433 words on Software
iScrobbler started out as a nice utility for submitting your currently played music to audioscrobbler / last.fm (who seem to have a new design). A tiny utility doing a tiny job well and displaying some pretty musical notes in your menu bar.
The musical notes remained but everything else seems to have gone off track. Not even because the features that were added (playback of last.fm streams, keeping a local history, loving/banning tracks - all stuff which should be part of iTunes, but which Apple is too blasé to put in there because their music player application needs to support phones or something), but because the priorities in doing so seem backwards.
In my opinion such a utility should be small and lean. iScrobbler isn’t. Quite frequently I found it using 200MB of ‘real’ RAM and 100% of CPU time for - hm, I don’t really know what for. But I can speculate. Part of the problem seems to be the local database iScrobbler keeps of the tracks you played. From what I can tell it must have kept several copies of that in RAM and worked intensively on it for some reason. At least removing the associated files - which were slightly over 10MB - from the system reduced the RAM consumption to ‘just’ 20MB of ‘real’ memory. The next step was of course to turn the local history keeping off, to make sure the problem won’t return. A shame.
And then there’s the 64bit problem. My computer may have a 64bit processor but the fact is that I don’t need that feature. As far as I can tell, of the processes I use, at most 3 are 64bit. One is httpd, the other is Chess - and I don’t actually use that - and the third is iScrobbler. Which effectively means that for what should be a harmless utility application the system probably has to load a whole new copies of its libraries just so the application can run in 64 bit mode. Because we are still firmly in the 32 bit age on the Mac these days, no matter what other people suggest.
A quick run of lipo (argh, I want a -strip-crap option for that which automatically overwrites the original rather than having to know the obnoxious ‘names’ the different architecture types have) later, the 64bit problem was solved. And amusingly the application is now down to using only 10MB of memory which sounds like a reasonable amount to me.
The question here is of course why all this crap happens in the out of the box situation…
If I remember correctly, a new developer took over the project awhile back and has been making it progressively worse ever since. I thought the damage was limited to the interface (particularly atrocious were the mandatory faked Growl notifications a few versions back), but I now see it goes beyond even that. Ugh. Completely unacceptable for what is supposed to be an always-on lightweight alternative to the bloated official client.
Anyone know of any good alternatives? Even paid ones?
A few months ago I switched to using ScrobblePod http://www.bengummer.net/scrobblepod/ which uses less memory and CPU cycles. It also gives you more control over iPod scrobbles than iScrobbler.
Thanks for the hint. I saw that tool but from its name I supposed it’s only for iPod related stuff. Now I’ll have another look.
I have to say, though, that with the modifications I made iScrobbler seems well-behaved.
I just tried out ScrobblePod and apart from the ugly menu bar icon it looks neat. However, it uses 65MB of ‘real’ memory on my machine, so it’s actually worse than iScrobbler without the history keeping.
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.