Hi! Me again. Just had to augment my earlier review by stating my pleasure to see that ITunes Vol. is being actively developed. And, to state my gratitude to the developer for the fine work on this app!!
There are several major improvements made to ITunes Volume which I would like to briefly mention. For ease, I will number them.
1. In a most unobtrusive manner- the developer has now made it possible to donate an ITunes gift in the about ITunes window. This just serves to underscore the fact that this developer does not require payment for functionality that so many other ITunes' helpers only hope to provide (i.e., TotalTunesControl & CoverSutra- to name a few)- and require you to pay. I am going to save some money so that I can at least show the developer my appreciation for his hard work. ITunes Volume is the best ITunes helper app that I know of for my needs. And, I have tried most of the others which work on Tiger.
2. Now that I know that touching the cursor to the Volume Slide Control while pressing the Control key allows me to use ITunes Control to see the full lyrics in the Info window- I do not need to invoke PearLyric in Dashboard to check out a song's lyrics! Nice!! I still have PearLyric widget run, however- since it automatically obtains and downloads lyrics to songs that are missing such information.
3. Touching the slider control is much, much more responsive now in this most recent ITunes reiteration. Much easier to rate the music. Much easier to get to the preference controls & playlist functions. Just much easier to use!!
4. Now, the artwork flashes on the screen much more crisply- and with the appropriate random core graphics faders!! Before, it was too slow. Very nice improvement in ITune Volume programming- just like that seen in the responsiveness to slider control mentioned in 3 above.
5. The Icon is now more detailed. I can see that the brown thing next to the musical note is an accordion. Much more detailed- although I think it would be better to have a different icon. Perhaps, a generic dog "listening" to the note- which would connote better the volume and listening control features of ITunes Volume.
To Improve ITunesVolume, I would like to see the following. They are listed in order of importance:
1. Add the tunes user star rating to the Artwork that flashes onto the screen. This would be great!! However, if too difficult, than perhaps adding the song's user star rating to either the Info Window- or the Info Balloon (which is a cool new feature, by the way!)- would suffice. As it is now, one does not know how the tune was rated in the past- or whether it needs a rating. To get this information now, ITunes Volume requires one attempt to give a song a rating- an active proposition to information which should be shown more passively. Further, since I feel the vast majority of my music rates a three- I do not bother to rate any music that is not 2, 4, or 5 stars (I do not keep music that only rates a star). Thus, I do not actively engage in rating the vast majority of my music.
2. Restore the ability to have the slider control be horizontal, as well as vertical. On my system, having ITunes horizontal makes it less obtrusive when working on other applications.
3. Add a way to invoke the shuffle feature of a playlist. Because ITunesVolume lacks this functionality, I still need to invoke ITunes when switching playlists- because I can not toggle shuffle on and off from ITunesVolume. This negates the usefulness of being able to access playlists from ITunesvolume- which otherwise is a fine feature. Fortunately, since I do not need to change playlists often- this problem is not nearly as important as the previous two.
3. Improvements to the information balloon feature. On my system, sometimes the "Display Attached to Slider"- which keeps the Info Balloon showing even when the cursor is not touching the slider- flips on. This is annoying- but easily fixed by going to preferences to turn it off. Still, the only unpolished part of ITunes Volume I have identified.
4. As an adjunct to Number 2 above, it would be very cool if ItunesVolume could allow rating of all songs in a playlist en masse. I could then go through the playlist and rate music without waiting for it to be played. Perhaps there is another program that allows that now. If so, I haven't found it!
5. Memory usage. It uses around 23 mb. of real ram consistently, and about .5 to 5% of CPU processing power. The processing power seems o.k. About as much as utilized by my Temperature Monitoring Application- for example. However, sometimes it will use up to 32 mb. of real ram. ITunes itself only uses 34 mb. of ram. I wonder if this ram usage could be decreased?
6. The following functionality is found in the wonderful ITunes helper called IController (found at ) However, if ITunes Volume goes commercial as a complete solution to ITunes control- the developer might choose to include these functions. Not as important, however, if this software is to continue to be listed as free. Just do as I do, use IController (which is also free- by the way) in conjunction with ITunes Volume:
a. The ability to have the current ITunes song and artist scroll on the menu bar. IController has an especially useful interface allowing great customization of this feature.
b. Allow system wide "hot keys" be set up that allow the ability to change the track being played to go one back or one forward- and to play/pause ITunes. An additional neat hotkey would allow one to quit Itunes without having to go to Itunes itself.
c. Growl support- which would again afford another opportunity to show the Itunes Star rating in another passive type condition. Either this method- or on the CD artwork which flashes on the screen during track changes, would constitute the best ways to showcase user song ratings.
And, should the developer go to a paid model for ITunes Volume- it would make a great deal of sense to notify users before upgrading that upgrading will result in a payment requirement. The developer of TotalTunesControl went from a free to paid model- and did so without notifying his installed base that he was doing so. Incurred the wrath of many who upgraded- only to find that now they owed money when previously they did not.
Whew! I've gone on way too long. Anyway, my heartfelt thanks to Zom!! You have indeed produced a well-designed app which I find useful each and every day!! And, the recent improvements in the app are immense!! Thanks again!!!!