BoomBox 2.4 RC is here

We are ecstatic to announce that we will be releasing BoomBox 2.4 RC onto all servers in the cluster.

Over the next 24 hours, we will be releasing BoomBox 2.4RC into the backend (servers only), so customers will not notice any immediate difference in the BoomBox web interface (which is still in beta 2.4) except for faster uploads and file management (due to the integration of the new BoomBox dedicated SAN) and more accurate statistics due to full integration of the SoniXCast Media Server, but here are more reasons why folks should be excited…

Full source code rewrite: Historically, adding patches to any software can lead to performance issues as they are designed not to interfere with release code. By rolling in patches into the release code, the overall system performance and stability is enhanced immensely. Also new in this release is the introduction of the Modular Development Methodology (MDM) which will lead to faster feature and patch development and overall more stable and portable future releases.

SoniXCast Media Server (SXMS) 2.4RC: is a fork of the Icecast 2.4.3 media server with built in extensions for recognizing and re-encoding optimized streams for slower connections, full cluster and network media priority support, full backwards compatibility with other media servers like ShoutCast, SteamCast, Real Audio (Darwin) and Wowza, and full Liquidsoap integration.

Liquidsoap 1.3.1: We’ve made the decision to stop development on the SXMS transcoder and instead have integrated Liquidsoap into the SoniXCast Media Server. Liquidsoap is a more mature product which offers almost unlimited programming management capabilities with features like static or dynamic playlists, time-based selection of the audio sources, live DJ interventions, interactive user requests, fully-customizable transitions, e.g. crossfading, speech-synthesis of track metadata and much more. Read more at: http://savonet.sourceforge.net/.

New BoomBox, GML dedicated SAN’s: As some of you have experienced, through the influx of new customers, our old storage area network (SAN) has been pushed to the limit and some have been unable to upload new files. We’ve remedied the situation in this release by introducing two new and separate SAN’s for customer uploaded tracks and the global music library (GML) with a whopping 2 petabytes of capacity a piece! The new SAN’s are fed by our new 43Tbps fiber optic backbone mirrored at four geographic locations throughout Canada which greatly enhances upload speed, security and stability.

What this all means for customers…

Besides the immediate remedy for upload issues and enhanced performance of an updated infrastructure, the Modular Architecture of BoomBox will allow us to release patches and features more quickly and efficiently without affecting base functionality. Issues with the system or a feature can be resolved in minutes instead of days.

Licensing challenges has pretty much stopped the expansion of the relay network into geographic locations outside of Canada, so to remedy that situation, we’ve enhanced our network to recognize connection types (wireless, wifi, ethernet), optimized routing and data transfer and have integrated everything into SXMS, so that we can deliver the highest quality stream the connection will support. Which will answer the issue some older wireless networks are having with drop outs.

But we’re not there yet… We’ve essentially dropped a Ferrari engine into a VW Bug and we now need to update the BoomBox user interface to support all the neat new features and capabilities. Thankfully, the new Modular Architecture will allow us to throw more bodies at development and we will be able to move at faster than a snail’s pace. So keep an eye out for them updates!

Music File Uploader released for BoomBox 2.4b

We are happy to announce the release of the Music File Uploader for BoomBox 2.4 beta. This was also the last component needed to be ported over from BoomBox 2.3 and producers can now fully manage their station from 2.4 beta.

Here are a list of features in the new Music File Uploader:

  • 10x faster than FTP (through browser compression, chunking and multiple simultaneous connections)
  • Uploads to the SoniXCast cloud with over 400 nodes worldwide
  • Works on all computers, smart and mobile devices
  • Drag and Drop files directly into the browser
  • Automatic filtering (only allows music files)
  • Add Files from one or more directories on your computer or device
  • Copy and Paste support
  • Automatically or Manually Resumes broken upload connections
  • Automatically catalogs and indexes music files (no need to run the UML repair function after uploading)
  • Can be run in a separate tab or window (so you can keep working while uploading)
  • Easy target folder selection
  • Simple, straightforward and easy to use interface

Major Update BoomBox 2.4 beta

Over the next 8 hours we will be releasing a major update to the BoomBox 2.4 platform. This update will address many issues customers have been experiencing with the SoniXCast Media Server, and related services. In order to ensure consistent settings, the repair utilities will be run against each customer account, service configuration updated and restarted which will lead to short down times as services are restarted. However, no long term down times are expected as most customers have already been migrated to the new SoniXCast Media Server (SXMS).

Change log:

Server Service: Phase 2 migration of the ShoutCast server to SXMS (all configuration and log files moved to database).

Auto-DJ Service: Final migration of the ShoutCast transcoder (auto-dj) to SXMS will be executed and the old ShoutCast transcoder deleted (no need to have both running at the same time anymore).

FTP server: With the latest update of our ftp server, behavior of the chroot directive was revised to automatically change to the system root directory which broke access for legacy ftp clients. A patch will be distributed to fix this issue.

SXMS Service: The checksum routine of music files has been moved to the read ahead buffer so that a badly encoded tracks are skipped from playback.

Repair Utilities: All repair utilities (UML, Playlist, Service and Station) now log to database and will be bound into the BoomBox alert system (under development) to facilitate user notification and intervention.

BoomBox 2.4 beta: The advanced event editor which mirrors exactly the mathematics of the shoutcast transcoder has passed alpha testing and is now in beta.

BoomBox 2.4.455 beta Released

We are happy to announce the release of BoomBox 2.4.455 beta with the following patches and features:

User Music Library (UML) File Manager features:

  • Dashboard Widget and Quick Access Menu
  • Delete, Move tracks (music files) uploaded to the SoniXCast Cloud.
  • Assign tracks to a playlist
  • Create, Rename, Delete folders.
  • Repair Music Library in the background (reads in tracks uploaded via FTP into BoomBox)
  • Assign all tracks in a folder to a playlist (done from the dashboard widget)

Event Editor

  • Templates adjusted to use industry standard terms and conditions
  • Periodic templates now supports Frequency, Placement and Duration options
  • Optional free hand entry of time values now supported
  • Sliders stepped at one minute intervals

Please read more or post any bugs/feature requests in our forum at https://community.sonixcast.com/forums/forum/development/

BoomBox 2.4.301 beta released

We are happy to announce the release of BoomBox 2.4.301.

Here a list of features and patches:

  • Added Playlist Track Editor: View and Remove music tracks from your playlist (more features pending future release)
  • Added Playlist Track Repair: Automatically repairs track file references. (useful for those playlists that won’t allow the auto-dj to start)
  • Fixed Event Editor Periodic Template: Replaced “Start Time” and “Time Offset” fields with Industry Standard “Frequency” and “Placement” fields
  • Fixed Duration included in Periodic Templates
  • Fixed Date Range now available in every template
  • Fixed Slider steps reduced from every 5 minutes to 1 minute

We will announce new updates to BoomBox 2.4 as they happen. Remember, if you find a bug or have a feature request, be sure to let us know in the BoomBox Support and Development Forum here.

BoomBox 2.4.211 beta released

We are happy to announce the release of BoomBox 2.4.211 beta! Here are a list of the features and fixes for this release:

Dashboard

  • Added services widget for managing services and adding value added services directly from the dashboard
  • Added Encoder settings widget for quick access to settings required for live broadcasting
  • Rebuilt Users widget which now displays the schedule schema, username and password of the user for use in live broadcasting
  • Added Playlist widget for directly managing playlists from the dashboard

Services->Server Editor

  • Repaired authorization hash setting to incorporate the recent changes made by radionomy.com
  • Publication setting is now independent of whether or not the authorization hash is present or not (fixes the out of sync issue with radionomy.com)
  • Removed the auto-restart feature
  • Added Server restart button to the affix (save) menu

Services->Auto-DJ Editor

  • Repaired crossfade setting which is now using an easy to use slider component
  • Repaired bitrate setting (users can now set the bitrate regardless of encoder setting) which is now using an easy to use slider component
  • Removed the auto-restart feature
  • Added Auto-DJ restart button to the affix (save) menu

User Editor

  • Added auto-password generation feature
  • Sending email credentials is now working
  • Updated event scheduler (See: Event Editor)
  • Added Auto-DJ restart button to the affix (save) menu

Playlist Editor

  • Updated event scheduler (See: Event Editor)
  • Added Auto-DJ restart button to the affix (save) menu

Event Editor

  • Added template option as a precursor to the calendar component (under development) and to enable easy use of the templating system
  • Prioritization recommendations are highlighted according to template
  • Use of the calendar component now optional in date range settings
  • Timezone calculator implemented for start time setting which implements an easy to use slider component
  • Slider component implemented for duration and time offset settings

Miscellaneous

  • Added timezone display
  • Added 24 hour – AM/PM switch for switching time format in the system
  • Rewrite of the authentication system
  • Removed cookie session data management
  • NEW BoomBox integration into Customer Center (www.sonixcast.com)

You too can be a BoomBox Beta Tester

As we get closer to the next release of BoomBox (v2.4), anybody who is already a SonixCast customer (even Trial customers) can watch development in real-time simply by going to https://bb.sonixcast.com and logging in with your BoomBox username and password.

All customers are encouraged to make suggestions and give feedback in the BoomBox Development Forum here and in some cases may actually see their suggestions become part of the final release.

We don’t have an official release date as of yet, however we are talking weeks instead of months and everything that is currently available is fully functional and you can work with it just like a fully released version. We have also discontinued development on BoomBox 2.3 to concentrate on releasing 2.4 as quickly as possible.

March News

Global Relay Network

With the release of global relay network, some customers have inadvertently banned the relay not understanding that the ip-address connecting to their stream was the global relay. That’s our fault for not notifying customers before hand. So from now on we will announce the ip-address of each relay as each region is rolled out. For now all customers should allow the ip-address 192.99.89.153 (located in Montreal Canada).

BoomBox Media Server

Customers can get a sneak preview of the BoomBox Media Server version 2.4 based upon the open source icecast project at http://relay.sonixcast.com or http://relay.sonixfm.com. Check out this story for more details.

DMCA Takedown Notices

SoundExchange (Sony) is again sending out DMCA takedown notices to US aggregators like Tune-In and Dirble and although they are not specifically targeting SoniXCast Radios, some customers have had their Tune-In pages taken down. To be clear: This doesn’t mean customers are broadcasting illegally. In fact it’s the other way around. SoundExchange and the DMCA have no legal jurisdiction in Canada. Tune-In is playing it safe however and honoring Sony DMCA takedown notices for foreign radios even though they don’t legally apply. We live in strange times.

New Web Hosting Product Line

With the acquisition of Montreal Hosting Ltd. a few months ago, we picked up a high availability, modern web cluster which enables us to offer high quality cPanel Web Hosting at highly competitive prices ($9.96/month for the Unlimited Package). In light of the recent Sony activity, now is as important as ever to move your web hosting to Canada. Performance Rights Organizations in many countries (i.e. US, Germany and Italy) base their claims of jurisdiction quite often on the ip-address of the website and customers are barraged with claims of copyright violations. It has never been more important to eliminate any doubts that you are broadcasting from Canada. It’ll save you a lot of headaches.

BoomBox 2.4

Many have taken a look at the BoomBox Mobile 2.4 and resonance has been awesome to say the least. Development continues and hinges on the release of the global relay network, BoomBox Media Server and expansion of the AnyCastIP network. With the adoption of the WebRTC protocol, broadcasters will be able to broadcast directly through BoomBox and stream Flash media, but probably the most exciting development on the horizon is the seamless integration with SoniXFM.com.

SoniXFM is our radio aggregation service much like Dirble and Tune-In, but on steroids. Through partnerships with Clear Channel, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Sony (believe it or not), the sonixfm.com platform can already be found on mobile devices everywhere and we’re injecting social media features into it as well. Making sonixfm.com a one stop popularization platform for ALL broadcasters.

BoomBox 2.4 will also see the release of our own directory service yp.sonixcast.com and yp.sonixfm.com as well an API for developers. We are also rebuilding our WebWidgets website embeddable widgets platform, rebuilding our player to use the global relay network (so you can be heard behind firewalls as well) and a mobile app for Google, Apple and Microsoft devices is in the works.

New Global Relay Network Released

Now available at relay.sonixcast.com or relay.sonixfm.com!

As part of our continued commitment to provide the best global broadcasting solutions, our development gnomes have released the SoniXCast global relay network.

What it does…

The global relay network (GRN), once completed, will consist of 7 nodes (one for each major continent) that will relay SoniXCast stream services via a super fast dedicated fiber optic backbone to each location resulting in better performance and lower buffer rates.

This is especially important for mobile devices as the transfer rate of each stream service then equals that of the capacity of most 4G wireless networks. Resulting in smoother player startup and more reliable network connections.

What does this mean for Broadcasters?

Besides raising the quality of your listeners experience, the global relay network broadcasts through port 80 eliminating the problem of listening to your radio behind a firewall.

Like the current permanent url feature, each mount point receives a unique number related to the radio’s call-sign which never changes as long as you host with SoniXCast. Even if you temporarily suspend your service and re-open at a later date. In fact, the permanent url’s will forward to the actual relay mount point once network build up is complete.

Do you use a 3rd party tool or aggregator to present or collect listener statistics? Well now gathering that data will be faster and more reliable as it is presented in near real-time. That will speed up your website and thoroughly eliminates issues with 3rd party aggregators like Tune-In, and Dirble or tools like RadioToolbox. And because you can query over port 80, there is no need to open up firewall ports on your computer.

In addition to having your Radio listed on ShoutCAST.com, it will also be listed in the dir.xiph.org (Icecast) radio directory. Vanity mount points (i.e. relay.sonixcast.com/MyRadio or relay.sonixfm.com/MyRadio) will be a value added service expected to be provided in BoomBox 2.4.

What about my listeners?

Well besides the obvious faster connection and better performance, broadcasters can stream at a higher bitrate providing a higher quality listener experience without worrying about dial-up or limited network connections. Each listener tune’s into the node closest to their listening device or computer which compresses and serves the stream in an extremely efficient fashion. Making it possible to listen to a 320Kbps stream on a cell phone in the backwoods of Australia while minimally affecting data usage.

Your radio will be easier to find as Icecast’s directory service is second only to ShoutCAST’s in popularity. Also you will benefit from our partnerships with other radio services like iHeartRadio, Microsoft’s Groove, Samsung’s ANT and Rock-O-La Jukeboxes.

Other cool features…

The global relay network is a sneak preview of the BoomBox streaming media server based upon the open source Icecast streaming media server source code and customized to integrate seamlessly with our AnyCastIP network.

Additional features include:

  • Multiple yellow page support (YP) support (shoutcast.com, dir.xiph.org and pending yp.sonixfm.com)
  • RTMP protocol support (Flash audio and video)
  • WebRTC protocol support (for broadcasting from the web browser and mobile devices)
  • Integrated source client (for auto-dj features like playlist and dj management and scheduling)

Stay tuned for more features!

BoomBox 2.4 Mobile (Sneak Preview)

The developer gnomes have been busy and have released a beta preview version of BoomBox 2.4 which sports an easier-to-use mobile and smart device interface.

BoomBox 2.4 is a complete rewrite of the user interface which will include a simple yet feature rich calendar based event scheduling tool, pre-defined event templates for spots, jingles and ads and a slimmed down interface for faster loading over slow connections.

BoomBox 2.4 will also re-introduce the Global Music Library with even more music titles than ever before. We currently have over 400,000 titles indexed and expect to reach double that amount by the time 2.4 is released.

BoomBox 2.4 will also be completely cloud-based, decoupled from the streaming server altogether in order to decrease response times, be more globally responsive from the browser and to increase scalability.

Another new feature will be the release of port 80 stream proxying which will eventually replace the redirect (permanent) urls as the primary stream access point for listeners.

A mobile device app is in the works, as well as tighter integration with sonixfm.com and social media.

Currently customers can only manage their individual services (server, auto-dj), but new features are added daily and we encourage all to comment about bugs and feature requests.

To view on any mobile device, simply goto: https://bb.sonixcast.com

To view in any browser, just goto: https://bb.sonixcast.com/?mobile=1

We expect the final release date for 2.4 to be around the end of March 2017.

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