Posts Tagged ‘iTunes’

A note to TV show producers

Friday, April 6th, 2007

You may post new episodes of shows like Battlestar Galactica and The Office on the iTunes store, but you have to do it faster. I can usually find a new episode of such a show from the BitTorrent network an hour after it airs, and can have it downloaded before the night is over. If I miss my show, I want to see it ASAP, not 24 hours after it airs. Get your shows up faster, because I’d much rather pay for and download a new episode right away with the iTunes store instead of waiting for my P2P download to finish. As long as I can get it faster via P2P, I will.

Why iTunes 7 (7.0.1, too) SUCKS

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

When I heard that iTunes 7 was out, I was excited. Then I found a massive list of bugs that made it next to worthless. iTunes 7.0.1 came out, and I was hoping it would fix the following problems, but it didn’t. From what I read on the Series of Tubes, other people are having similar problems.

  1. I can’t listen to music on my PC while I play UT2004. I could with 6. If I try, the music starts stuttering more than Bob Newhart.
  2. When I listen to my shared playlist streamed from my PC to my laptop, it frequently stutters. Occasionally, when Song A ends, iTunes will say it’s playing Song B but I will hear Song A again.
  3. Randomly when I’m listening to a shared playlist, one song will end and, despite the fact that it’s not the last song on the playlist, playback will stop. Then, I will not be able to play anything from that playlist unless I eject it (eating one of my 5 per day connections, by the way) and reconnect.
  4. For no apparent reason, I’ll get this really washed-out, overdriven sound when listening to a shared playlist.
  5. Grats, iTunes: You now use 40% of my CPU all the time.
  6. I cannot view iTunes Store movies on my laptop anymore. I downloaded a few pre-7.0 Mythbusters episodes that ran fine, but I tried to watch the first episode of Heroes and all I could get was A) stuttering audio and B) my laptop locked up. Also, iTunes was eating 99% of my CPU.

I should point out that with the exception of the last one (maybe Apple’s using a fancier codec than my 2.4-gHz, 1GB RAM P4 can handle), all of these things were not a problem with iTunes 6.

It seems that the transition from iTunes 6 to 7 is going much worse than the transition from (Mac OS) System 6 to 7.

Not everything about 7 is bad. I like the CoverFlow feature, and gapless playback, but neither alone is worth the constant slowness, stuttering, distortion, and strange behavior that iTunes 7 brings to the game. I don’t want 6 back, I want 7.0.2, and I want it to work this time.

A Rant About iTunes for Windows

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Or, more specifically, a rant about Windows.

One of the nice things about the Mac OS is that files are not necessarily referenced by pathname. This has been true all the way back to System 7, when aliases debuted. I remember being but a tiny lad back then, and strewing aliases for everything all over the desktop of my dad’s Mac IIcx. The neat thing about aliases (which are the equivalent of Windows Shortcuts but better) is that if you moved the original file, the link would not ‘break’ (this was only true on the same disk).

This magic worked because of the way the Macintosh file system works (note that this is my understanding and not a canonical explanation). Each file on a disk had its own unique ID number (probably the primary key in the database). So when you created an alias, it pointed to the original file’s ID number in the database. As opposed to certain, less urbane file systems, where an alias (*cough, cough*, shortcut) would only hold the path the the original file. In these OSs, move the file and you break any links to it.

Which is where my rant about the Windows version of iTunes comes in. I often download audio files — like the Video Game Pianist’s repertoire — that go on my desktop. To make sure they sound good, I’ll open them in iTunes and give the files a listen. Then, I move them to my music directory, rename the files to my naming scheme, and add them all. The problem? iTunes’ library is permanent, so that one file that was on the desktop (and is now probably deleted) stays in my library, with one of those exclamation point icons next to it.

It would be so much easier if Windows used the scheme described above to reference files. Instead, I have to do stupid stuff when I’m not 100% on the ball. For example, if I download the Something Awful 8-Bit Christmas album and load it into iTunes from my desktop, all sorts of stupid stuff has to be done when I realize my mistake. First, I have to remove the files from my iTunes library. Then, I have to move them to my music folder. Finally, I can put them back into the library. God forbid I actually rated the files or made changes to the meta-data in iTunes’ database — that information disappeared when I moved the files.

So I have to be uber-cautious about my files, always putting them away right away. I even have to name the damn things correctly before I even load them into iTunes — if there’s a typo in one of the filenames and it’s been in iTunes for a while, collecting metadata, I’m SOL. Renaming the file, or moving the folder, renders the tracks unusable in iTunes.

There has to be a better way.

Oh, wait — there is. And it’s called Macintosh.

What Bugs Me About iTunes’ Party Shuffle

Monday, August 16th, 2004

I’ve been trying like mad to get a nice ratio of high-rated songs to low-rated or unrated songs in iTunes. the Party Shuffle feature is nifty, but it plays too many high-rated songs for every unrated or low-rated song.

I tried using Smart Playlists. One was for 5-star songs and was limited to 100, one was for 4-star and was limited to 80, one was for 3-star and was limited to 50, and the other was for below that and was limited to 120, so that for every highly-rated song, there would be one unrated/low-rated song. Then, I created another smart playlist that contained each of these playlists.

I should also mention that I added ‘last played’ criteria to the component playlists, so that I didn’t hear the same high-rated song too often.

So, I have four component Smart Playlists and one master playlist containing them all:

100 5-star songs

80 4-star songs

50 3-star songs

120 unrated/2-star or below songs

The problem with this method is that the lists don’t update; i.e. my big playlist, the one containing all the others, would always have draw from the same 350 songs. The only way to alleviate this problem is to go through and manually refresh the component playlists, defeating the purpose of smart playlists.

So, for now I’m keeping with the smart playlists, and using the ‘master’ smart playlist to play from instead of party shuffle. When it runs out, I’ll refresh the others. Not the best strategy, but at least the playlist deletes songs as soon as they’re played, so I don’t lose my place.

Update Actually, once a song is played, it removes itself from the component playlists, because is has been played in the last few days. So the system works fine with party shuffle. My bad! Still, it would be nice to set some sort of ratio for the Party Shuffle.