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Replace the mini music player that Apple took away

Back in the early Mac OS X iTunes era, there was a wonderful small window available that had control buttons, volume control, a visual progress bar, and a text display showing the artist, song, and album—it could even display a graphic equalizer in lieu of the artist-album-song info:

It was perfect. Sadly, it was last seen in iTunes 10 in Mac OS X 10.7. And today's version, while offering a mini mode, isn't nearly as mini or as functional as it used to be; read on for some details…

tldr summary: Mario Guzman's Music MiniPlayer is a full-retro near-perfect replacement for the original mini player. It's free, and I love it. If you're not into retro UI, Silicio on the App Store is also free and quite good, though you can't freely resize the window.

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When the music really matters

If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen my #WKRPFlashback hashtag in action: I'm rewatching the original WKRP in Cincinnati comedy series, first aired from 1978 through 1982, and tweeting out the occasional funny moment.

For those who don't know, WKRP in Cincinnati is all about radio: WKRP is a fictional AM station in Cincinnati. Given that premise, music is obviously an integral element of the show. You'll hear songs used as transition bits in the broadcast booth, and occasionally as background music playing over the station's speakers. You'll also hear the actors discussing the songs, mentioning titles and artists with regularity.

The songs also work their way into plot lines:

The songs were often tied into the plot of the episode, and some pieces of music were even used as running gags. For example, the doorbell to Jennifer's penthouse apartment played "Fly Me to the Moon" (which was later replaced by "Beautiful Dreamer" due to copyright reasons). [Wikipedia]

Here's one example of how songs and plots were tied together…

That's a clip from "Patter of Little Feet," in which Mr. & Mrs. Carlson discover that they're about to be parents again, very late in their married life. Mr. Carlson has asked Venus to play something "soft and sweet." Venus chose The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun," which is funny in a few ways, given the context. The end result is a short, poignant scene with a fairly funny audio joke thrown in. And that particular song is obviously integral to the scene.

As you can see (and hear), music was a very important element of the show—and that's where the troubles begin, at least relative to trying to watch the shows years later.

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