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Winamp Problems
Adding features also potentially adds bugs

I’ve been getting tired of Winamp (v5.112 specifically) randomly crashing for no specific reason on my new home music server. I tried upgrading to the latest version, but it also crashes. The best solution at this point was to just downgrade to an old version, like v2.8, which I have been using for more years than I can remember on most all of my machines.

Old versions of Winamp have a pretty low footprint and are great at what they are supposed to do: playing music. It’s gotten bloated nowadays though, which often happens when great software has hit its peak and has nowhere to go. This is one reason to just keep using versions of software that you are used to and have no problems with; like using XP instead of Windows Vista, or some older versions of Microsoft Office, pre-2003. Newer does not always mean better!

WinampRC
When the broad solution won’t cut it, get specific

I wrote earlier about my new entertainment center and how evil it has been. Unfortunately, things have only been getting worse. After trying to play music on it while torrenting or doing other things, I found out it can pretty much only do 1 task at a time, and barely, so I’ve decided to make it now only act as a music station and occasionally watch video through it when the video doesn’t require too much power. I even found an old 256MB stick of PC2700 RAM to put in it (yay for finding random antiquated computer parts around the house!), which did not help, as expected. This regrettably means I will have to keep my current home server at its job, which is a major power hog, and way too powerful for what it does, but ah well.

When listening to music I have the obvious need to easily pause playback, and the occasional need to skip songs I don’t feel like listening to ATM. I would normally use the multiple remote desktop hack for this, but the computer just can’t handle 2 XP sessions going at once. For this reason, Synergy (a great way to do KVM through software) would normally be the perfect fallback solution, except I’d rather not have to use my TV (which is the computer’s primary video output) just to control music on the surround sound system. That, and I’d rather not have to use the TV at all for the computer, because, as written before, I have to go through 5 minutes of hoops to get video working right on it. So the solution was to find a remote way to control Winamp, the only music player I’ve used since around ’98 :-).

After some searching, I found WinampRC, and it fits the remote control solution perfectly, especially as it is super lightweight! The only real problem I have with it is that its playlist editor is rather underdeveloped, and it’s hard to add music, especially in batches. Another minor problem is that there are no global keyboard shortcuts :-(, but I can fix this later with other software through macros. All in all though, I’m very happy with it :-).


[Edit on 2008-09-03 @ 7:34am]

Unfortunately, one other semi-major problem has crept up with the program, and it will be a hard one, if not impossible, to diagnose. Sometimes a few seconds after switching over to a new song, it automatically skips to the next song on the list. I can only assume this is because it has improperly measured audio playback times and thinks the previous song finished after it already did. This isn’t as bad as it could be though, and is only occasional, so I won’t be looking for another solution just yet.


[Edit on 2008-09-06 @ 4:30pm]

Ok, just using a normal keyboard, with a PS/2 extension cord, hooked up to the computer to issue shortcuts ~.~ . At least I don’t have to keep the TV on still.