Archive for July 7th, 2006

Napster is cool. And not.

Napster is cool. I pay ten bucks a month and can play virtually anything I want. I just search for something or click around in Napsters suggestions for a while, inevitably find something good and start listening. I use it at work, and I use it at home. I can whip out just about any old song that someone remembers from that one time in high school. It really is fun.

Napster also is not cool. There are several UI and playback quirks that drive me nuts.

  • For one, it doesn’t have global hotkeys (a la Winamp or foobar2000). I can’t blame it too much for that because most media players don’t have this it seems.
  • Secondly, separating the player from the main window doesn’t work very gracefully. I can’t easily minimize the player portion without going through the horrid docked mode. If I’m playing music in the player, and I click the ‘X’ in the main window to put it into the system tray, it stops the music.
  • Third, the window is not a standard Windows window. So any app I may have to minimize programs to the tray doesn’t work.
  • Fourth, if I have a bunch of songs queued up in the player, and I exit the program, all of those songs are lost. That’s just stupid.
  • Fifth, my library exists on any computer I use my Napster account from. That’s good. However, my playlists exist only on the computer on which they’re created. Dumb.

I’m still trying to figure out if I want to keep using Napster, but it must be at least a little good because I’ve paid for one month so far.

One tip to get around number five above is to use FolderShare or something similar to sync your user data directory (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Napster\bin) between any computers that use Napster.