Tag: iTunes

Towards the end of school in April, I got in contact with a classmate who was connected to iPhone development, and in September I started working full time for them. It’s been really cool to see how apps actually progress from ideas to real products, because so many people use them, but only a small percentage actually understand the mechanics of how the apps get onto their phones.

I mostly did some feature additions to existing apps to get to know Objective-C and the iOS environment, but during a recent road trip, I created an app that has just entered the App store. A small utility, it serves a need that I could have used many times on the trip.

It’s called Here’s My Location and it gives you the ability to alert friends and family to your exact GPS location through email and SMS. There are similar applications out in the store already, but I think this one has the right combination of simplicity and utility that many people like.

To use the app, open it and wait for the GPS accuracy indicator to go green. This little badge changes based on the accuracy of the phone’s current location: red for inaccurate, yellow for moderate, and green for accurate to approximately 5-10m (the iPhone’s limit). You can send a message using the top two blue buttons, or copy the formatted Google Maps link to the pasteboard to use in another application.

It’s really a simple start, but I hope that through user feedback I can add other requested features in the future.

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After downloading iTunes 8, I wrote some of my initial opinions based on my first few hours with the program. While the overall message was that iTunes 8 is an excellent update, I found something today that Apple can do to improve the application (besides changing the visualizer, which is now stunning).

While sitting in class today, a friend said that their iPod touch was dead, and I helpfully suggested that they could use some of the power from my MacBook while it was sleeping in my bag. They loved the idea, and I connected media player and laptop with little difficulty. Once I opened iTunes, however, I was inundated with messages that said This iPod is not set to sync with this computer. Rather than replace my friend’s data with my music collection, I pressed No on every dialog that came up.

Later on, I realized how simple it would be for Apple to make this a much better experience. Surely there are times when users just want to charge their iPods without overwriting everything. Why not make a dialog box come up when you plug the player in that allows you to sync should you choose, but also to turn off all other messages and simply use the connection to power the battery? This would eliminate those accidental data overwrites and make powering up a breeze.

How about it, Apple?

The dialog box shown above is not really in OS X. I created it using Applescript with the help of this tutorial.

[tags]iPod, iTunes, Apple, Applescript[/tags]

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Yesterday Apple released new iPods at their special event in San Francisco, and also unveiled the next version of their jukebox software, iTunes 8.

There have been a few things I’ve noticed about the new application — both good and bad — that make this version highly recommended for all users.

Genius

The biggest new feature of iTunes 8 is most certainly Genius. This is a feature that analyzes the metadata in your iTunes library and sends this data to the iTunes Store, which then recommends music that is both in your library and in the Store. You can make playlists with songs you own based on these suggestions. The initial analysis takes a few minutes, and on my library of 1800 songs, it was about 5 minutes.

You can activate the feature by choosing a song from your library and opening the drawer on the side of the screen. This shows songs in the iTunes Store that are related, which you can then purchase. As soon as you do this, iTunes sends the related songs that you own into a Genius playlist, accessible in the Sources panel of iTunes. The ability to find related songs works best if you listen to well known, established musicians, though I imagine once more people share data on less known acts, the choices will improve.

Album view

Apple also introduced another new way to view music, through an album cover group. This of course only really works if your music has album covers. While it is cool to see all your music as albums, it is not something I find practical.

Assorted bug fixes

As usual with application updates, iTunes 8 also kills some bugs that were annoying people earlier on. One of the biggest things was the time it takes iTunes to back up and sync iPod touch and iPhones. My initial sync seemed to take less time than normally, but that could just be excitement.

The image above is a slightly annoying interface bug that seems to have come up in this version. When browsing the iTunes store, the program doesn’t shrink the data into the window — meaning you need to scroll across to view the entire screen. While not critically important, it is a simple thing that could make viewing the store much easier.

iTunes 8 is another evolutionary improvement to an already good jukebox application. The Genius feature shows promise and other refinements make it one of the best music organization programs out there.

[tags]iTunes, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, iPhone[/tags]

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This was going to be a post about how to move your iTunes library from one drive to another (maybe after upgrading it) and have iTunes recognize it properly. I thought it was going to include XML editing to trick iTunes into thinking the media was somewhere it wasn’t before.

Turns out the solution is much, much easier than that.

Before I upgraded my MacBook’s hard drive, I imported iTunes TV Shows by storing them on an external drive and told iTunes not to copy media into the library. That of course meant that whenever I wanted to watch a show, I had to have the drive connected. Once I upgraded the drive, I had plenty of space to move the TV shows over, but I didn’t want to ruin my metadata (play count, playlists, etc).

On a whim, I tried importing the media again after changing the setting in iTunes that says Copy media to library. iTunes took over and copied the file into the library, and simply updated the existing record. That meant that instead of the file pointing to


/Volumes/External 1/TV SHOWS/Season 1

it pointed to


/Volumes/Macintosh HD/iTunes Music/TV Shows

and I could watch the media as before.

So if you ever have to move media from one drive to another and maintain the existing iTunes data, just import it normally and watch iTunes work it’s magic.

[tags]iTunes, Mac OS X, iPod, Apple, Mac[/tags]

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When you get an iPod, you’re faced with many decisions: should I put mostly movies on it? Which songs should I use? Should I manually manage the music, or can I leave it as automatic syncing?

While I can’t help you pick which tunes your iPod will contain, I can help you decide which method to use. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and can make using your iPod even more enjoyable.
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