Windows Phone 7 apps: Open and Countdown

My latest experiments in software development have led me to writing two apps for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

One of them was inspired by an app that I have on my trusty Palm Tungsten C (yup I still have one) called Open. I first created a clone of it for Palm's new platform, WebOS, and then decided to also port it to Windows Phone 7. Go check it out. It lets you keep track of store opening hours and a few other pieces of information.

The other app was inspired by my 11 year old daughter and is called Countdown. It lets you see how much time is left until something of interest to you happens. Go check it out.

Google search

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Album Art Finder for iTunes

Important note: Amazon.com has discontinued (as of March 31, 2008) the search service that AlbumArtFinder uses to find cover art. Consequently, all versions of AlbumArtFinder released so far will be unable to find images after that date. The program can still be used to speed up embedding of cover art, of course (for example using the folder.jpg mechanism), it just can't be used for searching anymore.

I've had over 50000130000 total downloads (seems like the popularity of the program is not diminishing even though its main function is now crippled) of all versions of AlbumArtFinder since December 2004, which is great. Thank you to all of you who have chosen to use it! The program even made it into a German book on iPods (http://www.ipodbuch.de/inhalt/inhaltsverzeichnis1.html)

The only thing I'm a little sad about is that out of all the people who downloaded the program only three (Thanks, Jacob, John and Daniel!) chose to donate money as a gesture of appreciation. That's totally fine, of course, since I released the program for free, partly as a way of "giving back" to the universe of freeware that I've been benefitting from over the years.

With that said, I probably won't be updating the program to work with the new Amazon search service. Or maybe (if there's any demand for it), I'll do it, but charge a modest fee for the updated program. I'm quite curious to see how many emails I'll get after the program stops working.

If you have any comments you can find my email address in the program's about dialog (the button with the question mark).

 

This is a somewhat useful program I've written. I've called it AlbumArtFinder, since that's what it does. It helps you find images (using the amazon.com web service) for songs (mainly MP3 files) in your iTunes 4.7 (or later) library. Then it lets you embed those images into all song files for an album with a single click. It's written in C# for the .Net platform on Windows.

To run the program you need to have the Microsoft .Net Framework on your computer. 
Get the .Net Framework here [direct link to installer], or here  [link to page with download button].

You also (obviously) need iTunes (4.7 or later, though 4.6 might work as well) installed.
Get iTunes here .

Once you have these two things, just download the zip file below and unzip it in a convenient place, such as in a folder on your desktop. No need to install anything otherwise, thanks to .Net. Anyway, here goes:

AlbumArtFinder.zip (version 1.0, file version is actually 0.9 something)

Update: AlbumArtFinder_1.1.zip (version 1.1.2121.26878, fixes a few issues and creates a log file during the initial loading of tracks)

Update 2: AlbumArtFinder_1.2.zip (version 1.2.2488.32493, adds more keyboard shortcuts, fixes a search result paging bug [didn't return to page one when clicking the "Search (again)..." button or clicking on another album in the list], changes tab index order to make keyboard navigation a bit friendlier)

If the program works for you and you like it, spread the word. If you really like it, send me an email. If you really, really like it, send me a couple of bucks. See how by running the program.

The obligatory screenshot (click image for enlarged version):

I know it looks a bit busy, but I wanted all the necessary information and steps on one screen.

Basically you do this: Click one of the "Load ..." buttons at the top left. Wait for your tracks to be loaded and sorted into albums. Then select an album in the "1. ..." listbox. This will go out and search for that album on amazon. Once amazon returns results, click on a line in the "2. ..." listbox. That loads the links to the image(s) on amazon into the text box(es) on the right. The largest image found will be selected and shown in the image placeholder square on the bottom right. Finally, click the "4. ..." button to apply the shown image to the tracks. That's it.

More information (along with a few tips) is provided in the ZIP file in the form of an FAQ file.

Pictures

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Grab the photos RSS feed right here to get updated automatically when new pictures are added!

 

What's new (newest first):

Added an RSS feed for picture updates (January 18, 2012)

Pictures from January 2011 through November 2011 (uploaded on January 16, 2012)

Pictures from May 2010 through December 2010 (uploaded on January 14, 2012)

Pictures from December 2009 through April 2010 (uploaded on November 20, 2010)

Pictures from March 2009 through November 2009 (uploaded on December 13, 2009)

Pictures from January 2009 through February 2009 (uploaded on December 12, 2009)

Pictures from April 2008 through December 2008 (uploaded on December 12, 2009) [I'm way behind with processing and uploading pictures]

Pictures from March 2008 (uploaded on September 7, 2009)

Pictures from July 2007 through February 2008 (uploaded on March 1, 2008)

Pictures from March 2007 through June 2007 (uploaded on July 15, 2007)


Software for organizing and sharing pictures

[I've found a few pieces of software that make the process of publishing a bit easier. One is JAlbum, which I've customized for the way I like to organize my photos. Then there is Exifer, which helps with putting comments directly into the jpg source files. JAlbum can then automatically create pages that contain the comments.]

I've written a custom skin for JAlbum called LotsaThumbs. If you like it, please download it. It works on a folder structure of X:\[YYYY_MM]\[DD Event Description]\*.jpg and needs picture comments in the picture files (EXIF "Image description" field). If an about.txt file is found in a [DD Event Description] folder, it will add the contents of that file as a general comment on the thumbnail page. If a captions.txt file is found, it will be used as well. This file can contain a title (title=XYZ line) and captions for files that don't have EXIF data (MVI_XYZ.AVI=caption).

To help generate the files mentioned above (about.txt and captions.txt) I've written a helper program in .Net. You can download that as well.

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