Controlling your music while you're working (or playing) on your computer should be virtually seamless. While these days it's almost impossible to buy a keyboard without media keys built-in, there are many users that either don't have media controlling keys on their keyboards, or would simply prefer to keep their hands on the actual keys. While iTunes is not capable of assigning hotkeys on its own, there are a number of iTunes controller applications on the market that can add this functionality.
In my opinion SizzlingKeys deserves to be at the top of the list of iTunes controller apps for its simplicity, reliability, and extra features. SizzlingKeys installs as a preferences pane, and has a very intuitive interface that allows you to choose which functions to enable, and what the hotkeys should be for those functions.
The list of things you can control with hotkeys is fairly comprehensive:
- Play / Pause
- Previous / Next Track
- Volume Down / Up
- Mute / Almost Mute
- Show / Hide iTunes, Playlists, Search
- Set song rating
- Show floater (song information)
In addition SizzlingKeys offers some non-iTunes "extras" that you can control:
- Sleep computer
- Lock computer
- Activate screen saver
The standard version of SizzlingKeys is free, but there is also a Pro version for $5 that includes the ability to skip forwards and back by a customized interval, the ability to toggle shuffle and repeat modes, and the ability to control the system volume.