Hack 29 iCal Calling iTunes


Wouldn't it be nice to choose tracks from iCal, reminding yourself to exercise with the inspiring theme from Flashdance?

You give people an inch, they'll want to take a mile. In this corner, Apple's iTunes, MP3 player supreme with smart playlists, XML exports, ratings, play count, ID3 support, and more. And in the other, Apple's iCal with alerts, multiple calendar coloring, web-based subscriptions, to-do lists, and drill-down views. Both free, powerful, and useful. Are people happy with the birds on their doorsteps? "Not without integration," they sing, and integration comes in the form of a free AppleScript from Doug Adams.

There's no installation; just stick the application any place you'd like (as is typical of most AppleScripts). With proper configuration, iCal Calling iTunes can trigger the start of any iTunes playlist, shuffle that playlist, or likewise stop that playlist at any date or time.

Configuration is simple. First, create a new calendar called iTunes. It's here that you'll configure all your sound events (you can configure other events, but as we'll see, their status will be marked as Tentative). To integrate iCal with iTunes, define an event named after one of your iTunes playlists, and configure the dates as you would normally. After that, simply double-click the iCal Calling iTunes AppleScript, and it'll resolutely play tracks from the matching play list when the event triggers.

To stop a playlist, set the To date of the event for when you want the litany to halt, and change the status to Confirmed. Other status changes also exist: if the iTunes playlist could not be found, the event's status will change to Tentative, and skipping events is as easy as changing the status to Cancelled. Shuffling playlists can be accomplished by appending an asterisk to the event name.

The possibilities of this integration are widespread: configure a day's worth of music, starting with slow-tempo progressive, speeding up to DJs in the afternoon, overtaking with digital hard-core in the evening, and then easing into mindlessness with nighttime trance. Or trigger a playlist of romantic songs on your anniversary, a pinch to grow an inch on your birthday, and a wee bit o' shamrockery on St. Patrick's Day.

29.1 See Also

  • Doug's AppleScripts (http://www.malcolmadams.com/itunes/)