I'm sure you've all heard of Web Services: it was that very subject on which I wrote a couple of platitudes in order to win tickets to the V Festival in Staffordshire this August; it's also what makes sure that this site is listed on Weblogs.com and blo.gs. All of which is very interesting, I'm sure.
I downloaded the Windows Media Player 9 Blogging Plug-in today, because I always fancied the idea of a Now Playing box over in the sideboard - so fantastic is my taste in music, that it'd be a crime not to share it with you. Unfortunately, it seems that its purpose is purely to let blogging applications append current track data to the head of a blog post. This doesn't particularly appeal, and implementing it would either require implementing an API, or writing a client-side blogging tool; neither of which I particularly feel the need to do. So I discarded the idea.
Then! I thought of a natty plan that would tie in with our initial subject - Web Services. The sample code for the plug-in had a JScript file that could pull off the information and present it in a MsgBox. I then worked out that the Windows Scripting Host can make SOAP calls. Putting two and two together, I realised that I could augment the sample script to make a SOAP call instead of displaying a MsgBox, and run a SOAP server on my website that could receive news of the currently playing file. Dropping the JScript (or, more realistically, VBScript) into the Task Scheduler on my computer would complete the process, and I'd have a natty Now Playing box over on the right-hand side.
Once this is done, there's no reason why the server couldn't also receive calls from WinAmp, xmms, etc., though I could imagine needing more-talented programmers to write the plug-ins.
Of course, I've still got two exams left, so I won't be doing this this week, but keep an eye out - I've had the urge to start programming again*.
* A career that halted after I discovered that there isn't much of a market for HyperCard stacks of Monty Python sounds....