September 2011

September 29 2011 - 11:32 am

UPDATED: Make PDF Booklet v2.0

Make PDF Booklet v2.0 is a Cocoa-AppleScript applet that will create a PDF booklet containing tag info from the selected tracks (or every track from the selected playlist) and then add the PDF to iTunes and copy it to the playlist where the selected tracks reside.

The layout and text formatting of the document created is somewhat restricted, but I hope it is eminently readable and printable. However, you are able to choose which tag data to include for each track:

Here are example PDFs using audio tracks and using TV Show tracks made with the script.

This latest version is a Cocoa-AppleScript Applet, so it can only be run on OS X 10.6 and 10.7. A previous version which can run on earlier systems is available from the Make PDF Booklet entry page.

September 28 2011 - 11:40 am

Smarts is a Mac Gem

Thanks to Dan Frakes for the great write-up at Macworld on my Smarts Smart Playlist manager app. It’s free from the Mac App Store.

September 28 2011 - 8:59 am

Column Browser Go Home

I’ve found that iTunes’ Column Browser feature is one of the best ways to navigate the Music library. But I’m often annoyed that I can’t easily restore the browser window to a full view of tracks after digging down to a particular set of tracks. To do so requires a lot of scrolling up and clicking. Correspondent Josh Rafofsky emailed me complaining of the same frustration and his solution was pretty good: Command-B to Hide the Column Browser, fn-Left Arrow to got to the top of the browser, and the Command-B again to Show the Column Browser. But even this gets tiresome and he asked if there might be a one-step scripting solution.

You know there is.

I put together this script which uses a combination of standard AppleScripting and GUI Scripting to emulate Josh’s shortcuts solution:

tell application "iTunes" to activate
tell application "System Events"
	key code 11 using command down
	tell application "iTunes" to reveal track 1 of (get view of front window)
	key code 0 using {command down, shift down}
	key code 11 using command down
end tell

Save this as whatever you like—I call it “Column Browser Go Home”—save it to the ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts folder, and assign it a shortcut (make sure you have enabled GUI Scripting, too, as outlined in this article on using key codes). When launched after you’ve Column Browsed to a discrete set of tracks it will restore the entire list of tracks and jump to the top of the selected playlist. In my case this is usually the Music library playlist, but it will work with any playlist that’s being viewed with the Column Browser.

[UPDATE] And after all that, @tonyhazeldine tweets: “The same can be done by clicking on the column titles at the top of the column browser.” Yes, but each column has to be clicked.

September 27 2011 - 1:37 pm

Daypart v2.0.0 Released

Daypart is a simple yet full-featured Mac application that allows you to schedule iTunes playlists when to play, giving you an easy way to program varied musical content throughout the week in your home or workplace.

With Daypart you can:

September 12 2011 - 9:37 am

NEW: Play in Album Context

You can probably imagine that I hear a lot of unusual ideas for creating workflows for iTunes with AppleScript. Quite a while ago someone suggested a script that could be run when a track was playing that would find all the tracks of that track’s album, put them in track order in a new playlist, and then play them in order starting from the original selected track. For example, “Time” from Dark Side of the Moon comes up and you want to hear “The Great Gig in the Sky”, “Money”, etc, in their album context.

But really. How many people ever want to do that? Well it turns out that the more I thought about how quirky a suggestion it was the more often I began noticing opportunities where I’d like to do the very thing. So I caved and wrote Play In Album Context.

If you select a track and then launch the script a new playlist will be created from the tracks of that track’s album (actually, tracks that have the same Artist, Album, and Disc Number tags—whether that results in gathering the correct tracks for the album depends on how well you’ve tagged your tracks) and the selected track will begin playing from its album position in the playlist.

If a track is playing and the script is launched, the album playlist is created as described above, and the current track will continue playing from its album position in the new playlist. The trick of the script is to temporarily set the playing track’s bookmarkable property, pause iTunes, and then immediately play the same track in the playlist; the track picks up playing from the bookmark set when the track was paused. There is a slight stutter when this transfer occurs, but if the goal is to hear the succeeding tracks in album context, it’s probably a small inconvenience to bear.

September 10 2011 - 9:49 am

Key Code Searching

Here’s a snippet I’ve been using for awhile which I just got around to posting on the key codes page. I keep my iTunes Column Browser set with Artists and Albums listed On Left. Whenever I’m looking for a particular album I run this script to select the Music library and put focus on the Search box:

tell application "iTunes"
	-- select the Music library
	reveal (some playlist whose special kind is Music)
end tell
tell application "System Events"
	-- bring focus to Search box - Command-Option-F
	key code 3 using {command down, option down}
end tell

I’ve given it a keyboard shortcut of Command-Option-S.

More information on AppleScripting iTunes with key codes and keystrokes is here.

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