OpalCalc...I had a feeling I'd heard of that before, and sure enough, upon viewing the link for it, I saw the Lifehacker reference. That's where I first read about it! That's very cool that you got your work featured on there. I remember even downloading it and playing with it for a bit...I may even still have it somewhere on my computer, haha. I still use the built-in Windows calculator (or even Google) for most of my quick calculations, but I know if I need to do something more complex, I can turn to your program
Also, sometime before, when I was exploring your articles on skytopia.com, I came across the review article I first read a few years back, comparing MediaMonkey to other media players. It really made me interested in trying out MediaMonkey, and I did, in hopes of being able to use the one plugin that was keeping me tied to Winamp, this long-obsolete and now extinct (can't even find it online anymore) plugin called RoboDJ. Although never fully integrated into Winamp 5.X (no media library support, and therefore required its own database, that grew into a huge challenge to keep updated as my music collection grew exponentially
), it was a great plugin, because it provided weighted random shuffling to Winamp. The plugin was buggy and prone to crashes, though--and many a time, it'd screw up my weighted ratings (until I began using MS Access to manage the ratings database externally). Plus, Winamp had its own annoying quirks that made me want to "jump ship" to another player if I could. But oh, what to do about my weighted ratings?
My first trial of MediaMonkey back in late 2009 didn't work out for me. I was sold on MM being able to use Winamp plugins, but RoboDJ was one that wouldn't work correctly for me. So, I reverted to Winamp, sadly...and I stayed with it until October this year. Growing discontent with Winamp inspired me to take another look into MM. MM's SQLite database format really appealed to me this time, I mean, since I've already been using MS Access to store a copy of my Winamp data and relating it to my RoboDJ data to make changes/additions to the RoboDJ data. I figured I could transfer all my desired data to MM's database, which I managed to (it was an adventure in itself, haha). However, the issue of what to do about listening to music with weighted ratings, loomed once again.
I found some RadioDJ or something like that plugin for MM, that I thought would serve me well... In the process of importing my data from Winamp, I realized I only use like 10 or 11 major ratings classes, which corresponded perfectly to the star ratings system (and its internal number values). So, I converted my ratings data accordingly, and then with RadioDJ, I was able to figure out appropriate weightings for each rating. However, the plugin quickly proved limiting, in ways I don't even remember anymore, haha.
So, I resumed my search for a worthwhile plugin, and found MegaDJ...it sure seemed promising, after reading through the entire thread's posts. Highly configurable with advanced queries and weighting criteria? "Yes!" I exclaimed. This has turned out to be infinitely better than RoboDJ. Thanks to MegaDJ, I now have
- Always fresh playlists! In my main nodes, my queries begin with only songs with no playcount and no rating, or songs above a certain rating. This way, songs I hear once and don't particularly care for, will never be queued again. Back with RoboDJ, I'd have to manually rate such songs down or wait till I ran queries in Access and exported an updated database, to remove those disposable tracks from rotation.
- Easily customizable weightings! Back with RoboDJ, I'd have to adjust queries and/or do global find/replace operations in order to change my songs' weightings, and it was never a dynamic process, of course. In MegaDJ, though, I just have to change a few numbers, click Refresh, and my list gets instantly updated! Of course, I can't forget that I can make weightings by almost anything, such as by playcount, last time played, date added, genre--all of which was either never possible with RoboDJ or very clunky to implement using Access.
- Scheduling! Thanks to my modifications, I now have my MegaDJ nodes working on a schedule I have some that I schedule daily, and a few weekly ones, and even a monthly "1990s weekend marathon", haha. And just this week, I figured out how to schedule my Christmas-themed nodes from Thanksgiving Day till the day after Christmas! This is awesome--it's like I have my own "radio station" at home
- Other mods In addition to scheduling, I made my nodes' track lists persistent, so that they don't get erased by editing a node unless I specifically click Refresh. Also, I've implemented something like bookmarking--when I'm playing in one node (say I'm on track 20 of 40), and my scheduling switches to another node, the now playing list gets deleted and then repopulated with the new node's tracks once the current song finishes. But then, once the schedule returns to the previously playing node, that node will begin on track 21 instead of track 1. Pretty cool, huh?
Twinbee, thank you so much for your program. I rarely take time to write feedback on things (positive or negative), but I really felt a need to express my praise for this program. You make MediaMonkey awesome, and managing my music simpler, and very enjoyable once again. Thank you!