URL Shrink is a new OS X tool with a very simple purpose - converting URLs to shorter permalinks on various web services. As the internet has matured, and services like IM, IRC, and Twitter have forced us to write shorter messages, it was clear that a system was needed that was as ubiquitous as Quicksilver.

For now, the main service of URL Shrink is just converting a URL that is on the clipboard, although this will be expanding over time (including things like a system text service, a command line client, a Quicksilver plugin, etc.). To do this, there is a keyboard shortcut (option-shift-space) which will convert the URL in the background to a tiny URL using one of the services provided. If you've selected one as your favorite, it'll choose that one. For example, I'm personally partial to is.gd, so all the URLs that are processed by URL Shrink on my machine go through is.gd.

At a low level, URL Shrink is a system where multiple shrinking engines can be added. It was designed to be extremely easy for developers to write just a little bit of code to integrate with other web services, including private URL services. For information on that, see the project page below.

URL Shrink is licensed under the BSD license. I encourage its adoption within other applications; I'll be adding .framework and .a targets for building this into Mac and iPhone apps respectively. Indeed, the project was born out of the URL shrinking capacity of another app I'm working on.

Status:

Inactive

 

I could not be more pleased about this news. iTunes 8.1, which was released about an hour ago, renamed "Party Shuffle" to iTunes DJ. I've used Party Shuffle for a long time as a queue of music to play for day-to-day work, and have been frustrated with Apple's Remote iPhone app and its lack of support for Party Shuffle. But their 1.2 App Store update, also released earlier today, has full support for it.

iTunes DJ divides iPhone users into two groups - guests and, for lack of a better term, the admin. The admin's iPhone is paired to iTunes as before, and they get the iTunes DJ playlist added. You can skip through songs, cast a vote (addressed below), and request songs. While iTunes DJ is playing, selecting a song anywhere else throughout the app brings up a menu asking if you want to add to iTunes DJ or play on its own.

Guests don't have to pair their iPhones to iTunes. They get to see a modified Now Playing screen, devoid of playback control. They can, however, request songs for iTunes DJ, and cast votes for songs. When they request a song, it automatically casts a vote for it.

Votes are pretty simple on the facet, but appear quite useful. Songs in the queue can be voted on by anybody. As they get voted on, they are automatically resorted in the queue by number of votes. However, you might get some guy at the party vote-clogging all night; fortunately, votes can be shut off by the admin.

All in all, this is the Big Deal feature in iTunes 8.1, and seems very well thought out.

, ,    Tags