Music screensaver iteration #4 made on London Music Hack Day 2013

The date has come, and passed! Me, Jonas and Johan are at the Music Hack Day in London like we planned last time. We continued working on PartySaver [Read about iterations #1#2, and #3] and focused on two major additions: a Deezer app and a connection to Philips HUE lamps.

The architecture of PartySaver separates the player app from the party functionalities. Meaning it was pretty simple to create a Deezer app since we already had a Spotify app. (actually, it required quite some refactoring since this is hackathon code :P)

Integrating Philips HUE proved to be quite easy, but also disappointing at the same time. The idea was to take the dominant color from the artist wallpapers and just set the lights to that color. First we noticed that the dominant color was actually most often a shade of gray. The second surprise was how lacking the lights are in the color spectrum. If you don’t send a color it can handle, it will grab the “nearest” thing which is not the nearest color as I’d imagine it (different hue basically) but instead it gets whitened.

cie-colorspace

The image above shows a CIE color chart, and the little green triangle inside it is what Philips HUE can handle. Not much in the blue/green/yellow space… Next hack I’ll try to find a better color matching algorithm than the built in one.

2013-12-07 23.46.24 2013-12-07 23.47.23 2013-12-07 23.47.31

Oh, a small improvement we made is that to find a party you just go to partysaver.se and it’ll check for parties within your wifi (actually, your public IP).

Next time we’ll also try to create the “standard” party functionality: party queue manager for party guests.

Curious on when we release PartySaver? Sign up on our website!

Update 2013-12-12: There’s a video of our presentation on YouTube. Also, we’ve talked to Deezer yesterday and are aiming at releasing PartySaver on their platform hopefully before Christmas (i.e. next week!)

Spotify screensaver attempt #2 made on Way Out West hack 2013 Gothenburg

About 8 months ago me and my friend Jocke did a screensaver for Spotify, based on an idea I had blogged about earlier. The main idea circles around the web player version of Spotify, because it’s the only way we’ve figured out how to do full screen apps. Our last attempt was a bit of a failure, because nothing was animating (which makes for a really bad screensaver). So during Way Out West I gave it another try, this time with Johan and Jonas who I’ve made Spelkalendern with.

Early we concluded that web app was the only way, again. So we changed our bookmarklet into a Chrome extension. As a little cute trick, the Chrome extension automatically adds a “hack” button to the page when you visit the player. When clicked it opens our app and hacks the iframe around it to allow fullscreen.

Chrome extension that adds this button to the Spotify web player.
Now as Chrome plugin

We really should change it to allow any app to go fullscreen. Hmmm…

We had one small problem though. The app SDK for the web player was no longer supported! It took a few hours to hack around it but we were able to solve it by changing the local server a bit.

Last time we mucked around with WebGL and that slowed us down. So this time it was simple HTML and CSS for the styling. We went with a clean look that’s very appealing. Using a service to get cool desktop sized artist photos and then the regular album art of the upcoming songs.

Since it was coded very modular, we could have a view to show various playlists to start with but we could also visualize anything you’re playing (like search results or just start playing inside some artist page). This was useful at my party last weekend.

Spotify screensaver #2 running on my TV through Apple TV
Spotify screensaver #2 running on my TV through Apple TV

Update: See version 3 of this project.

Spotify screensaver made on Music Hack Day 2013 Stockholm

Some time ago I blogged about an idea of making a Spotify screensaver. This weekend at the MusicHackDay in Stockholm me, Jocke and Vincent finally tried our hands at doing this by creating PartySaver. The first quest was: How do we play music and show music info, in fullscreen?

There’s several ways to play Spotify music: Spotify players (Win, Mac, iOS, etc), Spotify web player, and libspotify. We opted for the web player, but a developer edition which supports apps. We quickly noticed the apps aren’t allowed to run in fullscreen! So we created a bookmarklet that “hacks” the player to allow fullscreen apps.

Then I focused on the new 1.0 API to get the users playlists, and then the tracks from that playlist. While Jocke spent most of his time on WebGL and three.js so we could have the cover arts in a 3D mosaic that would animate and move. Sadly, we never got that far. Regardless, it went pretty good and we’re happy – so we’re going to try a CSS3 version. If we make it, we might even have a sponsor for a real screensaver. The question is, how should it be done?

Update: See version 2 and version 3 of this project.

Idea: Spotify Screensaver

I run a small media computer on my TV and often have Spotify running. The problem is that the screen gets burned in if I don’t have a screensaver, but if I have a screensaver on I can’t see the name of the song playing.

So the simple idea would be a neat screensaver that shows the current playing track. A bonus would be to show the album cover and next track, and follow the beat. As it would be a third-party application the easiest way would be to parse the artist and song title from Spotify’s Window title.

By using Gracenote it could show the album cover and lyrics, but probably not feasible for a free screensaver.

The hardest part would be inventing a cool or fun enough visualization. Maybe a self playing game, like Tetris, Audiosurf, Pong or Snake? A Rubicks cube solving itself? Maybe a nice fish tank? Or random particle effects? What would you like to see as the visualization?