Jukebox Guide

Ah the Jukebox. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s more than a little bit dodgy. Basically I found a site that taught you how to build an mp3 player in Flash, downloaded the pre-prepared demos and modified them slightly to serve my purpose. Well the important thing is that it works and now you can listen to all the music I feature with relative ease.

Using this Jukebox is quite straightforward. You click a song, it plays. You can pause/resume, skip tracks and adjust the volume by using the designated buttons. If you want the songs to play one after another, click the continuous box. As for the two number boxes, the top displays how much of the song has been downloaded and the bottom shows where you’re up to in listening (note: these often don’t work…). And there you have it, all the blatantly obvious controls unnecessarily explained.

One thing I should make clear is that the jukebox downloads quite a bit. Every time you listen to a song, you are downloading the mp3. So if you have a small download limit or dial-up, you should probably stay away. I don’t guarantee it, but if you listen to a song the whole way through, it should get stored on your computer somewhere so you don’t have to re-download.

Not content with a simple jukebox, I’ve made it so you can listen to various different playlists. The ‘Recent’ playlist contains the latest songs 30 or so songs. This is what you see in the sidebar. Then there’s the ‘2006 Bands and Albums’ playlist that contains every song I did last year, other than those in the ‘Homebake 06’ and ‘Sydney Music’ features (which as you may have noticed, have their own playlists).

My original plan was to upload all the songs for these playlists in 64kbps bitrate, in order to save bandwidth and loading times. So I dove straight into it: I got all the songs converted, uploaded and playlisted (no meagre task) and then had a listen. I could have sworn I tested a couple of songs and they didn’t sound THAT bad. And so after hitting my head on the desk a few times, I proceeded to reupload every song in its regular 128kbps form. I guess one positive outcome is that there is now a ‘low’ option for those who dare go down that dark path. The ‘high’ option will be available soon.

By clicking any of the jukebox links, a new window will open, allowing you to continue browsing the site whilst listening. Coincidently, it also allows you listen to all the great music without actually having to be at the site; but why would you want to do that? They were supposed to pop up in perfectly sized browsers but it doesn’t seem to work (I think it does in Firefox). You can also add them to your favourites if you should feel the need.

While they’re technically not part of the jukebox, the play buttons you see in front of every mp3 file are part new streamability here at Open Your Eyes. They are, in every sense of the word, very simple mp3 players. You press play to play them and stop to stop them. You can’t even resume songs if you stop them, they always go from the start. But despite their limitations, they are actually quite handy. Firstly, they allow you to hear a song instantly and secondly, if you listen to the song all the way through, you only need to click ‘save target as’ and it will be saved to your computer straight away.

Unfortunately, once you click a song, it will download all the way to the end, even if you stop it. This can be a nuisance if you want to listen to a different song, because the first will keep downloading and slow things down. Simply click refresh to stop this from happening. I will more than likely find a variation of this mp3 player that is equally simple but slightly more practical.

For the future…

While the jukebox does most of what I want it to, there are a few things I’d like to have changed. Unfortunately I myself will probably never be able to make these changes. This isn’t because they’re complex but because my knowledge of flash is very limited (ie non-existent). Ideally, I would like:

A progress bar that represents the song progress visually rather than numerically
A ‘random/shuffle’ button
For artist/song names to be extracted from the mp3 tag
For artist/song names that are too long to scroll across the screen

If you think you could help me with any of these, I would be most appreciative. All of these features are actually available in later versions of the mp3 player I got (http://thegoldenmean.com/technique/mp3player01.html) but unfortunately these versions have other stuff which I don’t want and I don’t know how to just add the features I am after. For someone with a knowledge of Flash, it should be a piece a cake. Just comment or email me if you think you could help. Thanks, Peter

If you click on a jukebox song and it doesn’t play, let me know and I’ll try and fix it.

The End!!!

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