Changing Hosting

We are currently shopping around for a new, less-expensive hosting provider for our  Internet presence.

This should happen in the next 6-8 weeks.  Ideally, no one should notice.

See you all on The Other Side…

Reader Feeder

This is our latest project, and it’s an ebook catalog browser and download manager, called Reader Feeder.

If you are interested in helping us with early adoption, please make contact via our Google Group.  Join up and watch there for details, we will post some announcements shortly.

The special value in building this app is the XML catalog format OPDS, is based on Atom, which is what Feed Farmer is all about!

You get a “starter set” of catalogs to browse, including The Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg, two great sources of free EPUB and other formats.

We provide Librivox audio book support, so you can download their EPUB audio book documents, and Reader Feeder will extract the playlist and help you download the audio files and add them to your Media Player.  You can find these EPUBs on The Internet Archive.

A great feature we took from Feed Farmer is the Power Search, which searches all of your catalogs simultaneously, and gives you one result set of everything.

The focus right now is content browsing, search and acquisition, so you won’t find any reading or playback functionality; that’s left up to your current reader and media player.

More User Spam

Due to the continued user spamming, we have enabled CAPTCHA on the Registration Page.

What is user spamming?  It is the “automated” creation of user profiles, so an attacker can use them for nefarious purposes.  It may be an attempt against the hosting provider’s server(s) of this site, or an attempt to use the email-sending ability of this site, targeting other parties.  For instance, where do you think those “Viagra” comment spams come from?

Hopefully this will make it more difficult for them, and unfortunately a minor inconvenience to future new members.

More User Spam

Just deleted more accounts, presumably created by bot nets.

Here is a message to the Real People:  make sure you answer the questions accurately, in particular the Android Device question.  We only use this information to ensure it’s a human, not for marketing.

Status Update

Yet another status update!

The updates to Feed Farmer kind of stalled out, so we are just going to go with the current set of features.  The rendering improvements are the most-important, along with the Sliding Drawer navigation pane.

We have a minor update for Dictator also staged up.  This update fixes an error in Dutch strings, and adds a feature to cancel TTS via volume keys (if they are enabled).

Finally, we have an important update for Darts Scorecard:  multi-level undo!  This is probably the most-requested feature, and now it is coming!  It’s almost done.  It is accessed from the Action Bar menu, and it brings up a dialog window with a list of all the turns in it.  Just pick the one you want to unwind to, and voila!

Watch the Home page sidebar for more information.

User Spam

We are seeing a handful of users with a yahoo.com email domain.  The user names look “real”, but the email account doesn’t match the user name, or in any way look human-generated.  The registration responses are also “fishy”, in particular the “Android Device” prompt!

We are assuming this is part of some kind of hack or phishing exploit.

If you own one of these accounts, please make contact via email, or those accounts are going to be deleted, and you can re-register with something more suitable.  Or easier yet, edit your Account Profile, and update the “Android Device” prompt with a real device name!

Thanks for your understanding.

Dictator Update

A minor update for Dictator.

  • Correct an error in one of the Dutch (NL) strings (abbreviation for “seconds”).
  • During Text-to-speech, you can use the Volume keys to cancel speech.  This is handy when you have the “extra” speech segments turned on!

New Theme

We have finally changed the theme!  This opens a period of theme experimentation, so it may change again without notice.

Feed Farmer Update

We are still adding some features, plus the whole detour with Dictator.

Playback

We are adding rudimentary playback capability directly in the app.  This gives you the ability to preview audio, and even conduct some listening while you read through feed items.

Currently only foreground playback is supported; we are deferring to your favorite Media Player app for background playback.

Nav Drawer

You can access your downloaded podcasts in the navigation drawer, via the Playlist item.  You start playback by selecting one of the items in the list.

While audio is playing, you get a corresponding UI at the top of the navigation drawer.  This displays title, progress, and a Play/Pause button.

New Styling

We have yet again changed the color scheme for rendered HTML; this time using more-saturated colors.

The overall text sizes are a little larger, and we have extensively overhauled the CSS rules to ensure everything word-wraps as much as possible.  This was a major cause of “zoomed out” syndrome, where failure to word-wrap would make extremely “long” lines, and the web view zoomed to fit.

Another cause of zoom-out was unconstrained image sizes; we have CSS in place to control that as well.

There are also CSS media queries in place to provide little style tweaks when you are on a larger screen or in landscape orientation.

New Setting

We are adding a new setting to Keep Screen On while you are in “content” screens, like Item List Browser and URL Browser.  There’s nothing more annoying than reading along, then suddenly the screen goes off!

Dictator Ganked by Android Team

Please bear with us while we make repairs to Dictator for the latest versions of Android.  We aren’t sure when this happened, but for sure it is in Android 5.x.

Mind you, it’s not just us, but every app that makes “non-trivial” use of the Speech Recognition subsystem.

They have made changes to the Speech Recognition system implementation, in a way that breaks Dictator.

Specifically, you cannot activate the Quick Keys to create or extend dictations after the first time, until you re-load the main screen.  If you are not using Quick Keys for activation, you may not have noticed any issues.

A visible artifact is the progress indicator appears to get “stuck on”.  It actually disappears then quickly reappears; this is part of the gankery.

We apologize to you, on behalf of the lame developers on the Speech Recognition subsystem.