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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader Pick of the Week
Recent Tunes icon The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
With the recent conversion of my family blog site to WordPress, I decided to take another look at tools to put my "iTunes now playing" info on the site. Yea, there's no practical purpose for doing so, but it's something I've had on our family site for a long time, so I thought I might as well keep up the tradition. On my previous blog, I used Kung-Tunes (a previous PotW) to display this info, but I wanted some more flexibility -- I wanted a text display, not a graphic, and I wanted to control the formatting as much as I could.

After some hunting, I found Recent Tunes. Recent Tunes places a small icon in your menubar, through which you control the program. When you click the icon, you'll see the "Now Playing" song, and a list of the recently played songs. This is a nice touch, as it provides an easy way to jump back to a recently-played favorite song you might want to hear again. The preferences allow you to change the number of songs displayed, the color and style of icon, and whether or not to display album and artist info in the menu. There are four other tabs in prefs -- CurrentTune and RecentTunes control the files that list your current and recently played songs -- where to save them, whether to upload them to a server, and (for recent tunes), how many songs to list. The Upload tab gives you four upload options (FTP, SSH1, SSH2, and HTTP Get).

Finally, the Templates tab is the part I found most useful -- here you specify exactly which fields you'd like uploaded, and how you want them formatted. You can include variables (^t, for instance, is song title) as well as text and even HTML. So my Current Tune template looks like this:
<li>^t by ^p</li>
This is so that it can go right into the WordPress sidebar area I've set up for it, where the unordered list is already defined. I then just include the uploaded text file in the right section of the WordPress index.php file, like this:
<li><b>Now Playing:</b>
    <?php include('currenttune.html'); ?>
Presto! Instant sidebar entry with song information (a similar layout is used for the recent tunes). I realize this may be a bit more complex than needed for many folks, but I like the flexibility of many different upload options, and fully customizable templates. There's even an "Away" message to display when iTunes isn't playing. It's hard to beat the price, too!
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Upload config examples
Authored by: sr105 on Mar 09, '05 01:23:42PM

I must be doing something wrong. I have tried ssh and ssh2 with these options, but I can't tell if it's even doing anything.

directory: /home/user
user: user

I've also tried "ssh://" for the url. I'm tempted to try "ssh://", but I was afraid that wouldn't work either. I wish the author had put some examples in the readme file.

Oh, and I have an ssh-agent that is always running on my powerbook. I know it works flawlessly. Hmmm.... perhaps RecentTunes runs ssh from an environment that doesn't execute my .bash_profile?


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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: seven5 on Mar 09, '05 01:29:09PM

I used to use recent Tunes, its great. Another way of including on your site is by using iScrobbler. It uploads the info to the iScrobbler website, and its availabe via rss, I just include the parsed rss feed on my website now. That way i only use one app. its another nice way of achieving this.

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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: swanksalot on Mar 09, '05 01:45:49PM

I also use iScrobbler, but haven't figured out how to upload my rss feed into my (movabletype) page. Is it something easily accomplished?

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Shell scripting
Authored by: jokke on Mar 09, '05 05:28:18PM

If you're looking for something a little smaller and - perhaps - more geekish, I once made a shell script that accomplishes somewhat the same using nothing but AppleScript and shell scripting. It is - obviously - very customizable though it might require more skills.

Read about the script here:

The script uploads a text-file with the artist and name of current song, which you can then display with php, perl or whatever you happen to use.

There are many ways to improve this little thing. Checking wether iTunes is running at all might be a good idea, using 'ps' for instance.
Comments are more than welcome - also on my site :)

--- | Pulling the trigger at port 80

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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: callefjant on Mar 10, '05 02:55:31AM

Is there such an app that does not disturb iTunes via AppleScript every too often, but instead register itself with the program like the way Synergy does? And, in the best of worlds, stay alive without any visible sign in the dock or whatsoever?

I run my personal site from the very same Cube as is running iTunes, and since I don't have that huge load of visitors, I've also tried to trigger the check with iTunes every time one access the website, with AppleScript as well as by looking for opened files in my iTunes folder. Mostly due to permission issues, I never got it. Any ideas?

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use Audioscrobbler
Authored by: willjwade on Mar 10, '05 03:21:24AM
Just a quickie - Im off to work and late already I ditched using this and kungtunes a while back. Instead I now use iScrobbler with the audiscrobbler network. You get cool stats and it will upload all your recently played tracks off your ipod too:
and to get a rss feed into your site see:


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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: ExUser1 on Mar 11, '05 03:43:35PM

I also use Recent Tunes, though for something a little different. Instead of just displaying the song's info, I have a page (not publically available...yet) set up that will show the lyrics for the song. Recent Tunes uploads an XML file to the web server and PHP looks up the lyrics for the song in a database that I set up. If the lyrics aren't found, it searches a couple major lyrics sites and if it finds anything, inserts them into the database.

I can't remember how much time I spent trying to get an AppleScript and shell scripts to do what Recent Tunes does...

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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: arfore on Mar 14, '05 09:16:03PM

Another way to post the Audioscrobbler info in Wordpress is to use the WP-Scrobbler plug-in that was written by Ted Pearson.


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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: hedgeland on Mar 16, '05 10:25:42AM
I found this website which actually uses Recent Tunes quite elegantly and has a pretty detailed tutorial on how to set it up.

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Recent Tunes -- A useful iTunes song info uploader
Authored by: hedgeland on Mar 16, '05 10:33:49AM