I love niche programs, especially in the area of multimedia. If you're like me, you probably have a folder full of MP3s and Oggs collected from the last ten years that's reached the point where you've forgotten half the files in there. This month, I stumbled upon the charming little command-line program, audiopreview. To quote the project's Freshmeat entry:
"audiopreview is a command-line tool that plays previews of many audio file types (Ogg, MP3, etc.), video file types (AVI, MPEG, Real, etc.), and Internet streams. It also can be used as a regular command-line media file player (that is, play the files entirely like yauap or mpc123 would)."
audiopreview is a simple and easy command-line program for previewing large numbers of music files.
Although the name may suggest otherwise, audiopreview also plays video files.
Packages for audiopreview are available in Debian/Ubuntu format or the usual source. If you're running with the source, according to the man page, you need the following libraries: gstreamer0.10-plugins-base, gstreamer0.10-plugins-good, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad and gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly.
I found I also had to install the intltool library to get past the configure script. Once you have the library side of things sorted out, compile the program with the usual:
$ ./configure $ make
If your distro uses sudo:
$ sudo make install
If your distro doesn't:
$ su # make install
Using the actual command can be as simple as entering the folder where the files you want to hear are located and entering:
$ audiopreview *
(The * is used to indicate all the files in a folder.)
Once the program is running, you'll be greeted with a simple track listing, along with other relevant information in purple. As far as controls go, the spacebar pauses and unpauses the stream, N plays the next stream, and P plays the previous stream. R restarts the current stream, and Q stops playing and exits the program.
That's the basic usage out of the way, but let's refine it with some command-line switches to hone your usage. For new Linux users, these are added at the end of the command, like this:
$ audiopreview files-to-play --switch
If you plan on using audiopreview to play a whole song instead of in segments, use the switch --entirely or -e.
If you want audiopreview to start over again after the last song has been played, use --loop or -l.
As mentioned previously, audiopreview also can play some video formats. However, this being a command-line program, there's a good chance you may not have X running. If so, you'll want to disable the video to avoid errors. To do so, enter --no-video.
The default starting position for each file seems to be random, which might become annoying for those looking for more specific sections of a song. Thankfully, you can specify which section of a song you want to hear with a simple numerical switch. Add: --position=POSITION or -p POSITION, and replace POSITION with the numbers 0, 1, 2 or 3. 0 sets the position to the beginning, 1 to the middle, 2 to the end, and 3 makes the start position random.
Last but not least, engage the all-important shuffle function with --shuffle or -S. For example:
$ audiopreview *.mp3 -p 1 --shuffle
The above command plays all the MP3 files in a directory, sets the starting position to the middle of a song and shuffles the order in which they're played.
You can work out the rest from here, but honestly, do yourself a favor and check out the man page with:
$ man audiopreview
Ultimately, audiopreview fills a nice little niche that will appeal to anyone sorting through large collections of music (and some video) files. DJs in particular will find this of real use, but I found it great for rediscovering songs I hadn't listened to in years. Love it.
audiopreview — Multimedia Previewer (audiopreview.codealpha.net)
John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
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