July 2007

July 31 2007 - 7:26 pm

Gear for ScriptGeeks Only

This proves it: I have a few samples of the wares I’m selling at CafePress sitting on the kitchen counter. My wife says to me, “Those mugs are nice. But I don’t understand it.” Wife is a professional landscape architect, but not an AppleScripter. Married her anyway.

July 30 2007 - 1:20 pm

Hourly Newcasts – What I Do

I just released Play Hourly Newscasts which I’ve been working on for weeks; the things have gotta be tested in real time which takes hours a day when I have the time. ANYway, I’ve got a playlist I run everyday called “100 Songs or More”. It’s a Smart Playlist limited to 200 songs, live updated, selecting random songs according to various criteria. When nothing special is going on Around The House this is the playlist that plays pretty much all day (I work out of my house). I run one of the Newscast applets while this playlist is playing and every hour I get that newscast. Just like the way radio used to be before radio Program Directors decided news and music didn’t mix.

July 30 2007 - 12:38 pm

UPDATED: Play Hourly Newscasts v1.2

The Play Hourly Newscasts download contains four script applets that each, respectively, download and play the latest AP NewsPulse, BBC Hourly World News Bulletin, CNN News Update, or NPR Hourly News Summary podcast episode when it becomes available enabling you to integrate an hourly newscast into your iTunes music listening throughout the day. This latest version consolidates the four applets into single download; streamlines routines.

July 28 2007 - 11:28 am

UPDATED: Rip To iPod v1.6

I have updated Rip To iPod to account for the free space/capacity AppleScript problem in iTunes I mentioned earlier. This script will rip each enabled (check-marked) CD track to iTunes and immediately copy it to iPod, delete the file, and remove the track from the iTunes library, giving the appearance of seamless CD-to-iPod importing. You can also change your encoder on-the-fly and your Preferences-set encoder will be restored after the rip.

July 27 2007 - 6:56 am

Capacity and Free Space Bug?

I haven’t thoroughly investigated this, but I thought I’d put it out there. Using AppleScript you should be able to get the capacity and free space of a mounted iPod. These are two properties of source, along with kind. Thus, the result of this snippet should be a list of numbers representing the free space of each mounted iPod:

tell application "iTunes"
	get free space of every source whose kind is iPod
end tell

I get 0.0 each time. This is wrong, as my Video iPod has well over 12GB of free space. Likewise, I get 0.0 if I attempt to get thecapacity.

This occurs with iTunes 7.3.1 with the iPod I mentioned above. Because the rest of my family is currently away with their iPods, I was only able to test a second generation Mini with iTunes 7.1.1 and the snippet works; it does not work with iTunes 7.3.1. So I can only assume that it’s not the iPod but iTunes. Regrettably, I do not know which version of iTunes this bug first appeared.

This affects a small number of AppleScripts, notably “Rip To iPod” which uses capacity and free space to determine if there is enough room on the iPod to copy ripped CD tracks. Because of this bug, it always reports that there is not enough room. I’ll update “Rip To iPod” to work around this.

July 25 2007 - 1:24 pm

Duh – Mute

I’ve been ragging on about this since iTunes 2: no Mute control in the contextual menu when click-and-holding the iTunes icon in the Dock. Today I discovered a Mute toggle was there! I’m not sure if it appeared in 7.3 or 7.3.1, but who cares!? Hurrah!!!

Update: I have it on good authority that it was added in v7.3.

July 21 2007 - 12:10 pm

Lyrics Follow-Up

Correspondent Otto K emailed me to say that Yahoo! Music’s lyric site, though not terribly complete, provides licensed and legal lyrics.

July 20 2007 - 5:33 pm

Getting Lyrics – The Problem

This week’s Get Lyrical Fiasco gave me pause to consider some options iTunes users have at their disposal for gathering lyrics. First of all, there are several good applications that can do this–check Version Tracker.

No, scratch that.

I mean first of all, lyrics are copyrighted material and how you get them is your own business. As far as I know no music publisher posts lyrics royalty-free. All those lyrics web sites are copyright infringers. That’s why when you do see lyrics legitimately published or posted, unless used for critical or newsworthy purposes, they also must include a disclaimer to the effect that permission was granted by the music publisher to use the lyrics. Sure, some people would argue that the lyrics are out there for anyone to write down or otherwise duplicate–one can listen to the radio and write down the lyrics of any song–but to publish them without the copyright owner’s permission is an infringement of applicable laws.

That being said…

Apple did not provide the “lyrics” tag in iTunes so that wide-spread copyright infringement could ensue. Their defense could easily be, “Well, you can input any text you want in the lyrics tag. How an iTunes user decides what text to use in the lyrics tag is not our problem.” And they would be legally safe and right.

Which of the following is legal under US copyright law?

  • Listen to a song and transcribe its lyrics to the lyrics tag yourself
  • Go to a lyrics site and copy the text and paste it to the lyrics tag
  • Use an application that tries to locate the lyrics of a track and copy the text to the lyrics tag

The only legal answer is the first one.

I have tried to develop scripts that scour lyrics sites for accurate song lyrics. And you know what? I gave up. The majority of them are filled with so much advertising crap that it is a waste of time to try and parse around it. The fact of the matter is they exist to get your web hits. They are not a public service. Indeed, they are a public nuisance. If I were a music publisher, music artist, music writer, I’d be wicked pissed-off that my work is being stolen and re-published without my permission and without my being compensated.

I have read rumors that Apple is working with publishers to provides lyrics in tracks downloaded from the iTunes Store. That would be fine.

But stealing lyrics from crappy websites is just as bad as stealing music. Art’s art, man.

July 17 2007 - 1:20 pm

Get Lyrical Error

Chris Shull’s “Get Lyrical” script — v2.3 was posted yesterday — apparently only retrieves lyrics for “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. I have contacted Chris about fixing it.

Update: Apparently there are some other problems with the script. After editing it myself to fix the “BJ” problem, I was unable to get correct lyric text for very many song selections. Again, I have notified Chris.

July 16 2007 - 12:02 pm

UPDATED: Get Lyrical v2.3

Author Chris Shull let me know that he has updated his Get Lyrical to version 2.3. This script will attempt to get the lyrics of the currently playing or selected tracks from and store them in the track’s lyrics tag. This latest version uses as the source for lyrics and fixes some single quote problems.

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