Archive for November, 2008
You know that Programs section, that doesn’t really do anything except display that photo of the Windows laptop which sends understandable chills down your spine? Well, James has fixed that:
We’ve been talking about providing integration for a while now with iTunes and iPhoto, and with the feature I’m describing today, your wait is officially over.
The Plex Media Server is a standalone program that runs alongside Plex (or alone on any machine, it’s a Universal Binary). It serves up media from your iLife applications (iTunes and iPhoto today, Aperture and Lightroom shortly). Plex communicates with the Plex Media Server on the local machine, on your local network, or even across the world over the Internet. This means that you can play your friends’ iTunes playlists or browse their podcasts or photo albums.
FEATURE: Access to your media locally or across the network.
The Plex Media Server knows where all your iTunes and iPhoto libraries are, monitors them for changes, and reloads them seamlessly in the background upon update. Add a new album or two to iTunes on your server in the basement, walk over to your home theater setup, and the new albums will be there already for you to play. It’s also extremely fast, loading about 3000 tracks a second.
FEATURE: Hassle-free continuous access to all your media.
Without further ado, let me take you through the iTunes integration. There are lots of little details that enhance usability. Primary browsing is of course through Artists, Albums, Compilations, and Tracks. When you want to browse by Tracks, you pick the starting letter so you don’t sit there waiting for a 30,000 track list to display.
FEATURE: Designed for high performance, even across the network.
This feature has actually been a pet project of mine for quite a few months. You know, the kind of thing you work on when you have spare time left over from your spare time (which is to say, very rarely).
When I started the project I wasn’t even sure if it would be possible to get Plex to host iTunes visualizers. Getting the FFT code (spectrum analyzer) to match up more closely with iTunes’ was one of the more challenging parts. After countless hours, I’m happy to say that the feature now works well enough to be included in the latest development series.