Change Log

Notable changes / fixes / additional AutoPod changes. this is not an extensive list as lots of improvements happen ‘behind the scenes’ and are not relevant.

Version 1.9 – 2021/03/14#

  • Bigger gap betweeen notable updates this month, although that’s not to say that we haven’t been working on the system. I’ve added some important (but ultimately quite boring to write about) changes to the audio backend to improve the reliability of recorders and also significantly improve the amount of time needed to generate an episode
  • Update edit delegate user form to allow change of delegate password
  • minor tweaks to the AutoPod player as was occasionally loading very slowly on some PCs due to a cached file not being loaded properly from external source

Version 1.8.1 – 2021/02/15#

  • Addition of a basic documentation website with some initial help and explanations
  • working progress. Please keep checking back for updates
  • If you notice anything on there that is incorrect let us know!

Version 1.8 – 2021/02/08#

  • Significant performance updates across the board, whole system should be significantly less prone to errors that you may have experienced (such as ‘Internal Server Error’ messages)
  • Style improvements to the dashboard, attempting to unify the feel of the content across all pages. Approx 50% there now.
  • Moved the description for shows and episodes from the top header to the page body – some new shows have big descriptions and just looked awful being at the top on the show pages.

Version 1.7 – 2021/01/20#

  • Wide-reaching stability and general quality of life improvements on the dashboard. We kept getting an ewrror ‘Missing Cookie Token” and although this is actually the right information it’s not useful to the end user so has been changed to redirect back to the login page. Have also added multiple pages for simple 404 errors etc (rather than internal server error starting to show a more useful set of information – not quite there yet but good progress)
  • Style changes across more pages to bring into line with the updated look of the shows page. Still much work to do but nice progress so far
  • Stream settings page, ability to see which email address is assigned to your account. Not user customisable but this is by design.
  • Ability to add RSS / iTunes categories to shows. This means that they are more likely to be approved when submitting to diffeerent podcast applications. The available categories aree dictated by the RSS podcasting specification.
  • Fixed a bug where Compact widgets would try to play the audio automatically – not cool.
  • Fixed a bug whers it was possible to play the audio for episodes yet to be released if uploaded manually.

Version 1.6 – 2021/01/15#

  • Stream Offset Setting: Allows you to tweak the amount of delay that we add to all recordings. As we gather streams over the internet there is bound to be a few seconds delay, this allows you to adjust that offset and hopefully get recordings that start at the time you would expect. Be sensible if changing this as it will affect all recordings. The maximum offset we allow is 15 minutes but realistically the offset should be 1 – 10 seconds at most.
  • Episode Audio Generators update: Until now episodes have been generated with a tolderance of +/- 10 seconds for the start and end times. We have now made changes to the episode generators which should mean that every episode is tolerant to +- 1 second. When used in conjunction with the new stream offset this allows you to get to-the-second accurate start times (with a bit of trial and error).
  • Per Show Custom Trim: Until now it has been possible to set a blanket 2 minute trim on all shows, we have now built upon this functionality to allow a custom trim duration (changed by editing the show). If only the tick box is checked then it will default to 2 minutes trim, but with a trim figure this will be removed from the start. Allowed up to 10 minutes of trim time.
  • Added ability to cancel a recording (via the future episodes page) – useful if a show has been cancelled.

The changes introduced in the release might sound simple but involved a lot of work on the core mechanics of AutoPod. We do not anticipate any service interruptions and everytihng has been tested, but we have introduced many edge case scenarios here that we may not be able to account for (or have thought of) for example, what happens if a show with offset + trim is created with an end time that would be before the start time. We’ve tried to catch as many of these as possible but please report any issues that you have as quickly as possible. As ever, a copy all the audio for your station is stored independently of the episodes that are generated, so if there are any issues we can re-generate episodes or rollback the changes (worst case scenario).

Version 1.5.1 – 2021/01/14#

  • Updates to Show Pages to bring in line with the style of the Home Page
  • Updates to Episode Pages to bring in line with the style of the Home Page
  • New Episodes list view on homepage and dashboard. Although doesnt show image for the episode (and perhaps isn’t as visually appealing) It is more accessible and easier to find content so its a reasonable trade-off
  • Show Tags: Ability to add tags to a show, not used anywhere yet other than passed to the Mixcloud connector for show uploads

Version 1.5 – 2021/01/10#

  • Happy new year! quite a few days worth of changes in one update on this one!
  • Bug fixes for shows view – displayed internal server error on statistics if there was no episode in the show. if you ever see ‘Internal Server Error’ a any point please let me know as it is possible that some elements have been missed.
  • Behind the scenes changes to RSS generator to allow an admin email address from the station to be assigned to them. This is the beginnings of work to allow full population of Apple Podcasts RSS categories into shows and the stream. This will (when completed) mean that all attributes used by podcast platforms will be customisable and should make everything shared look more ‘professional’
  • Added ability to link a Mixcloud account to the stream (if enabled in settings) which alongside new back-end software means that the episodes within a stream can be automatically published to Mixcloud. This feature will not be available to everyone initially – please enquire if you are interested in this functionality.
  • Behind-the-scenes work mostly completed on RadioDNS schedule converter. This will allow stations that publish their schedule in a RadioDNS format to create episodes within AutoPod without having to populate the AutoPod schedule seperately (i.e. only have to change the schedule on your website for it to be recorded in AutoPod) – this feature is suported by websites running on the Aiir platform.
  • New widgets! These can be found in the Stream Widgets, Group Widgets and also Show pages. They have been tested reasonably well, but as with widget releases in the past there are bound tobe some edge cases that I have not thought of, so any feedback / things that are broken let me know
    • Compact Stream Player
    • Compact Stream Player with recent episodes
    • Compact Show Player
    • Compact Show Player with recent episodes
    • Compact Group Player
    • Compact Group Player with recent episodes

Version 1.4.1 – 2020/12/31#

  • Tweaks to the queries used for displaying statistics to remove any automated bots / crawlers that may come across an episode
  • Added the timeline bar graph to individual episode pages.

Version 1.4 – 2020/12/30#

  • Our second cautious step into providing more meaningful / useful statistics for stations. This time in a big way but making them front and centre on the dashboard.
  • We have included a simple graph that shows the downloads across all episodes over the last 15 days as well as showing downloads over the past 30 days on the individual show pages.

This is still an early stages feature and we do not expect it to be perfect at this point but we hope it represents a nice step in the right direction.

Version 1.3.2 – 2020/12/27#

  • Multiple Schedules bug fix. There was an issue when a schedule was deleted it incorrectly removed a marker flag, this in turn meant that other schedules were affected. I have had to reset any additional schedules that has been added to the system (to the best of my ability). Please double check your schedule if you have more than one week set.
  • First release of ‘Stream Settings’ Page. Although not a lot of options on there at the minute, does allow a station to change the time format and access colours of the stream. Will be adding more settings and functionality as time goes by.

Version 1.3.1 – 2020/12/19#

  • Behind-the-scenes changes to allow changing the format that time is displayed on widgets (eg yy/mm/dd or dd/mm/yy etc). No way for this to be changed by customers yet – if you want it changing open a support ticket. Option for this to be configurable will bee setup soon
  • New widget added for groups – shows all episodes within a group

Version 1.3 – 2020/12/17#

  • Multiple Schedules Initial Release!
  • Designed to allow different shows on different weeks. The weeks rotate round (e.g. if you have 2 weeks worth of schedules it will repeat 1, 2, 1, 2 etc.)
  • Existing schedules are now shown as being ‘Week 1’.
  • You can add as many weeks worth of schedules as you need.
  • Ability to either add a blank schedule or copy the selected schedule to a new one.
  • To try and make it easy to understand when a given week is going to bee used next there is text above each schedule with the week commencing date (or if in use says that it is currently active)
  • Ability to delete schedules – however will only let you delete if there is more than one (i.e. you can’t not have at least one schedule).

Version 1.2.1 – 2020/12/12#

  • Updates to the way that shows are listed in the Shows view and also in dropdowns such as the schedeule and create episode pages.
  • Shows are now in alphabetical order
  • If a show has been assigned a presenter, the presenter name is shown in the dashboard shows list view – makes it easier to neavigate to the correct one (particularly if you have multiple shows with the same name (i.e. drivetimee is a different presenter on different days)
  • Dropdowns of show list now alphabetical

Version 1.2 – 2020/12/09#

  • Episode statistics initial release
  • A big enough update to justify moving from 1.1 to 1.2 of AutoPod
    • Why has this taken so long and why are we celebrating just having a single count of estimated listens for each episode? As we serve content across many platforms / websites / applications etc. we needed a way of getting statistics not from a website, but from files themselves. All episodes stored in AutoPod are backed by a ‘storage bucket’ which fortunately do generate access logs, but there is very little meaning in them as a raw output. We have to do lots of data processing to account for a wide range of edge cases such as
      • Bots and Web Crawlers – We do not want to count these as a listen as they are automated systems
      • IP Addresses. If one IP address listens to the show, in the logs this hows up as a large number of listeners, so we need to filter down to only show one listen per IP address in a given time window (e.g. if they listen again the day after, we still want that to count as a listen
      • We want to log listens regardless of the app / website that is used

Although the changes that you see are actually very small (just a single new addition on each episode page), to generate these statistics we have added in a new server and have got the groundwork in place in our new ‘statistics engine’ this should mean that we can start to build more meaningful graphs / charts and reports in the not too distant future – if there is anything specific that you would like to see let us know. It should also make it possible to do more interesting things with widgets, such as showing a play count, having a ‘most popular’ list of episodes and more. There are no guarantees that these things can happen immediately, but we are definitely getting there.

One caveat at the moment – We are being very conservative in what counts as a listen and you may find that your statistics are lower than you would think. I will be adjusting the parameters over time and refining the way that we generate the analytics – but wanted to get something out for you to try out sooner rather than later.

  • Statistics are added approximately once per hour – the way that we get logs from our storage provider means that we cant operate any faster + it allows us to ‘crunch the numbers’ more accurately
  • Finally, statistics are only shown for listens after the 22nd November 2020
  • Minor tweaks to the schedule builder / shows list. Items now shown/listed in in alphabetical order and presenters are now shown on the shows list (if a show has been assigned a presenter)

Version 1.1.2 – 2020/11/30#

  • Behind the scenes changes to handle file management more effectively. Should lead to far fewer errors with Audio not uploading correctly and allows more effective management of audio files that have already been generated. No user-facing difference but a nice enough stability upgrade to include in this changelog.

Version 1.1.1 – 2020/11/18#

  • Embedded Content, Widgets and Player – Content cache. Embedded content and the AutoPod player now caches the content displayed on a page during times of high use. This means that pages being requested frequently will be served significantly faster and will not need to wait for database response. These caches are updated on demand and are not kept for longer than 500 seconds, as a result it also means that the content is much more resilient and more able to cope with spikes in demand.
  • Dashboard Style updates. Beginning (still lots of work to do, please bear with me if there are any weird style/layout issues) of applying a more unified look and feel to the dashboard having a think about the pages on here already and trying to establish the most sensible ways of displaying different options that are available. Looking to add more options and configuration in the not too distant future so want to get the fundamentals nailed down first in terms of look/feel of the pages.

Version 1.1 – 2020/11/10#

  • Introducing Show Groups. Show groups allow you to create a collection of shows which can then be shared using either their own widgets, or by RSS (each show group has an RSS fee generated).
  • Shows within a group are given an order number (which can be changed using the up/down arrows in the edit group page). This order is used by widgets such as the ‘Shows View’ meaning that you can have a custom order and do not have to display all shows at once. For example, it might be useful to have different show groups for Daytime shows, Specialist Shows, Shows where the name is the same but there is a different presenter and any number of other organisational reasons.
  • Associated RSS/Widgets respect the flags that have been set for a show relating to ‘publicly available’ an ‘exclude from RSS’. If a show is not public, it will not show up in the group. This was done intentionally so that the options within the show itself are the ‘source of truth’ and there is no way that a show you need to hide from the public can accidentally be included in widgets etc.
  • Groups must have at least one show within them. This is why when a new group is created, a default show is added. you must add additional shows first before you can delete the initial show. We appreciate that this is not the best user interface way of doing things and will work to improve this in future.
  • Significant bug fixes to prevent a few critical issues, the chief of which being:
  • Dashboard would display ‘Forbidden’ for some users for seemingly no reason following successful login. It is now known that this was due to erroneous requests to the ashboard which resulted in 404 errors. In isolation this would not have been a major problem, however as many requests were being made the IP blocker security built into the dashboard saw this as a potential attack and locked out the IP address of the user.
  • Ongoing security enhancements to ensure the dashboard is properly protected.
  • Wide reaching efficiency improvements to make the dashboard less resource intensive as well as foundational work to apply similar changes to embeddable widgets and the AutoPod player.

Version 1.0.15 – 2020/10/26#

  • Updated the dashboard to allow the previously hidden ‘published’ flag to be editable by users on a show by show basis. this means that a show can be scheduled and episodes created, however they will not be shared in the embeddable widgets. This is independent of the RSS feeds (e.g. a show could be hidden here but still be shown on rss feeds if the rss enabled flag is set to true).
  • updated embeddable widgets to respect the above flag. Will only show episodes from shows that are published / publicly available.

Version 1.0.14 – 2020/10/24#

  • Work on the Job Generator to more accurately allow for stream Timezones. Calculates timezone offset at the beginning of the episode, meaning that Clock changes etc will happen automatically.
  • Job generator will now create a single show if the show bridges over two days (e.g. starts at 23:00 and ends at 01:00). Previously this would have made two one hour long recordings.
  • Editable delegate users. Can now adjust the shows that have been assigned to a previously created delegate user.

Version 1.0.14 – 2020/10/19#

  • Basic inline audio player for both Streams and Shows. Allows you to embed a view on the website that can play shows without having to use the popout player.

Version 1.0.13 – 2020/10/13#

  • ‘Edit Schedule’ usability improvements. Refactored the way we were adding the schedule to the database meaning that a query will now be significantly faster to submit. Perviously it could take up to 30 seconds for the schedule to be added whereas now it will take a maximum of ~4 seconds.
  • Added a loading notification whilst the schedule is submitted to make it more obvious that something is happening an in progress.
  • Changes to Audio Generator to work round rare instances where audio chunks (10 second recordings) are corrupt or not usable for some reason (e.g. a stream was sent to one of our recorders incorrectly or there were spurious data issues).

Version 1.0.12 – 2020/10/05#

  • AutoPod Player Updates
    • Share Buttons for social media
    • Episode / Show description carried over from the dashboard
    • General style improvements + Accessibility enhancements
    • RSS Links added so people can add the show to their own podcasts app
  • Custom colour per stream to make the player more integrated with client websites.
  • Stream Recorders – Fixed an issue discovered when the London Internet Exchange ha a wobble about a week ago. We had a scenario where streams got into a ‘hung’ state, meaning that our system did not register this as a fault, thus did not attempt to restart recorders automatically. Have now added provision so that this should not occur again but will continue to monitor.

Version 1.0.11 – 2020/09/24#

  • Updated recorder to prevent occasional ‘hang’ of software. Should make recorders more reliable.
  • Added New Widgets Section to the dashboard
  • New Widget – Shows List – Still in Beta. Allows users to display a list of all their shows on an external website
  • Ability to have the height set on this automatically using Javascript – experimental feature.
  • Shows displayed in Alphabetical order
  • Change Log made viewable to all dashboard users
  • AutoPod Player style updates so that the empisoe image does not get ‘cut off’ by the player elements (play pause etc)
  • Additional Email alerts to sysadmins if number of recorded assets is lower than expected.
  • Updated the future episoes page to show start and end times in a slightly friendlier format – still in UTC though oes not account for the timezone of the stream
  • Episode generation now checks for Liveness of Kubernetes API. If kubernetes is not available it will not mark a job as processing – thus will sit and wait until the cluster becomes available (to counteract the rare occasions that the API is too busy to respond and an episoe gets stuck in limbo.

Version 1.0.10 – 2020/09/19#

  • ‘Exclude RSS’ flag added to shows. This means that a show will not be included in the global RSS stream for the radio station (useful if you have content that you want to keep exclusive / put behind a paywall)
  • Individual Episode images added to full stream RSS feed – services such as radio player will pick up on this and display the image automatically in their apps and on the web.
  • Fixed bug in create episode form where episodes woul be created using Universal Time rather than the timezone of the specified stream.

Version 1.0.9.1 – 2020/09/16#

  • User Agent ‘AutoPod’ removed from the Recorder as was causing some issues with SSL Streams. Was a nice feature as showed autopod as being the listener in Centovacast, but not worth compromising stability for.
  • Improved styling for ‘all episodes’ page

Version 1.0.9 – 2020/09/09#

  • Recorder kubernetes pod specification modified to use multiple containers – one for recording and one for uploading. Appears to have significantly improved reliability.
  • Additional checks added in the Admin monitoring for checks to ensure recorders are working properly.

Version 1.0.8 – 2020/09/08#

  • Setup of Grafana monitoring dashboard for database checks and email alerts. Gives significantly better view of the system and any ongoing problems / potential issues
  • Added timezone support to a specific stream, prior to this was working on the assumption of UK time for all streams, however now can work at any timezone.

Version 1.0.7 – 2020/08/27#

  • Add a ‘select all’ button for shows assigned to a delegate user
  • Removed IPBan from Dashboard as erroneously blocking some legitimate logins (with ‘Forbidden’ message)
  • Changed Schedule to prevent double press of submit button – occasionally lead to a full loss of the schedule

Version 1.0.6 – 2020/08/22#

  • New Embeddable Widget – Search. Allows users to search through all episodes.
  • Embeddable widget added to dashboard
  • Search functionality added to the AutoPod Player
  • Added player action bar. only has search there for now but is expanable for the future

Version 1.0.5 – 2020/08/10#

  • Wide reaching stability improvements as a result of more users on the system. Significantly improved stability.

Version 1.0.4 – 2020/07/29#

  • Player updated to be more ‘responsive’ to differing screens and devices. More work will be neeed on this but working better than it was previously.
  • ‘Trim start’ feature added to shows – allows to remove the first two minues of a show to account for IRN news etc. This is static for now but coul be changed to allow a custom amount of time for each show?

Version 1.0.3.1 – 2020/07/25#

  • Updated some broken links in the Dashboard sidebar + across the autopod estate

Version 1.0.3 – 2020/07/10#

  • Add users page + working delegate users. Lacking an edit function at present, for now, would need to delete the account and then re-create with the same username

Version 1.0.2 – 2020/06/08#

  • Added basic login failed text if incorrect login to Dashboard
  • beginnings of ground work for delegate users – i.e. users that a standard autopod account can add and control who will have access to a limited set of features and subset of shows within the main stream.

Version 1.0.1 – 2020/06/03#

  • Unified styling for future editing show
  • Added favicon to audioplayer
  • minor tweaks to edit show and edit episode to show the content in the edit page
  • Addition of Future episodes section – this allows users to see all the Jobs that have been created and will be executed when the time is correct. Timestamps purposely left in Epoch Time for easier diagnostics at this early stage.

Version 1.0 – 2020/06/01#

  • Initial AutoPod public release following ~6 months of beta testing