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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags Apps
I finally found an OS X program called nowPlaying that will allow me to export the song title and artist of a particular song into an image file AND automatically upload it to an FTP server (or .Mac account or a WebDAV server). The file could then could be used as a dynamic image for a message board or Blog. The website is in Japanese, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll find the download link [376KB] for v1.2. Don't worry -- the program is in English.

Some of the nicer things with this, as opposed to signing up to a Listen-To.com account are that:
  1. It doesn't hang iTunes when a server is broken. (eg. when Listen-To.com is bogged down)
  2. It displays the song titles in Unicode, meaning that if your songs have Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or just have non-English characters (Klingon maybe?), then the PNG file will be displayed with those appropriate characters. Listen-To.com will just display the title as "Unknown" or something like "[][][][]~engrish text~" which each box represents a non-English character.
  3. You can customize the PNG templates without paying anyone as opposed to Listen-to.com's yearly fee. (The How-To doc is in Japanese but all you need to do is make a PNG file and create your own .plist file based on the How-To doc and that should be it!)
This might be useful for someone wanting to show what's playing in iTunes as an image signature for messageboards and stuff. Here is an example of an output PNG file using the Sky Blue theme ... hope you find it useful!

[robg adds: This is a slick little program; you can even easily change the fonts used in the pre-defined styles. I'm not sure I need to tell the world how odd my listening habits are, but this would be a very easy way to do so if I did!]
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Kung Tunes
Authored by: robmck on Feb 25, '04 10:45:26AM
Also see Kung Tunes, which I've used to do the same thing, although it just produces HTML (or javascript, or whatever you want,) and not an image (as far as I know; it's been a few months since I looked at it.) Automatically uploads your formatted file every X minutes, or every time you change tracks, or whatever. You can list as many previous tracks as you want, formatted however you like.

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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: ubik on Feb 25, '04 10:55:15AM

Hehehe: Uchu no Stellvia! Good anime, good song! ^_^



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: seven5 on Feb 25, '04 11:21:13AM

Also check out Recent Tunes: http://www.freshlysqueezedsoftware.com/products/freeware/

I prefer Recent Tunes over kung tunes for a lot of reasons. I got sick of kung tunes being an actual app with a gui, and being in my dock. This is something that really needs to just be a background process. Also, kung tunes uses applescript and is dog slow. And recently it has seemed to get even slower at creating the file to upload. I was begging for a new app and Freshly Squeezed Software filled the request...

Check it out. i love it.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: KRC on Feb 26, '04 06:07:00PM

In regards to Recent Tunes, I tried it just a minute ago ... it was a little weird; It took me a minute to realize it was a taskbar app instead of something that sits in my dock. When I tried it, I got no output, but then I realized I had to code up a template first, as mentioned in the readme file (maybe I should learn to RTFM before trying something out), and I didn't had time to do that ... well ... not now, maybe later. It does come in handy though for text-only sort of stuff which I could use in PHP, SSI, Perl, or whatever ... but for images, I'll stick with Now Playing. Thanks for the heads-up, though. I'm sure it'll come in handy. :)



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: seven5 on Feb 25, '04 11:23:39AM

Also, the nice thing about using text files over images is that you get to throw some php in there. Check out my music section on my right side bar at: http://www.jonsthoughtsoneverything.com

I use php to create variables for my current song and then use the Amazon web services to find and display the album art.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: mozart11 on Feb 25, '04 01:58:41PM

I download this and it says it uploaded to my dot mac, but I can't fine anything in any of my idsk folders.
Oh Well



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: nerdtech on Feb 25, '04 02:26:56PM

To use it with .Mac, clear out the path in the "Network" tab, and just use the filename itself [nowPlay.png].

Then, refer to the image like this:
<IMG SRC="http://homepage.mac.com/your_username/nowPlay.png">

That should do you.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: nerdtech on Feb 25, '04 02:28:30PM

This is great! Great concept, well-done.
However, it's kind of a bum deal that it sends in FTP and not SFTP...



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: restiffbard on Feb 25, '04 02:46:04PM

heh, you're worried that information that you displaying publicly might leak to the public? :)



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: SnowLprd on Feb 25, '04 03:11:33PM
you're worried that information that you displaying publicly might leak to the public?
"And what do we have for our contestant here on the Let's Be a Smartass Show? That's right! A compromised FTP account! Congratulations!"

I'm sure you were trying to be clever here, but sorry... Try again.

He's concerned (quite justifiably) because the FTP protocol is inherently insecure, sending the login and password in cleartext over the network. It's not that he's worried about a packet sniffer intercepting the Now Playing images... It's the password that is of concern here.

I'll contact the author of Now Playing and see if we can't investigate a more secure method of transferring the images.

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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: nerdtech on Feb 26, '04 04:40:17PM
MacServers:
You rock. Exactly my point. Let me/us know if you hear anything about maybe getting SFTP kicking with this. Thanks!

Restiffbard:
You wanted to be a smartass, you earned it!
Click here for your reward! Hehehee..

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Use 'Now Playing' ans SCP (SFTP)
Authored by: thorsten.b on Nov 29, '04 02:04:50PM
Here is a way to using NowPlaying with a server that requires SFTP. The idea is to use scp to transfer the picture, which NowPlaying stores in the local /tmp directory, to the web server.

1. set up your machine to use ssh and scp without password. A how-to can be found here:

 http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2001/11/20/secure_webcam.html?page=last&x-order=date&x-maxdepth=0"

2. Use Cronnix to run the following scp every minute or so:
 scp /tmp/nowPlaying.png userid@webserver:folder/iTunes.png  
3. Include iTunes.png in your html code.

Hope this helps.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: derPlau on Feb 25, '04 05:45:41PM

These programs are great. I've used KungTunes forever, though I'm having a look at Recent Tunes now (thanks for the tip!)

One thing I'd like to see added to all of these programs is a tag that allows you to list whether your listening to your own library, or a Rendezvous-shared library. That, and a way to automatically download album art with the text.

Oh, well. Nothing's perfect.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: ofey on Feb 25, '04 06:43:43PM

I'm using OS X.3.2. Weirdly enough after installing, and clicking on the file, it doesn't launch. And the file download size doesn't correspond, I get it as 372kB on Safari and 373kB on IE which doesn't agree with the 376kB in the actual hint. Any ideas?



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: KRC on Feb 26, '04 06:10:21PM

Try killing your cache/temp files and then redownloading it. (In Safari, that would by APPLE+OPTION+H) Hope that helps.



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Use 'Now Playing' to create graphical iTunes web tags
Authored by: KRC on Feb 26, '04 06:25:19PM

I'm glad some of you guys like the program. I just wanted to add that the reason why I wanted to share this is because for every message board I go to that supports image signatures, I see stuff like "Now Playing in Winamp" aside with all that technical stuff found in their sig, like their processor, operating system, memory load, system uptime, etc ... I could care less what other people's computers look like or what components are OC-ed but I'm always interested in what people listened to. I wanted to broadcast my song info, too, but, like a majority of us MacOSXHints readers, I was on a Mac so I had to find different programs to achieve the same effect, which was to create a dynamic image sig for use on message boards.

I chose this over some others because 1. it was simple, and 2. I didn't have to learn PHP (although, I should some day) or some weird scripting language for converting text into an image. That, and I was a bit bothered to know that Listen-To doesn't support Unicode song titles (in some cases, it would bring up an error in their AppleScript plugin and either upload the song title multiple times or just won't upload at all), although, I was told that 'version 2' of the website might support it, but I had to pay a yearly fee if I wanted to use a personalized graphic, which I might do when I redesign my website ... I don't remember the cost but I'm a poor college student and anything that costs more money freaks me out so I try to find the free or cheapest alternative to certain things.

I'm sure there might be better alternatives out there, but last I checked, it would upload the song information as plain text which then had to be worked into an image using a Perl or PHP script on the server. Some even upload album art, but I'm not really interested in that part. I know my server supports PHP and Perl technologies but if you have free webspace from some company like Geocities or Tripod or something, then chances are that Perl and/or PHP may not be supported so this is might come in handy if you want a dynamic image containing a song title.

Hope that makes some kind of sense.



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