IOD: Making the PC a Useful Music Player During Work

One problem I have with most modern software media players and OS sound output is that they don't understand how someone works with music in the background.

For example: Yesterday I had created a manual playlist for myself in Windows Media Player (though, as I said, the problem is no better in iTunes or WinAmp). I was happily listening to music at my desk when I received a voicemail in my inbox.  Without thinking I clicked to listen to the voicemail.  My music stopped playing, the voicemail played, and then WMP was left with the voicemail as its current playlist.  Why not understand that I may have a short term need to turn down the music, listen to a small file, and then return to the regularly scheduled playlist without having to que it up again. 

Another example: This is more of an OS rather than media player problem, but there needs to be an option to turn off all sounds from a computer with the exception of the media player.  This way I won't do damage my hearing when I'm listening music and an instant message arrives at a volume level 10x higher than the music that is currently playing.  I guess I would call this feature "prioritized audio".

My current workaround is simply to cut the PC out of my music listening and just rely on my iPod.

Comments (6)
  1. Eric Lippert says:

    But WMP _has_ that feature.

    When that happens to me, WMP puts up text that says "to go back to your previous playlist click here", and when you click there it picks up where it left off.

    Perhaps you’re using an older version?

  2. josh ledgard says:

    Ok, I’ve got V9 running on my current imaged system. I’ll give 10 a shot. It would still be nice to just assume that’s what I want and do it for me.

  3. Isn’t the Longhorn team working on a solution for the audio issue you mentioned. I thought I saw a post by Larry O. talking about having different volume controls for different apps.


  4. Yeah, 10 lets you ctrl-B back to your previous playlist, right where you left off. It’s out-effing-standing. I usually listen to old talk radio MP3’s in the background, and I’m always struggling with keeping my background playlist from being wiped out when I click on some other media file. I still have winamp playing my background at home, and all associations pointing to WMP, so if I click on something, I won’t lose my place. But at work, I put everything in WMP. After moving to 10, I was checking out a channel 9 wmv and thought I wiped out my carefully crafted playlist. But I saw that message in the playlist box, and said "Sweet!" out loud.

  5. David Weller says:

    Well, WMP10 doesn’t fix the volume problem, but Ctrl-B works wonders to pick up right where you left off…I no longer fear playing voice mails or clicking on email links where somebody says, "Check this movie out, it’s hilarious!"

  6. I must be running an older version too. Will have to try 10. Thanks for the tip. Though, the handy dandy I-Pod is nice to have when the playlist on the home server is updated more regularly than any work PC. So, I’m still voting for I-Pod. It just seems easier, and I find it easier to concentrate on work if the two are seperate. Perhaps v.10 will change all that. 🙂

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