Date: Thursday, August 28th, 2003, 13:21
As each application that is developed for the Macintosh grows in popularity, so do the number of add-ons, and extensions that supposedly enhance the program in some way, shape or form. Apple?s iTunes, music playing software allows for the playing and encoding of audio in a variety of different formats ? mainly mp3. But third-party developers never seem to be content with the program as is, and have added many additions to iTunes, including alternative visualizers, playlist plug-ins or controllers. Many of these additions seem to be flunks, except for Synergy, which should be awarded the first place trophy of iTunes extras.
?Synergy is a tiny Cocoa application for the Mac OS X 10.2 (and later) that puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause; as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune. Synergy can even automatically download and display the cover of the currently playing album. The Synergy controls, together with the ability to control iTunes via system-wide Hot Key combinations, mean that Synergy provides the fastest way of skipping between songs when using the keyboard or mouse; all this without having to switch to iTunes or access its Dock menu.?
I first saw Synergy in action on a friend?s computer at college. The way that the program interacts so naturally with iTunes I questioned at first if it was a built in module to iTunes that I had somehow not realized existed. Upon inquiring my friend about what program was letting him ?control iTunes to perfection? he looked at me with a face of utter shock that I had not heard of this program before.
One of my favorite features about Synergy is the visual feedback and how it integrates so precisely into the Operating Systems workflow. The user is allowed to set the positioning, size and opacity of the visual feedback bar. When a new song comes on the feedback bar slowly appears (as if out of nowhere), informing the user of the new song playing and its information, complete with an image of the CD cover.
Synergy is one of those small applications that after using it for a couple of days cannot imagine living without. It is available to download for a 7 day trial. After the 7 day trial you can purchase a license through PayPal for only US$5.