Archive for the 'iPod' Category

NFL on iTunes

Jan 18, 2005 in iPod, Sports

Associated Press:

The National Football League on Tuesday announced an agreement with Audible Inc., an online distributor of audiobooks and other spoken-word programming, to make recordings of this year’s remaining playoff games available for portable audio players, including Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod.

This is pretty cool. If the Patriots win another Super Bowl, I’ll definitely purchase the broadcast. I’m particularly impressed that they’re going to offer the local broadcasts in addition to the national feed. WBCN has run brief highlights from the Pats two Super Bowl victories, but the NFL has never granted permission for BCN to replay the entire broadcast.

Granted, the NFL’s refusal to let the Patriots’ broadcast partner replay the game might have something to do with the fact that the NFL is able to charge $10 to download the game.

Conversely, Major League Baseball offers low quality video downloads of complete games for just $3.95. However, MLBs Digital Download Services uses Microsoft Digital Rights Management, so the videos aren’t playable on the Mac, nor can you burn them DVDs for playback on TV.

So, assuming the Patriots are able to take home this year’s Lombardi trophy, the next step is to get the Super Bowl telecast onto my computer and replace the oh-so-annoying Fox broadcasters with the quality work of WBCN broadcast team, Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti.

So, any chance the NFL will make older Super Bowls available at a later time? They certainly have the audio archived in a safe location. I’d pay to get downloads of the Pats 2001 and 2003 Super Bowl victories. I do think that the sounds of past glories would make a good soundtrack to a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

iPod Socks Arrive

Dec 02, 2004 in iPod

So I got my package of iPod Socks from Apple yesterday. They’re nice, but not exactly what I was expecting.

They’re quite small and stretchy. For some reason the pictures on the Apple web site led me to believe they would be slightly larger and stiffer, almost like wool socks. I guess I thought the socks were standing up in the picture, as opposed to lying on a table or something. In retrospect, though, I should’ve expected the smaller, stretchier design; a larger, stiffer sock probably wouldn’t hold an iPod mini that well.

Most of the colors are pretty close to what Apple shows on the web site. The blue wasn’t as bright as I expected, though the green is slightly brighter. I wonder if there’s much color variation between packages or production runs?

The iPod Sock packaging iPod in a green sock

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s right and these end up being big holiday sellers — I can certainly see them as decent quick/small gifts. My question is, what the heck are you supposed to do with 6 of them?!? My plan is to keep one sock with my iPod when it’s in my car and split the rest of the box with a few other people. I seriously doubt I’d have bought a six pack if I hadn’t known other people who were interested.

iPod Sync Question

Dec 02, 2004 in iPod

Hmm. Somehow, my iTunes library got corrupted. It looks like iTunes tries to rebuild its library file from the iTunes Music Library.xml file, which is cool, in theory. For some reason, it appears my iTunes Music Library.xml was a bit out of date, as a iTunes is missing a number of songs.

It looks like the songs are still in my Music folder, which is the good news. If I remember correctly, simply dragging said folder onto iTunes should import the missing songs while ignoring the songs already present in iTunes. However, I’d like to confirm that it’s just the database that’s corrupted and that no songs have actually been deleted.

The easiest thing I can think of is to check the number of songs iTunes thinks are in my Music folder to the number it thinks are on my iPod. Unfortunately, I’ve got my iPod set up to sync as soon as it connects. Does anybody know a way I can connect my iPod to my computer and not have it automatically sync? I don’t think it’s possible to access the sync preferences when the iPod’s not connected.

My fallback plan is to connect the iPod to a second computer, but that will make it slightly more difficult if I need to move songs off the iPod.

Update: It looks like I’m OK, track-wise. In case this happens in the future, I’ve come up with two ways of checking for discrepancies between my iPod and my music library. Both ways start with the same steps:

  1. Reimport all of your music into iTunes. For me, “reimport” meant “drag your Music folder onto the iTunes window and let iTunes figure out which songs it needs to add.”

  2. Get the List MIAs script from Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes site, install it into ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts, and run. Investigate any tracks for which iTunes can’t find a corresponding file. In my case, I had about half a dozen files that I’d intentionally deleted and another handful of files that iTunes didn’t see and insisted on reimporting.

Here’s where things diverge. There’s the quick, but slightly messier, version or the time consuming, but cleaner, version.

First, quick and dirty.

  1. Make sure your iTunes Music Library.xml file is up to date. I did this by deleting the file, launching iTunes, and quitting iTunes.

  2. Connect iPod.

  3. Force Quit iTunes while it’s launching to prevent the contents of your iPod from getting blown away (yup, that’s the dirty part).

    **Update**: Looks like there’s a better way, at least in later versions of iTunes: hold down the Command and Option keys while connecting your iPod. (Shift-Control on Windows.)

  4. Get PodWorks. Launch PodWorks. Under the Pod menu, select “Show Only Songs Not In iTunes.” Investigate any missing tracks and copy them over to you computer as necessary. In my case, I had 2 tracks I’d deleted and 2 tracks I’d moved, so everything look clean. (yup, that’s the quick part).

If I could just figure out a way to prevent iTunes from trying to sync without force quitting the application, this would be the ultimate solution.

Now, time consuming and clean.

  1. Open the file ~/Library/Preferences/ Find the information concerning your iPod and get the last sync date.

  2. In iTunes, create a new smart playlist searching for all tracks added before your last sync date and tracks added the day your reimported your files into iTunes.

  3. See if the number of tracks in the playlist matches the number of track on your iPod by navigating to Settings > About.

  4. If the numbers match, you’re probably all set. If not, have fun comparing the contents of you iPod to the contents of the playlist :/

There’s one other possibility that I didn’t test, but might work. It’s a modification of the quick and dirty steps from above.

  1. Make sure your iTunes Music Library.xml file is up to date.

  2. Copy PodWorks and your iTunes Music Library.xml file to a second Mac.

  3. Launch PodWorks, open the Preferences, and tell PodWorks to use your copied iTunes Music Library.xml file instead of the default file.

  4. Connect your iPod to the second computer and use the “Show Only Songs Not In iTunes” option. If I’m correctly interpreting how PodWorks queries iTunes, this should give you an accurrate representation of any files that are present on your iPod but missing from you iTunes library.

Get mini

Aug 11, 2004 in iPod

From what I’ve been told, iPod minis are in short supply.

If you’re looking to acquire one and haven’t yet done so, I’d suggest checking out one of the Apple Retail Stores. Prior to my brother’s birthday, I ordered one online from The Apple Store and put my name on the waiting list for one at the Rockingham Park retail store.

(I’m a nice guy, but I’m not that nice. The iPod mini was a gift from my parents. 🙂 )

Although the web site indicated a month-long wait for shipment, I received a call from the retail store after just one week. A blue mini was waiting for me, assuming I still wanted it. Suffice it to say, I did.

IceLink Installation Instructions

May 26, 2004 in iPod

The IceLink I ordered last week arrived today and I’m already looking forward to getting it set up in my car. Perhaps it could a project for the upcoming long weekend.

There’s an excellent summary, complete with pictures, of how to install the IceLink 1.1 in a 2003 Honda Accord posted over on the iPodlounge Forums. Since I happen to be installing the IceLink in a 2003 Accord, I found it very enlightening.

I’ll probably put the iPod in a more accessible location that the armrest storage bin, since my friends like to build playlists while we’re on the road. However, the instructions for getting to the CD Changer jack on the Accord look very handy.

iPod mini

Jan 07, 2004 in iPod

I wasn’t thrilled when I first saw the iPod mini. It’s not what I wanted.

I wanted something small. I wanted something I could give to my father or brother as a gift ($250 is typically more than I spend on gifts).

Having a little time to think about it over, I believe the iPod mini will do alright once it’s released.

What makes me think this? There are a number of things, but two jump out at me.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

iPod Text and Tabs

May 29, 2003 in iPod

Apparently, the iPod text engine doesn’t know about or like tabs. I’m refereeing some soccer games this weekend, so I wanted to put all the necessary info into iCal and sync it with my iPod.

For each game, there’s starting time, game number, and league information. Since the games are back to back on the same field, I decided to create a single appointment in iCal for the three games I’ve got this weekend and put the game info into the Notes for the appointment. For the sake of clarity, I put tabs between the bits of data so it would line up nicely. Here’s how it looked in iCal.

…and here’s how it looked with I viewed the calendar note on my iPod…

12:00 PM\t#1968\tU-12B\t3
1:30 PM\t#2048\tU-12G\t1
3:00 PM\t#2375\tU-12G\t3

I tried the putting the same data into a text file and saving it to my iPod’s Notes folder. The results there were even stranger, given what I saw in the calendar note.

12:00 PM#1968U-12B3
1:30 PM#2048U-12G1
3:00 PM#2375U-12G3

In this case, it’s not a big deal for me. I just reformatted the data with returns instead of tabs between the bits of data. I would think that not having tabs would put a make the Notes feature slightly less attractive to some people, though.

Seeing Triple

May 21, 2003 in iPod

This is slightly odd: when I browse my iPod, certain albums are showing up multiple times. For instance, my iPod currently thinks I have three copies of The StrokesIs This It. Both iTunes and PodWorks see only a single copy of the tracks in question, but when I browse either by album or by artist, there are three copies of Is This It. Is this a common occurence on iPods or is my iPod just… special?

iPod Recently Played

May 21, 2003 in iPod

Sites like Erik Barzeski’s NSLog() and Todd Dominey’s What Do I Know? have a list of songs they’ve recently played in iTunes. They accomplish this via with application called Kung-Tunes.

I’d like to do something like this on my site, but the problem is I rarely use iTunes anymore. Ever since I bought my iPod, I’ve probably used it about 85% of the time I’ve listened to my digital music.

So here’s what I’d like to see — an application I can run when my iPod’s connected to my PowerBook that reads the iPod database and finds the last X recently played tracks, based on the Last Played time. Then let me export this list as a web page, based on a customizable template.

Assuming that the iPod works the same as iTunes with regards to the Last Played time, this would have the added advantage of not listing songs you skipped after hearing the first 5 seconds.

I’ve only looked at a few Macintosh iPod utilities, but so far PodWorks is the only one I’ve seen that actually reads the iPod database. So, Buzz, any chance we could see something like this in the future?

Another approach would involve creating a Smart Playlist in iTunes that contains the last X tracks played, exporting the playlist as either a text or XML files, parsing the file, and converting the results to HTML. It’s probably possible to automate part of this process, but it doesn’t sound nearly as slick as getting the data directly from the iPod.


May 04, 2003 in iPod

I swung by the Apple Store at Rockingham Park on Friday because I decided it was time to take the leap and buy an iPod. I didn’t stay at the store too long because I was going out later in the evening, so half an hour later I walked out of the store with a brand new 30 GB iPod.

First off, I’m really liking this thing. I’ll probably write something for a future issue of ATPM, so I’m just going to put post some quick thoughts right now.

I like the new layout. Some folks have commented that the new layout might make one-handed operation difficult since the buttons are no longer around the scroll wheel. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem — I have normal-sized hands and I’m reaching the control buttons with no trouble.. Also, the touch-sensitive buttons have enough of a lip around them that you can run your move around the face the iPod to find the button you’re searching for without accidentally triggering another button.

The new buttons also work well with the backlight. Whenever the backlight is on, the button labels glow red. When the backlight turns off, both the screen and the button labels slowly fade to dark instead of cutting out immediately. It’s a nice effect.

I’m not a huge playlist user with iTunes, but I’ve already used the On-The-Go playlist a few times. There are a couple of things I’d like to see in a future version, though. First, the ability to remove a single song from the playlist. The iPod will let you have the same song in a plylist multiple times. I’ve already lost track of which tunes are in the playlist a few times and ended up with repeat tracks. It would be nice if I could remove these songs instead of just clearing the whole playlist.

Second, it doesn’t seem like you can add songs to the On-The-Go playlist while said playlist is in use. The songs shows up in the playlist, but the iPod doesn’t seem to play the tracks until you restart the playlist (though it was rather late at the time, so I’d like for somebody to prove me wrong).

The iPod includes two covers for the dock connector on the bottom of the iPod. The covers aren’t attached to the iPod (which is probably why Apple gives you two) and are a bit of a pain to remove without fingernails, but it’s nice to have the protection.

The games are a nice diversion, but they sometimes pause when you’re changing songs. Also, Scroll-Wheel Solitaire is an odd experience.

I wish there was some way to permanently save an On-The-Go playlist.

Oh yeah, the iPod’s already paid for itself — when I got home from golfing this afternoon, there was a phone call from the Apple Store today telling me I won the JBL Audio System. I now have a pair of EON10 G2 speakers, a pair of JBL speaker stands, and a Stanton SMX-211 mixer.

Right now, all that gear is plugged into my TV, but the speakers are buzzing like crazy. I think I’ll have a chat with some of my friends who are in bands to try and fix this. Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out, I really have no idea what I’m going to do with this stuff. 🙂