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Thread: Suggest new rules for SmartPlay

  1. #71
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    I'd really like to be able to preferentially choose newer episodes from my feeds, then fall back to older episodes when no newer ones are available. For example, choose the oldest episode that is one of the newest 5 from its feed in a category, but fall back to playing the absolute oldest episode if no sufficiently new episodes exist. Right now I achieve this manually by downloading older episodes when I see that I'm almost out of newer episodes in my feeds. I often run out of episodes in my car because I've neglected to download older episodes.

    Setting the play order to newest first doesn't quite meet my needs because I want to hear the older episodes in order. Hearing all the older episodes in reverse order is not nearly as good an experience for most podcasts. Adding a catchup category doesn't work very well either because I don't want to hear the older episodes when new content is available and it wouldn't allow me to also listen to the newest episodes without facing the earlier mentioned issues.

    I understand that this sorting order is a little complicated and hard to communicate through an app interface. I'd be happy if it were locked behind an advanced settings option or if it were possible to extend the sorting options via a plugin. I'd happily write this plugin myself if it were a possibility.

  2. #72
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    The difficulty in doing this is how you define what you consider to be "new", vs what you consider to be old. To a human, that's easy. To come up with a human-friendly user interface to tell a computer how to do it is hard.

    However, I think the easiest way to achieve what you want would be to set up the list to play

    Oldest 50 episodes of catgegory X
    ... and to set Player Settings | When Playlist Ends to be Restart SmartPlay.

    The trick then is that instead of playing the first episode in your playlist, you visually scan the playlist for the recent ones (near the end of the list) and start playing from there. Once you've listened to your recent ones in chronological order, the play list will loop back around to the start.

    However, the other issue you've got is that there's no way to get BeyondPod to automatically download older episodes when you run out, so you'll still have to do that manually if you're using Download Latest, or manually download recent episodes if you're using Download in Order.

    It seems to me that the way to address what you really want to do would be to allow BeyondPod to subscribe to a feed twice, so that you can have one version set to Download in Order (and put it in an "Old episodes" category), and the other set to download most recent (and be in a "Current episodes" category).

    You could then have a SmartPlay rule that plays
    Oldest 50 from Current episodes category
    and then
    Oldest 50 from Old episodes category.

    You could possibly achieve the multiple subscriptions to the feed and automatic download part by using two devices (one set up to download in order, and the other set up to download latest) and Episode Sync to inform each other about episodes that have been downloaded and played.

    The only possible issue I can see is whether the Keep rules would interfere with each other.

    To make it work, I think you'd need to set your primary device (the one you'll be listening to) to be the one that downloads most recent episodes, and your secondary device to download in order. Set the number of episodes to keep on the secondary device to be smaller than on the primary device (i.e. total number of episodes you want available minus highest number you're likely to have at any given time of recent episodes, minus one or two in case you get behind). The schedule your updates on the secondary device to be something like 2-4 hours before the updates on your primary device. That way, your primary device will get a chance to sync with the secondary device after the secondary one has done its downloads and download the old episodes before it does the update to get the most recent episodes, but the secondary device won't yet have the newer episodes contributing to the maximum number of episodes it's allowed to have downloaded. What I'm not sure about is what will happen when you get a bit behind with your current listening. You may need to pick your numbers carefully for each device.

    e.g for feed X
    On Primary device
    Episode downloads
    Download Latest Episodes
    Download 4 Episodes (this assumes you'll never get more than 4 episodes behind "current" when downloading)
    Episode Cleanup
    Keep at most
    10 episodes (this allows you to have up to 7 "current" episodes, plus the 3 old episodes from the archive synced from the secondary device. After that, this device will delete the oldest one before you have a chance to listen to it)

    On Secondary device
    Episode downloads
    Download Episodes In Order
    Download 3 Episodes

    When you play the older episodes, that information will get synced back to the secondary device, so it knows it can delete an old episode to make way for another old one. Because you're syncing information about playing the newer ones too, it won't re-download those episodes once you catch up.

    I haven't tried this, so I can't be sure it'll work, but it's worth a try, and I think I've got my logic right .

    You could then combine that with the suggestion above to set your SmartPlay list to play all in order, but to actually start your playback from the first recent episode, rather than from the first episode in the play list.

    Hope this helps. Have fun!

    Julie

  3. #73
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    My problem is to get BeyondPod to automate playing the episodes in the right order. I have no problem manually downloading a bunch of episodes manually. My issue is that right now I want to avoid downloading old episodes manually because they clog my smartplay. I use smartplay because I don't want to manually manage my playlist. I usually listen to podcasts through bluetooth devices while I don't have physical access to my phone to do things like manually inspect the smartplay each time it restarts. I usually only have a play/pause button and maybe skip forward and back buttons. BeyondPod smartplay is simply magical for the way I use it right now, as long as I never catch up on all of the latest episodes of my podcasts.

    The problem is that I have to keep older episodes off of my phone until I've listened to all the current episodes and then download exactly the number of older episode I'll need until newer ones appear again and hope that I'm in wifi if I guess too low. If I guess too high, I'm back to trying to manually manage my feeds.

    I think a fairly reasonable UI for what I want would be to just consider the N most recent episodes in a feed to be new. I'd even be completely happy if this were a fixed value like 1 or 5 and not possible for the user to adjust. It would also be reasonable to mark any episode downloaded automatically with a Download Latest Episodes policy as new. Since podcasts usually have a temporal component, wanting to hear the latest episode then listen to older episodes in order is a fairly natural and should not be so hard to accomplish. It certainly shouldn't require two devices. If an automatic download policy that helped support this play order also existed, that would be nice too. Personally, I'm fine doing it manually and having a few gigabytes of backlogged podcasts on my phone.

    If this is too much for BeyondPod to support, I'd be more than happy to write a plugin if the right hooks were made available.

  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by buck View Post
    My problem is to get BeyondPod to automate playing the episodes in the right order. I have no problem manually downloading a bunch of episodes manually. My issue is that right now I want to avoid downloading old episodes manually because they clog my smartplay. I use smartplay because I don't want to manually manage my playlist. I usually listen to podcasts through bluetooth devices while I don't have physical access to my phone to do things like manually inspect the smartplay each time it restarts. I usually only have a play/pause button and maybe skip forward and back buttons. BeyondPod smartplay is simply magical for the way I use it right now, as long as I never catch up on all of the latest episodes of my podcasts.
    You don't need to manually manage your playlist. If you have one scheduled download per day, only the very first playback of the day (the first one after the playlist is re-created) needs any manual intervention for my original suggestion to work. After that, BP will know where it's got to and pick up at that point when you press Play, and then loop around to the older episodes once it gets to the end of the recent ones at the end of the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by juwlz View Post
    Oldest 50 episodes of catgegory X
    ... and to set Player Settings | When Playlist Ends to be Restart SmartPlay.

    The trick then is that instead of playing the first episode in your playlist, you visually scan the playlist for the recent ones (near the end of the list) and start playing from there. Once you've listened to your recent ones in chronological order, the play list will loop back around to the start.
    Julie

  5. #75
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    If you always have a fixed number <n> of old episodes, you could use the API (e.g. with Tasker) to start playback for the first time in the day at episode <n+1> in your playlist by using something along the lines of
    mobi.beyondpod.command.START_SMART_PLAY
    mobi.beyondpod.command.PAUSE
    mobi.beyondpod.command.PLAY_NEXT (x <n>)
    mobi.beyondpod.command.PLAY


    See the API help page for more details.

    HTH
    Julie

  6. #76
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    That looks closer to a solution, although it doesn't look like the API gives enough access to the unplayed episodes to construct the playlist properly. With this solution, I'd be restricted to putting all of my podcasts into one category (I currently use multiple categories and have the smart play select one episode from each category to keep up variety) and carefully maintaining how many unplayed episodes I have.

  7. #77
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    Don't forget that you can have multiple SmartPlay program entries pointing at the same feed or category, with the first entry playing the latest and the second playing the oldest. That isn't quite right, but it may be closer.

    Of course, if there are no new episodes, you wind up whittling down the backlog from both ends.

  8. #78
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    You can still combine the principle with multiple categories, e.g.
    Play oldest 1 from Category A (from archive)
    Play oldest 1 from Category B (from archive)
    Play oldest 1 from Category C (from archive)
    Play oldest <n> from Category A (up to <n> current episodes) (start here)
    Play oldest <n> from Category B (up to <n> current episodes)
    Play oldest <n> from Category C (up to <n> current episodes)

    And skip the first three on the first playback of the day.

    That assumes that you'll make sure that you have downloaded exactly one old episode in each category before the SmartPlay list is generated.

    Julie

  9. #79
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    I'd like to see the ability to exclude a category from being detected with the SmartPlay group. For example, I have approx. 15 feeds that I listen to regularly, and 1 (Hardcore History) that I save for long trips. It would be good to be able to either
    (a) mark an entire category as "exclude from SmartPlay" (if a feed is included in this category, and another that is included, then it gets included)
    (b) Add a 'not', or 'Except' option to the 'Category' filter of a SmartPlay entry. ie "Category: All, except "Long")

    I know the work around is to add all feeds (except this one) into a 'Only for SmartPlay' category, but that's just annoying.

  10. #80
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    That's what categories are for. Put Hardcore History (great podcast!) in its own separate category. You can then create another SmartPlay list that only includes that category, or just put it as the last entry in your SmartPlay program.

    Ah, is your SmartPlay program one entry that reads "play 50 from All Feeds"? It's been years, and I don't remember what the out-of-the-box category situation is, but yes, you need to put everything except Hardcore History into *some* category (any category: the names don't mean anything to BP), and put *that* category in the SmartPlay program entry.

    Now might be the time to think about categories for scheduling your feeds. Personally, I have one set of categories for updating (daily/weekly/monthly) and another set to order my playlist, mostly by episode length (< 5 min, < 15 min, < 30 min, < 60 min, 60+) then by timeliness. Given the postings here, I'm very strange; however, I have to wrangle over 130 feeds (approximately: BP stopped telling me how many there are) and I care much more about some of them than others.

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