Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Cover Flow Compulsion

Compulsion can be a silly thing. Ever since Cover Flow became ubiquitous on the Mac, I've been on a mission to stamp out generic covers. I spent 5 minutes last night looking for a MP3 track called Voyager "Motion" by someone named Sandra Collins which I'm not sure where it came from (did it come bundled with my Fischer Price iBook 6 years ago?), and which I have told iTunes never to play. That's just silly. But look at the pretty pictures swirl by....

Yes, Walt Mossberg, Cover Flow is addictive.

For tracks iTunes can't automagically find artwork for, Amazon is a gold mine of customer submitted artwork, at least for popular stuff; you can pick and choose your Beatle covers.

Then there's the DVD situation. MythTV wants your artwork in one folder where its database can keep track of it. Front Row 2.0 wants a preview.jpg file in the same folder with the VIDEO_TS. Vista Media Center Edition wants a folder.jpg in the same place.

My process was as follows. I copied the artwork from DVDpedia (which had downloaded them from Amazon), used Apple's Preview application to create a new file from the clipboard, and saved it as preview.jpg in every DVD folder on my server. Creating the folder.jpg file was a bit easier, as I wrote a script to make static links from the preview.jpg, the equivalent of typing
$ln -s preview.jpg folder.jpg
170 times. Try to let the computer do what computers do best. A lot of busy work, but look at the pretty pictures swirl by...