I was relatively disappointed with the overall improvements provided in iTunes 8.1; it is still the least responsible piece of software that I use on a daily basis even on a machine with 8GB of RAM. It looks nothing like a native Windows application and in my opinion, not in a positive ‘cool’ way. Also, have you ever watched someone who doesn’t know how to use iTunes try to learn… it’s a truly hilarious experience and you realise how many unintuitive elements there are to even the most simplistic use of iTunes that we’ve learnt to overlook.
iTunes 8.1 did however bring a new (and in my opinion brilliant) feature to it’s repertoire; iTunes DJ.
iTunes DJ is designed to be used for parties where pretty much everybody (perhaps unrealistically) has an iPod Touch or iPhone. The system works as follows:
- You set up iTunes DJ with the (subset of) the library that you want your guests to be able to select from
- Set up the speakers you want it to play through (e.g. pushing to an Apple TV or Airport Express aswell)
- Start an iTunes DJ session and set it to allow any user to connect and make recommendations.
Now that the iTunes DJ session is set up, guests can connect just by starting the ‘Remote’ application on an iPod Touch / iPhone. As long as you didn’t select a password for the iTunes DJ and you have an open wifi network it should be simple and guests will be presented with this:
The song now appears in the playlist at the highest place it can with 1 vote (in this case, above anything that was randomly selected). We can also vote to raise songs up the queue by touching the heart.
This seems like a really fun idea for a theme party; the only problem being that there’s an abundant need of iPhones / iPod Touches. For £165 a hit, I suppose if you’re running a big budget party it’s conceivable of buying 4 or 5 and leaving them lying around; how many are left the morning after would be an interesting investigation into human nature. I suppose you could auto-start one of the unlocked applications for publishing an iPhone’s location using GPS / internet to a web page with the iPhone and leave it running with ‘Backgrounder’ so that if it does go missing you can always track it down. (Interesting idea actually, but requires unlocking all of them installing this custom solution etc…).
So, the more realistic option is hope that enough people have iPhones to make it work but this seems a little unfair on people who don’t so whether this will work for you probably will depend largely on the ‘crowd’ you hang around with. I have groups of friends that I think this would work very well as almost everyone has an iPhone, also crowds where I would be sat on my own controlling the music.
I’m going to try this out sometime soon so I’ll be sure to publish something about it; not sure what the hardware approach will be, probably a mix; hope for the best but leave 2 or 3 around perhaps? Donations welcome…
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