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iPod and iTunes Hacks by Hadley Stern

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Turn iTunes into a Trivia Player

Turn your Mac into a single- or two-player music trivia machine for a more active listening experience.

If you’re fond of not only listening to your music but also knowing facts about the artist and album, a large iTunes music library is a veritable treasure trove of music trivia.

Name that iTune! (http://homepage.mac.com/jonn8/as; donationware) plays random songs from your iTunes library and prompts you with questions. All the questions are multiple choice; to answer, just click the correct button. If you get it right, Name that iTune! proceeds to the next question. If you get it wrong, you still have a chance to select any of the remaining answers, as shown in Figure 4-58.

A Name that iTune! game in process

Figure 4-58. A Name that iTune! game in process

When you launch Name that iTune!, you are greeted with the settings window shown in Figure 4-59.

Here’s a quick run-down on the settings:

Time Per Question

Specify how long a player has to answer the question (20, 40, or 60 seconds).

Use Playlist

Select the iTunes playlist you want Name that iTune! to use. You can use the playlist features to set up trivia-specific playlists. Got some buddies over from high school? Set up an “80s” playlist. Want to test your kids’ abilities to tell the difference between a Bob the Builder track and a Sesame Street track? Use a “Kids” playlist.

The Name that iTune! preferences window

Figure 4-59. The Name that iTune! preferences window

Game Length

Specify the number of questions in your trivia game (10, 25, or 100 questions).

Question Types

Indicate a question type (track title, artist, album, or year).

Play Tracks from Beginning

Activate to make the game a little easier. By default, Name that iTune! starts playing in the middle of the song. Since it is often easier to recognize songs by their beginnings, turning on Play Tracks from Beginning makes the game a little less difficult.

Penalize for Incorrect Answers

Deduct points for incorrect answers to make things substantially harder.

Single Player or Two Players

Specify whether there will be one or two players and, if two, which keys each player must press to indicate a correct answer.

Once you have set things up as you’d like them, hit the Play button and let the games begin.

Single-Player Mode

Let’s assume you are in single-player mode. When you hit Play, Name that iTune! will throw its first question at you while playing a track of music. For example, in Figure 4-59, Name that iTune! is playing a song from the album “The Love Below” and asking for the name of the song. The timer shows that there are 17 seconds left to answer the question. To answer it, use the mouse to select the song you think it is. If you are correct, Name that iTune! lets you know and moves on to the next track.

Two-Player Mode

Two-player mode works in a similar way to single-player mode: a track is played and a question is asked. The difference is that either you or your friend can answer in a head-to-head music trivia battle. Unlike in single-player mode, you do not use the mouse to answer. Instead, use the keys indicated (which can be adjusted in the settings) in the track answer window shown in Figure 4-60.

Name that iTune! in two-player (keys for player one on the left and player two on the right)

Figure 4-60. Name that iTune! in two-player (keys for player one on the left and player two on the right)

The first person who knows the answer has to press the correct key on the keyboard. This is why the default keys for players one and two are set up the way they are. Player one uses the keys 1, Q, A, and Z to indicate answers 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Player two uses the equals sign (=), left bracket ([), semicolon (;) and period (.). Take a gander at your keyboard, and you will notice that player one’s keys are on the left side of the keyboard, while player two’s are on the right. This is so two people can share the same keyboard and still enter their answers as quickly as possible. If you are correct, Name that iTune! gives you points. Wrong? If you set the program to deduct points for incorrect answers, points will be deducted from your score.

Name that iTune! builds in some basic iTunes controls—volume slider, rewind, play, pause, and fast-forward—for in-play convenience.

Load up some esoteric tracks and have some fun. Name that iTune! is a great way to test your musical knowledge or lack thereof.

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