The Racks and Tags blog

New features, announcements, and weekly tips

Our database server experienced pretty serious performance problems over the last few days. We are investigating the issue and making routine maintenance. Short periods of downtime are possible on Thusday 5/17 and Friday 5/18 nights.

Update 5/19: Diagnostics complete, performance issues fixed. The website is operating normally.

Artist search box

I have just added a search box for artists. It looks like a gray box on top of the artists view, but it’s really a search box where you can click, type the artist name, and press Enter to go directly to the list of the artist’s albums and links. It’s faster and more convenient than scanning a huge list of artists. It’s a regular search box.

Oh wait. That’s not a regular search box.

 

You can type first few letters of artist name in the search box, and in few moments, another box will appear underneath, displaying the list of possible artist matches. For example, if you typed ‘rad’, it will display Radiohead, Radio Massacre International, and all your artists with names starting from ‘rad’. All you have to do is select one match (either by pressing Up and Down keys on keyboard or using your mouse) and hit Enter. You can see a working example here.

Stay tuned for more cool features this coming weekend.

I received a few user complaints in past two weeks regarding error 507. The error was especially frequent to users with large music collections and, in worst cases, prevented them from using the website.

I have reasons to believe that the issue is resolved now with release of new OrangeCD 6.1.1. If you experienced any of the following symptoms, I recommend upgrading to version 6.1.1:

  • 507 Invalid or expired session ID;
  • Timeout error;
  • 506 Another synchronization session is currently in progress.

The most recent version of OrangeCD Suite can be downloaded here. If the symptoms persist even after the upgrade, please shout because right now I am not aware of any reoccurences of the problem!

Other than that, I am busy preparing new features for public appearance. As you may see on the start page banner, MyGenres.com database passed 100,000 albums mark – of course these are not unique albums yet. Still, the number is big enough to allow me to draw conclusions about website demography and feature preference. (It is always hard to choose a feature to implement next, because so many possibilities exist. Knowing what users want helps a lot.)

Server update complete

Server software update is complete, and here’s the list of changes that occurred last night.

  1. Classical albums display clickable composer link.
  2. Compilation albums display clickable links for artists and composers of each song.
  3. Privacy checkbox is supported. Albums that were marked “private” in OrangeCD Catalog are hidden from your collection website visitors. To see your private items on the website, you have to logon using your username and password.
  4. Artist web links are uploaded to the server and displayed on artist page below the list of albums.

Due to nature of some changes, your albums may display inconsistent track listings until you synchronize your local database with new server software. To refresh track listings, and to see web links on artist pages, you have to synchronize your database once using Tools – Upload to Mygenres.com menu command in OrangeCD Catalog. 

And, speaking of synchronizing databases again, I would like to ask beta testers what are their opinions on current synchronization speed. Is it acceptable and tolerable on your Internet connection? Please comment.

Server maintenance

In next 12 hours I will be adding next chunk of functionality to server software. Unfortunately, it means that the server will be unavailable most of the time while I am running scripts and debugging the data. I apologize for the inconvenience and hope that new changes will be worth the wait.

Update complete

Database update is complete. As of this moment, all problems related to cover images should be resolved. (Except one relatively rare problem, see below.) To fix all covers in your collection, upgrade your client to OrangeCD Suite version 6.0.9 which was released few moments ago, then perform a synchronization. If everything goes as I expect, album cover images will re-appear on your pages.

And here is one remaining problem that I mentioned.

Due to bug in the old client, in some cases your albums may display an image that is different from what you see in local database. Typically, it displays a cover of another edition or reissue of the same album, and sometimes, the image has different brightness or hue. It can only happen to the albums or covers downloaded from Amazon in specific builds of OrangeCD Catalog. If it happens to some of your albums, there is a simple way to fix it. Re-download the image using Download CD Covers menu command, then perform a usual server synchronization, and the correct cover image will appear on server.

There is another, more radical way to fix all covers at once, but I prefer not to post it here because it will only work for short period of time. So, if you have many albums in your collection that you want to correct, contact me at webmaster@mygenres.com and I will send you simple instructions.

Covers problem update

The fix for missing cover images is ready for server deployment. In next 72 hours I will make necessary changes in the database and server software, so the server will be on and off frequently during that time. The update will not affect Beta users data – everything will remain in the database.

OrangeCD Suite 6.0.9 will be released on Friday night, and it is required for correct upload of cover images. On next synchronization, OrangeCD will figure out which covers are missing on the server and upload them as needed.

In addition, OrangeCD 6.0.9 will introduce a few new algorithms for FreeDB/Amazon info lookup, which should improve CD scanning workflow, cover download accuracy, and better handling of CD box sets.

In today’s post, I would like to summarize changes that were made to mygenres.com server in last week.

First, mygenres.com is now fully compatible with latest Firefox and Opera browsers. All layout problems that Firefox and Opera users experienced since the first day should be gone by now.

Some users also experienced problems with upload of album ratings. Instead of 2-5 stars, website displayed only one star. This bug is fixed, but to achieve correct rating display on the website, users will have to delete all albums from their accounts, then re-upload their collections. (To delete all albums from your account, click Settings, then click Delete account, and select option labeled Delete all my data, but keep the account. This option only deletes the uploaded albums, leaving other account information intact.)

Missing covers problem is without change today, but I hope that my next website update will fix it and will also allow upload of custom cover images.

Beta 1.0

Main website at http://mygenres.com is opened for beta testing as of this morning. This is a first real milestone for this project, and I feel very optimistic about its future. If you have not tried the new service yet, you can start by downloading a special build of OrangeCD Suite from this link. In the Tools menu, there is a new command titled “Upload to mygenres.com” which does exactly what it says: uploads your collection data to the server. Then you can login to the website and view catalogs of your artists, albums and songs using a web browser.

There are few caveats that you should know about. First, only IE is supported at this time. Firefox, Opera and Safari browsers will be supported by the end of this week, and I hope this temporary inconvenience will not divert people who originally intended to test the website.

Second, there is a tricky issue with upload of artwork images. Current version of the website supports only artwork images linked from Amazon website. Custom images are not supported.

In plain English, if you added album artwork images by automatic cover download in OrangeCD Catalog or Player, they should be displayed properly on the website. Otherwise, it is no go and all you will see is empty gray box. The main reason for not supporting custom images is tremendous amount of disk space they require, and the fact that they are unique for each user and cannot be shared. Next releases of the website may support scaled down versions of custom images, but there is no guarantee of that.

(Thanks Malc, Bob and Martin for first bug reports. Your help is greatly appreciated.)