Posted on Thu 12 June 2008 in geek

Wow flash memory is getting cheap. I decided that my current 512mb key fob was starting to show it's limitations so picked up a shiny new 8gb one from World of Computers which I cycle past on the way into work. I'm sure I could find it cheaper than the �23 I paid but it's pretty good value compares to what it used to be only a few years ago. I've been making a concerted effort to reduce the number of CDs and DVDs I burn these days. As a result instead of watching stuff on the DivX DVD player we are using a portable USB drive plugged into the PS3. I now finally have a tape adaptor for the car so we can play stuff straight off the iPod/YP-U2R. My work machine doesn't actually have a CD drive but that's OK now. When I need to transport more than 7gb by sneaker net I'll have to think again about my data storage needs.

My main desktop music player the last few years has been the rather excellent Rhythmbox. However over the last few weeks on my work desktop it has kept getting confused when I pause and restart music, sometimes ending up in two parallel tracks starting. Rather than spend too much time poking it with sticks I thought I would give Banshee a spin.

Banshee is a fine music player. The first thing was the seamless importing of the Rhythmbox music library, one click and you are done. I particularly like the layout which shies away from the standard Artist/Album/Genre browser for a more natural layout. The bottom bar constantly suggests potential other artists (with album art) while you are listening as well as other tracks by the artist you may like. It has Audioscrobbler integration as well as a number of traditional online radios setup out of the box. The preferences are deliberately simple (a trend I'm starting to appreciate in GNOME) and it integrates well with the notification bar.

However in the end it is missing two killer features that Rhythmbox has. The first is "Add to Play Queue" which allows you to queue songs up to play next outside of the current playlist (or more often random selection). If often use this when I my random selection jumps into the middle of an album and I want to listen to the end and then continue. The second vaguely related feature is gap-less playback which you can turn on when going between tracks in the same album. This is a godsend for dance albums where you may have individual ripped tracks but they are mixed together. So after a day with Banshee I'm back with Rhythmbox. However I shall check back next release (or maybe when I get internet at home and can install the latest version easily on my desktop).