Splasm Software Discussions

iPod Skips Ahead/Returns to Main Menu/Bookmarks Reset
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Author:  mkral [ Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  iPod Skips Ahead/Returns to Main Menu/Bookmarks Reset

I'm having problems with the audiobooks I create in ABB. Everything appears to work fine. The books are created, I see them in my audibooks section of itunes. They play fine. BUT if I am listening to an audiobook & I do not finish it & I sync my ipod with itunes, then go back to listening to the audiobook, it works for a few seconds & then it goes onto the next audiobook in the list (alphabetically) & when I click back on the book I was listening to, the bookmark is gone & it starts over from the beginning.

This happens consistently, with audiobooks created with ABB, but not with audiobooks purchase from audible or itunes. It's happened with both books I've tried so far & it happens no matter what I do in between. I've tried syncing after listening to an audiobook, listening to music or a podcast after listening to the audiobook, but beefore syncing. i've tried listening to music when I first use my ipod, after a sync & yet the problem remains.

Any ideas?


Author:  keithg [ Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

You're finding that your bookmark is discarded the first time you listen to an Audiobook Builder Audiobook in iTunes after synchronizing with your iPod?

I just tried to duplicate this with a 12-hour Audiobook Builder Project, a 5th-generation iPod and iTunes 7.0.2. I built with Audiobook Builder and the output was automatically sent to iTunes, I listened to the Audiobook for several minutes in iTunes then synchronized with the iPod. I resumed the Audiobook with iTunes and it picked up where I left off and played fine for several minutes.

I'd really like to get this to happen here so we can fix it. Can you send us a fairly descriptive list of steps to follow, along with your Project length, iPod specs and iTunes version?

Author:  mkral [ Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:25 am ]
Post subject: 

yes, that is correct. It happens every single time.

OK here's the rundown. I'm using OS 10.4.8 on a 1.5 ghz 12" Powerbook. Itunes 7.0.2, 60 gig video ipod. I use audiobook builder & use a custom bitrate (48 kbps m4b files)

I just upgraded to the newest version of ABB, but these problem files were constructed from the previous version (not sure of the #, but I downloaded it less than 2 weeks ago.

These files were copied from within itunes (not off a cd). The problem happens on my ipod. I listen to the audiobooks, then I sync back to itunes. Then, next time I use my ipod to listen to the audiobook, it plays well for a few seconds to a few minutes & then it stops playing. It usually jumps to the next song in my audiobook section of my ipod, but today it just went back to the main menu. When I go back to the audiobook (either scroll to it, or use the back button to jump back, the bookamrker is back at the very beginning of the audiobook.

Yesterday & today, I"ve been listening to Beach Road by James patterson. I listened to it Thursday night for a few hours. Then when I got home, I synced it with my powerbook. Friday AM, when I turned it on, it played for a few seconds, then jumped to Bleachers by John Grisham. When I went back to beach Road, the bookmark was gone. I scrolled back to where I was at & then played through. I got to 40 minutes & 15 seconds left. I synced last might. This morning, I turned on my ipod & it played ok. I thought the problem may have gone away, but after about 2-3 minutes, it stopped playing. When I checked, the ipod was back at the main menu & when I clicked through to Beach Road, in audibooks, it was back at the beginning. It almost seems like it plays through to the end of the specific chapter that got ripped in. (Each chapter from the original CD is an itunes file, so Beach house probably had 200 or so files that comprised the Audiobook Builder file.) HOWEVER, thsi problem also happened on another audiobook (Bad Business) that had chapters for the first few CD's that I imported, but the final 2 cd's were one long file in ABB, so for the final 1 hour & 42 minutes, there were no black lines on the ipod (where the chapter markers show up), yet I still had the same problem there, so I'm not sure that it;s a chapter marker problem. I can send you one of my files if you want to examine it.

Thanks for the quick reply & thanks for a great program.

Author:  keithg [ Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Is the lost bookmark happening on the iPod or in iTunes? I had thought it was in iTunes but now it sounds like it's on the iPod. I've tried to reproduce the issue on the iPod and I can't seem to, yet.

Either way, would you send the file? Maybe that will allow us to reproduce the issue on the iPod, and give us a good template to work from for reproducing the issue from start to finish in Audiobook Builder. The file's bound to be larger than email can handle. If it's under 100MB you could use something like http://yousendit.com to transfer it to us, or we can set up an iChat file transfer. Let us know which to go with - we'll send over a screen name for the file transfer, if necessary.

Author:  mkral [ Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

OK, now that I've brought up this problem, it seems to have gone away. The 2 audiobooks that I had problems on (the first two that I listened to) both started with B's, so perhaps I set something up incorrectly when I first started to import this stuff. The other two books I've listened to have, so far, not exhibited this behavior. I deleted the first two audiobooks, as I always do once I've finished listnening to them, so I can't send one of those files (I even tried a file recovery program, but couldn't get the file back)

If I have this problem in the future, I will reply to this thread & save the file, so that I can send it in for analysis. And this problem was on the ipod, not on my mac. Sorry for the confusing title.

Author:  153957 [ Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

I had this same problem (on my iPod (video, 60GB), if i recall correctly it also happened with my previous iPod (2 gen, 20Gb))

And I have not yet used AB (Ill probably buy it soon :P )

It happens to me a lot, often when the bookmark is located at a position over 3 hours into the book (I have many long audiobooks)

It occurs like this (well, most often at least);
I listen to a book.
I pause it.
It goes to sleep.
I wake the iPod and simply press play.
It will then often play for about 30 seconds-2 minutes
and then loose the bookmark and skip to the main menu
(Apple has updated the Audiobooks in such a way that when a book finished (or at least one part) it will stop playing and return the iPod to the main menu (unless the audiobook is in a playlist where there are also non-audiobook files, it will then start playing those))

It is hard to reproduce and to determine the exact conditions under which this occurs.
Sometimes I can also, after I have awakened my iPod 'simply' reposition the playhead one or two times it will also jump to the 'end' (loose the bookmark) and start playing the next song/jump to the menu. I sometimes try this when I wake my iPod, to check if it will be jumping back, so that if it does i can quickly restart the audiobooks and set the playback position to where I was (it will then play normally). but sometimes it doesn't jump and it will still jump after playing for 2 minutes (which is quite annoying when riding on a bike.)

...thats just my 2 cents (I had already shared this info, though not as specific, with the developers, but I posted it here to share it)

Author:  mkral [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  it's back

OK, the sam e problem came up again today for me. I was listening to John Grisham's The Summons on my ipod & it restarted to the beginning. I have the file & can transfer it ovber if you'd like. It's almost 200 megs, so I'll need to im it. I'll leave my ichat open-you can reach me at markkral at mac dot com

OK, here's where I think it may be happeniong. yesterday, i was listening to the audiobook on my ipod. I synced with itunes & then disconnected the ipod. I listened to 3 podcasts & then went to bed. This morning when I woke up, I went back to the audiobook (the summons) & it played for a few seconds & then everything shut down & the ipod went back to the main menu screen. When I clicked back to the summons, it had reset to the beginning. I think that what I did different is that I listened to some other information (podcasts) in between listening to the audiobook. FWIW, I stopped the summons @ 3.00.15 lat night before I synced it & that's where I began this morning. The audiobook crapped out @ somewhere between 3.02.55 & 3.03.00

OK, the crapping out happened this mornign on my walk with the dog. After it crapped out, I went back to where I was in the book, paused it & then went over to listen to podcasts, so that I could accurately report the specs here. I listened to 2 podcasts while on the walk. I just came home, started to write this reply & then clicked back to the audiobook, to try to be more precise in where it crapped out. The exact same thing happened again. only this time, in stead of reverting to the main menu, it just jumoped ahead to the next audiobook. it happened somewhere between 3.02.55 & 3.02.57

Author:  keithg [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Mark sent us Audiobook Builder's output of The Summons and we were able to duplicate the issue consistently by performing the following:

1. Play The Summons.
2. Fast forward to 03:02:25.
3. Pause.
4. Play a Podcast for a few seconds, then pause.
5. Play The Summons and wait until 03:02:55.
6. Aha.

We still couldn't duplicate the issue with our previous test output, however. We tested a few tweaks to the way Audiobook Builder creates its M4B output but...no joy.

After a lot of reading we ran across mention at iLounge that the issue appears to affect files in mono rather than stereo. Sure enough, our test output was stereo because it was passed through from previously-encoded stereo AAC. So we twiggled the test Project to not pass through and, sure enough, our test output fails the same way Mark's The Summons does.

We need to know whether this issue is truly limited to mono Audiobooks. Would you guys, and anyone who happens on this thread, do two things for us?

1. Check the channel configuration of your Audiobook Builder output in iTunes, then tell us whether you think the issue has ever occurred with a stereo Audiobook or if it appears confined to mono Audiobooks.

2. If all of your previous experiences with this issue were with mono Audiobooks, begin using the High Quality audio preset or a customized configuration that specifies stereo output. Keep an eye out for a recurrence of the issue and let us know if it happens to a stereo Audiobook.

Thanks for your help, guys. If this works out to be mono-only issue we can at least educate everyone and probably take steps in the application itself, such as changing the default channel configuration.

Author:  153957 [ Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:32 am ]
Post subject: 

All my audiobooks are Mono, with maybe a couple of exceptions, but all of the very long ones are Mono (I use Mono to reduce size, besides most audiobooks don't need stereo, only Dramatizations maybe; and I have few of those)

I cant find a function in iTunes to quickly see which songs are mono and which stereo, other then to go to the audiobooks playlist, get info on a song and then use cmd+n to quickly go to the next each time to see its Channel setting.

most of the audiobooks I have were combined with various different scripts/programs, its hard to see any difference between them except that some show that they were encoded with iTunes and some dont show any such information, but I dont think that matters since Im pretty sure this bug has occurred with both.

Author:  mkral [ Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  converting previous audiobook builder books

OK, thanks for getting to the bottom of this. Is it possible to convert previously converted audiobook buil,der books to stereo? I no longer have the original mp3 files that I ripped my audiobooks form, only the files that ABB created. I don't even have the ABB projects anymore, ust the resultant files. Is there any way to convert these to stereo, so that they won't lock up the ipod?

Author:  keithg [ Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for taking a look at your files, guys.

All we can say so far is the user experiences we've read and our own tests point to the issue being isolated to mono Audiobooks, with some preliminary testing showing that it seems to happen in files over three hours in length and usually when the bookmark is set after the first twenty minutes or so of the file. We've read numerous reports of this issue affecting Audible.com, iTunes Store and "homemade" M4A and M4B files. Some of these reports are over two years old.


You're right that Audiobooks usually sound fine in mono and stereo just takes up extra space. However, if the theory that the iPod can't play nice 100% of the time with bookmarks in mono tracks holds up, the extra space may be worth reliable bookmarks to some users.


We're not certain of the true underlying cause of the issue yet so it's too early to say what needs to be done to work around it. If there's no alternative but to re-encode mono to stereo it'll probably have to be done from the original source files because there's no reasonable way to preserve any of the chapter information when performing a simple re-encoding. We're looking at the time it would take for us to develop a quick and dirty tool for converting mono Audiobooks to stereo while preserving the chapter information - I can't say whether we can do this yet.

If the mono theory holds up what's your opinion on how to proceed? Would you want us to revise Audiobook Builder's presets to use stereo? What about providing High, Normal and Low Quality presets in both stereo and mono, defaulting to a stereo preset? That would allow intermediate and advanced users to make up their own mind about what's more valuable while giving less knowledgeable users a more reliable experience "out of the box".

Author:  153957 [ Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

just wondering;
is this 'Stereo' of which you speak Joint Stereo or Stereo?
(seeing how I can imagine that with Audiobooks Joint Stereo could be approaching the smaller size of Mono.)

well since this bug doesnt always occur Ill stay with the Mono's for now, well maybe Stereo for new encodes, but I wont be re-encoding all the old ones just yet.
Now I just check where the bookmark is at when i pause the book, or play it, so that IF it resets I'm not lost entirely.

Author:  mkral [ Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cool, please keep us informed if you find out anything else, especially about converting files that are currently already ripped as mono books by ABB.

As far as how to proceed. I'd vote for your solution (high, medium, low in both mono & stereo) with a note in the read me file about the potential mono problem.

Now that I know about the issue, I've changed my settings to stereo, but I had to guess at the bitrate, I just used 48kbps (which was the same as the mono I previously used) If this is a bad idea, please let me know.

Now that I know what is causing the problem, it is a lot easier to avoid. I'll let you know if anything else crops up, but I think you guys figured it out.

Author:  keithg [ Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:43 pm ]
Post subject: 


The latter, just stereo - discrete 2-channel audio data. If we could offer joint stereo we would, but I don't believe there's any flavor of joint stereo in QuickTime's AAC encoder.


Your audio settings really depend on your listening preference. If you find 48Kbps tolerable then go with it. My personal preference is quality over quantity so for straight spoken word I might go with a higher data rate. Something like 64Kbps, stereo, 22.05kHz - and I generally prefer passing through if at all possible. Of course, pass through will be affected by the same caveat when dealing with mono source files. Still, pass through is a worthy option in many cases - it's much faster than re-encoding and preserves the original quality.

Thought you guys might like to see one of the reports about the relative stability of mono vs. stereo M4B tracks on the iPod:

http://forums.ionmac.com/lofiversion/in ... t3685.html

At the time the issue could also manifest as a complete iPod reset instead of just returning to the main menu or skipping a track. There are a couple of side reports about the issue not being solely related to mono. One even said that they experienced the issue with 32Kbps stereo tracks and needed to re-encode at 64Kbps when moving to stereo. We haven't had a chance to verify that 32Kbps stereo tracks cause the issue, but there've been several new models and firmware updates since that post so it can't be taken completely at face value when testing on current, firmware-up-to-date hardware. We think panorama's experience is a superset of the core issue since they also had trouble with simple music tracks leading us to think their conclusion that the issue is not mono vs. stereo might be a wrong turn.

Author:  153957 [ Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_A ... s_over_MP3

"-More flexible joint stereo (separate for every scale band)"

I guess it should.. maybe Quicktime doesnt support it.

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