31 October 2015

Vocal 2.0 Beta Released

Hey, Nathan here. I’m the guy making Vocal.

I am extremely excited to announce that Vocal 2.0 is now in beta! This beta release is the result of six months of intense, dedicated work, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Vocal 2.0 Library View with the Starter Pack

##What’s New?

  • iTunes Podcast Store. Browse the top podcasts on the iTunes store, discover new shows, and search for your old favorites. This is the first time that the entire iTunes podcast store, the largest and most up-to-date podcast directory in the world, has been directly available from a client on the Linux desktop.

  • An incredible new search experience. Find podcasts and episodes from your library, or search across the entire iTunes ecosystem to find shows that match your interests.

  • A new playback queue. Want to listen to several episodes in a row? Add them to your queue, so that when the current episode finishes, the next one will start automatically without skipping a beat.
  • HTML show notes. Have you ever listened to a podcast where the presenters tell you to check the show notes for a link to a particular topic or to find out more about the show? Now, for supported podcasts, you can directly access the full show notes listing directly from within Vocal.

  • Full iTunes URL support. In the past, when adding a feed manually, you would have to find the standard RSS feed URL to add the podcast to Vocal. Now, simply copy-and-paste the iTunes store link and Vocal will automatically find the RSS feed for you.

  • Smarter notification management. Vocal 2.0 handles notifications in a way that presents useful information to you when necessary, but stays out of your way as much as possible. In the past, a new notification was sent after each download, as well as every time new episodes were discovered. Now, if you are downloading multiple episodes, Vocal will wait until they are all complete to notify you. It also knows whether or not you are currently focused on the window, so that it won’t needlessly bug you with information you already know about.

  • Completely redesigned from the ground up. While you will notice many common elements that you loved in the first version of Vocal, 2.0 features an entirely redesigned experience that I am confident you will fall in love with.

  • Playback improvements.
  • Hundreds of additional bug fixes and improvements.

##Reporting Problems

As this is a beta release, you are absolutely guaranteed to run into issues. Please report any problems that you have over on the project’s GitHub Issues tracker. If you stumble across a podcast that Vocal is having trouble adding to your library, be sure and let us know about that, too.

##Supporting the Project

As you know, Vocal is 100% free, and always will be, but it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to keep the project going. Simply put, the more money that the project has to pay for development, the more time I am able to dedicate to the project. It also helps me pay contributors such as web developers, designers, and other coders to help make the project even better.

All I ask is that if you enjoy using Vocal, and have the means to do so, please consider a small donation. $1, $2, $5- no matter what the amount, it all makes a big difference.

The best way to support the project is to become a Patron. Patreon is a platform where you can give creators a certain amount of money each month, in return for the stuff they make. You also get cool bonuses. Specifically for me, I send out riddles each month that you can solve and input the solution into my apps for a nifty easter egg (this beta release supports the codes I have already sent out). I also send out early development builds to my top level backers (they have been using Vocal 2.0 for about three weeks now). You can subscribe at any level you want- a quarter a month, a dollar a month, five bucks a month- it’s up to you. It helps you get cool stuff and helps keep me doing what I love.

If Patreon isn’t your style, we of course accept one-time donations by Bitcoin, Paypal, or pretty much any other method you want to use.

##Installing Vocal 2.0

Okay, okay, I know what you’re here for. Here’s how to install Vocal 2.0 on elementary OS 0.3 “Freya”:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:nathandyer/vocal-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vocal

If you have already added the unstable PPA you don’t need to add it again. Just check for updates and you should see the new version.

I hope you enjoy! Be sure and let me know what you think on Google+, Twitter, Email, or by leaving a comment here.

- Nathan