Rediscover Your Music on a Rant

The new Amarok 2.2.1 is great. Editing metadata finally seems not to disturb Amarok’s stability and doesn’t make the collection scanner choke and eat endless amounts of memory. And finally I can use it as the coolest “ambient” music player again: Party mode is back. Err, okay it was back before – BUT: it finally works. Not to forget to mention its performance has vastly improved. To conclude these words: Yeah, it’s finally back on my desktop. Thank you, dear Amarok team. Great job!

But of course my increased usage puts the spot on all the bad things I start to discover. It’s my contribution to an ongoing rant on Amarok. There are some things I hate. And I really hate them. At least there seems to be no more show-stoppers now (or I didn’t discover them yet). Here is what I hate:

The Redesign of the Toolbar

That is really annoying. What did you guys think when you moved the playlist buttons to the middle? This makes in no way sense to me, because:

  • I have my Amarok OSD in the top center of the screen – exactly where the buttons are. Changing the track covers the buttons. I fixed this by changing to the slim toolbar but I miss the big buttons then (which I hated when they first came up btw).
  • It is waste of screen real estate. Come on? We are all going to have widescreens. And what do you guys do? You make a redesign targetted to good old 4:3 times: Less width, more height. The now-ultra-long progress bar looks ugly. The new layout has no place for important and/or useful buttons and info texts which could’ve been put there otherwise. In the end it’s totally counter-productive to the 3-column widescreen layout of Amarok. Please change that.

Strange Bugs

Many new bugs have been introduced, some old annoying bugs still remain:

  • You cannot remove track numbers from the metadata. Once set, they will always remain there. Trying to remove them and tabbing to the next field simply make the numbers reappear. Clicking on “save” while still in the field also doesn’t help – it’s just ignored and reset to the previous value. Does nobody use the metadata editor that it is treated such poorly?
  • Using the metadata editor often results in Amarok to freeze for some seconds (the sound however continues to play, so it’s not that annoying).
  • The playlist still has strange ideas of what should be grouped together and what not – most often when you remove a track from the playlist.
  • ALL MY SONGS ARE ZERO SECONDS LONG?! No, I can’t believe that! BTW: The progress bar shows interesting timing information because of that. I first thought this was one of the hard-to-understand inventions of the developers before I realized that it is directly connected to the zero-second long tracks. See the above screenshots.
  • Removing the current played track from the playlist makes Amarok jump to the start of the playlist instead of stepping to the “next” song. It’s annoying. I step into that pitfall over and over again (removing a track and skipping to next song afterwards). Argh!
  • I’m pretty clueless about how the replay-gain feature works. Where’s the automatic gain scanner and volume adjustment I so much loved in Amarok 1.4? I have the suspicion that this setting simply does nothing. My collection has replay-gain tags but songs come out of my speakers at surprisingly (and disturbing) different volume levels. I consider that non-working and thus a bug.

Final Words

You lucky guys: I’m still hoping. No wrong… I’ve got hope again. Seems you are finally concentrating on fixing bugs instead of inventing strange new features. Hmm, oh well – wrong again. Your new toolbar is a strange new invention. At least you fixed some annoying bugs. Yeah, probably in the end, perhaps, maybe you rock… Keen on the next release. ;-)

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