Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dealing with Large Backups

For many musicians, OnSong lets them to more with less equipment. They have backing tracks assigned to each song and perhaps even motion background videos for a more dynamic show. If you are using higher-quality audio and video files, the size of your OnSong library can grow quickly, causing issues with backing up those gigabytes of files.

Of course a backup file is only useful if it's stored off of the device. This allows you to restore your OnSong library quickly in the event that the device is lost, stolen, or damaged. The best way to ensure your library is safe is to have it automatically backup to Dropbox or another cloud-based storage service. If you're library is too big, it could put your backup strategy in jeopardy.

We've added a new setting in OnSong that brings the size of your backup files down while still giving you a novel way to rebuild your library in the event of a device failure.

Go into the Utilities Menu in OnSong by tapping on the gear icon in the menubar. Then tap on Settings and choose Advanced. One of the first options is Backup Media Files which defaults to being toggled on. Toggle this off and then tap the Done button. If you have large media files contained in your OnSong library, they will be omitted from the backup file, making it much smaller.

You may be curious as to what happens when you restore a library that had the media files removed. OnSong still backs up your entire library such as songs, sets, settings, books, and even media. The references to those backing tracks and motion backgrounds are still restored, but the underlying media files will be missing. You can then restore those separately. To do this, you would just import the files again. As long as the filename of the original media file is the same as that in the restored library, OnSong will relink the media file to the original media entry. This makes restoring a library a multi-step process, but it also means you can backup and restore faster, and then just import the media you need when you need it.

I hope that gives you a new way to work with OnSong. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

OnSong Releases Version 2.0 Minus Epsilon

In the unending pursuit to push the limits of modern mathematics and computing, OnSong LLC has announced the immediate release of OnSong 2.0 Minus Epsilon Edition.  "We couldn't be more proud of our team and the ingenuity of our engineers and mathematicians to solve this massive conundrum", says Jason Kichline the founder and lead developer of OnSong LLC, "And we've done just that".

The key to not-quite launching the most anticipated release of OnSong yet lies in the incrementation strategy of its version numbering system. "Almost 7 years ago to this day, I uploaded the 1.0 version of OnSong to Apple for approval", recalls Kichline. "A few days later we were approved. We didn't know what sort of impact OnSong would have on the world, but we loved the simplicity of that singular moment of integer-based bliss". Even then, a sole decimal point situated between two indivisible numbers hinted at the future success of such an app for musicians.

Almost immediately after launch, Jason began receiving emails about the beauty of this "1.0" concept along with lists of features and bug fixes. "Frankly, the first version sucked and shouldn't have been called that. Maybe I should have started with version 0.92 or something, but Apple wouldn't let me.", he quipped.  Working in his free time at nights and on weekends, Jason began making improvements to the nascent program based on user input. In a about a week, version 1.1 was released.  Since that time in 2010, more than 70 versions of OnSong have been released, each one more accurately approaching, but never quite attaining that two point "oh" designation.

Thanks to the feedback of a vibrant community of almost satisfied users, OnSong continues to build the best app for musicians, albeit within the realm of a one digit. "Every now and then we think about just adding that one feature that we feel would make OnSong complete, update the number and be done with it. But instead we make it more stable and able to run on six versions of iOS.", bemoaned Product Manager Jaime Kichline, "Then Jason drinks a little too much coffee and stays up late and the next morning OnSong is setting mood lighting in our home office along with computer generated techno."

Prior to this release, OnSong was only able to achieve five levels of floating point precision with version 1.99922 which made those brave enough to recite the number aloud sound like a angry, stuttering, German ballerina. Apple only permits versions to be entered that are less than seven characters in length. "We thought about making an Android version of OnSong just to get around this limitation because it's open source", says Jaime, "But then we'd be right back to 1.0 anyway on that platform so it just didn't make any sense. None of this makes any sense."

The key to putting off the inevitable was the mathematic concept of epsilon. Often misunderstood as a "backwards number 3" or the "greek letter nailed to the front porch of a frat house", the epsilon symbol is used in the epsilon-delta definition of the limit in the field of differential calculus. "Essentially it's the closest possible number to absolute zero, that's not absolute zero based on the limitations of the system, such as a computer system.", informed Dr. Justin Tuple who's Dean of Theoretical Mathematics at Celebrate Online University. "By taking a whole number like 2 and subtracting epsilon, the OnSong team has done the unthinkable. Truly, it's unprecedented in the field of mobile application development".  So why do it?

"We feel that releasing OnSong 2.0 would be a declaration of a future perfection; a ceasing of our mortal struggle towards completion and wholeness.", Kichline waxed philosophically, perhaps even theologically. "Slowing the measured rate of symbolic progression allows us to do what all of us dream of doing with our precious gift of life; to attempt to impede the incessant march of time and the ultimate cessation of breath to a point just before we take that next, logical, momentous step into eternity, into the next life. We are just not ready to leave behind the beauty and wonder of our first creation just yet."

It's this combination of near spiritual dedication that drives the OnSong team towards the continual creation of what some consider, just an app.  But to the team that is constantly fiddling with the bits and bytes of transient electrons whirling through etched silicon, it's so much more. "Maybe we're crazy, or maybe it's just Jason, but either way we just want to keep building cool stuff.", says Chris Lard the developer of OnSong Console for Mac.

OnSong's Support Manager Kendra Shaver puts it best –
   "I'm just glad we didn't actually release 2.0, I mean then we'd really find out what we're missing."

To see what's new in version 2.0 Minus Epsilon, who are we kidding? April Fools!

FYI: We are coming out with an actual release soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

iPad 1 Support Is Ending

In March we announced that the iPad 1 is no longer supported for development making it difficult to test on an iPad 1 prior to releasing new updates. We have continued to struggle with this, but have managed to make it work for the past 9 months. Our goal has always been to support our iPad 1 users as long as we could.

The time has come. We can no longer provide updates for iPad 1 users while still maintaining updates for 99% of our users. Simply put, we need to update frameworks provided by other companies like Dropbox to maintain interoperability, but those framework are only available now on newer versions of iOS. In fact, some services that OnSong uses will begin to stop working as these companies shift to newer technologies.

In an effort to keep our users in the loop on what we are doing, we want to make you aware that beginning in 2017, OnSong updates will only be available on devices running iOS 9 and higher. All other users will not be able to update, but will still be able to run your current version of OnSong. We are working hard to have a version that is stable and will give you the performance capabilities you depend on with OnSong.

We encourage you to upgrade your iPad or iPhone to the latest version of iOS possible and update your OnSong as well. This will allow you to have the best features and performance that is available to you.

Since it is the holiday season, what better time to ask Santa for a new device for Christmas? Now is a great time to buy a new iPad as Apple is lowering their iPad prices. There are so many great deals out there on iPads this time of year. Please upgrade to a newer device so that we can continue to support you in the future.

If you are an original iPad 1 user, please take a moment and sign up to receive communications with any updates regarding the iPad 1.

Monday, November 7, 2016

What Your Need to Know about iOS 10.1

On October 24th, Apple released iOS 10.1. After about a week, we have found a few issues that may effect you.

Never update a performance device without being sure that an update will not effect you. We recommend backing up your OnSong library periodically to ensure you can switch to a different device or rollback to a previous version of iOS if needed.

Backing Tracks

Apple seems to have made changes to the Music player in OnSong that is causing issues with playing backing tracks. If you've linked songs in your OnSong library to backing tracks in your iTunes Media Library, you may experience this issue.

How To Replicate
This issue exhibits itself when you start a backing track on a song in a set. Then while it's still playing, switch to the next song in the set that also has a backing track. When the first song finishes, starting the next backing track will result in previous backing track playing.

Reasoning
The reason this happens is that OnSong enqueues the upcoming backing track to the built-in iOS Music app when the next song in the set is loaded. This appears to fail in iOS 10.1 and higher if the player is currently playing another track. We have reported this to Apple as a bug and are awaiting a response.

Workaround
The good news is that OnSong has a really simple workaround for this issue. Simply go into the Utilities menu in OnSong (gear icon) and choose Settings » Live Settings » Audio Playback and enable the Crossfade Enabled switch. This will force backing tracks to be played by the OnSong backing track player instead of remote-controlling the Music app. The only downside with doing this is if you have volume changes or have trimmed the track within iTunes. The workaround will also not work with tracks that have DRM (digital rights management) or that are streaming from Apple Music or iCloud.

AirPlay Mirroring

It appears that iOS 10.1 has removed the ability to AirPlay to older AppleTV devices (2nd and 3rd generation). We are testing to confirm which AppleTV generations this effects. We have tested a device running iOS 10.2 beta and it appears that AirPlaying to all generations of AppleTV has been restored.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

OnSong and iOS 10

OnSong is always being developed to ensure it works not only with the latest versions of iOS 10 and devices from Apple, but also with the services that integrate into the app.

Some of you have asked if it is safe to update to iOS 10. We have tested OnSong with the final released versions of iOS 10 and OnSong has been working great. As of the time of this writing, approximately 43% of active users are running iOS 10 with about 47% of users running iOS 9. We have not had any users report any issues specifically with OnSong running on iOS 10.

That doesn't mean you won't experience an issue. Some users have experienced issues during the update process or performance problems with iOS 10. We always recommend that you backup your OnSong library before performing any updates in the event there is a problem during the process. Please watch our backup video tutorial to learn how.

We also recommend that you backup your device to iTunes or iCloud so if it's every lost, stolen, or stops functioning, you can restore to another device.

One change that has happened in iOS 10, if you are now prompted to allow OnSong to access your iTunes Media Library. If you decline, OnSong is not able to access your iTunes Music Library to link chord charts to tracks. If you inadvertently declined to provide access, you can turn this back on by going into the Settings app and choosing OnSong on the left under Applications. You can then toggle iTunes Media Library access at the top of that screen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New OnSong Feature - Quick Pick

Being able to change or update your set list on the fly makes for an exciting set.  What better way to respond to the crowd than to throw in a song that you never planned on performing? Now with the new Quick Pick feature, you can find songs and view them in as few as three taps of the screen - making it so you never even miss a beat!  

Simply tap on a song title in the heads-up display area of the menubar and the Quick Pick screen will open.  In the Quick Pick screen, type a word from the title of the song.  As you type, OnSong will find matches in your library that contain that word in the title of the song. If you are unsure if the song is the one you are looking for, tap on the magnifying glass icon on the right to preview it.

Once you have found a song you’d like to play, tap to pick it.  If you are currently viewing a set, the song is automatically added to the set as the next song. If you are viewing a single song from your OnSong library, tapping on the song will display the song immediately. 

Watch the Video Tutorial or Read the Users Manual

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fix Available: iOS 9 Crash with No Internet Connection

The Problem

We've had a number of users tell us that OnSong will begin to start and then shutdown to the home screen when no Internet connection is available. We have confirmed this a bug in iOS 9 on iPads, potentially only those with cellular data. iPhone models do not appear to be effected. The crash is caused when OnSong attempts to find nearby peers via OnCue using the original version of OnCue which triggers an exception in iOS 9's networking libraries.

The Synopsis

New installations of OnSong will automatically select the new version OnCue and not the original. The original version of OnCue uses an Apple framework that has been deprecated by Apple since iOS 7, but remains available in OnSong for backwards compatibility with iOS 5 and iOS 6 devices. Until iOS 8.4, this framework has continued to work. Current versions of iOS have caused bugs in the framework that will likely not be fixed by Apple due to their deprecated status. If you had this version of OnCue set in your preferences, it will continue to be used in iOS 9 which is what is causing the issue.

The Fix

Luckily the fix appears to be simple. Go into the Settings app from your device's home screen and choose OnSong on the left. Scroll to the Menu Settings section on the right and open the Sharing option. Under the OnCue section, change OnCue Version to "New" instead of "Original". Close out of the settings screen and open OnSong.

The Solution

We have changed OnSong 1.999 to automatically switch to the new version of OnCue if it was already set. We are planning allow an override of this in case Apple fixes this bug in the future.

We are working hard to finalize OnSong 1.999 to correct this an other found issues. We thank you for your patience as we work to ensure stability on the best app for musicians!