First of all, I would like to explain my absence from Iconpaper’s blog. I had a ton of tests in school (and more to come plus finals) so I did not have a lot of time to use my computer. When I did, I used it for schoolwork or facebook. I know I should have posted something way sooner but I hope you can all forgive me. I would like to also take the time and congratulate our fearless (and persistent when it comes to working out Iconpaper’s small bugs) leader, Vivian, or Gor0n in some circles, along with the rest of the Iconpaper staff. Iconpaper 2 is now in beta testing and you are wanted to be a beta tester. Check out Vivian’s blog post on deviantart or here on Iconpaper.
Today’s review will be centered on TunesArt, an application similar to Ecoute, Bowtie, and You Control Tunes. I know what you are probably thinking: “Another itunes controller!?”. Ya, I know, but this has a couple pretty nice features that all three do not. Here’s a quick overview. TunesArt, made by JibApps, displays cover art, track information, track change notification, search your iTunes Library, Last.fm, display/edit/download lyrics (one of my favorite features!), Growl support, artwork fetching from Amazon (another unique feature not given by the other three), and more.
Let’s go over some of those features. Firstly, the cover art. Like Bowtie & Ecoute, TunesArt displays cover art on your desktop and allows you to choose a theme (which can be downloaded from JibApps’ Themes Gallery). A notification will be displayed when a new song starts playing in iTunes and will be displayed in the top right corner of your screen, right under your menubar. The notification will display the track name, artist, album, duration of the song, rating, and the cover art (another feature Bowtie & Ecoute do not fully offer). However, if you do not like this feature, you may switch the notification from TunesArt default to Growl. Another feature, and as I said before, my favorite, is lyrics. How many times have you wanted to know what and artist sung or sing along? Once the lyrics option is clicked on from the menubar icon, a window will open with the current song’s lyrics. If the song does not have any lyrics (and here’s the best part), the lyrics will be downloaded automatically from LyricWiki and saved into iTunes. This can really save time if you are one of those people, like me , who like their lyrics but don’t like having to go to Google every time they want to update their iTunes lyrics. TunesArt can also play/pause/go to next track/go to previous track and so on all from the menubar icon. From there, you can also play a specific playlist in iTunes and even rate the song you are currently listening to. There are other features too, but you can find out more about those on JibApps’ website.
This application is a great alternative to Ecoute and Bowtie, but there are a few things I am not a big fan of. One of those is the cover art. The default art and some from JibApps’ website are not very appealing, at least to me. This makes me want to use Ecoute/Bowtie instead. I love having lyrics on my songs so that when everything is synced to my iPod Touch, I can sing along with the song I am listening too. Therefore, I use this application for their lyrics feature, nothing else. I listed some nice, unique features above, but Bowtie, which is my default iTunes desktop controller does the job. What bothers me, and maybe you too, is when lyrics are wrong. Unfortunately, not every website or application is 100% correct/perfect. So when I find a mistake, I have to go to Google and find the correct lyrics, which defeats the purpose of that specific feature. Another feature that is not my favorite is that when Growl is enabled, you get two notifications (which overlap each other). One from Growl and the other from TunesArt itself. The growl will be in the top right corner, as usual, and TunesArt, depending where it is positioned on the menubar, will have a small, black box pop down from the menubar icon when a new song plays. The last feature I do not enjoy is, well I’m not really sure how to call it. If you have not reassigned yout F7 through F9 keys (the ones that control your iTunes song currently playing) then this applies to you. When clicking one of those three keys, a big, somewhat transparent (probably more translucent) box will appear with the image that is on the key you just pressed. For example, if you press F8, which can pause and play a song from iTunes, then that play/pause icon will appear in the box. Sure, it disappears, but it is kind of big and somewhat distracting. All in all, I think this application deserves somewhere around a four out of five stars.
What do you guys think? Hit me up at [email protected] or comment below/ on our facebook page!