Simplified playback selection and a couple of bug fixex – build 7.731 released

As promised, here’s the next build. The bug that messed with the titles in the MP3’s is squashed.

The last version blew some downloads to smithereens when you used the “Change genre” feature – I’ve reverted some changes in an effort to fix this, and it seems to have stopped. Sorry!

I’ve now tidied up the Player section of PodBreeze, and added settings to the settings dialog to control playback. Previously, selecting how to play a file was done by a hard-coded process. Now you decide what to use for MP3’s and non-MP3 files, separately. The alternatives are:

  1. Windows Media Player – the default for MP3 files. Doesn’t work with QuickTime videos unless you have done the right magic tricks (installed the codecs, if there are any to be had)
  2. VLC Media Player – from http://www.videolan.org – this is the best all round media player in my opinion. Get it, and set both MP3 and non-MP3 playback to use it
  3. Winamp – experimental – uses Internet Explorer to bring up a web based version of Winamp to play your files
  4. Web browser – default for non-MP3 files. This option will load QuickTime for video playback if it’s installed on your system. Might also work for other media players accessible in the browser.

Some small but nagging things have also been fixed when adding a new podcast. PodBreeze now respects any modifications to the title and/or the checking frequency you make when you add the podcast.

The help file has been fleshed out considerably, and I’ve removed the beta notice in it – it’s only missing a few topics and a major proof reading before being as done as I’m likely to ever get it.

I still haven’t had the time to look into integration with Songbird, which was requested by one of you lot. Sorry for that, and I’ll try to do better 🙂

Download links:

  • Normal version for installation on your computer
  • USB version for installation on your USB MP3 player
  • Update version for existing users

FeedSlurper released – build 7.727

This is more of a utility than a full-blown application. My motivation for writing this was that I always have with podcast novels (podiobooks). I wait for them to get completed before I grab them in one bite. Going through the process of adding the feed to PodBreeze, selecting to download everything, waiting for the files to download and then remove the feed wasn’t fun.

Enter FeedSlurper – the program that downloads everything off a feed. No fancy options, just the basics. Enter the feed, select where to save and click Download – and walk away.

It can be even simpler if you’re using Firefox. Just surf to the feed itself, to the point that you’re seeing the feed on your screen. Not the web page containing the link – you should click the link, so that you get the feed viewer, with the “Subscribe to this feed” on top. Select FeedSlurper from the list of programs (or click Select program if it’s not there), and click subscribe. Now FeedSlurper starts, with the URL already in place.

Download the program here

A minor problem

The 7.726 build has a minor problem to do with the rewriting of ID3 tags to correct genre and/or missing information. The title seems to be set to a blank value.

If this is a major concern, just don’t download it – a new version will be up monday!

Redirects, accessibility & iTunes support – build 7.726 released

I’ve finally managed to find a podcast with implicit/hidden redirects. So now I’ve fixed the last redirect related buglet in PodBreeze. Implicit and explicit redirects doesn’t matter – the file will now always get the filename that the original source has.

I’ve also added a few accessiblity tweaks so that PodBreeze is easier to use with the keyboard – enter acts as a dbuble click in the Podcasts and Episodes lists. Most lists that weren’t responding to a key to select an item now do.

For those who want it (for some reason unknown to me) there’s now iTunes support in PodBreeze, consisting of PodBreeze adding downloaded episodes to iTunes playlist(s).

In doing this, I uncluttered the previously messy settings dialog a bit – I hope 🙂

As a final note, I’ve also added support for something that doesn’t exist yet – which might seem a strange thing to do, but bear with me. The Podcast directories tab in PodBreeze has for some time had the ability to show additional information about each individual podcast, beyond it’s title. This was done in a round-about and less than ideal way, which makes the information look fairly ugly and it can take a while to get displayed. PodBreeze now supports a “new” OPML listing attribute named infoUrl, which can be used instead, displaying potentially prettier and quicker information. I’m currently trying to convince the OPML directories to support this, and have had some positive initial reactions.

Download links:

  • Normal version for installation on your computer
  • USB version for installation on your MP3 player
  • Update version for existing users

New build coming up

The following areas will be addressed in the next build:

  • Accessibility features for blind & visually impaired users will be improved
  • The final word on redirects – I’ve fixed it so that any and all redirects are catched, and the file named appropriately
  • I’m searching for more podcast directories apart from what’s already listed – tips welcome

A fix for the podcast directories part – build 7.715 released

I realized the hard way that there are some differences across the directories. The techpodcasts one wasn’t usable, since you couldn’t subscribe. That’s fixed now.

I’ve also fleshed out the help file somewhat. There are now some details about the player and podcast diretories parts of the program.

Download links:

  • Normal version for installation on your hard disk
  • USB version for installation on your MP3 player
  • Update version for existing users

Small but good feature added – build 7.712 released

Have you ever wanted more than the skimpy information (the title, basically) that other podcatchers provide in the podcast directory listing? I’ve always felt that the directory is next to useless – but no more. PodBreeze now features an integrated information retriever, that shows you the following things:

  • The title of the podcast (duh, already visible, but this comes from the actual podcast feed)
  • The image associated with the podcast, iTunes version if available
  • A description of the podcast, iTunes version if available
  • A link to the site of the podcast itself

This is completely dependent on what the podcasters put in their feeds, but at least it gives you all the information that you can get without actually visiting their site. And if you need to, just click the link at the bottom of the information pane, and you’re there!

I hope you like this as much as I do – and I’m stoked 🙂

I’ve also fixed a small ‘bug’ concerning redirects. When a podcast used an URL like http://whatever.com/redirect.mp4/http://realdomain.com/realfilename.mp4, PodBreeze was only seeing the first part, and stored the file as redirect.mp4. This was irritating for feeds with this behaviour, so it’s fixed 🙂 PodBreeze now correctly uses the real filename instead, if it’s supplied in the URL. It still doesn’t handle ‘hidden’ redirects, which I haven’t had any reports of yet. They are theoretically possible, so report if you see a feed using them! The symptom would be that every episode is named the same all the time.

In addition to that, I’ve been trying to get the application to quit showing abnormally terminated downloads as downloading (albeit without a progress bar). I hope this has gotten better, at least it has for me.

Download links:

  • Normal version for installation on your computer
  • USB version for installation on your player
  • Update version for existing users

Please get back to me with reports and your opinions on the new feature and fixes!