Best browseing method, post your ideas! (long)
This is something that has plagued me for some time. The best method to browse and play your MP3's in the car. To date, no software im aware of does this the way i imagine. Im posting to see what you guys think is the best method for you and maybe get a consensus of the top methods. Please think about it and give it some consideration and dont just think the way youve been doing it for years is the best way. How would you do it, if it were completely up to you.
For me, a couple things are super important in a car setting.
Browseing needs to be fast and also in a way where you can find that certain music and still keep your eyes on the road. Browseing also needs its very own screen to take up maximum viewing area so when you do need to look at a list of dir, its nice and big and easy to see and click/touch. These few things are critical to me while in the car, and the last thing someone needs is to get into an accident screwing around with there computer.
How would i set up browseing if it were up to me.
I believe a CD should be treated like a CD, weather its digital or the actual disk, all songs associated with that CD should be treated as one unit. Switching between one CD to the next should be as easy as skipping from one song to the next on a CD. I shouldnt have to look for the artist or album to find what i want (unless i want to), i should be able to click through albums until i get to the artist i want to hear.
So i would have the standard play, pause, ffwd,rwd buttons but i would also have skip fwd/ skip bak album buttons that would skip to the next album in my library. An album can be defined or detected by the software by id3 tags or by dir location depending how you have the stuff sorted. I also would have a quick find mode where you click once and it will skip forward through each album and play 30sec of the first track, then skip to the next album so you can skip through albums and keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Soon as it gets to where you want to be, turn the quick find off and it plays that album. Options for people (like me) with huge music library's would include skip X number of albums if you click and hold the quick find button for X number of sec to quickly jump to an album you know is going to take a while to get to with the above method.
When viewing your entire library from a list i think all the options we have now (in wmp/ winamp) should still be used, but make all of them available as alt methods and not lock in on one or two methods. I also believe a mixture of id3 tags and browse by dir should somehow be combined. If there isnt a id3 tag associated with the actual mp3 file it should fall back to the name of the dir the file is located in as the album, and the file name as the track title. Here is where we need the most options, everyone seems to do it a slightly different way with differnt pros and cons associated with each method.
In media engine, you get a nice big list to browse through your media, its straight forward and easy to navigate. But building a playlist is clunky and there dosent seem to be a way to just randomly play all music in the lib (correct me if im wrong on this one).
Media Car seems to use the same browseing method as media engine, i havent quite figured out how to add more than one album/dir of mp3s to the playlist but i think its supposed to be able to, not sure. There is a select and select + buttons but only select + seems to load the dir as my plist, other button does nothing. I think the way its supposed to work is select will select the current dir and load it as your plist and select + will append current dir to current plist. But this dosent work. Someone clarify.
frodo player uses a method different than all the others with more options/ modes but the main problem is there isnt enough room to view all this information the best way. It needs to be on its own screen so its not crowded on the main screen with all the other interface items. You can choose to hide stuff, but if you hide it from the main screen its not available at all. If a few things were broken off into seperate screens or areas of the app it would increase the viewable area of the critical items.
Currently i have all three installed on my carputer and basicly i use all three depending on what browseing method im in the mood for. But for no fuss i just use winamp.
These are just my ideas/opinions/observations.
Take them with a big grain of salt.
post your ideas.