Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Banshee 1.5.1

After another 4.5 months development, including contributions from 51 people, we have released Banshee 1.5.1! Shuffle Modes Shuffle by artist or album let you listen to everything by an artist or on an album before jumping to a new random artist or album. Shuffle by rating or score lets you shuffle through your songs, with higher rated or scored tracks being more likely to play. Thanks to Elena Grassi for her patch for the rating shuffle mode that got the ball rolling. Alexander Kojevnikov wrote more about the new shuffle modes on his blog. Auto DJ This new feature gives you the option to keep your Play Queue filled with endless music. It builds on the shuffle modes work, letting you fill the queue randomly in artist, album, song, rating, or score mode. screenshot of new auto dj feature, showing options of how to auto-fill the play queue As ever, you can manually add, remove, and reorder songs in the Play Queue — even while in Auto DJ mode. Alexander, the mastermind behind this new feature, wrote more about the Auto DJ on his blog. More Info Other notable new features include keeping the playing song visible, showing tooltips for ellipsized text in the main grid view, and support for WebOS and Samsung Galaxy devices. There were over 130 bugs fixed and 20 other enhancements added since 1.5.0. Read about them on the release notes. Visit our download page to try it out!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Secret About Amazon's API it Doesn't Want Distributed

Amazon's Product Advertising API (PAA) lets you search pretty much everything they offer. But on August 15 they started requiring that all requests to the API be signed with the developer's Private Key. Any client-side software using the PAA directly, including website scripts, Firefox extensions, and desktop applications, would have to distribute their Private Key to all their users to sign the requests. But as you would expect, the license agreement for the API states
a private for your personal use only and you must maintain its secrecy and security.
Others have written about how the PAA license agreement bars its usage on mobile devices. But in fact, it bars it from any client-side software on any device. Or at least from software you want to distribute. You can work around this by hosting a server to sign requests for your users, keeping your Private Key private. But anybody could use your service, pretending to be your client software if necessary. And you could wind up signing requests for half the Internet. The signing requirement benefits nobody. It impedes developers, turning them off from creating applications to serve users and send customers Amazon's way. Amazon should acknowledge its mistake with this policy and reverse it. Thanks to James Vasile for reading drafts of this.