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April 23, 2009

Release 0.7.15: Improved Music Experience

We’re coming to the end of the Plex/Seven series, so we’re primarily focused on bug-fixes, but we did find the time to add a few new things for your enjoyment. Many, many thanks to all the people who helped out with this release. In the next few days, we’re going to release a few new plug-ins (and updates to existing ones) that make use of new features/bugfixes in this release, so be sure to update as soon as you can! The release can be downloaded here.

  • NEW: One of the complaints we’ve heard is that the visualizers available with Plex, while cool, sometimes cause seizures in kids and household pets. Others say that it leads them to look forward to 4:20 PM. In any case, James and Mike B (of MediaStream fame) teamed up to bring you a sexy new option: The Now Playing visualizer. Select it just as you would any other visualizer, and take it for a spin.
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  • NEW: We’ve added support for ratings in Plex Media Server content. So in the next revision of the Netflix plug-in, for example, you’ll now see star ratings, as you will in another new plug-in that will be released shortly.
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  • NEW: Do you ever find yourself struggling to shuffle a playlist, or play an album straight through, by displaying the playlist, toggling settings, and then switching back, having forgotten what you were doing in the first place? James added a convenient Shuffle item on the context menu to make that struggle a thing of the past. Together with the new Now Playing visualizer, we’re hoping you find music playing just a little bit easier this release.
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  • NEW: New iLife art (thanks to the talented tassitassi). You see some of it peeking out from the screenshot above. (Note: you’ll have to whack your existing cached art at ~/Library/Application Support/Plex/userdata/Thumbnails/Programs/Fanart/)
  • NEW: Our friend Kent has been hard at work on analyzing our user data. Among other things, he’s discovered that our Swedish users rock! There are more Plex users per capita in Sweden than any other country. He compiled this data by looking at the Sparkle update requests. To make his job a bit easier, we’ve added a token to each update request that’s unique for each computer. We’re sending a one-way hash of the computer’s MAC address, which when broken down into plain English means that (a) we’ll be able to figure how many total computers are running Plex and (b) we can’t use the data to obtain any information about your computer.

We’ve also fixed a number of bugs in this release:

  • FIX: The context menu was broken for the Favorites section.
  • FIX: We weren’t saving the ‘show extensions’ setting correctly in advanced settings.
  • FIX: James fixed a long-standing (since Plex/Five) scraper hang with tvshow.nfo.
  • FIX: We got a patch from rgrove (thanks!) that ensures that LAN cache settings are used for SMB shares.
  • FIX: Caching was disabled, which caused no end of trouble playing back Internet content.
  • FIX: We added Lanczos back to the OSD upscaling menu.
  • FIX: We increased the size of the default fonts. I have to personally apologize for that, apparently I ate too many carrots as a baby.
  • FIX: Crash/hang when exiting after playing a video.
  • FIX: Also a longstanding bug, the occasional lack of GUI sounds after playing videos (thanks to Kent for helping me track this down).
  • FIX: The Plex Media Server is a Universal Binary again.
  • FIX: Ryan helped me fix a DTS->AC3 transcoding channel mapping bug.
  • FIX: A Plex Media Server crash (when stopping a WebKit video shortly after starting) was fixed.
  • FIX: We’ve made the list view give more room to text. After all, scrolling text is hard to read.
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  • FIX: Stopping a video with 5.1 audio could be a bit slow.
  • FIX: The clock could display letters (e.g. “kk:49”). Thanks to Daniel for helping me track this one down.
  • FIX: James made the thumbnail searching code respect the dvdthumbs advanced setting (so you can add support for Front Row style preview.jpg files).
  • FIX: Double speed playback of 22KHz audio in videos (e.g. some FLV video).
  • FIX: Enhanced the caching of directories to work well with the Plex Media Server (much quicker backing up to parent directories).
  • FIX: Isaac fixed a few confusing strings.
  • FIX: Improved Russian strings (thanks to friendly).
  • FIX: Blurry fanart. Thanks to tassitassi for bringing it to my attention and to jmarshall for the fix).

We also added a few new Media Server plug-in features and fixed some bugs:

  • NEW: Support for typing a string in the site config (requested by Rick, useful for authenticating into Flash sites).
  • NEW: We allow specifying a dead zone in the seek bar site config, which can help make a tooltip disappear after a seek.
  • FIX: Preferences weren’t being correctly escaped, which could lead to problems logging into Netflix, for example.

Here’s Barkley on Makena beach, gutting a beached whale.

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