iTunes Cover Flow and Text2Go

June 19, 2007 at 11:12 pm | Posted in iPod, iTunes, text to speech, Text2Go | 1 Comment

Cover Flow has been present in iTunes since version 7, released in September 2006. Cover Flow allows you to flip through your digital music collection album by album using a neat 3D graphical interface. When I first discovered this feature, it brought back memories of the countless hours I’d spent as a student flipping through the bargain bins at Real Groovy Records. Most searches were a complete waste of time but occasionally I’d encounter a gem of an album at a bargain price, which kept me hooked. I’m sure that Real Groovy purposefully seeded the bargain bins with the odd decent album for just this reason.

It’s not all that obvious how to display Cover Flow in iTunes, unless you know what you’re looking for. However it is very logical once discovered. You can either select it from the View menu or by clicking on the right-most view icon (marked by the red arrows below). Once visible, you can adjust the size of the Cover Flow window by dragging the window up and down using the control marked with the green arrow below. For the ultimate experience you can display Cover Flow in full screen mode by clicking on the control marked with the purple arrow below.

How to show Cover Flow in iTunes

Cover Flow looks and feels right and it’s because of the details. For example, the albums are reflected on an imaginary shiny surface to enhance the 3D effect. The albums to either side of the currently album are dimmed slightly so they don’t compete for attention. When you flip through your collection, there is a nice acceleration, deceleration effect that makes the motion seem more natural. You can flip through your collection using a single click per album or you can use the mouse wheel to flip through them at a faster rate. You can also drag the horizontal scroll bar backwards and forwards to rapidly move to a position within your collection, although this is equivalent to scrolling through a normal list, reducing the Cover Flow technology to eye-candy.

Once I’d discovered Cover Flow I couldn’t wait to see how it displayed the artwork that is automatically captured by Text2Go when you convert a web page from text to speech. As part of the conversion process, Text2Go will take a screenshot of the original web page, import it into iTunes and attach it to the Text2Go track. This screenshot will then be used as cover art for the track, both in iTunes and on your iPod. Here is an example of a few Text2Go tracks displayed in iTunes using the Cover Flow view.

Text2Go tracks displayed using iTunes Cover Flow view

Changing the cover art resolution in Text2GoIt’s quite easy to get a good idea of what the original web pages look like. One thing I did do to improve the image quality when displayed in full screen mode was to change the resolution of the screenshot captured by Text2Go. By default it will capture screenshots at a resolution of 300 x 300 pixels, which is fine for display on your iPod or in the other iTunes views. However you can change this in the Text2Go Options. I cranked it up to 900 x 900 which improved the look of the cover art significantly.

Cover Flow is one of those features that seems really cool when first discovered. Only time will tell whether the novelty will wear off and I’ll go back to using plain old text lists.

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1 Comment

  1. this post is very well written, cool .. by the way if you need itunes gift card to use in the USA iTunes i can recommend http://itunesgiftscards.com, me and my friends are buying from them always and the ship fast, by email, and they are legit which is the most important


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