Review: Songbird Music has great potential but suffers from numerous slowdowns

Songbird Music looks like a feature-rich app, but with performance issues and dated content it takes some digging to find the most useful tools here. The app is designed to curate and provide access to top YouTube playlists on your iOS device, as well as accessing your iTunes library so you can create and share playlists with other users. This allows you to listen to music and watch videos directly from this app without having to pay for a monthly membership. It works on both accounts, but there are issues.

When you open Songbird Music you can start listening right … Read more

It's curtains for Songbird

Songbird, an iTunes alternative that originally combined music playback and management with Web-based music discovery, will exit stage left permanently at the end of the month.

CEO Eric Wittman revealed in a blog post that Songbird will no longer be maintained as of June 28, and that its parent company, Pioneers of the Inevitable, also would be closing down.

"[T]he company has found ourselves unable to fund further business operations," he said. The open-source desktop version of Songbird, its mobile apps for Android and iOS, and its music discovery service will all go dark. Wittman … Read more

Tunes travel well with Songbird Portable

Songbird is a free, open-source media player/Web browser. It's built around Mozilla's Firefox browser engine, VLC media player, and SQLite's database engine, with lots of extensions and other capabilities available, and more added all the time. Songbird's capabilities are too many to summarize, let alone describe, but they include dynamic playlists, automatic and manual importing and exporting, integration of Web radio and media streams, CD ripping, song data lookup, feed aggregators, and user-developed extensions of every kind. Songbird Portable is fully portable version of Songbird converted by PortableApps.

As portable freeware, Songbird Portable can be … Read more

Commercial open source had very good 2009

2009 was very good for open-source businesses. Sure, there was the very public news of Red Hat's gravity-defying year, along with Novell's SUSE Linux business climbing each quarter, but what of the still-private open-source companies?

It turns out they had much to celebrate, too.

Not every open-source company publicized its progress, but several did:

SugarCRM announced a "record year in terms of revenue, subscriptions and users, adding over 2,000 commercial customers" to bring its total customer base to over 6,000 organizations scattered across 75 different countries. (Disclosure: I am an advisor to the company.) … Read more

Browse for tunes

If Firefox and iTunes hooked up, their hatchling could very well be Songbird. Basic usage bugs have gone the way of last season's molting, so this fun app that's part music player, part Web browser, and all about music discovery, management, and playback is ready for every day use.

During installation, it'll ask if you want to load your iTunes music directory or another media directory, or perform the task later. Processing 5,000 songs took about 3 minutes, which is not a bad pace. It then asks you which of the preinstalled Songbird extensions you want … Read more

Minor updates for Songbird, GIMP

Freeware favorites Songbird and the GIMP updated in the waning days of 2009, offering mostly minor changes that fans of those programs will appreciate.

Songbird updated to version 1.4.3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version can rip music from audio CDs directly into the main Songbird library and introduces a new default feather, called Purple Rain. Feathers are Songbird-speak for skins or themes. Although an add-on is still required, the latest version also supports several Mass Storage Class portable device syncing.

Originally, the update was to v1.4.1, but two late "feather"-related … Read more

Songbird 1.2 debuts new features

Browser and jukebox freeware mashup Songbird brings onstage four new features to help manage songs, communicate better with iTunes, customize volume, and expose more information from

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Songbird 1.2's biggest new feature is the ability to automatically organize files across multiple folders according to each track's metadata. This can be especially useful both if your music is scattered across disparate folders, as well as forcing naming conventions on inconsistent files.

There's also the ability to introduce iTunes library tracks and playlists into Songbird, and export tracks from Songbird to … Read more

Music, now lyrics

If you're never exactly sure which words a singer screams, mumbles, or sighs throughout a song's stanza, a brand-new add-on released this week was meant for you. TuneWiki (review), a free plug-in for Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows Media Player, can stream lyrics in time to songs you play from your local library. You'll also be able to spool lyrics for the YouTube music videos you initiate within TuneWiki, watching them appear in a pane below the player.

The heart of the application is TuneWiki's lyrics Wiki, an online database whose contents are driven by community contributions, … Read more

Songbird adds art, watch folders, MTP devices

Music and Web surfing mashup Songbird is out with an impressive number of features that were missing from the last major update. For Windows, Mac, and Linux, version 1.1.1 introduces album art downloading, MTP device support, watch folders, improved sorting, and numerous other performance enhancements and bug fixes.

This version continues to push the more iTunes-esque feel of the jukebox/browser, but that's a change users will just have to get used to. Grabbing context-menu album art worked quickly, although users should remember to highlight an entire album to get the art to apply to all tracks. … Read more

The best new Windows programs of 2008

There were a lot of high-profile updates in 2008, and the line between traditional software downloads and Web applications blurred significantly. The browser especially has become, for some people, the only program they need.

There were several stand out new applications, though, and here are six of what I think are the best ones. They range from traditional Web browsers and browser hybrids to communication tools and utilities that should help you work faster and help maintain your system.

Google Chrome : The one application that probably going to be on everybody's Nice list this year, Google Chrome unexpectedly redefined … Read more