Fixing up iTunes (for a Mac anyway)

Back in the misty depths of time I recommended a Preference Pane called SizzlingKeys for controlling iTunes from the keyboard. While I still like SizzlingKeys for that, lately it's been getting flaky. It just . . . stops working. And I've been meaning to start working on song ratings as well, but that needed to be low maintenance. Then the amazing Ethan Schoonover (of Kinkless GTD fame) started a series about iTunes. Turns out that Quicksilver has fairly robust iTunes support built-in. That particular article talks about adding a "Vaporize" script so you can hit a keystroke from any application and kill a particular track. Zap it from the hard drive, yank it out of iTunes and report back via a Growl notification.

(Side note: I've also never talked about Growl. But it's awesome and you should have it. It lets any application register and display messages. That may not sound awesome, but it is. Just off the top of my head I have a timer application (Minuteur), my IM client (Adium), a Twitter client (Twitterific), and now I have iTunes hooked up to Growl. All these apps communicate the same way, in the same place, and that's because of Growl. Check it out.)

In that Macworld article that I linked here, it also recommended the Amazon Album Art Dashboard widget. I second that recommendation, this widget makes it very easy to find album art that iTunes won't (by getting track info from iTunes and then looking the album up on Amazon.) It made going through and getting album art for like 95% of my library pretty easy.

Turns out that Growl has an app called "GrowlTunes" tucked away in the installer image (under Extras), as well as some scripts for changing song ratings (in the Scripts -> iTunes folder). So here's what I've done.

  • I turned on the Play/Pause trigger in QS. (to opt+cmd+Z)

  • I turned on the Next Track and Previous track in QS. (to opt+cmd+right (or left) arrow)

  • I put GrowlTunes in my Applications folder and made it start on login.

  • I added Ethan's Vaporize Current Track to Quicksilver's action folder and triggered it from opt+cmd+delete.

  • I added CheckRating.scrpt from the Growl scripts and bound it to cmd+F7. (I'm used to that keystroke from SizzlingKeys.)

  • I added Rating+ and Rating- from the Growl scripts, bound to opt+cmd+up (or down) arrow.

Now I can easily start or stop iTunes, see what the current playing track is (via the CheckRating script - nice album art, preview). When the track changes I get a growl popup (via GrowlTunes), and I can set the rating of the currently playing track easily (via rating+ and -). If I hate the track and wish it wasn't in my library, the Vaporize script kills it dead. If I don't hate it, but I don't want to listen to it today I can skip to the next track. Sweet!

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