Anyone know what improvements will be added to the demo page? I agree with others that it's annoying to see the songs jump to different parts of the screen. On the old page, Windows Media Player would pop up when I selected a song, but now since the music is embedded in the flash page, I have to stay on the page to listen to the song (no browsing). You can't download, and everything's so "compartmentalized" you can't see the whole. It's not a flexible or user friendly setup.
Is there a way to get the old page back? Everything was aligned, you could see all the songs, and it was easier to customize the experience. Or at least include a section on the flash screen that shows a list of ALL songs, ALL composers, ALL Genres, and have filters at the top so the page can be sorted by composer, or by song title, etc.
We've been looking at different ways of listing demos and there are more than 2000 that we could immediately post. Here's the problem, the bandwidth hit on the server was approaching terrabytes monthly, and crashing our servers. This has the effect of slowing down access in general and pushing costs beyond the sustainable.
We've gone to great lengths to block MP3 leechers from countries that are only interested in getting freebies or 'hotlinking' which has no benefit and eats bandwidth. The Flash solution allowed streaming only and cut down on the leaching.
A solution has to be found. We would like to present as many user demos as possible but keep our site running within reasonable limits. Please be assured that we are looking at new and more efficient ways of achieving what you are asking.
I'd agree that the current demo page, though nice in concept, isn't very user friendly. You're right in that it is difficult to easily see what's available without a lot of digging around. I seem to recall that there were problems with the servers getting hit with continuous, massive download activity coming out of China, I think. So I believe the current demo page was, at least in part, a response to this situation. As far as saving things to disk, more than a few of these demos are still available as originally posted and might be found by searching on the demo title in the listening room. Short of that, you could download Audacity and then record the demo as it streams.
Perhaps a first step would be to block out any webots scouring the net for free mp3s and make sure that an actual human being is attempting to access the demo. There's a little passkey system out there that shows one of several possible strings of characters in script form (as a jpg or gif?) that's not machine readable. The demo listener would indicate these characters back to the server by typing them into a box, telling the server that the demo listener is, in fact, a human being and not a webot. There's a name for this system, but I can't recall what it is, though I've seen it implemented at a few different places. Giving this a try might exclude the worst automated bandwidth offenders and give the humans a shot (if that's what the problem mostly was).
There's a little passkey system out there that shows one of several possible strings of characters in script form (as a jpg or gif?) that's not machine readable. The demo listener would indicate these characters back to the server by typing them into a box, telling the server that the demo listener is, in fact, a human being and not a webot.