Software Updates

Before this website goes offline for nearly a fortnight, I thought I'd better release a couple of software updates that have been in my 'pending' tray for quite a while now.

First, Giocoso is bumped from version 2.03 to 2.04. The updates are mostly minor and inconsequential -except for one 'bugfix'. All versions of Giocoso have long contacted this website to obtain a new version of the program's error/messages file, whenever it detects that the program version number doesn't match the error/messages file version number. That all works fine, when this website is up! If, however, this site is not contactable (because, say, its host managed to blow up its Hungarian webserver!) then the program sits there, apparently locked up, trying to contact the uncontactable. Eventually it gives up and resumes working as normal -but now without the ability to display any error or progress message text at all. The new version now adds in a 'ping test' before trying to fetch the new message file: if the site's not accessible for some reason, Giocoso shouldn't hang for minutes trying to reach it, and the old error messages file is retained, not wiped.

Next, Semplice is bumped from version 1.01 to 1.02. There are some quite significant improvements in this new version in the way that Semplice tags the PERFORMER tag. In previous versions, it looked at whatever was supplied for the COMMENT tag (itself provided by taking Semplice Main Menu Option 3: "Set Performers") and grabbed the first item found there, delimited by commas. Thus, if you said the performers for a piece were Igor Markevitch, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, then the PERFORMER tag would be set to "Igor Markevitch". However, this only really worked if (a) you comma-separated your names and (b) the name who ought to go in the PERFORMER tag appeared first in the list of COMMENT names. That doesn't work when, for example, you are wanting the 'distinguishing artist' for a recording to be the solo violinits or clarinetist in a concerto and not the orchestra's conductor. It also potentially doesn't work very well if the 'performing artist' is actually the name of a collective group. Thus, in earlier versions, tagging COMMENT as Igor Markevitch, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Martin Fröst (clarinet) would result in PERFORMER being set to "Igor Markevitch", not "Martin Fröst". Similarly, if you tagged a string quartet as being performed by Delmotsch Quartet: Fred, Barney, Wilma, Dino then the PERFORMER tag would by set to "Delmotsch Quartet: Fred", because that's the first comma-delimited name in the COMMENT tag.

The new feature in version 1.02 is that Semplice can now regard colons as delimiters and can also find a name in the COMMENT tag wherever it appears. It no longer has to be the first name listed. This helps keep PERFORMER and ALBUM tags aligned: you're supposed to put the surname of the 'distinguishing artist' in brackets in ALBUM and that then ought to be the name that gets written into PERFORMER. Thus, a COMMENT of Delmotsch Quartet: Fred, Barney, Wilma, Dino will now result in a PERFORMER tag of "Delmotsch Quartet", because the colon is being regarded as a delimiter. Similarly, if you set ALBUM to be Clarinet Concerto (Fröst - 2019) and COMMENT to Igor Markevitch, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Martin Fröst (clarinet), then the new version of Semplice will set PERFORMER to be 'Martin Fröst': the fact he isn't listed first in the COMMENT tag is no longer an issue.

If you're upgrading to Semplice Version 1.02, you should add an extra bit of text to the end of your $HOME/.local/share/semplice/semplice.conf file, as follows:

# AUTOBOOST is either set to 1 or (by default) 0. If set to 1, then when you take Main Menu Option 14
# to search for a possible non-distorting volume boost, any such boost that is discovered possible
# will be applied automatically without further prompting. The original, non-boosted file will also
# be automatically deleted without prompting, leaving only the volume-boosted file behind. At its
# default setting of 0, the parameter means that you will be asked whether you wish to apply any
# discovered possible volume boost and whether you wish to delete the original source file after the
# volume boost has been applied. Caution is advised in setting this to a non-default value:
# you need to be comfortable with Semplice's volume boosting abilities before you automate it!
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This allows the new 'auto-volume boost' to work when set to 1. The new feature is disabled if the parameter is set to 0 (as it is by default and/or if you neglect to add this text to your config file). The new feature simply makes volume boosting (done by taking Semplice Main Menu Option 14) a less interactive affair. If it's enabled, then asking for a volume boost will trigger a scan of all the music in the current folder to determine whether a volume boost is possible, exactly as before. The difference is that if a potential volume boost is detected, it will be applied automatically and without further prompting. You need to be comfortable with Semplice's entire concept of volume boosting to turn this on, I'd suggest.

Semplice also gets the same 'don't try contacting when it's down' improvement that Giocoso got.

Finally, Niente gets bumped to version 3.01. There is a slew of new features, enhancements and bugfixes included in this first update to Niente since it's release as the all-new version 3.0. They are nearly all relatively minor in the grand scheme of things and I therefore refer you to the program's changelog for details. There are probably two exceptions to this 'mostly minor' observation, however. One substantial enhancement is that determining whether a recording still exists on disk or not is now much faster than it was originally. The other really significant enhancement is that full and differential integrity checks now load details of the FLAC files they find on disk into intermediate loading tables before transferring them across into the 'real' tables. This has the practical outcome that full and differential integrity checks can now be interrupted (by pressing Ctrl+C) without wiping all the statistics and reports deduced from the 'real' table, as it hasn't been touched yet. Niente also acquires the same "don't try talking to if it's down" enhancement that Giocoso and Semplice acquired, too.

I encourage you to upgrade each program to the latest version, if only because the imminent offline 'holiday' of this site for a couple of weeks will pose a problem for you running these programs otherwise. Updating can be done by running each program with the --checkver runtime parameter. In other words:

  • giocoso --checkver
  • semplice --checkver
  • niente --checkver

Giocoso also provides a menu option to check for updates (Option 13/1). You'll be prompted for the sudo password, but otherwise updating should pretty much be a non-event.