Archive for the 'iTunes' Category
I have written before about the trials and tribulations of using a media server (Network Attached Storage) with iTunes. The benefits are of course having your data centralized so any machine can get to it, along with the ability to have your music/video data stored on RAID drives and hopefully backed-up to another network machine (on or off-site via rsync). Those are the pluses.
1. The negatives are that each machine in the house has a link to the music and if the links get messed up or iTunes decides to store data using the default iTunes location (~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media) then you start to have music all over the place or links get broken and music will no longer play.
2. Plus if people buy music (or rip) on different machine in the house, then even though the music files (mp3 files) themselves are stored on the server, each iTunes library can get out of sync in terms of what music it “knows” about. This is because the library file on each machine only knows about what was added to that machine.
3. And lastly, each ipod/iphone in the house has this pain in the ass issue where it has to always be sync’d to the same machine. Otherwise it will dump all the music and other DRM based content (music, video, tv) and totally resync the ipod! What a pain when you are traveling and your daughter just wants to update her ipod with a few new songs she just bought on the iTunes library running on your laptop!
But I have found solutions to all of these. Yes, yes it is true. And I will now share them with you free of charge. :-)
Solution #1: iTunes 9.x will accept a new location for storing your music under ADVANCED PREFERENCES. Once set, this is the new location for all new music, video, tv, audio books, etc. Below is my location which is a network volume/share called “music” which containes the iTunes folder and “iTunes Media” folder. This is all you have to do.
But one issue in the past has been that iTunes will forget this location IF you ever open iTunes without the volume/share being mounted. In this situation, iTunes defaults back to the normal location ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media. And you would not even realize it and then all the new music you buy would be stored locally. And then you have this big pain of re-syncing everything. Well not a huge pain but a pain.
Well iTunes 9.x seems to have adjusted that behavior a bit. If you open iTunes 9.x without the share mounted it will still default back ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media and all new music you buy will be stored there. But the next time you open iTunes and that share is present, iTunes will point back to it as it originally did. So it has the best of both worlds – it will work if you run it on a laptop and the share is not there. But as soon as it finds the share again on the next launch, it will go back to the way you want it.
Solution #2: Syncopation
Syncopation is a $25 piece of software that will allow you to truly synchronize up to 5 machine’s iTunes libraries. So if you buy music on one machine it can sync it to the other machines in the house. Now I am not talking about the MP3 file as all machines in the house store the files on the server (NAS). What I am talking about is the library that contains a pointer to these files. If you buy on one machine, that link is only in the itunes libary on that machine – not the others. Syncopation will add the link (music) to the other machine’s iTunes Libraries for you. And if you configure the right preferences syncopation will not bother copying the music file either (it knows people store the music on a server in many cases!). Syncopation will also sync music playlists, ratings and other stuff. And it really works! Cheap and effective.
Solution #3: iPod/iPhone Syncing
iPods and iPhones sync music to a specific iTunes Library file to prevent (well at least make it not easy) people from steeling music. The key thing that I did not know before was that it is the iTunes Library file which is the thing it sync’s to…NOT THE COMPUTER! So if you create your iTunes library file on one machine and get it all happy the way you want, then copy that file to the other machines in the house, every machine will have the same iTunes Library file ## that each iPod looks for when it syncs. As long as that ## is the same (internal to each library file), you can sync your iPod to any library in the house without the dreaded “This iPod is sync’d to another library” message.
Kind of nice!No comments
Rogue Amoeba software released a new version of their Airfoil software recently. The software allows you to stream any sound from a computer (Mac or Windows) to another Mac or Windows machine (or even linux!) that has speakers connected to it. This was very useful for many things….no need to buy Airport Express’s for every pair of speakers in your house…if they had a computer hooked up, you are good to go.
And you could stream any audio…not just what was coming out of iTunes. For example, you could stream an audio source that iTunes could not play like some windows music streams, content playing in youtube flash players, DVD soundtracks and similar. Have an internet radio station that does not play through iTunes…bingo.
I never bought the software, though, because it had one limit. You could not stream sound TO an airport express with airtunes. Since I already had a couple of these, I wanted that capability. Well, today it can do that too! (oh, and it can also stream to an AppleTV which essentially has airtunes built in)
One more thing… Looks like you will be able to stream to an iPod Touch or iPhone later as well as they are working on some software to allow you to do that. I imagine you could hook your iPhone up to a pair of speakers and use it as a remote speaker. Not sure how useful that it or not. I doubt they coul allow you to stream it to your device as you travel around town as they would have to have a way to find your device on the wide area network. But maybe? Not sure how you would control the streaming source back at your house, but who knows what the good folks at Rogue Amoeba have up their sleeves.
Personally, I would love to be able to stream music that is stored at my house (in my iTunes collection) TO my iPhone and be able to control it from my iPhone. Then I would care a lot less about how much memory my iPhone has on it and less about syncing music to it….I could just stream music. Maybe that is battery intensive, but it would be cool.No comments
I bought a pair of Audio Engine A5 speakers and they arrived today. I like music a lot and I enjoy good quality sound. I have tried a number of things to find something reasonably small with a self contained (self-powered) amplifier that sounded great. While there may be some competitors out there with good sounding boxes which I have not heard, I can attest that these are fantastic speakers. $280 shipped from Provantage.com.
They build quality is excellent and I also like a few thoughtful features included on these. They have a 120VAC outlet on the back which could be used to power an Airport Express. They also have a USB port on the top (power only) which could be used to charge an iPod. Very nice design.
Only thing I would have wished for is a cloth cover over the drivers for a little “kid finger” protection. But my kids are old enough and these aren’t that expensive that the risk is that high.No comments
A few weeks ago, I borrowed a robotic DVD/CD duplication machine (made by Primera Technologies) from one of my clients. As of the first of the year, Primera released some software that would allow the machine to be used for CD ripping (instead of burning). I thought this was great and I could finally rip the rest of my 4000 CDs into iTunes. Over a period of 2 weeks or so, I ripped everything at a fairly high bit rate. Great! I was almost done….well, not quite.
So over the years, my wife and I have purchased music online, ripped books on tape, and accumulated a fairly large library of music that was in addition to our tangible CD collection. So now that I had the CD’s ripped, I needed to combine the libraries somehow. I knew that some of the music in our current iTunes library had been ripped from our CD collection originally so I could not just combine them straight away. So what I had was a big mess of stuff which if I just consolidated them in iTunes, would result in many duplicate songs.
What I did was a multi-step process which I think could be streamlined if I had some more time and/or was a bit stronger in Unix. But here it is if it helps someone with the same issue. One note: I thought about trying to use iTunes and the library file structure for this, but I could not find a way to do it due to the issue I had on my hands. I was trying to stay away from duplicate songs which iTunes does a poor job of managing unless you are actively ripping a CD where itunes does warn you. Too bad they don’t have this for moving files around.No comments
First things first!
This is a tutorial on how to rip DVDs you own and not how to steal movies!
That said, there is a legitimate need to be able to take DVDs you own and turn them into files that can be streamed/played, installed on your iPod or iPhone, or used with an AppleTV or other media device. This is a tutorial on how I do it for one of my clients along with a script I customized to make the whole process easy.
The set-up I have for one of my clients is a central Mac Mini server (headless – no keyboard/monitor/mouse) which we use for the iTunes server. It runs iTunes all the time and does not do much of anything else. We have a number of AppleTV’s on the network and each of them is paired with the iTunes library on the Mac Mini server. This set-up allows my client to play/stream any music or movies in the iTunes library on any AppleTV. This works well for their purposes.
The issue I needed to solve for my client was to make it easy to rip all of their media/content into iTunes. Automating the music ripping was easy as iTunes has built in preferences for automating the ripping of music. Just go to iTunes preferences and tell it to rip a music CD when one is inserted in the Mac Mini and when complete, eject it. Done.
But what about DVD movies? Read more7 comments