See The Music / Onadime Player
Estimated Price: $30.00
I love music. That’s why in my spare time I work as a webmaster for a local record store, trading my HTML abilities for my choice of CDs. And besides the pleasure of listening to that music on my home equipment, I like to hear and work with it on my Macintosh. In the past, this has always been a purely auditory exercise; I could listen, but not “see” the music. But I can now, thanks to Onadime’s See the Music.
The See The Music CD-ROM has two major components: a CD player; and Onadime Compositions, or canvases. It’s not easy to describe what canvases are, but I’ll try.
While the Onadine player controls the audio CD the same as any CD player, there’s also a window which displays the Onadime Compositions, a collection of colorful, artistic shapes that move in sync with the music. Some of the Compositions are even interactive, responding to the movements of your mouse or keyboard. These are all beautiful and fascinating to actually see, and will blissfully occupy a great deal of your time at your Mac.
The Onadime Compositions is what you’re paying for, because you can actually download the Onadime player for free via their website. But the player alone will really do you no good. In fact, when you compare just the Onadime player to any other CD player for your Mac, the Onadime player falls flat on its face. For example, it lacks the ability to name either CDs or tracks (which also means it can’t access the CD Database on the web). And for some odd reason its keyboard controls to Pause, Stop, Fast Forward, etc., don’t conform to Apple standards. These things need work, but as I said, the player isn’t what you’re paying for. The Onadime player is really more like a picture frame, a framework for the artwork displayed inside it. And it is there, when you add in the Onadime Compositions, or canvases, that See the Music shows its true colors.
The See the Music CD-ROM comes with 29 different Compositions (see the picture below for some examples). Any of these will make whatever music you’re listening to seem to come alive. You can view the Compositions from inside the player itself, or set it to either small or full screen. In full screen mode the CD controls disappear and all you see are the Compositions (you can still control the CD via your keyboard, however). In full screen mode, the Compositions behave and look much like very high quality screen savers (which is what I like to use it for when I’m not running SETI* in screen saver mode).
While I can recommend See the Music, there are a few things I sincerely hope will be corrected in the next version. The ability to display song and CD names should have been a no-brainer, along with having to learn new keyboard shortcuts to control the CD player. Another is a lack of MP3 support. But my biggest gripe is there’s no way to have the Onadime player display Compositions sequentially, randomly, or at regular intervals. However, I did notice one nice touch: You can change the background of the CD player’s window to whatever you use on your desktop.
Overall, though, this is a fine product. The Compositions are worth the price of admission alone, but you can also buy additional Compositions online at Onadime’s website. And though you can’t try them out before you purchase them (which would be nice), I did note that some Compositions on the See the Music CD aren’t available online. From the Compositions I’ve enjoyed, this is a real incentive to get the CD-ROM package.
The Onadime See The Music CD-ROM is a fun product, one well worth looking into if you like “living” art and have a love for music. It’s a truly innovative, endearing product that has the potential to be even better.
MacMice Rating: 3.5