iTunes 9 Mini Player is a Swipe Away

iTunes 9 Mini Player

iTunes has two modes, the full window mode where you get full functionality, and a “Mini Player” mode that shrinks the program down into a small rectangle that still serves basic controls. On the Mac, switching between these two modes was accomplished with the green (unless you use the graphite color scheme in OS X) + button next to close and minimize. For any other window in the system though, this button toggles the size of the window to go full or fit content. iTunes broke the UI conventions, but it was serving a pretty nice purpose so most everyone forgave it. Hitting the + button to toggle between the full and mini players certainly became second nature to me.

Installing iTunes 9 brought along a nasty surprise. Apple had changed the behavior of a standard click on the + button to resize the window, just like every other application window. Getting to the mini player required holding down the Option key while clicking the + button. Not a huge deal, but it certainly interrupted the established behaviors of users.

Multiclutch Preferences Pane

With the loss of a single click for the mini player, we gained a new shortcut combination: Command Shift M. (Thanks for the heads up @cesart) With the discovery of a shortcut I did what I do with any other shortcut I use frequently. I threw it into Multiclutch. I assigned Command Shift M to the up and down three-finger swipe gesture for iTunes. Now I can switch between full and mini player modes in iTunes with a quick swipe on the trackpad. It’s actually even better than clicking on the + button like we had to do before iTunes 9. This doesn’t help desktop users any, though, and I’m hoping a simple utility or command line hack will pop up letting users switch the + button’s behavior back to toggling the mini player.

Square Enix: Song Summoner on the iPod

I’ve been playing the new Final Fantasy Tactics A2 on the DS quite a bit lately. I’ve logged over 24 hours in the last week, that’s a lot for me on a video game. @hikikomori posted a heads up tonight that Square Enix has released their first iPod game, Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes [press release].

The premise is pretty cool, you use songs in your iPod’s music library to create stats for your units in the game. Then you play through it with the Tactics mechanics, each unit having unique range and attacks. My favorite dynamic to the game is that you can level up your units outside of the gameplay by listening to your music. Each playcount added for the songs used to create the units will contribute to leveling up their stats. It really adds a new element to playing your music on shuffle, knowing that when certain songs come up, you’re progressing in a game. Check out a video of game play below.

The idea of  using your media library to generate the stats of units is not new, from what I know, Monster Rancher was doing it back in 1997. It IS a mechanic that I haven’t seen used in a while, and it lends itself perfectly to the iPod (or any digital media device) environment.

@hikikomori reports that it runs rather slow on the iPod 5G, but I hope that we’ll see a more robust port hit the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch soon. This game is BEGGING for WiFi battling against friends. I’m also extremely excited to see Square Enix publishing games on Apple devices, I think it bodes well for the future of MobileOSX in the casual gaming market.

iTunes Link: Song Summoner

Press Release

Stream music from iPhone/iPod touch to iTunes

iPhone to iTunes

“Bring your music with you and play it back for friends on their AV equipment. iPhone Firefly serves your entire library back to any iTunes installation. Stream off your iPod touch or iPhone to quality audio speakers. This is the exact opposite of dot.Tunes. The music comes from the iPhone *to* your computer.”I had been wanting to figure out how to write something that would index my media folder into an HTML page served by iPhone’s version of Apache, but it was way over my head. Now Mike Ter Louw has gone beyond anything I wanted to do, and has created a setup that will actually stream music from the iPhone to iTunes with Bonjour. Sick!

You can see in action on my computer in the image at the top of the post. Head over to Erica’s post on instructions on how to get a hold of the software.
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