20 February 2009

Still with the Simplifying

Continuing with the theme of the previous post, I decided that Amarok 2 was simply too buggy for use, and I wasn't sure if the interface was really the best possible in the first place, so I ditched it.

Right now I'm trying out Rhythmbox, a music player for Gnome. First impression: the GUI is rather simple, no eye candy, clear iTunes influence, no features out of the ordinary, but... it simply works. Right from the start.

OK, so it doesn't look very fancy. Well, it's a Gnome app, so selecting a decent looking GTK theme will instantly make it a lot more elegant. Like Amarok, it doesn't appear to support the Album Artist tag I used in iTunes to group multi-artist albums. But it's search feature works better than Amarok's, so I can just type, say, 'csi' and instantly find the CSI soundtrack album and play the tracks in correct order.

Artwork's always a problem, as pretty much every player I've tried seems to handle it differently. Rhythmbox doesn't support embedded artwork, but it should support covers saved in the album folders, which might, in fact, be the best solution. It also has an automatic artwork fetching feature, which downloads covers for each new album I play. Only the cover for the currently playing album is shown, in a little box in the corner, so this'll do fine for the time being, no hurry to instantly get artwork for all of my hundreds of albums. Of course this isn't as fancy as, say, iTunes's Cover Flow, but of course it also eats up less resources, only having to show one little pic at a time. In the long run, if I stick with this app, I'll probably download better quality images to save in the album folders, but there's no hurry.

Rhythmbox also has a pretty good command line remote control interface, which can be used for scripting. I've already set up a global hotkey to pause/resume playback. The only little downside I've noticed so far is that, while it has built in Last.fm scrobbling support, it doesn't apparently support the 'listening now' feature. The only reason this matters to me is that I was using a 'now playing' script for the irc client Irssi which used this.

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