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Messages - Justin

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Announcements / Re: 7.7 + Launched Today - **MAJOR**
« on: April 09, 2017, 03:14:33 PM »
I had the wrong URL on there for the video... oops! Plus it's been updated somewhat.

I just released (yesterday) a 7.7.1 update that fixes a few minor issues with the Karaoke screen, and with the handling of connection errors when using the server app.

As for the Karaoke screen, the "default" is now the 3 pictures and with no QR code by default (you can still turn that back on). I figured most people still don't know what it is or how to use it -- I still haven't seen a phone with a factory-installed QR reader... so I'm not going to push it and waste valuable screen space on something that just looks kinda cool... and many if not most of my customers use the default screen layout...

If anyone's interested, hit for the description for DJs to check out what all you can do with it.

Announcements / Re: 7.7 + Launched Today - **MAJOR**
« on: April 07, 2017, 03:50:32 PM »
For fun I posted a YouTube promo video. Once VDJ 8.0 is released with video playback support, I'll include a version of this but without the header & footer text (since VDJ will add that, and it will reflect your own personal URL).

The idea is that you could play this now and then to get your customers' attention, letting them know that they can go to the app without anything to download or install, just typing an address.

MyDjSongBook Web App / Major Announcement
« on: April 02, 2017, 01:04:08 PM »
See this thread:

Please feel free to discuss anything related to MyDjSongBook in this discussion board.

Announcements / 7.7 + Launched Today - **MAJOR**
« on: April 02, 2017, 12:57:25 PM »
We've all been waiting for this day for quite some time. Version 7.7 is released, with a few new features and fixes, but most importantly it connects with your subscription!

    New VDJ:

    Web App:

The all new server-hosted app allows your customers to search songs, make requests, and even upload their own "selfie" profile picture for use on the VDJ Karaoke Screen!  It's simple to use, and makes life a lot easier for the DJ.

No more configuring the router, showing customers how to enter an IP address, or any of that -- just direct them to:

    - or -  <-- Short form redirect URL - easier to type, smaller to fit on Karaoke screen

The domain and username are not case sensitive so you can pretty it up:  <-- Click for a real live demo of what your customers will see

The app layout is completely customizable, features can be turned off or on, and so much more. Upload your own music database from within VDJ with a single click.

Note: You MUST have VDJ 7.7 or higher (still a free upgrade for any 7.x user) installed. From there, click "Requests", then "Server", and you'll see the all new feature with shortcut buttons to sign up, configure your app, or upload your music.

Introductory prices are:

$4.99/month - full app use with small ad appearing on user pages
$9.99/month - same but WITHOUT the ad
$99.88/year - no ads, and save $20 off the Monthly price!

You can change or cancel your subscription any time. PayPal is the only method supported at this time.

I know you guys have been asking about this for a while now, and with LOTS of beta-testing help from Fabio (THANK YOU SO MUCH!) we've put together a pretty nice system. It has been tested "in the real world" for over a month now, and we've worked out all the bugs and kinks we could find so far.

There is an entire discussion group here for talk about the app, so be sure to visit there if you have any questions, comments, bug reports, or anything else to say about this exciting new feature!

The Karaoke Industry / Posting Karaoke Performance Videos?
« on: March 30, 2017, 05:04:13 PM »
So here's a question: how many videos do you run across, taken from someone's phone and posted online, contain some element of copyrighted music in the background? You see it everywhere, but they don't make people take down videos because you sang "Happy Birthday" to Grandma and posted it (that song is still under copyright, contrary to popular belief).

So why, if I post a cell phone video of a colleague singing a Karaoke song in a public place, does Universal Music Group file a formal DMCA complaint against me?

I had to go through and delete most of my videos. Many are intended to show off my DJ work, but of course there is music in the background (duh, that's what they PAY me for, that's why I'm posting the damned video)...

In the public setting, of course it is not up to the DJ/KJ to pay licensing to play the music out loud. Good article that explains this:

The venue is responsible, and most places already have a Jukebox on premises and therefore the vendor of that box has acquired the licensing. Most likely there will be a BMI/ASCAP sticker near a door or window...

So that covers us "in the field". But how the hell do you advertise as a DJ service, without being able to post a video of you doing the work? Should we get people to sing public domain songs just for promotional purposes? Or obtain "sync rights" to use the music (by paying out the you-know-what... also finding yourself on their radar...)

Just frustrated that Facebook took this complaint very seriously (for a video posted years ago), logged me out of all my devices until I read and agreed to why they pulled my video. I subsequently pulled all my videos containing music -- even some good wedding videos that were great advertisement, and memories for those involved... but hey, big daddy Universal Music Group needs to flex his muscle. Whatever.

PS - unrelated note, but the entire VDJ.Net website is now hosted securely, including these forums. This changes nothing, but there's a big push to make every site secure even if you don't collect personal information, and the search engines are giving higher rank to SSL sites than to non-SSL sites. So, for a little $$$, I get to show you a green padlock in the address bar. Woo.

On the good news front, is nearly completed and will be accepting subscription signups (with free trial) soon. As a shortcut URL, you can just link to (or and it will forward to the full, secured site. It's shorter (6 letter domain, vs 12) and easier to fit on the Karaoke screen, is easier to type on your phone, and immediately redirects to the correct location.

Check it out if you haven't in a while - the app itself is shaping up very nicely.

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: ...Almost there
« on: March 13, 2017, 03:40:36 PM »
I've been working on it all morning. At this time, VDJ downloads "profile pictures" and puts in them in a "WebTemp" folder under the "Profiles" folder, named "screenname.jpg" just like the "active" profile pics.

As soon as I figure out how to let you know that a user has uploaded a new profile picture, it will let you view the current (if any) next to the newly-uploaded version, and choose to keep original (deleting the new one) or use the new one (replacing the original).

If a user uploads multiple pictures with the same name, only the most recent one will be available. I realize this may be an issue if two people use the same name........ but again that's kinda always been the case that we as DJs just have to deal with... like suggest they change their username to something more unique.

The pictures do not remain on the server - once pulled by VDJ they are deleted (except for the tiny thumbnail for the customers' sake).

Database upload works, but it does NOT let you pick & choose which files/folders to include/exclude -- that feature will be part of the 8.0 release. I've been jumping back and forth on the two code-bases for a while now, but lately I'm working only on the 7.7 release to go along with the launch of the web app.

I have also improved how it handles browsers that do not support the "crop" feature. It still lets you upload it but it will always end up as a 4:3 version of whatever they uploaded (right now it does it with black bars but I'm going to reverse that and crop-to-fill instead of crop-to-fit).

I'm also working on validating usernames. I now allow only letters, numbers, and the following characters: & $ ( ) - (space) and . (period)... those are all "allowed" characters in the Windows filesystem so they can coincide with the filename of the profile picture, etc. They will be "compared" case-insensitive, but you will be able to change/correct the case (on your end) once I fix that bug (thanks Fabio). Your end will show the name in the case as you have it set in VDJ (the filenames don't matter because Windows is case-insensitive, unlike every other OS in the world).

So...... still a lot to think about and get done, but it's coming along. I am surprised how well the database upload part works - and the Photo thing is getting there nicely as well.

Q & A / Re: indexing
« on: March 13, 2017, 02:52:33 PM »
This is a ways off, but the 8.0 release of VDJ will include ID3 tags in the search results. Note however that 7.0 does index and SEARCH those fields, however unfortunately it only displays the filename in the results.

I've always been in the habit of naming and organizing my files a certain way, but I know most DJ programs show the ID3 fields; this will be the case once 8.0 is released (with the ability to narrow down by year, genre, or any other ID3 field easily)...

Again, that's coming later on...

MyDjSongBook Web App / ...Almost there
« on: March 12, 2017, 03:41:33 PM »
I have VDJ uploading the music database now. You click "Upload" and it first checks the last time you uploaded, and will inform you if you have already uploaded within XX hours. I have not yet decided on what XX will ultimately be, but for the time being I'm going to turn off the upload limit. I'll enable it once enough people are using it.

You will have to reindex. Even though the 8.x has a completely rewritten database, it isn't compatible with the 7.x code, but I had to add a "duration" field (currently 7.x doesn't calculate and store that number, it does it "on the fly" eg as you load the file into a list). I like having that number in the server-side database, so I added that field to VDJ7 code.

Note that just because the two series (7.x/8.x) are very different, they communicate with the server in exactly the same way. Therefore, when I release 8.0 down the road, you will never be "forced" to upgrade from 7.x if you do not want to. The file it creates to upload to the server is a simple flat-file, with specific information, and then zipped up before uploading (to save on bandwidth/time).

So now you can index your music, log into the server, upload your database, and receive requests. Once you have an account that is.

I've still got to finish that part up - when one "subscribes" preferably they'll do so using the button in VDJ, or link in their (new) license email, so that their "full name" and "license key" fields are pre-populated, saving the hassle of typos. Once set up with PayPal, it will automatically start working with no intervention by myself necessarily -- ideally that is.

Grabbing the profile pic isn't there yet but it's next on the list. The server-side of that is fully complete, just not the VDJ side.

I've also got a list of bug fixes I plan to include in the 7.7 update, but for the most part it should be about the same, with the added ability to use the server-hosted app. For now I will not disable the built-in, and I may still allow requests from either one while people transition to the new setup, and for those who simply don't want to pay for the service. In 8.0 I may remove the built-in part entirely, but I haven't decided yet...

So, just a few things left... I was really shooting to have it ready for St. Patrick's day but I'd rather release this on like a Monday (a week from tomorrow is what I'm shooting for) so there's time to play with it and work out any kinks before the weekend...

I also plan to put together a series of videos. Rather than just one "howto" video, I think they should be split into specific areas of the usage of VDJ. One could watch them all in order, or simply watch the newest ones relating to new features, like the hosted app.

Anyway, I'm done for the day... I had forgotten how slow Indexing was on the 7.x series - but trying to back-port the new system to the old code would be too much work, so the faster indexing will just have to wait for 8.0 :(

I'll try to have something this week to play with "live", again without the upload restriction so you can just re-upload whenever you like until everything is rock-solid.

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Profile Picture/Selfie Feature
« on: March 11, 2017, 11:18:21 AM »
It would be nice to see that on the CDG screen as opposed to a square one.

Hm... that could be a fun option! I will definitely make that an option for the 8.x series since I've dramatically rewritten the code for the karaoke display screen.

Also note I moved the little picture just to the left of the menu button, instead of below it. It remains persistent like the Menu button (while the social buttons scroll away with the page). All intentional of course :)

I was trying to use my sister's phone for something one day and it was so damned annoying, and she wouldn't let me "trash" the three chat heads as she was still talking to those people. She just told me to move them out of the way - but they are always in the way.

I just dragged them off-screen and told her what she could do with her chat heads :P

MyDjSongBook Web App / Profile Picture/Selfie Feature
« on: March 10, 2017, 11:57:39 AM »
Okay, I've been on this all day. It is *not* perfect, and it doesn't fully work in the default Android browser -- and yes it's much easier on a PC.... but here's what I've done:

When you take or upload a picture, it does several things:

- Keeps a full-sized copy (at full resolution) temporarily
- Creates and displays a 1/4 resolution version with options for rotate and crop (yes!)
- Shows a small preview as you play with the crop rectangle (yes, I changed my mind and decided to keep a 4:3 aspect rather than square)

Then you click "Send to DJ" and it does the following:

- Creates a 400x300 pixel version of the crop region, regardless of the size of the original
- Notifies the DJ (via VDJ message) that a new profile picture was submitted
- Deletes the original full-size picture as well as the 1/4 size picture
- Creates a TINY 40x30 thumbnail

This little thumbnail shows right under the "menu" button in the app so the user can see whatever picture they last "sent" to the DJ. The "tiny" versions won't be deleted, they are roughly 2.5 kB.

Now, the cropping part is tricky on a cell phone. It's easy to accidentally reset your crop area when attempting to scroll the page -- I'm working on that. But at least Chrome for Android (only one I've tested as far as mobile devices) works pretty nicely.

I'm using a third-party tool for this, which I normally try to stay away from, but reinventing the wheel seems unnecessary. I may need to tweak the code so it works on all browsers, but for now I may just not offer the "crop" portion if it isn't supported - it'll just crop to a 4:3 centered version or something...

Anyway, play around with it and let me know what you think.

TEMPORARILY I have opened up directory browsing, so you can see the "behind the scenes" photos:

1 = the DJ's ID (me of course)

So when you take/upload the picture, you'll find the original picture and a 1/4 sized version (-thumb). Then after cropping, those two files go away and you're left with "-final" (a 400x300 version for the DJ) and "-tiny" for the app (thanks to Fabio for that idea).

I may try to modify it to be a round picture, however, I don't want to confuse Android users... I personally turn OFF "floating heads" in messenger but I notice a lot of people actually like that stupid feature. Anyway making my thumbnail round might cause confusion as to whether it's part of the app or a messenger "head"...

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Release Coming SOON (Limited Testing)
« on: March 08, 2017, 05:14:30 PM »
Okay still thinking about this, and I have one other thing I am going to add to this photo upload thing: the ability to choose the cropping region, THEN "submit" the photo to the DJ. I am requiring the photo be square (for various reasons) but the user should be able to define that square within the page.

I'm not entirely sure how perfectly that is going to work on a touch-screen but I'll look at some other apps and see how they handle the interface for "crop", and then re-create the experience using HTML5/CSS/JavaScript :)

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Release Coming SOON (Limited Testing)
« on: March 08, 2017, 05:02:41 PM »
Okay I figured a slightly easier (and less intrusive) way to explain the "no camera" situation:

Hovering on a PC, or tapping on a mobile, on the info icon (the little circle lower-case I) pops up a better description as a tooltip.

I use those throughout the DJ parts of the app (the configuration options), but haven't used them much on the customer side. Only two places I can think of (near the Location button, and the one I just added). It's a nice easy way to put a larger explanation without taking up valuable screen space... it's also more text to translate later on lol, but I'll worry about the translations later on...

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Release Coming SOON (Limited Testing)
« on: March 08, 2017, 04:42:47 PM »
The more I think about it, the more I think the picture shouldn't be saved for the user to "look at" when they click "Profile Picture". Because each browser I test on has a different Unique ID, I see a different "saved" picture when I load up the profile page.

Instead, it will just let you upload a picture, approve it, and that is the last you (the customer) will see of it. The DJ will get the "picture request" and choose what to do with it from there. Simple as that.

As the DJ you can see all pictures under a certain "screen name", as a list of thumbnails, and can choose the most recent one and dump the rest if that's what you feel is appropriate. The UID will only differentiate the browser used - you'll have to kind of count on the users having a unique enough "screen name" and that they weren't sent in by someone else (which is something you have no control over in any case really).

I can (for example) imagine sending a "selfie", then deciding my Girlfriend's phone has a better camera, and have her take a better pic for me and submit it. So the device/browser/unique-id will be different but it's still me. You, as the DJ, will see that "Justin N" recently sent in 3 different pics within a few minutes. With common sense you will see that they are all of the same person, and will choose to "use" the most recent one and discard the others.

Making sense? I hope so..... lol... figures by the time my connection is working better, my brain is too much mush to work on the code. Again, I'll take today to let my brain stew on the idea while I relax and watch Hulu with fingers crossed (failing that, I have plenty of Star Trek TNG, Futurama entire series, 200+ movies, on my 2TB drive... for those very desperate times there is no Internet  >:( )

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Release Coming SOON (Limited Testing)
« on: March 08, 2017, 04:18:38 PM »
That is something to keep in mind, and I should put a mention on the page to tell users something like "If you do not find a Camera option, check your Android permissions for your browser".

I'll try to think of a better way to word that... but just like with Location services, it prompts you and if you say "Don't Allow" (or whatever) it usually says "You can change this in Settings -> (whatever)" and of course users dismiss that without reading...

KitKat doesn't ask about the camera if you initiate it with the "browse" button (which is essentially what the button is) - because it's letting you pick among options including Camera, Gallery, etc. iPhone - same thing, it asks which one you want to do (IOS 9). Apparently in the newer Android, if you say no to the camera for an app once, it simply doesn't SHOW the Camera option. Nothing I can do about that other than what I said above, a little note about checking your permissions. Which of course has a slightly different procedure depending on which version of the OS and even which browser you're on........ ugh.......

Anyway, it seems my Internet is working flawlessly now. I've been fighting with it all day, and it's been like that off and on for the last few days. It has also been quite windy for the last few days, which has calmed down in the last hour. I'm not sure how wind blowing the wires around for that "last mile" part of the connection affects my Internet but perhaps there is a loose connection somewhere up on a pole, intermittently shorting whenever a gust of wind hits it... it sounds nuts but it does seem to coincide with the facts...

So I'm gonna try and get some work done on the photos on the VDJ side of things, find a good way to handle this. I plan to rewrite the whole request thing in 8.0 so it will be more friendly and easier to work with, but for now I'm sorta "tacking on" the server-app feature to 7.7...

Once this app is fully launched, I can go back to working on the 8.0 version. Sometimes working on a different project for a while (the server app) helps give some new perspective when I jump back in to VDJ 8... either way I'll ensure the server app is compatible with both 7.x and 8.x, so upgrading will not be required unless you want video playback and the other new features that are coming with 8...

MyDjSongBook Web App / Re: Release Coming SOON (Limited Testing)
« on: March 08, 2017, 10:30:10 AM »
I just replied to your email Fabio but for everyone else, here's a short version of what I replied with:

By not asking the browser specifically to use the camera at all, and just asking for an "image file", all tested browsers now give the option of using the camera or choosing an existing photo. I tested on Android (4.4 KitKat) with the default browser, Firefox, and Chrome, as well as Safari on IOS 9. On the PC, as always, it acts like any other "Browse" button and lets you select an image file from your PC.

As for the app user-interface, I changed some wording on the buttons but also added:

"Below is the Profile Picture your DJ can use for Karaoke:"

Above the picture, so the user knows something happened after upload. Plus, it doesn't say that it WILL be used, just that their DJ may choose to use it. I think that should be sufficient...

There is no "submit" at this point - the upload was the submission. It's there for the DJ to see if and when he or she gets around to pulling it.

So when you add a Karaoke request from the Request List to either the Queue or the "Saved Singers" list (the only two places a photo matters) it will inform you if a new picture has been submitted by that user, and you can preview and choose to either use it (replace their existing profile pic on your PC) or discard (ignore) it.

If they submit a new picture *after* they are already in the Queue... well I haven't figured out what to do there. I can imagine users seeing their song up on the screen (upcoming) and realizing they don't have a picture *or* that they don't like their picture from last week, and only then, after they are already "queued" up, they take a new photo. So somehow I'll have to figure a way to notify the DJ of this without being disruptive...

I suppose their name in the Queue could hilight in some way, or flash a little button, indicating a new picture was uploaded or modified...

-- OR --

I could instead, go with Fabio's idea and make them "submit" their photo once they are happy with it. They submit it along with their "name" (and attached unique_ID cookie) and perhaps a separate section of VDJ (another tab maybe, next to "requests"?) could light up with "photos" subject to approval.

Or perhaps it could show IN the request list as a "[PHOTO UPLOAD]", much like a "[TEXT MESSAGE]" does in place of an actual file request.

So I'm thinking out loud... but I'm liking that last idea. You would be notified that someone submitted a photo for approval and from there choose what to do with it.

Any thoughts would be great, as right now my connection is on-again/off-again and I'm getting too frustrated to work on the server today, so I have plenty of time to think it over...

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