I’ve been playing around a bit with audioPod, which is a Java-based plug-in for the iPod which captures what you’ve been listening to on the iPod and publishes it up to your (or in my case, my) last.fm playlist thingy.

The cool part: It’s Java-based, which means you can write iPod plug-ins in Java. Okay, it’s not really a plug-in for iPod. The way it works is you download the java app to your PC (Windows only), and when you connect your iPod, it queries the iTunesDB (which resides on the PC and is updated when you connect the iPod), parses the content and then loads it up to last.fm.

When I was working on my final project last spring, my project partners and I were curious about building something similar for MP3 players. Since we were interested in capturing what our users were listening to, we reasoned that a major portion of that was going to come from their portable players. But we were also building an MP3 player (like a replacement for iTunes — on steroids), we didn’t want to spend time working on also building apps for portable devices — even if it was an app like this that resides on the PC. And we weren’t even sure such an application was feasible. audioPod proves that it is.

And now the bad part: You can’t have iTunes and audioPod running at the same time, you can’t have iTunes launch when your iPod is first connected to the machine, and the process of getting the songs off the iPod and up to last.fm is somewhat laborious. Launch the app, select the songs, post them, shut down the app, and then launch iTunes. That’s a lot of work for most users.

This app also doesn’t update the “Now Playing” XML file created by Now Playing, which means what I listened to on my iPod throughout the day doesn’t get posted to my blog. But whatev, I guess I can code that up if it’s so important.