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  • Apr
    • 1 comment on blog post New Usability Features Released
      • 9:01 - olivier: I'd like to add that the quick search is still a work in progress. I still want to make the suggestions more effective. Also, I'd like to extend it to the music search, based on songs you liked
  • Apr
  • Dec
    • 1 comment on blog post Minor Updates Released Today
      • 8:12 - SilentK: I don't know when you added (or maybe it's always been there) this feature; but the "Play next" option on the queue drop-down is really great. Thanks for a really great listening environment!
  • Nov
    • 1 comment on blog post Minor Updates Released Today
      • 8:05 - Christina Horn: I just wanted to say thank you for all your work. I don't speak up enough...so I am now! There are lots of people out there enjoying this service who never will, but know we are out here! I check back regularly to see what's new! Keep it alive!
  • Nov
  • Nov
  • Aug
    • 1 comment on blog post The Future of Uvumi
      • 7:56 - Ark Arsenal: Solid performance, Uvumi team. I've only been a member for a little while, but I am psyched to use the site every single day.

        Hope your break involves some serious vegging out, with a huge emphasis on letting your brains turn to mush. Best remedy out there.
  • Aug
  • Aug
  • blog post Report Feb 7, 2010 - Updates

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Feb 7, 2010 - 13:15 by Marshall Stokes
    Wow, we rolled updates three times today! Once to fix a bug introduced by a recent update, then a bit later we updated again to release some improvements, and the final time was to patch a nasty bug introduced during the second update! So, we're sorry about all that, and we hope it didn't interfere with your Uvumiing today.

    Anyway, things seem to stable right now, so I'll quickly describe the improvements that were launched today:

    - Added email notifications for new comments on band profiles. This might annoy some people who are in the larger "bands" like T61 Refugees or Lost and Found. If it becomes too intrusive due to the high volume of comments those band profiles are getting, let us know and we'll find a solution for that. When we finally release the new Groups feature (still a work in progress), we'll allow fine-tuned controls for this type of notification.

    - Fixed bug that caused profile pages to misbehave under certain conditions (see recent post)

    - Added feature that auto-scrolls to top of comments when you click to see the next page of comments on any profile, blog, song, etc

    - Added feature to "Add to Playlist" interface to indicate when a song is already in a playlist (requested by many members)

    - Improved default sort order on Songs and Users pages when column headers are clicked

    Ok, I think that covers everything to date. We are still running behind on our ad system, but we definitely want to start testing it here on the live Uvumi.com this week. And designing the new Groups feature is also right around the corner, so look for announcements here covering those items very soon.

    Thanks everyone!
  • blog post Report We found a bug!

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Feb 6, 2010 - 9:15 by Marshall Stokes
    Hi everyone, while browsing the T61 Refugees profile today, we discovered a new bug that seems to have crippled the comments on that page. It appears to be related to an unexpected condition in the last comment that was posted to the profile. We're working on it, and we should have it fixed very soon, hopefully some time today.

    We will also be rolling out some other improvements, including the addition of email notifications for new comments on band profiles. I'll post an announcement here when we roll those updates.

    Sorry for the inconvenience!
  • blog post Report Feb 5, 2010 - More Site Updates

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Feb 5, 2010 - 1:00 by Marshall Stokes
    Another quick update tonight, here's the details:

    - fixed bug in new shortcut links that caused short URLs to be displayed instead of real URLs, which prevented those links from automatically showing play/queue buttons when pasted into blogs, comments, and profile bio sections

    - Added "Select All" option for incoming friend requests, to speed up accepting or denying multiple requests from your Dash

    - Improved display of Charts calendar

    - Fixed a minor bug in profile location selection

    - Improved display of friend/fan network updates

    - Improved display of mini avatars on song page in "Song Statistics" box

    - Added ability to favorite/unfavorite songs on History pages

    I think that's about it for this update. Thanks again to Bruce for alerting us to the permalink issue (again). We're working hard to keep up with all the growth and suggestions from the community, and I still have a lot of support emails in my inbox that I haven't replied to yet, but I will absolutely get caught up this weekend!

    We're still working on the plan for the new Groups feature, and of course we'll run it by the community here before we start implementing.
  • blog post Report Feb 3, 2010 - Updates Launched

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Feb 3, 2010 - 7:45 by Marshall Stokes
    Another round of bug fixes and minor improvements, most of this stuff was reported/requested by members or discovered in the last week.

    First, big thanks to Bruce for his awesome tutorials on using HTML to spice up your Uvumi blog posts and profiles. We implemented some of the changes he requested:

    - Blogs and profile now support special HTML entities like < and >

    - Added support for special <code> tag which can be used to display actual HTML code in your blog posts, without worrying about it being rendered on display

    - Added support for "hidden" band members. This is helpful for users who are managers of bands and are responsible for maintaining those band profiles, so they don't have to be listed as members of the band

    - Fixed a bug that allowed performing a site search from a page where you have unsaved changes without warning. You will now be warned of any unsaved changes when running a search (like from a blog editing page)

    - Profile URLs are now case-insensitive (http://uvumi.com/IFightDragons is same as http://uvumi.com/ifightdragons)

    - Improved display of disk space meter on upload pages

    - Added additional sharing options for profile and song pages to include code for user avatars

    - Default Song can now be chosen from Band songs, as well as personal songs

    - Added support for + symbol in email addresses

    - Added additional "Leave Comment" button at top of comments on blog pages when more than 3 comments are present

    - Altered layout of browse/search pages to support soon-to-be-launched advertising system

    We're working on more improvements all the time, and we really appreciate all the great feedback and bug reports we have received. We hope today's update improves everyone's experience on Uvumi.com!
  • blog post Report Audio Quality on Uvumi.com

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Feb 2, 2010 - 20:30 by Marshall Stokes
    Many of you have emailed us with questions and complaints about the quality of audio streams here on Uvumi. We have also noticed a number of comments throughout the site on this topic, so I will take this opportunity to explain what we do with your songs when you upload them to Uvumi.com.

    When a song is uploaded to Uvumi, our servers transcode it to MP3 format using the open source codec known as LAME. We make two copies: one at 192Kbps, and another at 96kbps. If the song comes in at a lower bitrate than 192Kbps, we use the lower bitrate as our maximum.

    The 96Kbps copy is used for streaming to listeners on Uvumi.com, and the 192Kbps copy is reserved for visitors who download the song, if the artist has marked the song as "downloadable" in their management interface.

    Our decision to stream at 96kbps was strictly financial, as the costs of disk space and bandwidth, while relatively cheap compared with five or 10 years ago, are still high enough that this little difference really matters at this stage of the project.

    But, we keep that "CD quality" copy on hand, which means that, in the future (read: when we can afford it) we have the option to create better-quality versions of the entire Uvumi music library for our streaming listeners, probably 128Kbps would be sufficient.

    It has also come to our attention that many of you would like to use Uvumi to host even higher-quality copies of your songs. Well, we would love to do that! But once again, high density disk storage and servers aren't cheap, and until we figure out a way to generate some revenue (see: Ads Coming To Uvumi.com), we're going to have to stick with the system we have right now. When we can afford to expand, we envision allowing all artists to replace any of their songs with higher quality copies, so you can provide very high bitrate songs to your fans via download.

    We hope that the quality of audio streams on Uvumi.com doesn't detract from your experience too much, and we appreciate your patience and support as we continue working to improve the Uvumi platform.
  • blog post Report Ads Coming To Uvumi.com

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Jan 30, 2010 - 18:45 by Marshall Stokes
    A lot of our new members have inquired about how we plan to pay the bills for Uvumi's server hosting, maintenance, and bandwidth requirements. Many of you have even offered to donate money to help keep us afloat, and we are quite flattered and grateful for your generosity!

    I'll get right to the point before I start writing long-winded explanations (which I tend to do). From the beginning we have planned on running paid ads on Uvumi.com, but I want to share our priorities with everyone before we actually roll out the advertising system:

    Priorities for the new ad system:

    1. Be sure the site remains focused on artists, fans, music, and community

    2. Provide useful, relevant advertisements that might actually be of interest to the community

    3. Keep the lights on, pay the bills, maybe even put some food on our dinner tables

    Now, to explain a bit...

    Something that bothers us (a lot) about so many websites is their tendency to try and bang out a quick buck from their traffic, without regard for their visitors and users. I'm talking about sites where ads are plastered all over the place, oftentimes animated and/or noisy, flashing and distracting, and sometimes even full-page background images.

    For the past two years (tehcnically, much longer), Uvumi has been a dream of ours, but obviously we can't give it everything we've got without bringing in some revenue. We're already all-in, and frankly we would never be able to keep this thing going if we had to work regular jobs 40 hours a week.

    Olivier, Michele, and I have been working on this issue for a couple months now, designing, coding, and testing a system to run paid advertisements on Uvumi.com, and it's really important to us that the community understands how we intend to proceed with this plan because, clearly, we're nothing without all of you.

    So, here it is:

    You may have already noticed that there are some empty areas in the layout on many pages here on Uvumi.com, mostly in the right-hand column of the common page layout.

    Our plan is to run ONE advertisement per page because we think it will keep things simple and not become too distracting, while preventing sponsors from competing with other ads on a given page and upsetting our user base. We will not allow Flash objects as advertisements, which means no video and no moving/flashing animations to distract you from the whole reason you're here. And, perhaps most importantly, we'll be selective about the ads that run on the site, in order to keep true to the primary topics of this website: Music, art, and general creativity.

    We don't actually have any sponsors lined up yet, and when we first roll out this new system, we'll run our own "ads" to test the waters a bit, make sure the system is stable, and direct visitors to areas of Uvumi they may not have discovered yet.

    As for the many offers from Uvumi members to help keep us going with donations, we would very much like to make this work as a functional business while keeping community satisfaction as a top priority. We propose a new, different way that you can use your dollars to help keep us going, without taking the direct donation route. Help us test our new ad system!

    We'll start this whole revenue model out by offering to sell sponsored ad slots to you, the members of our community who have been so supportive and eager to help, at steep discounts. If you are an artist, you could buy an ad spot for your merchandise. You could help other artists out by running ads to support them and drive traffic to their profiles. Heck, you could buy your friend a birthday present or special gift in the form of a front page ad on Uvumi.com. We'll start the pricing very low, because we want to make this cost effective and really hone our ad system before we bring in bigger sponsors, while keeping the community involved in our growth.

    There's a caveat, though, in this whole community-supported advertising concept, and I think it's important that everyone be aware of it from the very start. As we continue to grow, and ideally manage to bring in bigger advertisers (while staying true to the three priorities listed above), prices for ad runs will increase as demand for ad space increases. As that trend continues, we envision selling those slots to the highest bidders most of the time. After all, it is going to take real revenue to make the substantial improvements to Uvumi that we all know it can benefit from. There are so many features and enhancements we want to develop, and with all the fantastic suggestions coming in from our growing legion of community members, we are overwhelmed with great ideas to improve this site and make it a better place for artists and fans alike. If the community here responds well to this concept, and everyone enjoys member-purchased ads (in lieu of direct donations), we would be very open to preserving a portion of our ad slots for community-driven ads at a low cost, to keep it open and fun for everyone, and to keep the community involved in the revenue model for Uvumi.com.

    As usual, we would love to hear your feedback on this, and we hope you won't mind as we do what we have to do to make sure the bills are paid and the lights stay on. Uvumi is already seeing some real load on its servers, and as we grow, we will no doubt need to increase our server capacity, which of course means spending money. There's also the team, as much as we are in love with this project and we are dedicated to it, we have to pay our rents and feed our families. And buy the occasional bottle of rye ;)

    We, Team Uvumi, are very much looking forward to hearing your feedback on this topic, and we hope you don't mind our efforts to keep the bills paid so we can continue to grow the community and make it a better place for artists and fans.

    Much love,
  • blog post Report Jan 29, 2010 Updates and Fixes

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Jan 29, 2010 - 22:30 by Marshall Stokes
    Just launched a few more bug fixes and improvements. We were offline from 10pm to 10:30pm PST tonight while we made some changes to our database servers to help us handle the increased load since last week.

    Here is a list of the changes we launched with today's new release:

    - Band profiles now only display the original five members on the main profile pages, and a link is provided to get to the Members page if there are more than five total members. This will make band pages much more accessible for those of you who are using this part of Uvumi as a group feature until we develop something better suited to your needs (check out Lost and Found, T61 Refugees, or Beat Geeks to see this in action)

    - Fixed a layout bug in "Awaited Members" section of band management that caused the confirm button to overlap the friend status for each pending member

    - Improved our back-end database system to help the site load quickly even when we're seeing lots of usage

    If you notice any problems with today's changes, or if you would like to make a suggestion, please leave a comment below and we'll definitely address your concerns as soon as we can. We're not perfect, and code roll-outs like this can be tricky, so please let us know if you find a problem or you think we messed up somewhere!

    Thanks for your patience, everyone!
  • blog post Report Minor Improvements Launched

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Jan 28, 2010 - 23:15 by Marshall Stokes
    • Edited By olivier on Jan 29, 2010 - 0:20
    Uvumi.com went offline for some scheduled maintenance about 30 minutes ago, and I am very happy to report that we're back online without any major issues!

    I made a small change to our database server in an effort to squeeze a bit more performance out of it.

    Here's what's new in this update:

    - Fixed a bug that prevented music album details from being saved in some cases (thanks to skryfet and Alchemorph Soundtracks)

    - Limited number of genre charts that are loaded on the Charts page to 10, to improve load times and reduce clutter. The genre charts that are displayed are the most popular genres for the date you are viewing. You can still get to all the other genre charts using the list in the right-hand column on that page.

    - Fixed a bug that caused band feeds to remain intact even after a band account was deleted (thanks for reporting that, Nebulae)

    - Fixed a bug that caused user-posted links to Uvumi.com RSS feeds to not work properly within the site

    - Do not display "label: unspecified" anymore on your profile if you don't have any, since most people don't.

    That's it for now! Thanks for your patience!
  • blog post Report Today's updates: Some bug fixes, speed improvements

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Jan 27, 2010 - 9:00 by Marshall Stokes
    As traffic climbed yesterday, we started to notice some big slow downs on certain pages. For example, my dash was terribly slow, due to the DB queries that were pulling feeds from over 1000 users. Anyway, here's what we updated today:

    - Dash and home page loading is now much, much faster thanks to some genius SQL query optimization by Olivier

    - A bug in comment permalinks which was resulting in links to the wrong comment has been fixed

    - A bug that caused commands to be omitted from 3rd-tier comment replies has been fixed

    - Public network pages (friends and fans lists) are now paginated to reduce load times when viewing profiles of members who have many friends and fans

    - Other very minor bug fixes that will probably go largely unnoticed

    We'll be working on some other minor improvements, as well as the database optimization that I mentioned earlier this morning. As always, we will do our best to keep everyone informed of what is going on around here, in hopes that we don't spring any crazy changes or downtime on you unexpectedly! Of course, sometimes it's unavoidable, but we're doing the best we can. :)
  • blog post Report More Updates Coming Today

    Marshall Stokes
    Posted on Jan 27, 2010 - 6:15 by Marshall Stokes
    Hi Everyone!

    Ok, since we had an explosion in new members, and traffic on our server cluster has increased, we are definitely getting loaded down just a little bit, and many of you are probably noticing some slower page loads, and some hiccups every now and then while you're browsing the site. So far I haven't noticed any problem with the music streaming, but I would love to know if anyone else experiences skipping or random pauses in the music streams.

    Anyway, we've been analyzing our system a bit, and we have identified a couple of key areas where we can quickly optimize a bit, particularly in some really big database calls that are happening on certain pages.

    At some point today, we are going to roll out another update to address these issues, and hopefully speed the entire website up just a little bit, so I just wanted to let everyone know that you'll get a popup and forced refresh some time today, probably in the next couple of hours.

    More importantly, I am actively working on a plan to optimize a portion of our database cluster, which is going to require a short period of downtime. I would like to do this today, if I can make it happen, but it might be tomorrow (or late tonight) depending on how things go. We'll let everyone know when this is going to occur using a system-wide message, and hopefully we won't be offline for more than an hour. This is something that really needs to be addressed as soon as possible so we can keep up with the sudden surge in traffic we're seeing.

    Anyway, wanted to keep you guys in the loop, I noticed we don't have a lot of members following this blog yet, so spread the word a bit if you can!
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