I get a little obsessed with software because I want things to be customized and perfect. I recently came across the iTunes Companion to be used on Konfabulator or Yahoo Widgets. The program is like the dashboard objects on a Mac, except this will also work on Windows. I noticed a slight lag in computer performance, but I can’t tell how much of an actual impact it has or if I can turn off features that are using memory.

The iTunes widget will find lyrics for songs that are playing (and download it directly to your mp3 if you hit SAVE or edit your preferences to save them automatically). You can find albums or songs by a playing artist within the iTunes companion without having iTunes window selected. You can view playlists and even edit id3 track info. The widget has an artwork display and when you hover over it with the mouse you see controls (like play, next, rewind), rating, volume, and other info. I was setting the rating for one of my songs and I went back into iTunes to see that it had created a half-star!?

Half Star Rating in iTunes

Unfortunately it’s not very easy to do. First off, it doesn’t respond well in the widget itself. You can assign a keyboard hotkey to add or subtract a whole star only, so you can only add half ratings in the interface. The problem is the rating doesn’t respond to mouse clicks at all sometimes. And like all things I’d like added for Apple products, the feature works best on a Mac instead of Windows (using AppleScripts). But iTunes only reads half-rated stars and doesn’t have full functionality with playlists.

The best thing about the widget is the lyrics finder. I’m still playing around with it, but I will probably use this when I want to grab lyrics and have them readable on an iPod. The hotkey functionality has better options in iTunesKeys, which I discuss in my audio tools article (as well as other free music player tools).