May 22, 2009

EarCandy 0.4 is out!

You might remember me blogging about EarCandy. Jason Taylor, the creator of EarCandy, has announced that a new release of EarCandy is out and it looks fantastic! Stefano Forenza has written an in depth blogpost, which I've posted below:

EarCandy is a PulseAudio volume manager, but a smart one ! It will automatically mute your music when a Movie or a YouTube video starts. And will mute the video when a Skype call comes in. You’ll love that ! (I already do)

This is not really a program where you have millions of options to play with. It’s more a zen one: you launch it and forget it. You’ll just remember about it when it automatically kicks in and do what you were about to do out of habit, before you.

This release is packed with new features, and finally seems very stable. Let’s go over the new features one by one:

* USB Headsets support: if you plug an usb headset, the audio streams will be automatically transferred to the headsets.
* Updates special volume keys to point to the usb headset when it’s plugged in: no more need to mess with the volume applet, the special multimedia keys of your keyboard will work on your audio boxes or usb headset depending if the latter is plugged in or not.
* Volume slider: the tray icon now behaves much more like the standard Gnome volume applet, and displays a volume slider when clicked.
* Deactivable tray icon: …but if you don’t like to have yet another tray icon, you can hide it easily.
* Lock volumes: earcandy automatically determines which audio stream you want to listen. But if you happen to be willing to freeze the current situation, you can do so with the pause button that appears above the slider when you click the tray icon.
* Refactored interface: nicer and more sober.
* Adjustable volume fade speed: I like it fast btw. With fries.

Two more new features:
Smart volume detection
This is pretty cool. The last releases had some problem with YouTube. When Youtube video is paused or finishes, the audio stream is not released by Firefox. That means that viewing a youtube video meant stopping the music forever.

Earcandy now features a nice volume detection. That means that, if you stop a video, the music resumes playing automatically. This is nifty, you really have to try how seamless it makes it to understand what I mean.

Automatic configuration
One issue with EarCandy was the fact you had to configure your application to tell EarCandy which application was a Video player, which one was an Audio player, and so on. EarCandy now sniffs the .desktop files of the open applications, and understands on its own who does what (and you can even override the rules you don’t like)


In case you don’t like the predefined rules, you can change them in the Preferences.


Advanced preferences.


Sold?
UPDATE! Ear Candy .deb and PPA Available !

Since it seems pretty stable right now, I encourage everybody to try it. Open a terminal and type the following:

bzr branch lp:~killerkiwi2005/eyecandy/0.4 earcandycd earcandy./ear_candy

ps: if you already played with some earlier version of earcandy, remove altogether its settings folder (~/.config/Ear Candy)before running it

Help needeeeeed!
If you’re good at packaging, why don’t you give it a shot and make a nice .deb (an .rpm would be also appreciated). If so, comment here.

Also, if someone may contribute a better, high resolution icon… no offense to Jason but icons are not really his specialty. If so, please open a new bug

Opinions?
Like always, please let me know what you think about it.

I really love how it lifts the burden of stopping an resuming audios, videos, etc from my shoulders. All considered, EarCandy adds a really little touch inside the landscape of the desktop experience, but a very nice one, and I’d go even further saying that would be so cool to have this included in Karmic Koala by default. Now, that surely won’t happen, but if it would, I’m sure it would be noticed and appreciated by the people.

Source: http://www.stefanoforenza.com/earcandy-04-rules/

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