Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dance Party with Google TV and djtxt

What do Google software engineers do in their spare time? They make awesome independent websites, that's what. is a crowd sourced playlist generator (read: party sourced jukebox) that runs in a browser on top of Grooveshark. (If you don't know what that means don't worry, keep reading.) Guests viewing the screen can send a text message with their phone to a number provided; first registering with their nickname, then sending one containing a song title and artist. If the songs are found on grooveshark, they play in order also displaying who requested the song.

While the concept is amazing, it doesn't really work well in practice when using a PC or laptop to host the site. Having many people crowded around a small screen is not much fun when you're just trying to party like a rock star.  It's kind of like when poker night turns into "OMG LETS WATCH LOL CATZ ON YOUBUTE" night. This post will focus on using the service on Google TV (2.0) which is an interface that makes more sense for use in a party setting.  We will be utilizing the full Google Chrome browser capabilities (including javascript) that are baked right into Google TV.  With the Google TV 2.0 update came access to the actual address bar in the browser compared to just a search box that accepted a URL in the first release of GTV.

The concept is simple: go to, drag the shortcut to your bookmarks folder, navigate to then click the bookmark. That way only works on a computer with a browser that allows you to drag the bookmark somewhere to store it. GTV however does not allow this. The fix is relatively simple. The bookmark is nothing more than an enormous line of javascript code. Use the following steps to get this code into your TV!

  1. Read and understand the tutorial.
  2. From a computer drag the bookmark for your party to your bookmarks folder or bar.
  3. Right click on the bookmark and click edit. (These steps should be similar with all browsers, this procedure was written and tested with Google Chrome) 
  4. You should see a URL field containing a bunch of code (javascript:(function(){if('undefined'==......). Copy and paste this text being careful to not include extra spaces at either end. 
  5. Email this text to yourself using a web-based email service that you can access already on your GTV.
  6. Open the email from the GTV browser.
  7. Copy the text from the email.
  8. Go to
  9. Press the Menu key. Select "Go To..." to open the URL bar. (you should then see the URL to grooveshark)
  10. Paste the text from the email into the URL bar, replacing what is there. Again no extra spaces at the beginning or end. 
If done successfully you should see the djtxt screen as usual. The service is $2/hr for a private number and SMS support. You can try the demo for free although you will be contributing songs to a public room. (deleted escort/stripper joke)

At the end of the party you have the option to view and play the entire playlist from start to finish via a unique URL that is available to you and those you share it with. During the party, you can even skip songs and delete a song if it pulls up a version or remix (or the wrong song) you don't like by mistake. 

In practice, we found that it was pretty accurate. Only one crash during a 7 hour party.  Opened grooveshark back up, pasted the text in and all was well.  It even retained the entire playlist.  LOL's were had by all when they saw who requested Amish Paradise and the Barney theme back to back. Take advantage of this while you still can. Its such a great way to have a [dance] party. Much better than "youtubing" or skipping songs over and over on Pandora.

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