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I love iTunes. I live for my iTunes. I need my iTunes playing all day long. And I want to be able to control iTunes from within any application that I’m working in, without having to switch into iTunes. How can I pause my music, skip ahead to the next song, go back to the previous song, and stuff like that…without having to go into iTunes?
Wow, for someone who really loves iTunes, you sure want to avoid looking at it face to face! Luckily, we can think of three ways to control iTunes without ever bringing it to the foreground.
First, you can click and hold (or right-click, or Control-click) the iTunes icon in your Dock to see a contextual menu that displays the name of the current song, and lets you can pause or resume playback, mute iTunes, skip to the next or previous track, control the repeat and shuffle functions, and give the song a rating.
Or you can download a shareware iTunes controller app—our favorite is Wincent’s Synergy (9.95 euros, or $14.58 at press time, www.wincent.com) because it combines a menubar controller and customizable keyboard shortcuts, plus a customizable floater window that shows you detailed information about the current track.
Synergy lets you assign shortcuts for 20 iTunes functions. Remembering them is up to you.
Or you could just look down: Apple’s new aluminum keyboard—as well as some third-party keyboards, such as the Adesso Intellimedia Pro Mac Keyboard ($49.99, www.adesso.com)—has special function keys that let you pause or play your music, as well as jump tracks.