Sometimes iTunes just isn’t light weight enough to use during multitask sessions. It’s been a longstanding complaint about iTunes, but the software continues to bloat, and system resources continue to be eaten up, fast! Don’t get me wrong, I love iTunes, but for some reason it seems to be less and less usable for me on a full time basis. Open up Vmware, Photoshop, and iTunes on a system older than two years and you’ll probably realize something has to go mighty quickly. Sadly, the first thing to get the axe in my workflow is iTunes. Music is a huge inspiration for me, and I shouldn’t have to eliminate a source of inspiration when I’m in the middle of being creative.
This is where an application like Ecoute comes in, and could seriously impact my work flow. It’s not an iTunes replacement, per se, it’s more like a companion to iTunes. It’s a stand alone audio player that uses the iTunes library to get your audio files. It has quickly been finding a home on my system during times of insane multitasking.
Things it does great.
It does a number of things relatively well that has made it into a pretty high rotation on my application usage list lately. It’s accessible from the menu bar, it has a pretty sweat control system right on your desktop. It give you access to lyrics, which is excellent, and it has a smaller foot print than iTunes. The user interface is stellar (and skinable) and feels more like an iPhone application than it does a Leopard application. All in all it plays music the way it should be played, in the background, out of sight, and accessible from multiple areas around the operating system.
Things it could do better.
All that being said, it is an early version, so there’s a couple of small kinks that stood out for me that I’d love to see addressed. Shuffling is pretty tricky to figure out straight out of the install. It’s a little counter intuitive currently, I completely understand where they are coming from, but having to select which category you want to shuffle in before being able to shuffle your entire song collection seems a little backward considering iTunes has conditioned us to search then shuffle within a search. It’s by no means a deal breaker, and they have built in search functionality that replicates the iTunes paradigm quite well. There is a glitch where once you search for some criteria you can’t seem to back out of the search. It’s like you’re locked into your search criteria until you restart the app. It didn’t happen every single time, but did occur sporadically. I may have missed some switch to flick so I could get out of the criteria, but regardless, it seems a little off (video evidence below).