One of my favourite Mac utilities has just been updated to add some excellent functionality. Airfoil now supports Chromecast and it works very well.
I’ve never understood why AirPlay from an iOS device only allows you to send audio to one speaker at a time, Airfoil is the perfect way to fix that. My MacBook Pro is normally on and so I AirPlay to Airfoils sister app Airfoil Satellite and then using the iOS Satellite app send the audio to what ever speakers I want. Since I have a Chromecast in my little studio I can now easily send Apple Music to my speakers without faffing around with cables. I put it to good use this morning streaming to both my studio speakers and kitchen speakers while I moved between the two rooms.
I seem to have this strange affinity for the menu bar. Well really it’s for little icons in the menu bar. If an app can run in it in someway, chances are it is doing so on my Mac.
Recently the excellent AirFoil from Rogue Amoeba was upgraded to version 4.7. It brought with it the ability to run an icon in the menu bar instead of the dock. Instantly I turned it on, AirFoil is always running and it bugs me to have too many icons in the dock of my MBP1. It’s a brilliant idea and one which, in my opinion, should’ve been available much earlier than it has been. A simple click shows me what song is playing in either iTunes or Spotify, which speaker I’m streaming too and the ability to add more should I wish. It’s almost like the universal AirPlay icon in the multitasking tray on iOS.
That’s all great, except, it feels kinda half finished.
The greatest thing about AirFoil is that I can stream from any source on my Mac. I mainly use it for Spotify or iTunes, but occasionally I play something in Safari like the a live 5by5 podcast. It baffles me that I can’t select what source AirFoil is transmitting from the menu bar. Logic, at least to me, dictated that this would be the chief function.
Imagine the scene. I’m sat working away, I realise via Twitter, that the B&B Podcast is about to start live on 5by5.tv. I click the link in the tweet I just read and I’m switched to Safari. Since I already have music playing from iTunes, using Alfred I can pause it instantly and then I’m free to start the live stream. The only thing is I have to click show AirFoil, then find the window and click the drop down. Then I have to select my source, and then I can close the window. It all seems kinda long winded and like I should be able to switch source on the fly from the menu item. A ‘source’ menu below or above my speakers containing only the apps I have open and available to be used as my source would be fantastic. It’d reduce the clicking and thus the friction in changing a source for my AirFoil broadcast. Hopefully they will add this ability soon, it would complete the app as far as I’m concerned.
- I’m a dock on the side guy (left bottom) and so vertical space is limited.
This makes me really want to get an AppleTV, Real Racing looks awesome.