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Thread: V4 Behavior and Design Improvement Suggestions from a long-time user

  1. #1
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    V4 Behavior and Design Improvement Suggestions from a long-time user

    Although I've been a happy and loyal Beyondpod-Pro user for several years now starting with v3 and transitioned through all of the the v4 betas as they have become available, this is the first time I've logged on to provide any feedback. Becasue I love this app, over the last year or so, I've tried to keep a running list of careful observations, suggestions, personal annoyances that I've experienced along the way. I've not added any new ones to the list in a while so I thought this might be a good time to share (in no particular order).

    I apologize in advance if anything I'm bringing up has been discussed and/considered/rejected before...Thanks for listening.

    - Behavior Improvement Suggestion: Auto or manual rescan/refresh of media files that are manually placed into podcast folders. Currently have to "FORCE STOP" the app and restart to see new manually added files. (FYI- I manually add files to the respective podcast folders in my phone that I download using my corporate network because personal phones are not allowed to use the corporate wifi and to minimize the use of my monthly cell data allowance.)
    UPDATE: Disregard- Swipe-away from recent app list allows for closure of BP app. Using FORCE STOP is not necessary. This is a simple enough solution

    - Behavior Improvement Suggestion: Volume Boost does not seem to work on video files

    - Behavior Improvement Suggestion: Notification if duplicate feed detected or attempting to add

    - Behavior Improvement Suggestion: Files actually deleted from storage folders when deleted within app (they eventually disappear but not sure when)
    UPDATE-Disregard: BP does delete the files right away. The files that are visible in the folders are actually "ghost" files that are not real files.

    - Behavior Improvement Suggestion: When "Show 'New' Feeds Only" is checked, selecting 'Manage Feeds' only shows 'new' feeds instead of all feeds. (Currently have to back out and uncheck New Feeds Only box and then go into Manage Feeds)

    - Design Improvement Idea: Add option to prevent 'player screen' from sliding open when play is started from 'episode list' page (i.e. allow to stay on 'episode list' page with player minimized to bottom). I consistently swipe the player screen away every time I start a new podcast...

    - Design Improvement Idea: 1-touch 'Mark All Read' button (i.e. take out of '3-dot' option menu and put button somewhere on individual feed page

    - Design Improvement Idea: Option to auto-advance to next feed after 'Mark All Read'

    - Design Improvement Idea: Option for Global Volume Boost for all feeds at once

    - Design Improvement Idea: Option to Reconnect to all Feedly feeds at same time (I disconnected from Feedly once when the site temporarily went down and it was extremely painful to reconnect since I was forced to add them on-at-a-time)

    - Design Improvement Idea: Move the 'All Feeds' choice found on 'What to Play' side menu to top of menu list rather than bottom
    UPDATE-Disregard. All Feeds is a re-sortable group which I did not realize until I was kindly informed by this community.

    ADD- Design Improvement Idea: It'd be great if there was a way to change the playback speed for videos too (ala VLC video player)
    Last edited by dbryte; 05-28-2015 at 03:04 PM. Reason: updated with latest info

  2. #2
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    Hmm... I certainly get a notification that I'm trying to add a duplicate feed. "... already exists in category xxx"

    There are feeds accessible through different URLs (.../foo.rss and foo.html?format=rss) which BP cannot decipher without comparing the XML itself, a much more expensive proposition.

    I'll add a vote for "volume boost everything", so that my device volume can stay lower and avoid that annoying OK clickthrough. I have noticed distortion when I boosted a really quiet feed more than +3 or so, so there are limits.

    "All Feeds" *is* at the top of my list, and I think it always has been.

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for the feedback - it is very thoughtful and makes a good sense. Most of it has been on our todo list for a while ...waiting to get implemented.

    "Files actually deleted from storage folders when deleted within app..." - we do delete the physical files the moment you delete them from BeyondPod. What I think you are seeing is "ghost" versions of those files that Android has cached as records in its own database. When you add a file to the SD card, Android scans it and adds it to its media database, and many apps show the content of the media database (instead of the real files). It sometimes takes a while for the Media database to recognize that the file is gone and update itself. This is also true when connecting the device to a PC using MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) - it often shows some cached version of what you have on your file system. One thing you can try is to make sure "Episodes Visible in Music Player" is un-checked in BeyondPod's Advanced settings. This should prevent Android from adding the files to the media database, but it may or may not be supported on your device.

    As far as "All Feeds" - this is just a category as any other, you can rearrange it and position it at any place in the list. (Manage feeds > tap on the overflow menu of any category > Reorder categories > drag categories in any order you want)
    Last edited by StefanK; 05-27-2015 at 09:40 AM.

  4. #4
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    Multiple copies of feeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Rockwell View Post
    Hmm... I certainly get a notification that I'm trying to add a duplicate feed. "... already exists in category xxx"

    There are feeds accessible through different URLs (.../foo.rss and foo.html?format=rss) which BP cannot decipher without comparing the XML itself, a much more expensive proposition.

    I'll add a vote for "volume boost everything", so that my device volume can stay lower and avoid that annoying OK clickthrough. I have noticed distortion when I boosted a really quiet feed more than +3 or so, so there are limits.

    "All Feeds" *is* at the top of my list, and I think it always has been.
    Hmmm...Interesting that you get some messaging about duplicates. To make sure I wasn't crazy I went and performed an +ADD FEED > used search box to find feed > and added the same feed multiple times and never got any notices saying it was duplicated. For ref I took a screenshot of the same feed listed 4 times (1 original +3 dups).

    Screenshot_2015-05-26-20-51-47.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by StefanK View Post
    Thank you very much for the feedback - it is very thoughtful and makes a good sense. Most of it has been on our todo list for a while ...waiting to get implemented.

    "Files actually deleted from storage folders when deleted within app..." - we do delete the physical files the moment you delete them from BeyondPod. What I think you are seeing is "ghost" versions of those files that Android has cached as records in its own database. When you add a file to the SD card, Android scans it and adds it to its media database, and many apps show the content of the media database (instead of the real files). It sometimes takes a while for the Media database to recognize that the file is gone and update itself. This is also true when connecting the device to a PC using MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) - it often shows some cached version of what you have on your file system. One thing you can try is to make sure "Episodes Visible in Music Player" is un-checked in BeyondPod's Advanced settings. This should prevent Android from adding the files to the media database, but it may or may not be supported on your device.

    As far as "All Feeds" - this is just a category as any other, you can rearrange it and position it at any place in the list. (Manage feeds > tap on the overflow menu of any category > Reorder categories > drag categories in any order you want)
    Thanks for the showing me how to move the "All Feeds". I guess I never considered that to be moveable! Learned something new.

    The "ghost" file explanation was very helpful as well. Just to verify, I went searching for some ghost files and found an example of files I deleted in Beyondpod a few days ago but are still visible in the feed folder. When I try to open the file I get a generic error dialog box which confirms that the file is not "real". I always assumed they were real files but never tried to actually interact with them other than to delete them manually. See attached screenshot from my PC (accessing the phone through USB).

    BTW-when I manually add a "real" file to the podcast folder, should Beyondpod be able to "see" that file right away? I always have to restart to get it to show up in the episode list.

    2015-05-27_125728.JPG

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbryte View Post
    Hmmm...Interesting that you get some messaging about duplicates. To make sure I wasn't crazy I went and performed an +ADD FEED > used search box to find feed > and added the same feed multiple times and never got any notices saying it was duplicated
    Wow, BP refused to add a duplicate, no matter if I searched or pasted the feed URL directly. In the search results, is said "In <category name>" instead of "SUBSCRIBE". If I pasted the URL, it popped up a toast saying it was already there.

    Stefan? Is there a platform dependency in how you compare feed URLs?

    I'm running BP 4.1.40 on a Samsung S3 Mini, Android 4.4.2.

  7. #7
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    dbryte,

    The way BeyondPod works is that it scans the device file system only when it is starting, so files you manually add will not be visible until the next restart.

    The process you are using is somewhat unusual as BeyondPod expects to be the only app that downloads and deletes files in the podcasts folders of NORMAL feeds (e.g. feeds that have URL and episodes can be downloaded). It currently does not monitor if new files somehow have appeared to pick them up.

    For dealing with external media files (like music or audio books) BeyondPod supports Virtual feeds, which you can manually refresh and they will pick all episodes that were added or removed from outside BeyondPod while BeyondPod is running.

    The way I see it, currently, there are 2 ways you can work around this problem:
    1. Do what you are doing now, but Exit BeyondPod before adding or removing files (....and they will be picked up on the next start)
    2. Use Virtual feeds for each feed and then refresh the feed after you add or remove files.

    As far as being able to add feed multiple times - this is indeed a bug, but I can't find a how you are able to do it (...same as Dennis).
    When I add the feed once, next time the search result instead of "Subscribe" has "In <Category>" and will not let you add the same feed again. I am maybe missing a step, but no matter how I try I can't get it to add the feed second time. Can you please list the steps you are doing - you certainly have stumbled on a "hole" that needs to be plugged.
    (One possibility is that I am using the latest BETA 4.1.40 which may have this fixed, while you are on an earlier version). Thus is very strange indeed...

    Stefan
    Last edited by StefanK; 05-27-2015 at 01:12 PM.

  8. #8
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    Dennis,

    This beats me too. I could not reproduce it either. My guess is that there is some (strange) "path" through the "Add Feed" flow that bypasses the check, but so far I could not find that "path". Could also be a platform issue, or more likely language (locale) issue... or something that was "magically" fixed in one of the BETAs. It is a puzzle...

    Stefan

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    Quote Originally Posted by StefanK View Post
    Dennis,

    This beats me too. I could not reproduce it either. My guess is that there is some (strange) "path" through the "Add Feed" flow that bypasses the check, but so far I could not find that "path". Could also be a platform issue, or more likely language (locale) issue... or something that was "magically" fixed in one of the BETAs. It is a puzzle...

    Stefan
    OK. Here is what I've figured out so far. The original screenshot showing 4 identical feeds was done yesterday on v4.1.39 before I got the notification to upgrade to 4.1.40. Today, using build 4.1.40, I am now seeing the blue message letting me know it's a duplicate and preventing me from adding the 2nd instance using the app search function. So it seems that the new version has fixed the issue (almost)... Although I can no longer create 3+ additional duplicates as I did yesterday, I can still make 1 additional one without triggering the "blue message". After trying several scenarios, it seems that it is still possible to do if one of the feeds was imported from Feedly and the other was added natively through BP. BP does not seem to recognize the Feedly feed as being the same. The blue message only appears if I try to add the same feed for the 3rd time (Feedly+BP native+BP native).

    I hope that wasn't too confusing.


    Also, In regards to having to restart BP to see manually added files, I completely understand that it is unorthodox and probably VERY rare for anyone to add files that way. So rather than having BP rescan folders for new content just to accommodate the random yahoo that might do it that way, perhaps just re-adding the "power-off button" that was/is in v3 (at least I think v3 had one) would at least make it easier to kill and restart BP without having to resort to doing a "FORCE STOP" to quit the app. Just my 2 cents...
    Last edited by dbryte; 05-27-2015 at 03:19 PM.

  10. #10
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    A slightly simpler/faster way to close BeyondPod (.. or any other app) is to simply swipe it away from the recent apps list.

    As far as adding feed multiple times, can you please check if for some reason both copies of the feed you were able to add (one form Feedly and one from Search) actually have different URLs. (Long press on the feed in the left drawer, then Edit Feed. The URL is the first field).

    I tried this and as long the feed URLS are the same I could not import the feed second time. Very often publishers have several URLs for the same feed and it is possible that Feedly has a different URL than our search finds, so BeyondPod thinks it is a different feed.

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