One of the things that I love about Mac is that there’s no shortage of small tools to make your life better. I have more lightweight apps than I do feature-packed programs. And I’m frequently surprised by the small apps I find that make my life better in ways I’d never thought of.
My most recent discovery on Mac is Intermission, a lightweight app that sits in your menubar and lets you remind, pause, fast forward, and skip back live audio. It’s been described as TiVo for Mac, and I had to give it a shot. Read on to find out how it works.
Pause Your Live Streams
The first thing I thought of when I heard about Intermission was iTunes Radio. I don’t have it in Canada (yet), but I wanted to put this tool through its paces to see if it would work when iTunes Radio did arrive for me.
There’s a couple traditional radio stations I like. I put on the local radio station’s talk show channel and listened for a few minutes. Before long, I was pausing the stream like a yuppie with his first television remote. I was mostly pausing just to answer text messages, but I also paused to deal with a pertinent email. Nobody likes to seriously think while listening to talk radio, so the pause came in handy.
Finally, I heard a commercial coming about drinking and driving. I skipped it with the click of a button. It was glorious.
How It Works
As you stream audio, Intermission builds an audio cache for up to three hours of rewinding or fast forwarding abilities. I paused my audio for about a minute so the app could build a bit of a commercial cache, but it would have been just as easy to walk away for a couple minutes and rewind when I came back.
I tried digging around in my Finder and I couldn’t find where this buffer was stored. I found a couple small files, and I think it’s safe to say that RogueAmoeba’s software isn’t taking up tons of space on your computer. So yes, if your hard drive is nearly full and you’re worried about space, download away without fear.
When you’re ready to rewind or pause live audio, you can do it directly from the menu bar. Intermission’s preferences also include the ability to set hotkeys for the app and turn it on immediately upon start up.
You can also set the amount of seconds you want the app to jump forward or back. The stock time is ten seconds, but I find most commercial breaks are a little longer than that, depending on what you’re listening to. If iTunes Radio develops a stock commercial break time of 15 seconds, changing the skip forward time is going to be perfect.
The Demo and the Price
Like all of RogueAmoeba’s products, Intermission is available as a free trial with all features unlocked from the get-go. The demo’s limitations are ten minutes of buffered audio. At that point, unless you’re listening to live audio, the app overlays a loud hiss onto your audio. It’s not something you can ignore, and it’s definitely worth getting the license.
If you think ten minutes isn’t a long enough time to decide whether or not you want to purchase the full version, I’d argue that you’ll know whether or not Intermission is right for you after five minutes.
The full version of Intermission is $15 right now, which RogueAmoeba says is a special introductory price. Some people might find the price is uncomfortably high, but I think it’s fair. RogueAmoeba will likely be supplying free updates for life — and is $15 too much for software you’ll be using every day?
The moment iTunes Radio comes to Canada, I’m investing in Intermission. The app works flawlessly and exactly as claimed, with the added and unexpected benefit of total customization. I can see this making iTunes Radio my main destination for discovering new music.
If you’re into audio streams, you’re going to find Intermission an invaluable tool. At $15, I highly recommend it.