Archive for the 'News' Category

Major BBC streaming changes affecting BBC Radio Widget

Update: Despite how things looked, and what the iPlayer help pages said, RealPlayer has had a stay of execution from Auntie – for national stations, at least. Local and regional stations are not available any more as RealPlayer streams. Most have been replaced by a “Sorry, no longer available” audio message, but one or two are missing completely, and it’s these which can cause the undismissable dialogs and beachballs with RealPlayer plugin. I strongly recommend that everyone upgrades to the latest version, as Flash is now used by default. (RealPlayer is still available for some stations, but you have to choose to use it by option-clicking the widget’s “i” button.)

The original post remains below, unaltered.

The BBC  have removed RealPlayer streaming as an option for listening to their radio stations online. This has major ramifications for the widget.

In a nutshell: using RealPlayer streaming – the default mode – with BBC Radio Widget 4.03 may cause your computer to become unresponsive.

There’s an easy fix. Switch to Flash streaming, right now. Option-click the “i” button, and choose Flash. This will only work for national stations, though, and therefore you should avoid using regional and local stations on v4.03.

There’s good news too, though… Flash streaming now works internationally, so you can ignore the UK-only warning on the widget. Also, v4.1 of the Unofficial BBC Radio Widget is due for release within days, restoring streaming for all stations – as well as bringing improvements in Flash streaming reliability, schedule fetching, and many, many bug fixes. You can help test it, too, if you get in touch.

BBC Radio Widget beta testers wanted, once again

Update: version 4.1 has been released. You should use that!

I’ve been working hard on a new version of BBC Radio Widget. It’s got some pretty wide-reaching under-the-hood changes – which are pretty much invisible, but need testing – and some nice tweaks such as the option to open BBC schedule pages if fetching the information fails. If you’re interested in helping me test it, get in touch.

A brand new site, and an updated widget. Oh my!

It’s been weeks in the making, it’s taken so much hard work (most of that in bludgeoning IE6 into giving me a vaguely-working site) — but Phantom Gorilla finally relaunched this evening! It’s been hard, but I’m really, really pleased to have cut away so much of the crap in my old template (and to see the last of one awful stopgap-become-permanent solution in particular). It feels good to have the convenience of my own code for pages, too, instead of forcing WordPress to manage my whole site — clearly something it’s not supposed to do.

I’ve used lots of shiny new CSS toys, so you’ll get the best experience in Safari 4 or 3, closely followed by Firefox 3.5 or 3; but it’s been designed to degrade gracefully as far down as IE6. Not that I get much IE traffic, of course.

The other exciting news is the release of BBC Radio Widget 4.0 today, after a seriously lengthy beta period. It just kept collecting features — a RealPlayer workaround, Flash streaming, near-universal schedules — and turned from a 0.0x update into an X.0. Hopefully you’ll agree it’s worth the wait!

Update: It occurs to me that due to the site rearrangement, and my new permalink structure, some links and feeds may need updating. And I swear I’m a better writer when I’ve had more than six hours’ sleep in the last 72…

Problems with BBC World Service, 28th May

If you’re having problems listening to the BBC World Service today (“Requested file not found” error): it appears that the BBC, or one of their content delivery partners, is having a small problem. You may find you can get it to work if you try enough times. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do, so let’s hope it’s fixed soon.

Beta test a new widget

Transmission widgetLong ago I made a widget for Clutch, the Transmission web interface – and it never made it past early testing. Now Clutch is part of Transmission, and I’ve been updating the widget to work with the latest Transmission builds.

If you’d like to help me test this, and have some input into the final design, email hawkman@ this domain. :)

Quoter plugin 1.11

Seeing as the WordPress Quoter plugin is now abandonware, I had to fix its bugs myself. No more uncited quotes gaining mysterious attributions, and no more automatic quoting of the last comment in the reply form.

If it’s useful to you too, you can find the fixed version here. Comments, observations etc. welcome, to hawkman@ this domain.

Beta testers wanted

If you’d like to beta test a new version of BBC Radio Widget – that sort-of-kind-of fixes the audio drop issues with RealPlayer 11, amongst other things – please get in touch. I’d particularly like to hear from people who are still running Safari 3, or RealPlayer 10; but any and all testers are welcome. Drop me an email, hawkman@ this domain, or leave a comment.

Update: Thanks to all of you who helped me test this widget. We caught an order of magnitude more bugs than I’d have found alone — as evidenced by the 7 betas it took. Cheers.

Introducing gRead

gRead - Google Reader widget screenshotHow do you check Google Reader? Maybe you just load the page in your browser, or have a separate application, or an item in your menubar?

Say hello to gRead, a Google Reader widget for Dashboard which automatically checks your account for new items and links you straight to them from Dashboard. If you’ve got Growl installed, it’ll check while Dashboard is hidden and send you notifications about new items! You can even choose between a badge and colour coding to let you know about new content. Thanks go to Sam for the idea, critique and some artwork for gRead. :)

Surely this is the most convenient way to check Google Reader yet?! And best of all, it’s completely free. Check it out now and let me know what you think.

BBC Radio Widget v3.0

BBC Radio 3.0 is here!

There’s a new widget in town – BBC Radio Widget 3.0. Featuring, by popular request, an in-widget schedule!

Hopefully the first of several widget releases in the next few weeks (due to brief access to an internet connection, hurrah!).

Did you mail me about a Cinematic variant?

I wouldn’t normally post this as news, but this may be the only way:

Some time back I had a couple of emails from someone (whom I won’t name, seeing as that would be rude) who had made a Cinematic variant, and wanted permission to release it. I tried to reply twice, but my messages got bounced (grr, over-zealous spam filters) – so if that was you, please get in touch again if you’re waiting for a reply, preferably with some more details or a prototype… :)