Tagged iTunes

iTunes 11 was released today, and seems to have made at least one major feature change: iTunes DJ is gone, replaced by a new feature called Up Next (the small dialog box open in the screenshot above).

How it works:

  • Everything has a little arrow button that lets you Play Next or Add to Up Next. This button shows up for albums, individual songs, playlists, artists, and so on.
  • The Up Next dialog box is opened by clicking on that “list” icon in the right side of the player area, or by pressing Command + Option + U on the keyboard.
  • There, you can see previously played tracks, delete tracks from the Up Next list, rearrange them, and so on.

When I realized that iTunes DJ had disappeared, my first thought wasn’t good. But after using the Up Next feature for a while, it has grown on me a lot. I actually think it’s a much more streamlined implementation of the feature than iTunes DJ ever was.

The only problem is that dialog box. It’s so small, and when you start queuing whole albums back to back, that’s only going to compound this limitation.

My suggestion: Make the Up Next feature a whole sidebar to the right on its own. This may cut into the screen real estate for the item listing, but it’s a lot better than exiling such a main feature to a small dialog box.

Apple definitely seems to be limited with screen real estate with iTunes 11, though.

Update: Just discovered something new. In the Mini Player (Command + Option + M) mode, opening the Next Up list makes it a windowed view. Pretty cool, check it out in the screenshot to the right.

I recently posted an AppleScript for X-Chat Aqua that displayed iTunes’ currently playing track. However, there were a few limitations and needed improvements, including:

  • Complicated installation — made more so by the fact that X-Chat’s user commands menu kinda sucks.
  • It’s not contained — you needed an AppleScript file lying around your system.
  • Limited functionality — it was impossible to output the information in an action, for example.

I finally got around to digging a bit further into X-Chat Aqua’s features, and I was advised by helpful souls in the X-Chat IRC channel to just write a Perl plugin. So this is what I did, and now it’s a “plugin” which you drop into X-Chat Aqua’s Plugins folder, and it’s completely self-contained.

To download it and for other documentation, please see the project page.

Update: This has been made obsolete by the much-improved plugin.

Courtesy of Joey Brooks, a.k.a. tunicwriter, here is an AppleScript script for X-Chat Aqua that you can use to show your currently playing iTunes song to the rest of the IRC chatroom. Of course, if iTunes isn’t running, a message is shown to that effect.

I want to make it clear that none of it is my code — all Joey’s. Direct all complaints to him1.

tell application "System Events"
    if exists process "iTunes" then
        tell application "iTunes"
            set theCurrentState to player state
            if theCurrentState is paused then
                "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is currently paused."
            else if theCurrentState is stopped then
                "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is currently stopped."
                "Now Playing: " & artist of current track & " - " & name of current track & " (Album: " & album of current track & ")"
            end if
        end tell
        "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is not open."
    end if
end tell

Here are some brief instructions:

  1. Open up Script Editor (Applications — AppleScript — Script Editor). Paste that code in there, and save it someplace safe.
  2. In X-Chat Aqua, open up the User Commands preference list (X-Chat Aqua — Preference Lists — User Commands…).
  3. Click the “+” button, and change the command name to NP and set the area for text on the right to something like exec -o osascript /Users/yourusername/path/to/xchat/script.scpt. Of course, change the path to where you saved the script file in step 1.
  4. Press Ok, go to a channel window, type /np and press enter. It should output something simliar to Now Playing: Hoobastank - The Reason (Album: The Reason).


An area where this script could be improved is to use an action (the /me command), which makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately neither Joey or I have been able to find a way to use AppleScript to get X-Chat Aqua to use the /me command, but if you do find a way, please do let me know as I’ve been searching for a while.

And, no, putting “/me” in the command itself doesn’t work. Already tried that. Would be nice if that worked, though.

  1. Sort of kidding…