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  1. #1071
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    V5.2 supports Echo touchscreen inputs

    MediaServer V5.2 is now live, with heavily-revised APL content for Echos with screens.
    Almost all commands now support touchscreen interaction giving MediaServer hybrid voice/touch control for the best of both worlds (touch is only available under subscription).

    First off, the ImageList template (e.g. List Albums, What's Coming Up?) has a new look-and-feel and supports many more image thumbnails in a vertically-scrolling list. If you touch the coverart image then the item in question will play on the assumed player:

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    The TextList template (e.g. List songs-on-album, List Playlists, List Genres) now has a play-me icon next to each text-entry which will play the item in question when touched. When relevant, the cover-art from the album in question will fill the screen as a semi-opaque background image:

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    Listing favorites has a completely new custom template which displays the icons of stations when known, together with the favorite name and the recently-added numerical/dotted naming-scheme reminder for when requesting using your voice. Touching the station icon framed in blue at the left will play the favorite in question on the assumed player:

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    The 4 beige icons on the now-playing screen are now touchable (see the red boundary box below):

    * When you tap the icon next to the song name, it will bring up a list of all the albums in your library that have that song on them (that list is then also touch-playable, etc).
    * The icon next to trackartist will list all the songs in your library that have that artist as trackartist (likewise touch-playable, etc).
    * The icon adjacent to the album name will list all the songs on that album. You can tap one to play it immediately if desired, or hit the back button.
    * Finally, the icon next to the albumartist name will list all the albums in your library with that artist as albumartist.

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    There's a new help-screen with better layout/density for the example commands and some new animation to indicate it's scrollable in the absence of scroll-bars (Amazon doesn't have them):

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    The back-button at the top-left corner of most APL screens now performs a single browser-back function to the previous APL screen. If you tap it again, it will ping-pong forward a page.
    Finally, on the Echo Spot with round screen there's a totally new look and feel to all APL screens, with a new purple background and a circular progress-bar around the edge of the screen.


    Enjoy!
    Last edited by philchillbill; 2021-12-14 at 01:32.

  2. #1072
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    Name:  christmas-tree.png
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    In the spirit of Christmas, the skill will provide access to ALL commands without the need for a subscription, until Jan 1st. Enjoy!

    p.s. To existing subscribers, apologies for the fact that the Amazon ISP process doesn't provide a means to credit or extend your subscription accordingly.
    Last edited by philchillbill; 2021-12-15 at 06:53.

  3. #1073
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    Demo video showing Touch Control in action

    I made a short demo video showing the usefulness of the new touchscreen controls in MediaServer on the Echo Show 8" Gen 2.


  4. #1074
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    V5.3 now supports Material Skin on an Echo Show



    When you tap the cover-art image on a now-playing APL screen, MediaServer now launches the Material Skin on the Echo Show's screen, with full touch functionality. The address bar at the top can be swiped upwards to hide it. The player targeted in MediaServer will also be the player loaded in Material. On the small Echo Show 5", the now-playing mode is automatically selected while on bigger Echos the Desktop mode is chosen. See the example video for a demo.

    Enjoy !

  5. #1075
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    Tip: The Material skin looks better on an Echo Show in so-called Desktop mode (don't confuse this with Material's own Desktop/Mobile paradigm Ś this is a separate Amazon term). You can set the Show to default to this mode by going to

    Settings --> Device Options --> Web Options --> Browser --> Browser Settings --> Web Scaling and then select 'Off'

    The Show can make fonts really large for viewing from across the room but that's not always optimal when you are going to use touch controls.

  6. #1076
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    V5.4 makes your Echo Show's display PERSISTENT

    V5.4 is now live, with the most important change being that artwork displayed on your Echo's Screen is now persistent. Every 6 seconds, the Echo polls the skill for an update of the artwork/metadata, increasing to every 2 seconds in the last 6 seconds of a now-playing track so as not to miss the transition.

    This means that the progress bar is no longer static but now increments from 0 to 100% as a track progresses (if you use the seek command backwards then it will regress accordingly). Changing the playlist from another controller like iPeng or Material means it will take max. 6 seconds for the Echo Screen to follow suit. In theory, all MediaServer screens revert to the now-playing screen again after a max of 24 seconds (or sooner).

    The persistence has the (desirable) side-effect of keeping the Echo in-session until you say "Alexa, exit". This means that you no longer have to say "ask MediaServer to..." after the first command issued . I call this Appliance Mode because it effectively turns your Echo into a dedicated appliance for controlling LMS. Incidentally, you can permanently disable Appliance-mode by saying "Disable artwork display" because a side-effect is that you cannot use Alexa for 'other' tasks while she's in a permanent MediaServer session without first exiting MediaServer (by saying "Alexa, exit").

    Because all this is rather heavy on my back-end (which has to proxy the coverart image from your password-protected ngrok endpoint to a public endpoint for Amazon to retrieve), the persistence is only available to subscribers.

    There's also a new custom APL template for showing textual feedback, where the font-size is responsive both to your Echo's display size and the amount of text to be displayed. The length of time for which this screen persists before either disappearing back to your Echo's home screen or reverting to the now-playing screen is also dependent on the length of the text (so you have enough time to read it). If the text is associated with an error message, the screen background is RED to get your attention.

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    Finally, the bottom of the Echo's screen will continually show a revolving hint-list with commands you can try (see red encapsulation in above image). Almost all MediaServer users never use more than about 5-10 commands, despite there being 122 available . Hopefully, this will encourage more experimentation.

    Enjoy !
    Last edited by philchillbill; 2021-12-27 at 14:52. Reason: Added screenshot

  7. #1077
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    After a long break I reactivated Mediaserver...

    I tried 'stream favourite 1' on my Show 8. It loads the metadata screen (nice!) but there's no sound

    What could I be doing wrong?
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  8. #1078
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by castalla View Post
    I tried 'stream favourite 1' on my Show 8. It loads the metadata screen (nice!) but there's no sound
    Do things work ok on regular Squeezebox players? Did you set an assumed player?

    The logs show successful streaming of LBC1, which your Echo Show also acknowledged with AudioPlayer.PlaybackStarted. It looks like you then issued a STOP intent, correct?

    Try a different favorite just to eliminate things.

  9. #1079
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    Quote Originally Posted by philchillbill View Post
    Do things work ok on regular Squeezebox players? Did you set an assumed player?

    The logs show successful streaming of LBC1, which your Echo Show also acknowledged with AudioPlayer.PlaybackStarted. It looks like you then issued a STOP intent, correct?

    Try a different favorite just to eliminate things.
    I just tried with 2 different favs. Sound this time...no artwork shown. Then back to fav 1 and no sound but artwork.

    I'm really confused - in alexa app the info says it was last updated 6 months ago.
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  10. #1080
    Senior Member philchillbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by castalla View Post
    I just tried with 2 different favs. Sound this time...no artwork shown. Then back to fav 1 and no sound but artwork.

    I'm really confused - in alexa app the info says it was last updated 6 months ago.
    The Alexa app only shows an update when a certification round is needed due to voice model changes. Nothing changed in the voice model in recent months but the code changed a-plenty.

    When you say "no artwork shown" for the favs that actually played (Streamed?) what was there on the screen instead? If your fav does not have an associated icon in the opml then there's nothing to display except a fallback icon. But a black screen is rather unlikely.

    Try playing something on a squeezebox rather than on the Echo. See if that works.
    Last edited by philchillbill; 2021-12-27 at 08:41.

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