Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Needed: Droid for Dummies, iTunes for Idiots

Our son called the day before Thanksgiving, recommending that I buy the iPod that I'd been threatening to get (to spare my back the weight of my CD carrying case and player) while it was on sale on Black Friday. So I bought the larger-capacity Nano. Big--or small--mistake: The higher-capacity Nano stores 14.88 GB, and it turns out that I have 10.8 already on my computer, much to my surprise, meaning that I have only 4.1 GB left for new music! It's also so small that I'm actually afraid I'll lose it, not to mention that, if I accidentally drop it on the subway floor, it's as good as gone, since it'll get stomped on and crushed before I can even see where I dropped it. So now the Family Grad Student thinks I should return the iPod and replace my new cell phone with a Droid, which has a higher music-storage capacity. Problem: I have only until the 20th to return the cell phone, and I know nothing whatsoever about these fancy new phones. At the moment, it appears that I'll have to make a big decision based on little information, and/or that I have roughly until this coming Sunday to do whatever research I can do. Advice would be appreciated.

Pondering my dilemma, I decided to see whether I could figure out how on earth my Nano configured itself, since it appears that (1) a lot of music that was originally carefully organized in subfolders (by band or musician, then by CD) in the Music folder on my computer has been dumped mysteriously at the bottom of the iTunes screen on my computer, and (2) now, any music that I rip to the computer goes straight to iTunes and is nowhere to be found in my Music folder. So I started playing all the untitled music on the bottom of my iTunes screen on my computer, just to see what was there. What I got, as I started clicking through the multiple Track Ones, Track Twos, etc., was a mix of various Moshe Skier Band, Shlock Rock, and Yosef Karduner songs, plus a singer whom I can't identify singing a rather droll song about the "joys" of being a middle-aged woman. (She says she can't remember anything anymore, but she assumes she must be a musician, since she's standing onstage playing a guitar. :) ) Funny, I didn't ask for iTunes to "shuffle." I really must go through that tutorial again and try to figure out how to organize my music the way I want it organized.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If iTunes recognizes your music files (ie, it was bought on iTunes, or you ripped the files off the CD using iTunes, or the file matches a file the program knows) then it will fill in the artist/title/album information for you. Music like you are mentioning is "unknown" to iTunes and therefore gets filed without all that information. That's why you're getting the Track 1, Track 2, etc. It doesn't matter how nicely it was organized by you- the iTunes program handles files differently than your set-up, and it isn't able to label the files from your folder names.

If you keep using your iPod, then you WANT iTunes to be the default music program, because new music will get filed in a way that iTunes understands and it will thus file everything correctly for your iPod.

Thu Dec 16, 09:28:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

The iPod is essentially iTunes to Go. iTunes is not the "iPod loading software," it's the core music system for the Mac (ported to Windows), that manages the audio files both on the hard drive and in the database.

If you want to use the iPod, you need to embrace iTunes.

Yes, you can decide that you want to manage your music and just have iTunes load it. That might work, but as you have seen, it won't work well and you won't be happy with the result. You will be annoyed the entire time, and you will not enjoy your iPod.

Or you can embrace iTunes + iPod and have a wonderful experience.

However, when using Apple products, you HAVE to embrace the intended usage, or you will spend your time miserable and complaining.

Thu Dec 16, 12:56:00 PM 2010  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I haven't listened to music on a droid, but nothing beats an iPod for sound quality.

14 gigs should be plenty. Don't dump your entire library on it. Make a playlist called "shira's playlist" and just put the songs you want to shlep with you into it, then sync the ipod to it.

With regards to the "untitled" or "unknown" songs (yes I confess to being in that category), you can relabel all of those songs manually, but it will be tedious. You can right click over the song in iTunes, choose "get info" and then fill in the band/album/song info.

Option B would be to find the original CDs, and let itunes rerip them (ha that's a funny looking word) for you. They will probably sound better anyway, and you can see the info in the cd window before you rip it. And if it's still unknown (and itunes can't find it by querying gracenote), then you can fill in the track names before ripping it.

Songs will only have identifying info if that information was provided to the song's "tag" when it was either ripped or compressed.

Thu Dec 16, 01:41:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

Option C would be to find a mass ID3 Tagging program that would tag them based upon the folder structure. Then remove the untitled tracks from iTunes and reimport.

That might be beyond her technical skills, but would be less time consuming that re-ripping.

OTOH, if you have the CDs, when watching a TV show, iTunes should be able to rip 15 CDs/hour, so it might not be too bad.

Thu Dec 16, 03:24:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Okay, so the general consensus is that I should embrace iTunes, re-ripping my CDs as necessary. More specific is the advice to create a playlist, rather than putting my entire music library on the iPod. And Mark/PT (aka Moshe Skier), one of the J-blogosphere's resident musicians, states in no uncertain terms that "nothing beats an iPod for sound quality." Maybe I'll rethink returning my iPod and buying a Droid.

Try not to laugh too hard, but I just put my iPod into a plastic sandwich bag. It'll be easier to see, that way.

Fri Dec 17, 12:07:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

Here is a thought... return the iPod, spend some times with iTunes. If you like iTunes, go get another iPod as your "iTunes to go."

If you don't like iTunes, switch back to folders/whatever, and get a different MP3 player.

Fri Dec 17, 10:12:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

That's more trouble than it's worth, especially if I don't need more storage capacity--the next iTunes up the line costs more money than I want to spend. I'll stick with the one I have and figure out how iTunes works.

Fri Dec 17, 10:29:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...


I am having a bad communicating day.

iTunes = Music Playing Software
iPod = Device

If you aren't sure that you like iTunes, or you don't want the software to manage your MP3 files, then return the iPod (device) and play with iTunes (software). If you like the software, then you go and get an iPod, plug it in, and it magically syncs.

If you don't like iTunes, go back to folders, and get whatever cheap MP3 player you want.

Fri Dec 17, 12:13:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, much as I'm tempted to stick with what I already know, I've got a son who's a PhD candidate in Physic, and if I don't "get with the program" and learn to love iTunes, I'll never hear the end of it. :)

Mon Dec 20, 01:51:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

"I've got a son who's a PhD candidate in Physics"

Just because he makes poor decisions with his use of time, doesn't mean that you have to as well. :)

"if I don't "get with the program" and learn to love iTunes, I'll never hear the end of it"

iTunes was one of the reasons we bought our first Mac (before iTunes for Windows)... it made music playing and management so pleasant, when in the past, the jukebox programs were junk.

I'm loving the iPod Touch/Apple TV combo as well.


Tue Dec 21, 02:02:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Just because he makes poor decisions with his use of time, doesn't mean that you have to as well. :)"

Now, now, Miami Al--behave yourself. :) Actually, we're just hoping that there'll be jobs for Physics PhDs by the time he finishes grad school, given the rotten state of the economy.

I'll get the hang of iTunes, eventually.

Tue Dec 21, 05:14:00 PM 2010  

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