.
I saw this with the plugin when I started using it a few weeks ago.

BTW - I just installed 6.2b2 when I saw the ReplayGain announcement and this release is really coming together as something special. Really appreciate the hard work.

max.spicer
2005-09-26, 03:48
Dean, I thought you'd commited a change to include Random Mix on the top-level menu by default, but this doesn't seem to be happening. Using softsqueeze, it only appears under plugins. Would the change only affect new players, or should it appear regardless (unless then turned off)? I've used softsqueeze before so have tried telling the server to forget the player, however it doesn't seem to want to do this so it's a bit hard to test.

Max


On Sep 18, 2005, at 6:38 AM, max.spicer wrote:
> 1) As I've said before, I don't believe this should be hidden under
> the Plugins menu. Random mix is a good solution to the problem of the
> standard shuffle feature being slow and non-intuitive to some people.
> To make it easy for people, Random Mix should appear on the top-level
> menu by default (IMO).
I agree. It's too useful to hide it.

dean
2005-09-26, 07:43
Yeah, my fix was only partial, it updated only new players.

We need an upgrade script to add it to old players.

On Sep 26, 2005, at 3:48 AM, max.spicer wrote:

>
> Dean, I thought you'd commited a change to include Random Mix on the
> top-level menu by default, but this doesn't seem to be happening.
> Using softsqueeze, it only appears under plugins. Would the change
> only affect new players, or should it appear regardless (unless then
> turned off)? I've used softsqueeze before so have tried telling the
> server to forget the player, however it doesn't seem to want to do
> this
> so it's a bit hard to test.
>
> Max
>
> dean Wrote:
>
>> On Sep 18, 2005, at 6:38 AM, max.spicer wrote:
>>
>>> 1) As I've said before, I don't believe this should be hidden under
>>> the Plugins menu. Random mix is a good solution to the problem of
>>>
>> the
>>
>>> standard shuffle feature being slow and non-intuitive to some
>>>
>> people.
>>
>>> To make it easy for people, Random Mix should appear on the
>>>
>> top-level
>>
>>> menu by default (IMO).
>>>
>> I agree. It's too useful to hide it.
>>
>
>
> --
> max.spicer
>
> The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible
> teeth
> and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
> but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye
>

orrinc
2005-09-26, 11:54
I'm still not understanding the difference between the plugin and "standard" shuffle mode . . .

I love the fact that the SlimServer shuffle mode keeps the playlist in history- I often hear things I've never heard before, and it's very useful to be able to look them up later- especially at a party when someone asks me what was playing five minutes ago! That was the main incentive for me to give up my CD megachanger in favor of Squeezebox!

I haven't noticed the delay problem- it seems that when you shuffle or re-shuffle, the current track just keeps playing, and is moved to the head of the new shuffled playlist, so the next song played is chosen at random.

I do have one issue with the way the shuffling is handled- if I head something I DON'T like and Zap it, it gets zapped only from the current shuffle incarnation, and shows up again next time the list is shuffled, or when the player is stopped and restarted.

It does stay in the "Zapped" playlist- is there any way to automatically subtract the "Zapped" playlist from whatever is the current playlist so those songs are never played, unless I specifically add them? I could permanently delete them from my PC, but I don't necessarily want to do that, and somehow they always seem to get "found" again otherwise! (One good example is "Songs of the Humpback Whale" which is just awful at a dance party, but wonderful when played underwater in the pool!)

Two other suggestions I would love:

1> Could the Date/Time be posted in the Random playlist after a song was played, so it would be easier to find previously heard tracks?

2> I've asked before for a feature that would allow you to ADD the currently playing track to one of 10 numbered playlists by pressing ADD plus a Number button on the remote. There is already a 3rd party plugin (or was) that would allow you to play one of 10 numbered playlists in a similar way.

This would allow me to select music on the fly for various playlists, since I can't usually remember the titles or artists later! One of those could also be the "Zapped" playlist!

Perhaps that feature would be better added to a plugin than made a standard feature!

Orrin

Thanks, Dan!

max.spicer
2005-09-26, 12:15
Many people have setups where shuffling all their tracks takes a long time. I used to find it would take around 30 seconds from pressing Play on All Songs to the first song starting. The RandomPlay plugin fixes this, and keeps the history of played songs. You can configure how many "future" tracks to display, but it defaults to 9. But there's more:

It will pick an album at random and play it (in normal order), then when it's done pick another one.

It will pick an artist at random and play all their tracks then, when they're done, pick another one. Currently, they are played in album order. I'm wondering as I write this whether they should be played in random order.

You can't do the above two without the plugin. Also, RandomMix gives a nice, quick interface to random songs. The other way can be a bit non-intuitive. However, it's stil "the other way" - RandomMix is a plugin, and can be disabled by those that don't want it.

My plans for the future are to add genre selection to the random play plugin. You should be able to select the genres that you want included (or conversely excluded) from a list of genres and then have all the above options only pick from those genres. This allows the exclusion of spoken word, kids music, seasonal music etc. At that point, I imagine quite a few people will take interest. ;-) Probably before then (as it's easier and I'm learning Perl and SlimServer at the same time here) I want to add a Random Year Mix, where it picks a year, plays all the tracks from that year, then picks another one.

Max


I'm still not understanding the difference between the plugin and "standard" shuffle mode . . .

orrinc
2005-09-26, 12:30
Thanks!

The Genre selection sound great- If I could only find a way to keep Gracenote/CDDB from tagging every one of my tracks as "World"!

Does anyone make an effective Genre editor for MP3 files? Really need Categories and Subcategories, and multiple genre types . . .

orrinc
2005-09-26, 12:32
It would also be great to have a way to play a "requested" track or tracks, then go back to the random list afterwards . . .

While you're at it, how about having an "x minutes of silence" function followed by automatic return to the playlist (think "Birthday Party Mode")

max.spicer
2005-09-26, 12:56
1) You can add tracks, albums, artist etc etc to play next in the mix by simply holding Add. They will go in as is i.e. won't be shuffled. You can put them at the end of the current playlist by pressing Add. New random tracks will be added after them when there aren't enough tracks in the future.

2) I think you're a bit off topic there. ;-)

Max


It would also be great to have a way to play a "requested" track or tracks, then go back to the random list afterwards . . .

While you're at it, how about having an "x minutes of silence" function followed by automatic return to the playlist (think "Birthday Party Mode")

Yannzola
2005-10-28, 07:40
How about adding Random Mix options to the remote's "shuffle button"? This could be enabled/disabled in the UI someplace...

Kdf showed me how to set it up as a cutom .map (on shuffle hold)... but I'd like to be able to press shuffle on my remote and toggle through the existing shuffle options as well as random mix (by album, by artist, random year, etc.)

y.

max.spicer
2005-10-28, 07:51
I'd consider that an abuse of the shuffle button, I'm afraid. That's not what it does, and I think it would be confusing to add it in there. If you're just after a quick way of starting a mix, why don't you just assign the different mix types to number keys?

Max


How about adding Random Mix options to the remote's "shuffle button"? This could be enabled/disabled in the UI someplace...

Kdf showed me how to set it up as a cutom .map (on shuffle hold)... but I'd like to be able to press shuffle on my remote and toggle through the existing shuffle options as well as random mix (by album, by artist, random year, etc.)

y.

dfk
2005-10-28, 09:29
Hi

Using SlimServer Version: 6.2.0 - 4753 - Windows XP - EN - cp1252

From the Slimserver interface, when I clear a list of random songs I cannot create another one until I turn off the SB2. Is that a bug?

dfk

max.spicer
2005-10-28, 09:43
Do you mean that when you try to create a new mix you just end up with an empty playlist? This sounds like http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2351, which I fixed yesterday. The fix is in the 6.2 branch and the trunk, so you should be able to get it with nightlies for 6.2 or 6.5.

Max


Hi

Using SlimServer Version: 6.2.0 - 4753 - Windows XP - EN - cp1252

From the Slimserver interface, when I clear a list of random songs I cannot create another one until I turn off the SB2. Is that a bug?

dfk

dfk
2005-10-28, 10:51
Do you mean that when you try to create a new mix you just end up with an empty playlist? This sounds like http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2351, which I fixed yesterday. The fix is in the 6.2 branch and the trunk, so you should be able to get it with nightlies for 6.2 or 6.5.

Max

Hi Max

Yes, that's the one :-)

Thanks for the info.

barcar
2005-12-19, 12:37
Historically I have Shuffled an iTunes Smart Playlist that excludes certain Genres and songs with an iTunes rating of 1 (my shorthand for "never play this by random").

I've found lately as my library hits about 10k tracks that shuffling this PlayList is impossibly slow, it take ages to play the first song and playback stutters (over wireless). When I play an album directly or use the Random Mix I don't get this stuttering or slow startup.

So Random Mix is a good option for me except that it plays my "never play this by random" songs because it looks at the whole library rather than my cut down playlist.

Since SlimServer (and hence Random Mix) doesn't support ratings (today), would it be possible to enhance the Random Mix plugin so that you can select it to randomise a specific playlist rather than the whole library?

max.spicer
2005-12-19, 14:33
Not really, I'm afraid. I'm interested in excluding songs that are disabled via itunes though. I believe that there is some way in itunes of marking a song to never be played (I think it's a flag, rather than the ratings system). If this flag is stored in the slim db, then a) it should be honoured by random mix and b) there should be a way to set this from the slim interface. I want to look into this some time after Christmas. No time at all atm!

Max


Historically I have Shuffled an iTunes Smart Playlist that excludes certain Genres and songs with an iTunes rating of 1 (my shorthand for "never play this by random").

I've found lately as my library hits about 10k tracks that shuffling this PlayList is impossibly slow, it take ages to play the first song and playback stutters (over wireless). When I play an album directly or use the Random Mix I don't get this stuttering or slow startup.

So Random Mix is a good option for me except that it plays my "never play this by random" songs because it looks at the whole library rather than my cut down playlist.

Since SlimServer (and hence Random Mix) doesn't support ratings (today), would it be possible to enhance the Random Mix plugin so that you can select it to randomise a specific playlist rather than the whole library?

max.spicer
2005-12-19, 14:40
Hmm, looks like I was imagining the disabled flag - there's no obvious sign of it in the db. The tracks table does have a rating field however. I do think there should be a disabled flag - I'd love to be able to mark certain tracks of albums out of existence! Have I really just imagined it, or is it lurking somewhere?

Max


Not really, I'm afraid. I'm interested in excluding songs that are disabled via itunes though. I believe that there is some way in itunes of marking a song to never be played (I think it's a flag, rather than the ratings system). If this flag is stored in the slim db, then a) it should be honoured by random mix and b) there should be a way to set this from the slim interface. I want to look into this some time after Christmas. No time at all atm!

Max

kdf
2005-12-19, 15:07
Quoting "max.spicer" <max.spicer.20b44z (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Hmm, looks like I was imagining the disabled flag - there's no obvious
> sign of it in the db. The tracks table does have a rating field
> however. I do think there should be a disabled flag - I'd love to be
> able to mark certain tracks of albums out of existence! Have I really
> just imagined it, or is it lurking somewhere?

There is no flag. The <disabled> tag is in the XML. When loading or
reloading the iTunes info, any song found with the <disabled> flag, is
marked for deletion from the db. Presumably, if multiple sources of
data are in use, then it could easily be re-added via the other source.
-k

barcar
2005-12-19, 15:44
Not sure how you are envisaging a song to be disabled...

My use of a iTunes rating of 1 with a smart playlist allows me to exclude an obscure album track when I'm in "shuffled PlayList (or Random Mix)" mode but allows me to play a full album and get those obscure album tracks when I'm in "listen to that specific album (warts and all)" mode.

From what you've said I'm guessing a disabled song wouldn't play in either mode. That's not what I want to achieve.

max.spicer
2005-12-20, 06:16
I was envisaging a disabled flag that would essentially make a song disappear from the db (it can't really disappear, or it would just reappear at the next rescan). Once disabled, it wouldn't play as part of albums, random mixes etc. Not sure how I'd implement this. Possibly mark disabled tracks in an obvious way when they are shown in browse music and stop them being added to playlists. That way, if you browsed to an album you'd see the disabled tracks, but they wouldn't get played if you added the album.

It sounds like you'd want another flag - disable in random mixes. This would probably have to be specific to RandomMix. Making it work with shuffle would be harder, although I suppose you could change the add songs logic to honour the flag if the playlist is already shuffled.

Max


Not sure how you are envisaging a song to be disabled...

My use of a iTunes rating of 1 with a smart playlist allows me to exclude an obscure album track when I'm in "shuffled PlayList (or Random Mix)" mode but allows me to play a full album and get those obscure album tracks when I'm in "listen to that specific album (warts and all)" mode.

From what you've said I'm guessing a disabled song wouldn't play in either mode. That's not what I want to achieve.