Solutions Wanted: Little Irritations That Drive Me Nuts

This post is going to be a bunch of little things that irritate me about various software that I use. They’re not quite annoying enough for me to learn AppleScript/Songbird extensions/whatever and fix them myself, but I’m hoping that my readers will have solutions for at least some of these issues.

Unmute my computer every morning.

In the evenings I may turn down the sound or mute my MacBook Pro, to avoid annoying the kids or whatever. Every morning at 7AM (or whenever I wake my computer after 7am), I want the sound back to full volume and unmuted.

Play pieces randomly, not tracks.

I would like my music player to understand that the six movements of a Rheinberger Mass belong together, when playing in random mode. The cognitive dissonance of playing the Sanctus and then skipping to “She was a Hotel Detective” is painful. I’m happy to manually group the tracks when I first import them. Note: I’m currently using iTunes, but I don’t mind switching.

Disable music with words while writing

I would like my music player to avoid playing any music with words while I’m writing. I just can’t verbally multitask like that. I’m happy to tell the player which music has words, and tell it when I’m writing.

My feed reader should coalesce duplicate postings

Frequently I will get the same blog posting via Planet Mozilla, an individual blog feed, and even Google blogsearch feeds. I really desperately want my feed reader to know that these are the same post and display it once in my inbox, instead of multiple times.

Atom Feed for Comments 13 Responses to “Solutions Wanted: Little Irritations That Drive Me Nuts”

  1. Eric Shepherd Says:

    Unmuting automatically could be done pretty easily with a cron job, I think.

    Playing pieces can be done in iTunes: in the Playback preferences, set the shuffle mode to be by “Groupings”. Then you can set each piece of music to be a group by giving all of its tracks the same value in the Grouping field. Then in shuffle mode, iTunes will play the entire piece of music by its group name, with the tracks in order.

    I’ve not actually set up to do this yet myself, but I’m told it works.

  2. Michael Says:

    On #2:

    In iTunes, you can shuffle by Album or by Grouping (Prefs -> Playback -> Shuffle). I believe the Grouping mode is meant specifically for this purpose.

  3. Ritchie Says:

    Maybe, I’m not sure, by setting the Gapless to yes (bottom right of the Info dialog when selecting multiple tunes) that would inhibit the shuffling of all the tunes selected.

    I’ve not tried that yet.

    I have to agree, that the CDDB and iTunes are not well adapted to Classical music. I had to rewrite all the informations of each track (Title, Mouvement, Artists, Composer, etc, etc). A big pain !

  4. Abdulkadir Topal Says:

    Maybe I can help with no. 3 “Disable music with words while writing”.

    1. Select files you want to mark as non-vocal and enter “nonvocal” as a comment to the files
    2. Create a new smart playlist (or whatever it’s called in English) and as criteria choose “comment /contains/ nonvocal”.

    Whenever you want to write choose the playlist “nonvocal”. It will be updated automatically with new music as you add it to your iTunes library.

    I have a playlist with slow music, because even if Vivaldi’s music has no words barock music can be quite distracting.

  5. Georges Discry Says:

    These are some of the reasons I’m missing a real foobar2000 equivalent under Unices. :(

  6. dria Says:

    “Disable music with words while writing: I would like my music player to avoid playing any music with words while I’m writing. I just can’t verbally multitask like that. I’m happy to tell the player which music has words, and tell it when I’m writing.”

    I have the same problem in this regard — listening to music with lyrics engages the language centre of my brain or something, and I have to pause music when I start writing (which, it turns out, is most of the time). What I should do is take an hour and create a “no lyrics” playlist, but I tend to be a “hit shuffle and forget it” sort of lazy. If the music app could recognize when I’m writing and adjust the shuffle automatically, that would be fantastic.

  7. Asa Dotzler Says:

    I aggregate my feeds at an IMAP account using Thunderbird and Forumzilla. The Remove Duplicates extension for Thunderbird takes care of most duplicates.

    – A

  8. Smokey Ardisson Says:

    For muting, I’ve seen mentions of scripts to do this hundreds of times, but I never saved any of them :( The first hit I found in a search is a post from Erik J. Barzeski; the comments provide code for a couple of solutions along the lines of Sheppy’s suggestion:

  9. Shawn Wilsher Says:

    They Might Be Giants! yeah!

  10. Asbjørn Ulsberg Says:

    What feed reader do you use? You shouldn’t get duplicate entries if they have the same atom:id. If you get duplicates, the atom:id’s are either different (and thus the feeds you are subscribing to are broken) or your feed reader is broken. All feed readers should coalesce articles based on atom:id.

  11. Johnathan Nightingale Says:

    Third option for the feed filtering is to build a pipe for it.

    IIRC, there’s a built-in module there that will filter dupes based on title or description

  12. Jeff Walden Says:

    I suspect the feed problem is mostly due to planets not passing that through from member feed to planet feed (and the associated RSS/Atom conversion issue) and the use of RSS instead of Atom (not all feeds being Atom), typically. atom:id probably doesn’t solve all that.

  13. Rolando Garza Says:

    I’m using Kubuntu Linux, and the Amarok player is quite nice: one of my favorite options it offers is to play albums randomly.

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