Hush16 Feb 2021Hush I know that we're still in lockdown, but I also know that Mr. Johnson is facing increasing pressure to announce a clear roadmap of a return to normality, and that will include how, and when, hospitality returns. You remember hospitality. It's where we used to spend our evenings, seeing amazing musicians play live.Until next week, nobody knows what our roadmap will be, but we all have our hunches. Holiday companies have started to advertise again. Some venues are taking bookings for April; some before.When the live music scene comes back, I hope that my endeavours over the last 12 months will be helpful to lots of people. Here are some of Lemonrock's new features, ready for End of Lockdown and Return to Live Music:* Favourites revampedFavourites are a key part of Lemonrock. Favourites connect bands and venues with their fans and customers. Your favourites section is now just one page. From here, you can add bands and venues that you're interested in following. We'll send you emails for new gigs, like before, but there's a brand new feature - Instant Gigs - which will alert you - on your mobile or PC - within minutes of new gigs being posted. To get this new feature, enable notifications on your device for Lemonrock. No more waiting until tomorrow to find out about new gigs!* Week-by-week menuOne of the things that bugged me about the old design was the gig search. It was too complicated. Some people liked the new design, some preferred the old week-by-week home page, and having both was clumsy. I have now combined the week-by-week page into the main gig guide - look out for the little down-arrow button.* Home tab for bands and venuesAnother thing that annoyed me about the screen layout was that bands and venues didn't have a quick way to get to their own page - this has now been solved with a "Home" tab that's always visible at the top of the screen.* Wide B/V searchesWide or narrow? If you have ever tried searching for "The something Lion" or "somebody and the Wonders", you may have ended up empty-handed. Now, you can find bands and venues by searching for parts of their name, not just the start of the name. Look for the Magnifying Glass. It is Very Powerful.* BandPayBandPay is a helping hand to venues who want to (or have to) pay bands using a debit or credit card, instead of using cash (remember that stuff?). Lemonrock uses Stripe as our payment partner to enable the smooth flow of payments from venues to bands, using online banking.* Finger trouble?I cast a critical eye over the mobile site, and have now improved the usability of many pages by making lots of clickable things bigger, and further apart for those of us with big chunky fingers. Or nails.* Printable text gig guideIf you still *love* paper (and who doesn't), you can print out gig listings and carry a piece of paper with you in your handbag, inside jacket pocket, or wherever feels natural for you in your world. Just remember to recycle, folks, OK? Look for the new 'Print' button at the bottom of the gigs page.And, while we wait for the return of live music, have a shot at QuizMaster, our daily music competition. It's fun, honest. Set a reminder for 7.30pm sharp. Go on, enjoy yourself for 4 minutes.See you soon.MacPhoto by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
Meanwhile, backstage...29 Jan 2021Meanwhile, backstage... You would be forgiven for thinking that nothing is happening on Lemonrock.But, like many good things, most of the work goes unnoticed because it is taking place behind the scenes.So, a quick summary of what's new, and what's coming soon:* January 2020 : Development began of Lemonrock's own payment system for bands, called BandPay. Originally designed in anticipation of the rapidly declining use of cash in venues, BandPay allows venues to pay bands through Lemonrock, using a debit or credit card. This is a fully PCI-compliant scheme, meaning that it is 100% secure. Initially we had hoped to bring this out in Summer 2020, but the COVID-19 lockdown made this pointless.* April - August 2020 : Improvements were made to gig diaries and calendars, including plain text and iCalendar import from existing calendars, to save time when adding gigs to Lemonrock.* August - November 2020 : Lemonrock was modified to become a Progressive Web App (PWA), meaning that you can easily add it to your home screen, and that the icon fits in neatly with the rest of your Apps. This also paves the way for Web Push alerts (see below).* November - December 2020 : Server software was upgraded to the newest version of PHP, our main programming language. This involved hundreds of changes to our own software, including the database interface to MySQL. Development and testing of BandPay continued. We started development of Web Push alerts for gigs, which will mean that our members can get instant alerts on their Lemonrock App about newly posted gigs for their favourites, without having to check their email inbox. A new version of our favourites system was released, making it much simpler to add, remove and track favourite bands and venues. Our password security was strengthened to industry standard.* December 2020 - January 2021 : Development of Web Push continued, with beta testing underway. BandPay is in the final stages of extended testing with our payment partner, Stripe. Both new systems - instant alerts and online band payment - will be ready for deployment by the end of February 2021. Many improvements have been made to the gig guide, including an integrated week-by-week menu that first appeared on the mobile site many years ago. Improvements to the user interface make the Mobile App much easier to use, including gig posting for Band and Venue members, and clearer menu options for everyone.We know that things are still very difficult for bands and venues, so we have continued to run our server with many lapsed pages still active. We have modified our clean-up system so that, until things are back to normal, no data is automatically removed from our site. This means that photos, blogs, audio tracks, as well as band and venue descriptions, contact details and previous gig listings, will remain on the site, and cannot be adopted by anyone else.So, if you don't hear from us, don't worry. We're working hard in the wings of this quiet theatre, to make gig promotion and gig-going easier, more fun, and more effective than ever.And don't forget QuizMaster - Lemonrock's new daily online pop quiz - great fun for 4 minutes, every day at 7.30pm!Mac
Christmas Gremlins29 Dec 2020Christmas Gremlins For some of our members, Lemonrock went eerily quiet for a day.No, it wasn't because of Christmas, or lockdown.A software upgrade caused many older Apple devices - iPads, iMacs and iPhones - to crash when accessing our site. The main pages that were affected were the home page (gig guide) and the page to reset your password.The Elf in charge of these changes says he's very sorry but what with all the extra workload this Christmas and sanitising every bit of every byte in the computer, including the parity and sanity bits, some things just didn't get tested properly. A likely story. I reckon said elf was seen with his own big bag of booze slinking out of Tesco when he should have been running regression tests back in the grotto. Can't get the staff.The 'ead of ElvesPhoto courtesy of TripAdvisor
Surprise Yourself21 Dec 2020Surprise Yourself Nothing pleases me more than finding a new band or singer who rocks my world.A few years ago, I bought Francis Rossi's (Status Quo) album, "One Step at a Time". One backing singer stood out for me, and I re-listen to the album often, just to hear her voice. Absolutely captivating. Spine-tingling. Alive. Special.Her name is Amy Smith. She's from Liverpool, which says a lot already.If you can't afford the luxury of buying Rossi's excellent album, then listen to Amy on this Pink Floyd track on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac_DWFHfQPIHappy Discoveries Everyone.Machttps://smile.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Time-Francis-Rossi/dp/B0037M5XE6
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