Author Topic: Podcast handling improvements  (Read 42248 times)

9cupsoftea

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I've just started using Musicbee to handle my podcasts (I use it for pretty much everything else already!) and I'm a bit surprised to find how limited and problematic the handling is so far - for my tastes anyway. I'd like to suggest some things I think would greatly improve it.

1. Mark podcasts as listened to after syncing - this was asked for a couple of times on the forum but was never commented on. I have limited space on my player (sansa clip 4gb) and syncing all of my 7 podcasts every time I want to sync music takes up unnecessary memory. If there is ANY way for musicbee to recognise when a podcast has been played on another device this would be perfect, but as I doubt there is, an option to mark as read upon sync would be a great alternative.

2. Show the episode title instead of the podcast title - Whenever I check for podcasts I have to click tiny little arrows to see if the title of the episode is one I've listened to. The long list of greyed-out old episodes makes it impractical to leave the options expanded, and the limited view available means I can't see important info when it's collapsed. (This also ties in to what may be a bug where the 'episode date' for every title is always today, when the actual latest show may be days old).

I think either bringing some of the episode information to the fore (without the need for expanding arrows), or even a more elegant solution where you can see the artwork of the show if you only keep the latest (or unplayed) episodes - as if they were single albums or tracks - would make a world of difference. I'm sure everyone would have better ideas on how to do this, and musicbee's handling of podcast and episode information is the worst aspect of it (and easily fixed I think).

(I know you can select an option to hide a lot of greyed out episodes, but this is only upon adding a podcast. It would be nice to have some customisability after adding.)

3. This is more a suggestion than necessary I think, but it would be nice to be able to choose podcasts to sync on the fly, separately from syncing music, without digging within options. The 'send to' option does this well enough, but for something as frequently synced and deleted as podcasts it might be a good idea to have a separate 'sync podcasts' option, where a simple checklist of your shows could be ticked or unticked, and syncing performed exclusively for podcasts.

I know musicbee was never really touted as a podcast handler, but I think so many people are using it for syncing music these days that it makes sense to have some more robust and sophisticated podcast options. Especially as it would only take a few ui adjustments to make it perfectly usable. Right now it's surprisingly weak and clumsy compared to the rest of the program - which is brilliant, of course!

Steven

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(This also ties in to what may be a bug where the 'episode date' for every title is always today, when the actual latest show may be days old).
can you give a specific link to a subscription that does this. If you are refering to the "episode date" for the subscription row then that is the date it was last checked

Also i dont know what you mean by "episode totle" vs. "podcast title"

9cupsoftea

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My mistake - I assumed 'episode date' was the date of the latest episode.

Here's an image with that I mean by 'episode' and 'podcast' title:


Steven

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2. Show the episode title instead of the podcast title - Whenever I check for podcasts I have to click tiny little arrows to see if the title of the episode is one I've listened to. The long list of greyed-out old episodes makes it impractical to leave the options expanded, and the limited view available means I can't see important info when it's collapsed. (This also ties in to what may be a bug where the 'episode date' for every title is always today, when the actual latest show may be days old).
you can limit the number of episodes displayed in the settings for each podcast - if you set it to 0 it would only show the unlistened episoded.
I cant magine many people would want what you request - is it something other podcast tools do? and wouldnt it be confusing as you would no longer see the podcast title

9cupsoftea

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I don't know if it's just me being stupid but for some reason setting the podcasts displayed to 0 doesn't work for me. I save the setting but it just doesn't seem to catch for some reason.

I should have explained a little better what I meant by showing episode title. A lot of podcast managers have similar settings to musicbee by default (such as itunes) but they get away with it through being customisable and other such things (itunes detects synced and played podcasts, removing a lot of the need to check episodes constantly).

Just to clarify, here's some things other podcast managers do that I think are a bit cleaner:


Gpodder (and others like juice) put the podcasts on the side, and show the downloaded episodes with a bit more space and information in the main panel. This would probably make musicbee's left panel a bit too cluttered, but a separate panel within the podcasts section would probably work. Perhaps horizontally like the radio stations panel, or another column.


Itunes (and I think songbird) has a nice album art-like view for podcasts that I think would be more consistent with Musicbee's other views. The larger space to click on in order to drill down is a lot easier than the tiny collapsing arrows. It also looks a lot more colourful and modern.

Another option could be to simply have a column in the podcast view that shows current episode date and title. Then you could turn all drag and drop or 'sync to' behaviour for the podcast title to act like the latest episode (I hope that sentence makes sense).

Incidentally, I've also noticed that double-clicking podcast title brings up an error, when I expected it would play the latest episode (I had to double-click the episode itself to play it).

psychoadept

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Gpodder (and others like juice) put the podcasts on the side, and show the downloaded episodes with a bit more space and information in the main panel. This would probably make musicbee's left panel a bit too cluttered, but a separate panel within the podcasts section would probably work. Perhaps horizontally like the radio stations panel, or another column.

Seems like a track-broswer-like layout would do the trick.  I agree it would be more user friendly than the current situation.
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sammyjankis

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I'd be very interested in seeing, or learning of, a few improvements with podcast handling too.

Currently, the default naming convention for saved files doesn't seem to include the episode date when saving, and there doesn't seem to be a way to change how these are handled. For example, having the ability to add tags in < > brackets after the save folder location would be perfect.

For example a new subscription entry was saved as '89- Bubble Houses.mp3' when my previous version of this was '2013-09-17 - 89- Bubble Houses.mp3'. Several of my subscriptions are not always consistently tagged but the Episode date is automatically in the feed so it's easy to mask and correct.

The Tag Inspector seems to see the ID3v2 Episode Date value, but I can't then apply this to either the Tags or Tags (2) panels. Would be great to see a little more functionality around these areas.

I have to also point out that aside from these issues MusicBee seems to be absolutely brilliant. Clean, powerful, much faster than what I have previously been using... Have used several media players for managing subscriptions and did so reluctantly as that was often the easiest way to have music and podcasts consistently handled. Am not a huge fan of GPodder and the like though so would like to have (what I think could be) the perfect all in one.

Thanks,
SJ

9cupsoftea

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Sorry to bump this old topic, but I've recently had to use Ubuntu at work and discovered, surprisingly, that rhythmbox (the default player) has exactly the kind of podcast handling that would be perfect for musicbee. It's a pretty basic music player otherwise, and nowhere near as good to use as MB, but this is one area I think Musicbee could take some design cues from.


This is exactly how I suggested podcasts be displayed in an above post, as I think it shows more information, and allows far quicker and easier navigation and playing of podcasts. There's a list of feeds, and below it, a list of podcasts for each feeds with info on what is downloaded, dates, and podcast titles.


Adding podcasts is really easy: You click add, type in an rss url or just some search terms, and are presented with relevant results that have pictures and even descriptions. I have no idea how rhythmbox manages to do this, but it works really well, and as it is open source (linux only, though) I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to figure out.

I'm not sure about syncing from rhythmbox as I sync only from my home computer, but if Steven is still open to improving the podcast handling I would still strongly suggest a 'mark as listened' option upon sync. Again, sorry to bump this old topic, but I just thought this would clarify further some of my earlier suggestions.
Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:59:27 PM by 9cupsoftea

Steven

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i still plan to do enhancements around podcast handling and suggestions are welcome

psychoadept

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i still plan to do enhancements around podcast handling and suggestions are welcome

I think a track browser-style setup would work well, as some have suggested, or possibly an artwork-view-with-tracks-at-bottom setup, only with less space for the artwork and more for the tracks.

One thing that would be really cool is if we could give MusicBee overrides for the album and artist fields, per podcast.   Some podcasts have very inconsistent tags that bother my OCD tendencies, and sometimes I just don't like the tags that they come with.  For example, the News From Lake Wobegon podcast comes with "American Public Media" as the artist, and once in a while I go in and change them all to "Garrison Keillor".  Would be nice to be able to have MusicBee do that for me automatically.
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Steven

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This has the amended GUI for the podcasts panel, where navigation of the subscriptions is separated from the episodes and each subscription shows the subscription picture.
The search box can be set to filter the subscriptions or the episodes.
Also there is an option on the device synch settings to mark synchronised podcasts as listened

http://www.mediafire.com/?w3gh8o0zcyj8faa

Please treat this as a preview version, so keep your existing musicbee.exe handy in case you need to revert. I would still want to know about any bugs or comments - i am not planning to make further changes for this but that depends on comments


mikebo

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Great update, it obviously still has bugs but looks very promising! Much better than the old view.

Bugs i've encountered so far:
1. Bottom of the Subscriptions list is covered with a gray rectangle.
2. Subscriptions list has no scrollbar.
3. Subscriptions list can be resized only in fixed increments.

Helpful screenshot http://i.imgur.com/0YIdYU8.png

Some details:
4. Subscriptions list header buttons should be right aligned.
5. New episodes counter should be shown only if there are new episodes (because it would make it easier to discern at a glance which subscriptions have updates). That would however leave a nasty gap between the cover and the title, so maybe the indicator could be displayed on the corner of the cover with some distinctive bg colour like red or blue.
6. Covers should have borders if UseArtworkBorders is set to true.