After some searching, we discovered that iTunes for Windows doesn’t support TLS 1.1+.
We had disabled TLS 1.0 (and lower) on our servers as an easy way of complying with the upcoming PCI requirements, and then received reports of listeners unable to download podcast audio in iTunes. After a bunch of investigation (involving staring at Wireshark), we finally realized that iTunes was failing the TLS negotiation with the server. Reenabling TLS 1.0 (except for the pledge forms) fixed the issue.
Our Audio Backpack application allows users to create their own classical music playlists. We built it in Ember.
I spent some time recently reviewing a few frameworks and came up with these bullet points in trying to decide which one to bet on internally long term. This is what I found:
– A more opinionated framework that almost make you do things “the right way” – Very Rails-like lots of similar concepts – 2 way binding more efficient because you have to call accessors – getter and setter methods explicitly – CRUD field generation based on models a la Rails allows for rapid development – Powerful router that works just like the Rails router – Better documentation – Computed properties very powerful ie a circle object that has a user entered radius field can have a diameter filed that is calculated automatically – is only just getting to stable APIs
Backbone – even less than a framework than Angular. A tool set where you do most of the work but is more light weight
React – Really just concerned with the V in MVC but is very efficient with its use of a virtual DOM to shadow the Real DOM. Can be used as the V in Backbone.
At this point I am still leaning toward Ember for a few reasons. First we do a fair amount of Rails already and Ember is conceptually very similar to Rails. Additionally, an opinionated framework can be really helpful in a team setting where some of the team is new to the framework as it almost enforces good practice.
As we consider the future of our nativemobileapplications, it is worth considering what features we want to add and support as the capabilities of devices grow. Recently, the Apple Watch has extended the utility of the iPhone. I have had the opportunity to use an Apple Watch for some time and have tried a number of different news and audio listening apps. These are some rough notes on how various applications work and what they provide.
This is one of the more polished and apps on the watch and it is a great companion/extension of the iOS app. Almost all the functionality of the iOS app is here, except the ability to sign in (you have to do that on your phone). If I have any gripe of this app, it’s that finding the menu with a force touch is not terribly intuitive, but that is more a condemnation of the Watch’s UX pattern than the NPR app.
This app has several basic groupings of news that you can choose from: Top Stories, My News, and Most Read. The interface is a simple watch-like tree, using the default watch typefaces. Each story detail consists of a small image and short summary. A force touch brings up a menu that lets you jump to an extended version of each of these sections, even if you’re already in one. Strangely, it does not let you add a story to “My News”.
Flipboard feels like a natural and smaller-weight extension of the iOS app. It doesn’t feature the compelling visual transitions, but it does retain most of the important functionality, in an albeit stripped down manner. You only have a selection of the most important 10 or so stories to choose from, not the depth that you can explore on your phone.
Upon launching, this app gives you a very simple walk-through of what it does. Perhaps because I am a new Apple Watch user, I did not find this as tedious as similar experiences on the phone. Like most watch apps, this one is basic and focused; there is a limited selection of important stories and your only force-touch option is to save them for later. The app tells you when you’ve seen everything that there is to see. Unlike the other apps, the NYT app is more richly styled with their signature typefaces.
Overcast is the popular alternative podcast player and its designer, Marco Arment, has written extensively about the iterations of the watch app. You should go read his piece rather than mine, but it’s a gem of an app. As you might expect, controls are up front and easy to use, and the power-user features of voice boost and smart speed are hidden behind a force touch menu. Since Apple doesn’t have a watch version of their own Podcast app, this app is useful for prolific podcast listeners.
Like Flipboard, you cannot start your experience in this app, but have to set up stations and an account in the iOS app. Once you’ve set up stations, the watch app gives a basic view of your stations and what’s playing. The artwork is inconsistent, but that might be a problem of metadata from providers (like us!). Also, the app does work with the now playing glance, and shows fast forward / rewind controls, which is not correct for an audio stream.
This app is very simple. It offers you play/pause and prev/next functionality for whatever list of content you’re looking at in the iOS app. There is no ability to find other content. The only other option that it offers is the ability to like a track via the force touch menu.
This is a strange but potentially fun media player app. You can play songs from your media library, either on the watch itself or via the connected iPhone. The play/pause/next track controls are straight forward. The real differentiator in this app are the four effects that it offers: ChopChop, Whitenoise, 8-Bit, and Hi-Lo. They’re useful just in case you ever wanted to DJ a party with cheesy effects from your watch. There are no force touch menus in this app.
Earlier this week, we made public the new homepage for MPR News. This is the final big piece of our ongoing responsive re-design of the site. Technology-wise, there aren’t any new systems or components on the homepage that haven’t been put in use in the topic pages or story pages. But, the homepage is a Read more →
As requested by my colleague, here are some nerdy details about the flow of data driving mprnews.org and other MPR|APM websites. Origins The Barn is a the central internal search engine and content aggregator within MPR|APM. Here’s how it came to be. A few years ago I went through a period of reading and re-reading Read more →
Every day APM|MPR generates several hours of audio content for its radio and digital broadcasts. Over time that adds up to many terabytes of audio, most of which has no written transcripts available, because transcripts are expensive and slow to create. Imagine listening to the news and writing down everything you hear, word for word, Read more →
If you’re a die-hard fan of MPR News, you may have noticed some new page layouts on our site recently. We have been working hard on our search and grouping tools that allow us to generate these pages. We call these groups collections: pages that list and link to other pieces of content, almost always news Read more →
Today we have launched our new weather pages for MPR News, sporting a new design, improved weather data, and geolocation. If your browser supports it, we will attempt to give you the most accurate forecast for the location where you are. Our old weather pages were very text heavy. We’ve re-vamped that with more relevant Read more →