Archive for the ‘Programs’ Category

Version 5.3: Wawona Tunnel

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

5.3 has been a long time in testing and we would like to thank all those that volunteered their time during the beta tests to make this a solid release. This is our release with the most beta versions ever. The fundamental internals of the program have changed to be memory managed so as to be more compatible going forward. We’ve been pushing the limits of backwards compatibility to give everybody the best program possible, but looking forward the next big version is likely to go 10.8+ only.

Along with  all the improvements, better ISBN searches, faster speeds, UI tweaks and bug fixes that come with 5.3, what I want to highlight in particular is all the work done by Alex over on the Doghouse Online Library side. This is the beginning of easier sharing with friends as well as having your library on the go, should one  – gasp, the horror – not have Pocketpedia. Do test it out and let Alex know about any bugs you might find. With such a massive undertaking and in the early stages there is still a lot to add and tweak, but it’s best to do so live with web applications so that we can receive a broader feedback.

The programs are running great on Yosemite, so if you are one of the lucky few in the Yosemite open beta do not hesitate to give the new version a try. There’s still lots of work to do for OS X Yosemite, but we have left all this UI work and new features for after Yosemite launches as the final design and internals could change between the beta and the public release of Yosemite.

Hence why this post is called Wawona Tunnel. This is one of the most famous view points at Yosemite park and reached via the southern entrance to the park. From the Wawona Tunnel view point, one can look all the way down the length of the park to Half Dome. So that’s where we are at with the Pedias: in Yosemite but still not down on the valley floor with our camping all set up.

Beta Version 5.2.2, Yosemite Edition

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The next beta version, 5.2.2, of the Pedia programs is out. This one is a major overhaul of the memory internals, making all the Pedias faster and lighter. It also addresses a number of issues with the upcoming Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, due out in the fall.

Bookpedia Beta
CDpedia Beta
DVDpedia Beta
Gamepedia Beta

Some of the changes include the new system font of Helvetica Neue which is now used in the details view for Yosemite, table headers match the new Yosemite style and several freeze and bug fixes for Yosemite. One of the few changes that will appear for all users, regardless of OS X installed, is a thinner divider line between the views in the main window. Also included is the final version of the new Doghouse online library option.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 2.38.38 PM

 

A couple of known bugs with Yosemite are the gray background and incorrect highlight in the collection view and deleting text from the internal search does not update the results. These are Yosemite bugs that hopefully will get fixed in an upcoming beta version, but otherwise will work around them after the release of the Yosemite Golden master.

If you happen to be testing the beta version of Yosemite do give 5.2.2 a whirl and let us know about any other issues you experience. Especially usability issues such as freezes and crashes. If you’re not running Yosemite do test the betas all the same to make sure the modernization of the code for Yosemite did not break any functions all the way back to OS X 10.5. We’ll be releasing an official new version soon on our web page followed by the Mac App Store version.

The next version of Pocketpedia with fixes for both iOS 7 and iOS 8 is also in the works and should be out in a couple of weeks.

New DiscoGS Authentication Requirement

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Discogs
Discogs will start requiring authentication for searches starting August 15th. Unlike the previous image download authentication requirement that was implemented without announcement, this change has been announced via email to developers. This gave us plenty of time to work the needed changes into the upcoming releases. Especially important since the review time on the Mac App Store slows down immediate fixes. The latest CDpedia beta already has the new code in place for authentication.

The Discogs API already implemented a technology called OAuth for user authentication to private data such as collections and want list access. Although this is the wrong technology for the general search API, because it requires too much user interaction, it’s easier to integrate for developers. Taking this in mind it seems the Discogs developers have been generous enough to leave the search API without any limits on a per account basis, allowing for a single account sign on and the API to continue to operate without friction. So the new plugin is authenticating automatically with a CDpedia Discogs account and will continue to be as ease to use.

Should you for any reason want to authenticate with your own account, this can be done in the Preferences -> Sites by double clicking the gear button to the right of Discogs in the list of sites. It will expand the details view to full screen and load the Discogs site. Here you need to login, if not already logged in, and then approve CDpedia for access. From then on your own generated tokens for CDpedia will be used to authenticate into Discogs.

Also integrated into the update is a small change to beef up the genres. The styles information now goes into genre field if there is no custom field named “Styles”.

For big fans of Discogs, do take the CDpedia beta for a spin and if you find any issues with the new authentication please me us know.

Bruji on Facebook

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

We don’t do much advertising here at Bruji. Every once in a while we run a Google AdWords campaign or sponsor a blog like Daring Fireball. Our main advertising “campaign” has always been word of mouth from our users but nowadays word of mouth doesn’t necessarily mean that people talk to each other by the water cooler, instead they exchange links on Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve been on Twitter for a while (you’re following us, right?!) but for some reason we never made it onto Facebook. That has finally changed and we’re ready for friending, liking and posting lots of cat videos and baby pictures. (We don’t have any cats here at Bruji, so we’ll post dog pictures instead.) Here is our new Facebook page now you can tell your friends you ‘like’ us.

We’re still figuring out how it all works, including Facebook Ads, but hopefully this new step will help us reach even more Mac users and spread the Pedia love. Thanks for your help and support!

Family Sharing

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Along with all the other new goodies that Apple recently announced at WWDC, they also included family sharing which lets members of a family easily share photos, calendars and purchased apps from the App Store and iTunes Store through the cloud.

This is great news for the Pedia programs because our regular serial numbers (the ones you get when you purchase the programs from us directly as opposed to the Mac App Store) are already family licenses which allow everyone in the same household to use the same serial number. Now we can offer that same freedom to our customers on the Mac App Store and iTunes as well.

Apple has also announced that they will bring bundle sales into the App Store and iTunes Store as well so hopefully we’ll be able to offer that our customers soon too.

We’re still playing around with all the other new features Apple has revealed but once we get to know them and see what fits well with our programs we will work on integrating more of them into the Pedias.

Pocketpedia iOS 7

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Bookpedia iPad iOS 7

Pocketpedia 3.2 with an iOS 7 interface is finally out. Took us longer than expected as we tried to keep backwards compatibility with previous iOS versions, but in the end it was too time consuming. The changes in iOS 7 are too many, so going forward all the new versions of Pocketpedia are iOS 7+. The old version will still be available through the App Store for those with older devices that can’t upgrade to the latest iOS.

The new version is looking great. On the iPad it was less work as we already had most of the interface matching iOS 7. The iPhone version got a serious makeover and no longer has a dedicated Doghouse search tab bar. The search is now integrated with the collection screen under the organize button (top right). This frees a lot more vertical space for the item and collection listing. Another area of notable improvement is the ability to sort by any field in Pocketpedia with a scroll picker. Selecting the same field twice will also allow to flip the sorting to descending. Not common with alphabetical sorting but handy for numbers and ratings.

As usual a number of smaller updates smarter addition of items to the selected collection without the need for user selection, localization corrections and speed improvements.

Star Wars DVDpedia iOS 7

Thank you for waiting and as always we would like to thank all the beta testers who took time to debug and improve Pocketpedia and helped us make this iOS 7 release so smooth.

Happy Birthday Bruji!

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

birthdayBruji

10 years ago today we released DVDpedia 1.0 into the wild. We never thought that this little program, which Conor initially wrote just to learn more about Cocoa and Xcode, would turn Bruji into our fulltime jobs and livelihood. But 5 people (unexpectedly) bought DVDpedia on that first day and we got a lot of feedback too so Conor kept working on it. After a couple of weeks he couldn’t keep up with the emails anymore so I jumped in for tech support.

Bookpedia followed just a few months later in May 2004 because we’re big readers and wanted a good program to catalogue our own books. Later that year CDpedia completed the trifecta. At that point we thought we were done with Pedia programs but we kept getting requests for Gamepedia and finally decided to go ahead with it in November 2005.

Of course when the iPhone debuted in 2007 we were very excited about writing our first iOS app and Pocketpedia nicely completed the Pedia family. Pocketpedia was among the first 523 apps that were in the App Store on launch day. Way back when it was possible to actually find something in the App Store.

As everyone knows though, a picture is worth a thousand words and even though some of these make us cringe, they’re too funny not to share. (All images found thanks to the way back machine and the internet archive.)

DVDpedia 1.0. Note particularly those wonderful toolbar icons. Hard to tell but there was a lot of drop-shadow involved.

dvdpedia 1.0

A slightly later version (1.x) with much more professional toolbar icons and a slightly less professional scrollbar for the summary in the side drawer.

DVDpedia version 1.5

With CDpedia we brought in a different kind of scrollbar for the drawer, not necessarily better…

cdpedia

Bookpedia’s Add/Edit window version 2.x

bookpedia

The release of Gamepedia coincided with version 2 of the other Pedia programs and brought the basic layout along that the Pedias still use today. Although it took us until version 4 to introduce the flexible Add/Edit window with the white background.

Gamepedia 1.x

If you’ve been using the Pedias for a while then you might also remember AmazonPedia, our widget, and our short-lived dabble in time management, MyTime. (AmazonPedia went the way of the dodo as most widgets did and MyTime was sold to another development company.) And if you’re a real geek then you’re probably using Bwana, our man page reader. That’s been around almost as long as Bookpedia actually but it’s such a simple program that we sometimes forget it’s there.

To celebrate we are doing 20% off everything on Bruji’s birthday February 3rd. As our loyal customer you might not need another version of our program, but do tell any friends you think might benefit from some organization in their lives.

We hope you enjoyed this little trip into the past for our birthday. Here’s to 10 more exciting years full of new versions, programs and challenges!

Version 5.2 and the New Doghouse

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

doghouseSmallWe are very excited to announce the latest version, 5.2, of all the Pedias. Although this version includes quite a good number of fixes and enhancements the real new features are in the brand-new Doghouse. The original Doghouse was very popular and served us well for over a year. However with its impressive growth we needed to expand and not only modernize the core language but also take the opportunity to make it easier to add expansions in the future. Launching today Doghouse is faster, 100% redundant, has more relevant results, matches more UPCs and ISBNs, contains improved moderator tools and has a new web page.

Instead of two complete dedicated servers at Site5 and Hostgator we now moved to Heroku, a platform that lets us deploy any number of virtual servers within seconds to handle peak loads. We can now also deploy exclusive worker servers to do background maintenance without affecting the API response time.

We are now using Ruby instead of PHP for the API language. It was a language we started using to develop the online admin as it allowed for a modern interface and less development time with the use of Ruby gems. Early on we realized it would make a good fit for the API and that we could migrate the entire platform to Ruby and maintain a single language. A language more similar to Objective-C which we use everyday when working on The Pedias and Pocketpedia.

Flying Sphinx Heroku Puma

 

 

 

The database is now hosted by ClearDB, with redundant servers and guaranteed uptime as well as automatic backups. This was previously work that we had to execute and monitor ourselves: synchronizing Site5 and Hostgator and doing daily local backups. Now we have less code to maintain and more time to develop the features we really want to see in Doghouse. We also re-structured the database for efficiency and speed. The next step is to evaluate adopting PostgreSQL that integrates better with Heroku. ClearDB was not built for a dynamic system such as Heroku that can scale, the limits are too low to easily add to a Heroku Ruby application.

Images are now hosted at Google Storage and Rackspace. Rackspace’s content delivery network delivers incredible speeds when it comes to downloading the cover, the slowest part when downloading details for any item. We also have automatic generation of a mini size thumbnail for Pocketpedia that makes the results faster and more responsive.

We have been using Sphinx since the beginning, an amazing search engine  delivering accurate search results in single digit milliseconds. But like MySQL we were also managing Sphinx and keeping it upgraded and maintained. In the spirit of Heroku we moved to a dedicated server operated by Flying Sphinx. Built by Pat Allan, an Australian who also built the Ruby gem “Thinking Sphinx” for integrating with Sphinx. Pat has been incredibly helpful responding to issues and updating his code within days to fix bugs. Going way beyond run of the mill good support and even pushing code fixes into our own repository. We now update the index live, meaning contributions are available to all within a minute or two, instead of the nightly indexing that was done by the previous version.

SphinxRackspaceRuby Sidekiq

 

 

 

Moderating entries and viewing them online happens all under a single domain now: doghouse.bruji.com. Logged in users will get access to an edit button as well as special admin pages. Version 5.2 also makes it easier to sign up as a moderator, simply include an email in the “Doghouse -> Settings” window. This will allow you to fix any small errors you might run into with one of the Doghouse items. There is no commitment for becoming a moderator. We want to encourage all users to contribute and correct entries, as many or as few as they like.

In future posts, we will share details of a more technical nature when we have the time to write them up. They include: running Puma on Heroku to maintain a fast response time; Sidekiq and Redis to handle background jobs; using Heroku’s API to scale dynamically and automatically; integrating automatic error reporting; automated testing with Rspec and New Relic monitoring.

We would like to thank all our beta testers who made sure that the API was running smoothly in the new version before the launch of 5.2. Also all the moderators who fixed countless small issues in tens of thousands of books, movies, albums and games. But most all the users who contributed entries and helped us grow Doghouse with every submission.

Regardless of whether you’re a veteran user or just bought the programs, do test the new Doghouse and let us know if there are any rough edges that need smoothing. We’ll be rolling out more new Doghouse features slowly once we are satisfied with the transition so stay tuned for updates.

Edit and Manual Add in Pocketpedia 3.1

Friday, September 27th, 2013

We are proud to announce Pocketpedia 3.1, now with full editing capabilities. It’s taken some time to get this new feature working exactly the way we wanted it to but we are very happy with the results.

In addition to editing and manually add we’ve also added a new cover capture algorithm that lets you adjust the covers so they’re just right, even when the image is taken at an angle or from further away.

Slanted Picture

Final Result

Work is underway for an iOS 7 re-touch for a future version although luckily Pocketpedia is already a good fit for the new iOS look. Version 3.2 is already in early beta testing and will include some vital upgrades to our popular Doghouse. Please note that this will be the last version of Pocketpedia to support iOS 4.1.

iPad Editing

Be sure you’re up to date with the Pedias on your Mac as well: version 5.1.7 is required for synching with Pocketpedia 3.1.

As a celebration of this release we are offering a 25% discount on Pocketpedia for the week. A great opportunity to purchase Pocketpedia if you don’t own it yet or let your friends know about the program.
Although Pocketpedia is meant as a companion app for the Pedia programs on the Mac, with the new ‘add manual’ and ‘edit’ features it could be used as a stand-alone application for users who have gone iOS only in their computing lives.

A Bag of Random Menus

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

From time to time we receive requests that are easy to implement but don’t really fit in with the programs because they seem very specific to one user’s needs.

But maybe we’re wrong to think that others wouldn’t enjoy these little fixes too. So I have started a new plugin that is a repository of several commands created for specific users to share them with all. You can install the plugin automatically by clicking here or download it and double-click to install. The installer is specific to DVDpedia, but the plugin will work in the other programs as well. Just download the file and change the ending from “.pediaextra_d” to “.pediaextra_b” (Bookpedia), “.pediaextra_c” (CDpedia) or “.pediaextra_g” (Gamepedia) and double-click the file to install.

The plugin is called Title Case after the command that initially started it all and the commands will appear under the menu Movie (Book, Album, Game) > Fixes / Links as well as in the contextual menu for an entry.

Title Case: Will replace the current title on the selection with the properly capitalized version based on the John Gruber algorithm. I used the Objective-C port kindly created by Marshall Elfstrand (I couldn’t resist a website with such a great name).

Languages and Subtitles Alphabetically: Places the languages and subtitles in DVDpedia in alphabetical order.

Fix Spaces: Turns dashes into spaces and removes double spaces from the title.

Duration to Hours: Changes duration from 123 to 2:03.

Rename Linked File to Title: Updates the name of the linked file to reflect the title. So a file called AAA-1023.mp4 linked to a DVDpedia entry Star Wars: Episode III -Revenge of the Sith will become Star Wars: Episode III -Revenge of the Sith
.mp4

Show in Finder: Reveals the linked file in a Finder window.

Create Cover from File: Replaces the cover image with a screen grab 10 seconds into the linked film.

The source code is clean and if you’re looking to add a new command to the Pedias this might be the plugin to start from as it will facilitate a lot of the boiler code by simply copy pasting one of the existing menu commands.

It might also be useful to rebuild the plugin if you find yourself using a command frequently as this would allow you to add a keyboard shortcut to the command. For example to make command-shift-L the keyboard shortcut you would add:

[renameFile setKeyEquivalent:@"L"];
[renameFile setKeyEquivalentModifierMask:NSCommandKeyMask];

Currently the source code is available as a zip format, in the future it will be up on a version control system so that we can all update it. In the meantime do send any useful improvements for inclusion.

Update: New menu command under Links that create cover images from the linked files that QuickTime can understand. This new command make the plugin 10.7+ only as requires the AVFoundation.framework including in Lion.