Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday, StationRipper!

Well damn - I just realized that tomorrow is StationRipper's 10th anniversary!  It was first released on Dec 13, 2003, and has been downloaded many millions of times.  As it was originally just a toy for myself and a few friends to record internet radio, I'm fairly shocked that it's still getting a lot of daily downloads!

Everything else to record Internet Radio sucked back then - well, at least the main stand-alone GUI app -  StreamRipper32...  was hideous.  It was based on streamripper, which was solid - but very limiting.  The WinAmp plugin made it a bit nicer, but still had some limits (the biggest was only easily recording one stream at a time). Both would keep re-recording music, which got old - Users would record thousands of songs, prune what they didn't want - and the songs would just show back up again when re-recorded the same station. Fun.

So I figured I'd write my own - I was working on AnnotatedEarth at the time (consumer focused location aware tech - location aware before there were really any devices that supported what I wanted to do).  I wrote StationRipper as a side thing, just 'cause I wanted something that worked better.  Got it more or less working and handed it out to a few friends. They loved it, gave it to a few more people. Next thing I knew, my domain was suspended because of bandwidth overage.  It just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger - was getting mirrored all over the place,was included with CD's in magazines, interview in the Boston Globe, on a few TV shows... within a couple of years it had gone over several million downloads.

Since 2003 I've put out 126 releases - several major revisions with a bunch of point releases.  I wrote, which tracks what stations are playing (and resulted in my having the most tweets of ALL users - I've since fallen to the #5 spot for all tweets).  While StationRipper originally just record shoutcast and podcasts, I expanded it to record, then, then a bunch of other stuff (was shocked one night when I had it running and noticed it had started to record YouTube - cool when software surprised you like that!)

I haven't been keeping up with it lately, and it shows.  I joined Microsoft Research about three years ago, which... distracted me a bit.  The app is written in C++/MFC 4.0 - I still have Visual Studio 6 installed just for build it (and yeah, VS will still build MFC, but there are some major static linker/size issues, so I stay with what I've got. On the up side, it will run on Windows 95 - and I still get the occasional user needing support for that!)

I've been intended to re-write in something else for a long time now - but I enjoy doing new stuff (PhoneBomber being the lastest - massively multiplayer location aware gaming - a projet I dreamed up in 2003 when working on AnnotatedEarth, and finally wrote 4 years ago).

I'm not sure if it's worth doing, though - I don't know if most people really WANT media anymore. I know I personally listen to Spotify all day - and yeah, if I wanted to I could get StationRipper recording Spotify - but WHY? I can play any song any time I want, wherever I'm at.  I realize SOME people still want MP3 files, or I wouldn't be getting the number of downloads (and support questions) I'm still getting... just not sure how many are left :)

Anyway - it's been a GREAT 10 years - didn't get as big as napster (thank god), but it's still a kick to run into users that have loved the software over the years!

Some videos: of the software running:

Easily record

Record 5+ Songs every 12 hours

StationRipper - Record lots and lots of music...

(and yeah, you  really can download a few thousand songs every few hours...)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Few big changes tonight:

  • Doing a 2 minute cache on the main page. This means votes and song info will be a bit dated (by 2 minutes), but means the main page will load MUCH faster.
  • Defaulting to "year" on main page. I rather do recent, but there needs to be a freshness factor to it, which I have not yet done (and need to get more VOTING!)
  • The recent vote list will now always display the last 10
  • BIG problem with images. We had been caching the amazon images, but for too long - so we will now stay current (Amazon changed the URL's to images, so what we had cached was no longer valid and returned a 0 byte image). This will take a bit to refresh - if the image info is too old it will refresh.
The social part has been going ok, and we're pretty happy with the new site. Just need to get more users using the social aspect of it!

The Record Pandora part is out, and working well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I've started work on the new version of - should be interesting, as it adds a social element.