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TOPIC: News - 3/3/13

News - 3/3/13 03 Mar 2013 11:25 #1

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Site Issues

Yesterday evening we had an issue with the website. Basically I deleted the wrong SQL database. While the main site was down, I did have a temporary site up that enabled people to tune in, request, and chat on our backup chat system.

The hosting company was able to restore a week old version of the database. As a result, if you signed up for the website anytime after 2/27 and your account information does not work, you will need to re-register. Sorry about that.

We also lost a handful of postings in the Forums. Again, my apologies.

Available Stream Bitrates

As of today we are only offering the following bitrates:

  1. 128kb MP3 - Via Live365
  2. 64kb MP3 and 32kb MP3 Via StreamLicensing

The 48kb AAC+ bitrate has been removed. In addition, the 192kb stream will eventually be removed once our iTunes listing points to the 128kb Live365 stream - which should be sometime in the next week or so.

I encourage anyone that was using the 192kb stream through sources other than iTunes to transition to the 128kb stream. Live365 offers numerous ways to tune in: via their web player, mobile apps, their dedicated desktop player (free to try / VIP subscription required after the trial) and listings on a number of hardware devices - such as Roku. Those that tune in via iTunes should continue to do so as the transition to the Live365 stream should be seamless. The 128kb stream will also be listed on other directories such as TuneIn.

For those hardware devices that do not list Live365 stations or require a URL, you can use the following URL to tune in: www.live365.com/play/faon365.

The 64kb and 32kb bitrates are available in all the places they were previously. You can tune in via the FA website, Shoutcast, TuneIn, Winamp, vTuner, etc.

Commercials On Live365

While Flashback Alternatives is 100% commercial free, you may hear a Live365 Pre-roll announcement and/or an ad when you first tune in to the 128kb stream. This is NOT a Flashback Alternatives ad. Live365 reserves the right to insert an ad before the music starts. Once the music starts, you will not hear any additional advertising. As a side note, if you are a Live365 VIP you will not hear any pre-roll advertisements.

Station Support

FA continues to need listener support to keep afloat. Just a $2 monthly contribution from each listener goes a long way. As we head into our fifteenth year of broadcasting, FA needs your support more than ever. Contributions can be made via Paypal or Snail Mail. Links are on the main page of the website.

As always, thanks for listening to Flashback Alternatives!
DJ Ed
Flashback Alternatives

...I am a DJ, I am what I play...
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News - 3/3/13 12 Mar 2013 08:56 #2

I added the live356 stream to my winamp. Noticed immediately it does not have any song and artist info given. It's 128kbps, not the 192 that I'm used to. You can definitely hear the sound inferiority.

I was with live356 back almost 10 years ago. They charged me extortionist prices for their streams.

Ed, I contribute to FA every month via PayPal. I don't think I should have to pay live 356 again for better sound and no ads. What do you think?
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News - 3/3/13 12 Mar 2013 09:32 #3

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krulmadden wrote:
I added the live356 stream to my winamp. Noticed immediately it does not have any song and artist info given. It's 128kbps, not the 192 that I'm used to. You can definitely hear the sound inferiority.

I was with live356 back almost 10 years ago. They charged me extortionist prices for their streams.

Ed, I contribute to FA every month via PayPal. I don't think I should have to pay live 356 again for better sound and no ads. What do you think?

Hello:

Unfortunately listener contributions have not kept up with the rising costs of broadcasting. I was forced to make some difficult choices. Discontinuing the 192kb stream and moving the 128kb stream over to Live365 were two of those choices. For what it's worth, not many broadcasters offer a 192kb stream. It was an experiment that did not work out financially for the station.

While there is some sound quality differences between the 192kb and 128kb streams, the difference is not that noticeable unless you have high end speakers. Plus most people who stream the station at work would rather fly under the radar with a lower bitrate stream. I am looking into some additional processing software to improve the overall sound across all bitrates, but that is still a few months away.

As for the ads, there is only a pre-roll ID and possibly one Live365 ad before the stream starts. I can't do anything about that and Live365 is entitled to make some money to keep their business operational. Once those play, there are no ads in the stream itself as we broadcast live. We are still commercial free. Yes, Live365 can be expensive to use as a broadcaster, but I was able to partner with another group to save some money - so overall it was less expensive to use Live365 for the 128kb stream and I have more expansion potential.

It is true that unless you use the Live365 player (either the free web player or the pay desktop player) or you use iTunes, you will not get the Artist/Track/Album information on the 128kb stream - again nothing I can do about that as Live365 does not send the meta data to players other than those mentioned above - and some hardware players such as Roku. I will be creating a pop-up Now Playing that people can keep on their desktop so they can see what is playing/what has played. While the (pay) desktop player does offer a somewhat better sound experience, that can actually be duplicated in Winamp by playing around with some of the equalizer settings. Becoming a Live365 VIP is up to the individual listener as to whether or not the features offered in that program are worth it. I try to make sure the stream is available to all - regardless of player. In addition, the Live365 mobile app is free to use - and you don't have to register with Live365 to use it.

Lastly, I greatly appreciate your support, and hope you will continue to support and listen to the station. I realize we did remove a high bitrate stream and using Live365 may not be as convenient, but I had to do what was best financially for the station (and ultimately me).

Thank you for you feedback.
DJ Ed
Flashback Alternatives

...I am a DJ, I am what I play...
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News - 3/3/13 13 Mar 2013 12:40 #4

I'm sorry but please go back to live365. I listen to FA on my iPhone using TuneIn Radio when I'm at the office. TuneIn is one of the best, if not THE best, radio app in the world for radio. Up to about last week, there was no problem listening to FA on TuneIn as the song's title, artist and album artwork all showed up during the broadcase. But as you mentioned, it does not get the meta data now so there's no way to know what that cool song is, who sung it, etc, which was the #1 appeal to me as I am relearning a lot of artists from the 80's and 90's that I didn't know existed.

What makes this even more annoying for me, is that I reinstalled the Live365 app again this morning. I had it 2 years ago when it was first introduced on ITunes. It was a horrible experience full of technical glitches and absolutely no tech support from Live365. I thought it's been 2 years, maybe these guys finally got their act together.

I read the reviews, noticed the app version was different from the one in the past, and loaded it. I got "CANNOT CONNECT TO SERVER" when I tried to launch the app 3-4 times. So I when back to the iPhone App Store to see if there's app tech support for the Live365 app. I clicked on the link and got code 503 "service is temporarily unavailable". Ok, not good to see. I then went back to Live365's home page. Got to the "all genres" link and got another 503.

You mentioned Winamp work around. What is it? I use Winamp at home. Does the workaround give artist and song title? I recognize that the 192kbps and 128 kbps streams cannot be differentiate unless over stereo speakers. I do listen to FA on my home stereo and immediately noticed the sound quality. If there's no 192 stream, how about an AAC stream?

As it stands now, I'm reloading the app again. I'll let you know if I finally get connected and get listen to FA on the Live365 app. The Live365 site is extremely busy and user reviews tell me that the app bugs out 60% to 85% of daily usage. Surely 1.FM can't have been as bad Live365 (shudder). We cannot us the Live365 desktop player at work (government office) so using my iPhone to listen to FA is my only option. Any help is appreciated.
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News - 3/3/13 13 Mar 2013 13:00 #5

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Moving back to 1.FM is not even an option nor would I consider it even if it were. I enjoyed my time with 1.FM, but they were going in a different direction than I liked (closed system, only their player) and I did not like the commercials (and type of commercials) in the stream.

Live365 is having some issues today with their website which is affecting their mobile and web based apps. Streams, however, are not affected.

The app, however, is very good. No login required to use it. I have not had one problem with it on my Android phone.

As for the TuneIn app, they are currently having problems with their app and Live365 streams on mobile devices. They are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it. I do like the TuneIn app, and use it for the lower bit rate FA streams when I am in a non-4G area.

There is no workaround for the Artist-Title information. I just said you can improve the sound quality of the 128kb stream to match that of the Live365 Desktop Player by enabling the EQ function in Winamp and using a setting that works with your particular setup. I am listening at work through Winamp, on a cheap pair of USB speakers, and with EQ enabled using either the Laptop Speaker or Pop preset and the quality is very good. With better speakers I would probably use the Rock or a heavier Bass setting. I will also be creating a pop-up Now Playing box so there will be another way to view Artist-Title info.

Lastly, I considered keeping an AAC+ stream, but so few people used the two I had, it wasn't worth it.

Live365 is not a bad broadcasting environment, especially if you broadcast live/relay, which I do. I tested out a stream on Live365 for over a year before making the switch. I do not take making any changes to the station lightly - Live365 was our best option to continue having a high bit rate stream that was affordable.
DJ Ed
Flashback Alternatives

...I am a DJ, I am what I play...
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