I’ve posted my modified fork of the itunes-now.widget for Übersicht. The widget displays some information about the currently playing track in iTunes at the bottom of the screen.

(Übersicht is an app to display widgets, information, or metrics on the desktop for OS X. It’s essentially a niftier version of GeekTool.)

The original itunes-now.widget was fairly plain, but it was a good start and it inspired me to create this customized version that would display exactly the information I want.

Here is a screenshot:

Screenshot of itunes-now.widget

From left to right:

  • Flag emoji to mark the track passing the half-way point (I’ll explain later)
  • Track name (in green)
  • Artist (in orange)
  • Album (in blue)
  • Year
  • Track duration
  • track #/total tracks on album
  • CD emoji if the track is lossless ALAC

Most of the modification was made to the AppleScript file, but I also added some styling (color, opacity, font-size) to index.coffee.

Why do I care about the half-way point?

There are two benefits to knowing the track passed its half-way point. First, I like to scrobble all my tracks to my last.fm account. The last.fm desktop client (at least on OS X) will only submit a track to the server after it detects that at least half the track has been played. Okay, that’s (1).

I like to rate my tracks. I use SizzlingKeys running in the background with keyboard shortcuts mapped to different star ratings. Ctrl + number rates the track with that number of stars. (2)

For some inexplicable reason, when the last.fm desktop client detects a change in the track’s metadata (even for fields that don’t affect identifying the track, like ratings), it gets confused and loses track of your listening progress, and starts “counting” from the beginning. (3)

Add (1), (2), and (3): this means that sometimes, if you are rating tracks or doing some other tagging while you listen, if those are poorly timed, the last.fm client could never “count up” to a “half-way point”, and it may never never submit the track to the server.

My solution is to get my modified itunes-now.widget to display a small visual flag to signal that the track has passed its halfway point and that it’s safe to rate it or make any other changes.

Obsessive? Probably. But it was fun finding a solution.