BoomBox Finder Updated to 2.28

We are happy to announce the update of BoomBox 3.1 Finder File Manager Application to version 2.28. This release resolves customer reported issues and general security concerns:

  • Hardening of underlying security system which jails users to their home directory.
  • Separation of log and backup folders.
  • Expanded the max upload limit to 2 gigabytes.
  • Repaired the archive extraction routines.
  • Implementation of the Flysystem file system to facilitate the use of dynamic FTP ports and 3rd party cloud service providers like Google Drive and AWS (coming soon).
  • Repaired global music library (GML) access for all users.
  • Expanded browser support to include Contana (IE) and Opera.
  • Expanded support for mobile devices.

Re-Introduction of FTP

FTP was globally disabled a few months ago as some producer data was deleted by the malicious acts of hackers. Before re-enabling FTP we had to come up with a concept to protect users. We built a security layer into our firewall which detects and reports malicious FTP activity (like trying to delete too many files at once). Those who wish to use FTP clients may do so again and will find access information on the BoomBox Dashboard page.

Note: Another feature we developed for FTP (as it is not natively supported) is dynamic port allocation. SoniXCast FTP does not listen on the standard ports for security reasons, but will also change the listening ports at random intervals as an added security feature against hackers. It is therefore important that those who use 3rd party FTP clients check the BoomBox Dashboard for the current FTP port before trying to connect.

Implementation of Flysystem

Flysystem is a PHP agnostic file system library which enables the transparent management of diverse file systems across the network. Besides simplifying the use of the Finder application and internal volume management, Flysystem also supports the integration of third party cloud service providers like Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon S3. BoomBox is currently being expanded to support this feature.

Cloud Services Update 3.0.237

We are happy to announce the release of BoomBox update 3.0.237.

  1. With the introduction of the new Clustered NAS (which maintains customer files), the maintenance of Cloud Services has been moved to the system. Customers are no longer required to maintain Cloud Services from the dashboard.
  2. The Cloud Services App has been renamed to Finder (File Manager) in the customer (BoomBox) interface.
  3. A new feature has been introduced: If one creates a folder (has not been tested with subfolders) or uploads an entire folder of music via FTP into the Playlists folder, a playlist is automatically generated in the Playlist manager. However, the playlist remains disabled until reviewed by the station producer.
  4. Permissions management in the Finder app has been revised and should now perform as expected.
  5. A more aggressive service monitoring solution has been introduced which will improve service uptime and availability.
  6. A restart threshold has been set on the auto-dj service and if unable to start after 10 attempts it will be automatically disabled. This addresses the issues reported by producers who use a 3rd party auto-dj services and have not yet discovered that the auto-dj service in BoomBox can be disabled.

BoomBox v3.0.1 Release

BoomBox Version 3.0.1 is a maintenance release which repairs issues introduced in previous releases. This release also concludes the migration of playlist track management and integration into Cloud Services.

Important Information

In order to finalize migration to cloud services, all customers must log into BoomBox, navigate to the AutoDJ settings page and press the Save (floppy) button. Customers who do not perform this operation may experience data loss.

Change Log

  • Upgrade to ShoutCast Server v.2.5.5.733 which repairs runaway playlist issues introduced in v.2.5.5.700 as reported by Radionomy support. Playlist and DJ scheduling now works again as normal. This update also repairs Statistics collection.
  • Status and Statistics Collection repaired and timing adjusted to be more responsive.
  • DJ and Playlist creation issues repaired.
  • Introduction of Cloud File Service with Global Music Library Integration.
  • Introduction of Dynamic Playlist Generation for better accuracy during shuffle routines.
  • Introduced the ability to completely disable the AutoDJ.
  • Introduction of the Playlist Reload feature in order to repair playlists starting over after minor changes to the system.

Playlist Reload Feature

A ‘Reload Playlists’ button has been introduced which eliminates the need to restart the AutoDJ after making changes to a Playlist or DJ.

Cloud Services

Finder Feature Highlights
Major feature highlights of the new Cloud Services Finder App

The Cloud Service introduces three new components to BoomBox and integrates playlist track management into one interface greatly enhancing track management and allround ease of use. Although intuitive for most users, Finder has context sensitive help (tooltips) for each operation the will help until full documentation has been completed.

Cloud Watcher Service: watches the local file system for changes and notifies the autodj component if new files are added to a playlist regardless if uploaded through the finder interface or FTP.

Finder (a.k.a. File Manager): Is the integrated user interface which mimics file management much the same way the File Manager (Windows Systems) or Finder (MacOS systems) does. Music Tracks can be dragged and dropped directly from the local computer or the integrated Global Music Library into playlist folders for immediate playback (uploading multiple files will require playlist reload). Music Tracks can be also listened to (previewed) directly in Finder interface.

Global Music Library: The global music library consists of 60.000+ fully licensed for playlick music files sorted by Genre made available to customers at absolutely no extra cost in order to avoid any legal complications that may arise by uploading one’s own music files. Updated weekly, the total multi-lingual compilation of the Global Music Library is expected to reach 250.000 by the end of the calendar year. Customers who wish to provide music (such as Indie Artist) should contact support for more information.

Folder Structure: The Finder organizes your music library as follows: The main folder Playlists contains subfolders (appropriately named for each playlist) in which the music files reside designated for playback by the AutoDJ. The main folder Music is where all your previously uploaded music files reside. The main folder GML contains music files that you can copy to your playlists (in the main Playlists folder) for immediate playback by the AutoDJ.

Runaway Playlists Synopsis

The last version of the ShoutCast Server eliminated a crucial callback interface which (among other things) helped notify the autodj that data was received thus causing the autodj to ‘race’ through playlists and loop. The issue came to light after Radionomy support responded to our ticket request and advised immediate update of the server. Which was perform yesterday, prior to today’s release.

Music Files

All customers are encouraged to pre-process their music library before uploading. Please ensure that all music files are properly encoded, tagged and named in order to facilitate painless playback in the system. We no longer ‘clean’ music files for you as it slows the system down. Improperly named files may not be recognized by the AutoDJ, so it imperative for all customers to refer to the naming conventions below or by example the Global Music Library.

Shuffled Filename Example (Shuffle enabled in Playlist Settings):
Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

Sequential Filename Example (Shuffle disabled in Playlist Settings):
001_Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

 

Coming Soon! New Playlist Manager for BoomBox!

We have immediately begun migrating all customer accounts over to the new BoomBox Playlist Manager v3.0.1 which will allow users much more flexibility creating and managing playlists as well as introducing seamless integration of private and public music libraries. Migration is happening in the background and no service interruption is expected. Migration is expected to be completed for all customers by January 10th, 2018.

Issues Addressed:

  • Playlist and Track Rotation
  • Sequential and Shuffled Playback
  • Track to Playlist Assignment
  • Frequent AutoDJ Restarts

Features Introduced:

  • Full Drag and Drop Support for Track to Playlist assignment, File uploading and downloading, Copying between Libraries and more…
  • Upload directly to Playlist (no need to upload to music library first unless so desired)
  • Copy/Move between Personal Music Library and Playlist or even Playlist to Playlist
  • Global Music Library integration (60,000+ fully licensed, international titles)

Limitations:

Only properly tagged, file name normalized music tracks are guaranteed to playback in the autodj. Files with mangled filenames (i.e. spaces, special characters) could be skipped. Use the file naming format demonstrated in the global music library as example.

Sequential playback is alphanumerical (priority numbers then letters). If you wish a certain sequence during playback, you must edit the filenames of all files in the playlist, adding a number at the beginning of the filename representing the order in which it should be played. You must also disable the shuffle playlist setting in BoomBox otherwise sequential playback will be ignored.

Shuffled Filename Example:
Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

Sequential Filename Example:
001_Artist_Name_-_Track_Name.mp3

Licensing regulations have changed. As of January 1st, 2018, customers could be held personally liable for any music uploaded to our servers by the performance rights organization responsible for region in which said customer resides. It is therefore important that customers retain the appropriate proof of purchase or waiver from the copyright owner for any and all music uploaded to our systems.

Important Information:

This is an emergency release of release candidate software to address issues with the current production version of BoomBox. All aspects have been fully tested in a development environment and certain features (i.e. cloud drive mounts) disabled in order to afford ultimate stability. However, it is to be understood by all customers that in a production environment, some issues may occur and support should be duly notified by submitting a ticket into our support system at www.sonixcast.com. Multiple tickets concerning the same issue will be merged and tickets regarding issues with the previous playlist system closed as they are addressed by this release. Customers are encouraged to be as factual and detailed as possible when submitting tickets.

BoomBox is in “incremental release” mode meaning that stable (fully tested) patches to the software are released on a regular basis (usually daily) addressing customer and other developmental issues. We time responses to customer feature requests and tickets with said releases.

BoomBox 3.0

We are Happy to announce the release of BoomBox 3.0

BoomBox 3.0 is here and better than ever. Over 6 months in the making, BoomBox 3.0 is full featured, battle tested and sports a new faster and more robust infrastructure and interface.

As some of you may know, there have been challenges keeping up with growth and occasional service interruption due to high loads. Whitelabel partners have experienced higher than usual response times using the search API and all around system and network management has become untenable for the support team.

Migration

Over the next 3 months (September through November 2017) all accounts will be migrated over to BoomBox 3.0 (current version is 2.4). However, clients will be presented with the option to migrate at their own pace at a time and date of their choosing. Clients will be presented with the option to migrate whenever they log into BoomBox and an easy to use Wizard will step them through the process.

Migration means the hostnames will change, so it is imperative that customers make use of the relay and redirect settings on the BoomBox dashboard to ensure that listeners can find their station after the migration has completed.

Value Added Services and Features

Invariably the question will arise “What about Liquidsoap or the Global Music Library?” Both, along with other projects have been extricated from BoomBox and will be offered separately as value added services or features. This means there will be some service plan and price restructuring over the next months. We are still evaluating development costs and will announce each feature/service release and price separately.

Classic Licensing/Hosting Plans

Current (Classic) plans will retain current pricing, and will be limited to basic Shoutcast server and SoniXCast Transcoder services. These plans are geared towards hobbyists requiring minimal licensing and basic Auto-DJ features.

Professional Licensing/Hosting Plans

Professional plans, priced differently than classic plans, will bundle value added services (like APM or CML as described below) to provide more complex event scheduling and programming management features for stations desiring such operations.

Advanced Program Management (a.k.a. Liquidsoap)

The development of the APM feature required a separate development team and different operating system and as such, stations that desire APM must be provisioned differently.

Cloud Music Library (previously known as the Global Music Library)

Because of it’s dependence on the APM project, the CML will be offered in conjunction with professional plans or as an add-on feature for classic plans.

SoniXFM.Com (Radio Aggregation Services)

Recent interest from current and requirements from new joint venture partners has spurred development of the sonixfm.com website. All development resources not currently allocated to support have been re-assigned to this project slated for release in December 2017.

For the Techies

More technical savvy customers like to interrogate our methods and reasoning from time to time which sometimes leads useful revelations and we welcome the discussion (although we could all do without the breast thumping and the non-conducive ranting). Therefore, we present this high level overview of the changes to the systems and network:

Current BoomBox infrastructure relies on the use of classic dedicated servers using hardware methods to failover the IP-address to a different backup server upon failure. Despite assurances from the provider, this method has proven to be severely lacking. Particularly under heavy listener tune-in and search API loads. Often switches would fail or become bogged down (and thus crash) trying to switch from one server to another leading to service outage.

The new infrastructure makes use of virtual server instances which are redundant across 3 geographically diverse datacenters and are switched by a dedicated and self managed load balancer. On August 16th 2017 we tested the failover infrastructure by funneling 4 million requests per second while simultaneously shutting down 2 of the 3 instances without losing a single ping request. We also performed a load test sending a burst of 40 million requests (3 times our current load) and achieved a maximum average load of 77% across all instances.

For Customers

So what the heck does this mean for me?

Sometime between now and December 2017, when you log into BoomBox, you will be presented with a popup informing you that your account is eligible for upgrade. That means our support team has done the work of replicating and testing your station on the new infrastructure and only the final options must be set and the station switched over.

YOUR RELAY AND REDIRECT LINKS WILL REMAIN THE SAME AFTER MIGRATION.

New customers will be eventually provisioned on the new platform, but, for now, will also have to endure migration at a later date.

Customers have the option click “click away” the popup and plan when to migrate, but will be “annoyed” every time they log in and will be forcefully migrated if ignored for too long. That is a call our support team will make depending on time and resources.

Why All The Fuss?

We are growing too gosh darned quick for the current infrastructure to keep up. In August alone we had over 8 million hits (12 million in July) and that with 5 (we have a total of 30) server clusters disconnected from the search API.

Network hardware is coughing and sputtering under the load and our support team is spending more time arguing with marginally responsive and exceedingly difficult datacenter support technicians than helping customers.

The new infrastructure is ours alone to manage and maintain. We own it (like google owns theirs) and there is no more dorking around with some egocentric 3rd level support lacky.

Music File Uploader released for BoomBox 2.4b

We are happy to announce the release of the Music File Uploader for BoomBox 2.4 beta. This was also the last component needed to be ported over from BoomBox 2.3 and producers can now fully manage their station from 2.4 beta.

Here are a list of features in the new Music File Uploader:

  • 10x faster than FTP (through browser compression, chunking and multiple simultaneous connections)
  • Uploads to the SoniXCast cloud with over 400 nodes worldwide
  • Works on all computers, smart and mobile devices
  • Drag and Drop files directly into the browser
  • Automatic filtering (only allows music files)
  • Add Files from one or more directories on your computer or device
  • Copy and Paste support
  • Automatically or Manually Resumes broken upload connections
  • Automatically catalogs and indexes music files (no need to run the UML repair function after uploading)
  • Can be run in a separate tab or window (so you can keep working while uploading)
  • Easy target folder selection
  • Simple, straightforward and easy to use interface

New Global Music Library for BoomBox

SoniXCast's Global Music Library Banner

We are proud to announce the release of our Global Music Library (GML) for BoomBox 2.2. With it producers can choose from over 100,000 registered titles to add to their playlists. No more uploading, organizing or tagging tracks. Just search for the tracks you like or add all from a particular genre build your station in minutes instead of days.

 

 

GML Left Side ViewHundreds of Thousands of Titles updated Daily

We draw new titles from multiple worldwide sources, process ’em, tag ’em and put them up for use by SoniXCast Radio Station producers on a daily basis. Besides the usual sources (record company mustering), we also tap into the indie and creative commons libraries. Even language specific titles like from Germany, France and Asia!

 

 

gml-genres-openExclusively built for BoomBox and SoniXCast Radio Stations

Integrated directly into BoomBox (Our own homegrown Radio Automation and Control Panel), SoniXCast Radio Station Producers can quickly and easily search and assign tracks to playlists eliminating the need to tag, encode and then upload hundreds of tracks. Playlists are setup in minutes taking the drudgery out of building your Radio Station.

 

 

gml-full-rightPowerful and Intuitive Filtering and Search functions

We’ve indexed over 30 possible search parameters for each title so that finding a title is as simple as entering a search term, hitting enter and choosing from the provided results. You can even limit your search by music genre. And it’s fast! We built specialized system designed specifically for managing large amounts of search queries. You’ll never wait long to find what you’re looking for.

 

 

binaryPre-encoded and Tagged to work with all SoniXCast Radio Stations

Every track we receive from our worldwide partners is encoded for maximum performance and listening pleasure. Metatags are provided by iTunes and Echonest/Shazam! with no hidden messages or comments. So that your Station statistics are always clean and accurate compatible with all 3rd party players and statistics tools.

 

 

gml-title-previewListen and Track information previews powered by iTunes

You can even preview a title or view track information before adding it to your playlist. View anything you need to know about a title from the Artist biography to broadcasting Bitrate, even the price to buy nearly instantaneously thanks to Apple’s iTunes powerful search API!

 

 

oppertunityUnique Opportunities for Indie Artists and Syndicated Content Providers

SoniXCast is the fastest growing Radio Station Provider in the industry. Have a song that you want to popularize or do you want to syndicate your Daily or Weekly broadcast? Simply contact our support department and we’ll not only get you setup in our rotation, but we’ll announce your content to over 1400 SoniXCast Radio Stations. More marketing and popularization features, so get on board early to take advantage of them while they’re still free.

 

Screenshots

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BoomBox File Manager 2.2 Released

We are proud to announce the release of the BoomBox File Manager and Upload Manager 2.2. This is a complete code rewrite that contains added features and fixes for known issues found in previous versions.

Change Log

Upload Manager

  • Complete rewrite of back-end to support cloud server synchronization
  • Automated backup of music folders
  • Added support for Opera and Chrome Browsers

File Manager

  • Complete rewrite of back-end to support cloud server synchronization
  • Ajaxified all server callbacks (better browser response)
  • Automated backup of music files
  • Added support for Opera and Chrome Browsers
  • Complete rewrite of folder management (Add, Delete, Filter)
  • Repaired file move function
  • Repaired file delete function
  • Repaired reload function
  • Help now points to file manager documentation

Pending

Development of the file tag editor is a separate project and will be released and announced separately.

Manage your Songs…

 

The BoomBox File Manager module beta 2.1 has been released for all using the BoomBox (not ShoutBox) platform. This is the first step in enabling more features like the Global Music Library and “Clocks” like Playlist Management. Although a couple of days late, all will find it was well worth the wait.

File Manager Features

Besides the usual file management features, the BoomBox File Manager module includes a faster reload (read files from FTP upload) functions and the ability to select multiple files to add to playlists. Here’s some of the highlights…

 

 

fm_moveMove Files

Part of the reason it took longer than expected to get the File Manager rolled out to all users was because previously music files were tightly coupled to a playlist. Delete a playlist and you would delete all associated files. We rewrote the back-end to make playlists “virtual” and the files assigned to them could be located anywhere on the file system. That’s really important for adding files from the Global Music Library. Now users can move files around their local file system as easily as on any computer system.

 

 

Delete Files

Sometimes uploads break or certain files can’t be read or licensed and it’s better just to delete them.

 

fm_reloadpopupReload Files

Many users like to use their favorite FTP client to upload files and until we release the new file upload manager, that’s the only way right now to upload music files to BoomBox. Previously known as “Repair”, the “Reload” function reads in files uploaded via FTP, but it also re-indexes files and checks if they are “licensable” for playback. We streamlined the back end so that the reloading happens much quicker, but if you have a large music library, it can still take a few minutes to complete.

 

 

 

fm_addtoplaylistAdd To Playlist

This is by far the most requested feature for BoomBox. The ability to select individual or multiple files and assigned them to a playlist. In future releases we make it so that users can assign entire folders, but right now users will have to page through the results and select the songs they want to add.

 

 

Future releases

I know some of you are not seeing the features you requested, but this is an important first step in getting those features and needed functions done. Modules like the Global Music Library, File Upload Manager and the enhanced Playlist Manager will all build upon the File Manager module and you’ll see much faster release times on requested features.