Minimal Cover in Sight

When in the Artist view in iTunes, rather than album covers scrolling along with the tracks, they should bump up against the header and stay in view until all of the album’s tracks scroll out of view, much like Music on the iPad or the header bars in the iOS Contacts app.

Current iTunes Artist view cover scrolling

Suggested iTunes Artist view cover scrolling

Redemption from Error

I finally redeemed two iTunes gift cards last night, finding the process generally straightforward. That said, many Macs now have iSight cameras built-in. As proven by Delicious Library, an iSight can also function as a barcode scanner, moving the bulk of the input burden from the user to the computer.

Scanning an iTunes gift card

A second barcode (which creates a bit of confusion) would not have to be added if the scratch-off alphanumeric code could be recognized as such using OCR. With foreknowledge of the typeface and the processing power of modern Macs, this seems technically feasible.

In case the camera is in use by another application, the Scan via iSight button is disabled and the application name is displayed.

Camera in use by another application

There would have to be some conditional rules to hide the mention of optical scanning and the attendant button on Macs without a compatible camera.

Summing It Up

When selecting multiple items to be sent via e-mail or IM or copied to another volume, it is helpful to know the total size of the items; many e-mail servers restrict attachment sizes and CDs and DVDs only hold so much.

The Finder provides this running total through the Inspector (Command-Option-I), which is both fairly hidden and changes based on the active view. The only method I know of for getting similar information in iTunes is to use the File menu’s “New Playlist from Selection” command (Command-Shift-N), then looking at the status bar. Status bars that display the sum of the selected items’ filesize (and length for linear media) can provide this information more conveniently.


  1. Single file selected
  2. Single file selected in Finder

  3. Two files selected
  4. Two files selected in Finder

  5. Three files selected
  6. Three files selected in Finder


  1. Single song selected
  2. One song selected in iTunes

  3. Two songs selected
  4. Two songs selected in iTunes

  5. Three songs selected
  6. Three songs selected in iTunes

Drag-and-Drop Links to iTunes

Rather than downloading audio files in your browser, locating them in the Finder, and then dragging them to iTunes, why not drag-and-drop the links to them on the iTunes Dock icon?

Dropping a link on iTunes

The download process would be handled by iTunes.

iTunes downloading an audio file

If the audio file’s Name tag could not be read while downloading, the link title text would be displayed until the download completed. The title text would remain if the Name tag were empty. The actual audio files would be saved in the user’s iTunes music library location.

If you decided to add the site to your audio feed collection, you could drag-and-drop the syndication link to iTunes rather than having to use the “Advanced [menu] -> Subscribe to Podcast…” dialog.

Being able to drag-and-drop movie links to QuickTime Player would also be nice. Movie files could be downloaded to either ~/Movies or the browser’s default download location.

Naija Jams has good samples of Afrobeat and Highlife music from Nigeria. The Sade song shown in the mockup is no longer available (they probably realized it was a copyright violation!), but it can be had by purchasing “Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti” at Amazon.

Further iTunes CDDB Idiocy

Here is the dialog iTunes presents after CD information is successfully transmitted to the CDDB:

iTunes CDDB confirmation dialog

This dialog might as well be worded like this:

Idiotic wording for an idiotic dialog

If iTunes cannot immediately send the CD information due to lack of a network connection or because the CDDB server is busy, it should quietly wait until a network connection becomes available or attempt to send every few minutes until it can connect to the CDDB server. The user should be able to assume that the application will perform the task the user ordered it to — no confirmation is necessary.

I’d much rather the iTunes development resources be invested in eliminating existing interaction problems like pointless and/or poorly worded dialogs than creating new visual styles.