AudioFiler – My Search is {over/just begun}*

* delete as appropriate

I was cruising around the ID3.org site looking for a .NET ID3 tag API, when I came upon AudioFiler. AudioFiler is a great application, and one I’ve been searching for for years. Perhaps I should explain. I started creating and collecting MP3s back in about 1997, and since then my collection has grown a little. Back then there was a cool tool called TrackManager, by Nick de Jong. It was the perfect collection browser, it allowed filtration and multidimensional views. It allowed you to keep collections in multiple places (i.e. CDROMs) and then merge their contents to let you know where to find something your after. All in all it was a great application. It was ugly as hell, but that didn’t bother me that much because it started up Winamp when you wanted to play something so it didn’t matter.

The problem was that it started to get a bit flaky when your collection got above 500 songs (which happened pretty quickly) so I had to abandon it. Since then I have tried to use the media managers from a thousand different players including iTunes and just found that they didn’t help when I tried to visualise the whole collection from different angles. At last AudioFiler provides a search engine comparable to TrackManager. It’s Ugly, and it invokes Winamp, but I think it may be just what I need. Perhaps now I’ll rediscover all that stuff I know I’ve got but can never find. Anyone for some Riot Grrl?

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2 comments

  1. Hello! I’m the author of AudioFiler and I came across your blog while googling the name. Your comment is very interesting about audio programs getting flaky once the number of tracks got to high. Other than wanting to program an audio file manager that fit my specific needs, this was one of the biggest reasons that I began AudioFiler. As I mention on my page, it seems like most of the mainstream library programs are made for people that have a few hundred tracks. I have thousands of tracks and needed a program to help me traverse this kind of huge collection.

    One question, what would you change about AudioFiler to make it not so “Ugly”? I’ll admit, I have a very “function over form” attitude when it comes to UI design. Which means that AudioFiler has a very utilitarian feel to it. Would you like to see more professional-looking icons or is your comment aimed at a more fundamental aspect of the design?

    I hope my question doesn’t come across as defensive. I’m honestly looking for feedback on improving the program. AudioFiler is a pet project of mine, so it’s geared towards my preferences, but I try to be open to constructive criticism.

    Thanks,

    Mitchell S. Honnert
    http://www.AudioFiler.com

  2. Hi Mitchell,

    Great Work. Sorry to imply that your program was Ugly – I was trying to imply that it was less concerned with appearance (a la windows media player) and more concerned with the job in hand – Finding something to play. In a sense that was a mark of approval!

    My collection is over 100GB these days, and the problem is that I set less high standards in the 90s for my categorisation than I do now. Add to that the fact that I could manage my files on a few CDs in those days, but now I have a 500GB hard drive to keep them on now.

    The thing I loved about TrackManager was it’s ad hoc querying capabilities – I could work my way from a vague idea of what I wanted to hear through to a specific album. Add to that the ability to sort and search by any ID3 tag, and you had a pretty powerful way to explore your data. I liked being able to filter by multiple ID3 tags as well – drill downs I spose.

    I think the way that I listen to music has changed over the last decade though. These days, I tend to be lazy and opt for a small subset of the music I have because I tend to have small windows of opportunity in which to listen to it, so i can’t waste too much time filtering.

    I think the single most useful feature for a lazy listener such as myself would be a recommendation feature. I inherited my genre categorisations from others in a few cases, and in others I didn’t know what to call the music I have, so there is often music in there that would go well together, but which sits in different genres. I would like a feature to allow me to know what sounds well in succession. I’m thinking of an Amazon style other user also bought this book. Naturally, you could anonymously collect playlist data to provide you with raw data for this…

    As for the user interface, I’m not that bothered – just give me ways to mine data from my collection somehow.

    I hope that helps. I’ll give it some more thought over the next few days, and get back to you! Keep up the good work!

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