Introducing Grease

Something that has really bothered me about software music players out there is just how poor their performance is.  Whether it’s iTunes or Songbird or even Foobar, it seems like I would wait forever for them to start up and run through all the things they need to do.  So I decided to do something about it.  I built my own music player that I’ve been calling “Grease”.

As I was thinking about this, I thought about how exactly I use these mp3 players.  Usually, I just pull them up and have them play random songs from my library.

I decided that this is *all* Grease would do.  Embracing the Unix philosophy of “Do one thing well” as inspired by onethingwell I set to work.grease

After a few hours,  I had something I was able to start using personally, and after some polish, it’s ready for it’s first general release.  I’m calling this somewhere between “Alpha” and “Beta” quality.  There are still some issues, but I thought I would release it to see what the response is.

How to use Grease:

  1. Click on the folder to select a folder full of mp3’s.
  2. Grease recursively walks through that directory finding any MP3’s (and m4a’s).
  3. Click play, and enjoy.

It will remember your directory, so you don’t need to select it every time.  It will load up your music files on startup the next time you open Grease.

I definitely wanted keyboard short cuts, so here they are:

Space-bar: Play toggle
Left arrow: go back a song
Right Arrow: skip to the next song
Down arrow: volume down.
Up arrow: volume up.

That’s all there is to it.  It’s a WPF application, and I’ve only tested it on Windows 7.  If you try it out, please let me know what you think!

It doesn’t require installation.  You can just unzip the binaries and run them.  The source code is on github if you’re interested in that.

Grease: Source Code | Binary Zip

EDIT: I have discovered a bug where keyboard short cuts don’t work after clicking the folder icon.  I’m not sure why this is, but if you restart the application, the shortcuts will once again work.

Apple Needs a Channel 9

I’m an Apple fanboy.  I own a Macbook Pro, an iPod, an iPhone, and I’ve spent countless dollars in the iTunes store.  Sure there are a few things I really can’t stand, like the lack of control over my iPhone, but it’s manageable.  Overall, I’m pleased.  There is a distinct improvement in the quality of software when moving from a PC to a Mac, and that has been the biggest thing driving my praise.

However, I’ve been noticing a trend from Apple.  They treat their independent developers worse than microsoft does.  There is a very low barrier of entry into writing software for microsoft.  There are countless articles, podcasts, and videos available to help someone get started, but also help all levels of developer.  With Apple, it’s extremely difficult.  I’ve been on the lookout for even a book that helps someone get started in development on Leopard.  There are reference books available, and books that are targeted at earlier versions of OS X, but nothing recent.

But what brought on this most specific rant?  This posting from macworld, announcing that the videos from WWDC (the apple developers conference) had been made available on iTunes U.  That sounds awesome, and I headed over to check it out immediately.  Unfortunately, these videos are free, but only to those developers that have paid $3500+ to become an apple “premier” developer.  Compare this to say the availablility of all the Lang.NET 2008 conference videos for free. You don’t have to sign up for anything.  The videos are listed in a clean interface and you can just scroll and download.  Things can’t get much better than that when it comes to developer videos.

Come on, Apple!  Get with it!