Screensaver hotkeys and iTunesControl

I made the switch to Windows 7 as my primary operating system on Wednesday night. As is customary, I decided to fiddle with and tweak my new setup. The first thing I went looking for was a global hotkey for turning on the screensaver. I sleep next to my computer so when I go to bed I want the screens to go blank. I was using Ultramon to accomplish this on Vista, but since Ultramon is kinda broken on 7 (Maybe I should just make the switch to DisplayFusion?) I was wary about installing it. After going through a couple freeware applications that didn’t work, and deciding not to purchase Turn Off Monitor, I bit the bullet and installed Ultramon. I basically disabled everything except the hotkey.

After looking into it further I probably could have used AutoHotkey with NirCmd. I’m not sure if this combo would work on Windows 7 but I’ll try it out this weekend and see what happens.

The next thing I wanted was to be able to control iTunes with my multimedia keyboard keys when iTunes didn’t have focus. I found 2 different ways to do this: a plugin for iTunes written in 2003 and iTunesControl. I tried the plugin first and it worked great but I was a little wary about what some people had posted about problems with smart playlists. I installed iTunesControl and was very impressed by the available features. At first the on screen display bothered me, but after playing around with it I really started to like it. It’s mostly unobtrusive and it allows me to skip songs without having to listen and find out what they are. It even pulls album artwork, which is something I really appreciate. I’d recommend trying it out and seeing how you like it.

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