Ipod Geek

Friends, Romans, Galactica Watercooleans…

…I am an Ipod geek. Truth be told I guess I really am an Itunes geek. The Ipod is a major part of the process to be sure, but it is really Itunes that enables my geekitude.

The purpose of this thread is to rejoice in our Ipod/Itunes geekiness and to share best practices. I am still discovering new things which make my experience all the more fun.

There are two small functions that 80% of the people that I talk to about this subject don’t know, which astounds me.

  1. Ranking a song (stars)
  2. Smart playlists

Now after reading this long (sorrbarb) post I am going split the two writeups into seperate posts so people don’t glaze over.

Song Ranking
In my opinion everyone should rank their music for the simple reason it enables so many cooler things down the road. In its simplist form, if you like a song give it 5 stars. Boom. Done. You’ll thank me later. To rank a song on the fly simply click your Ipod button two or three times while you are listening to the song. Eventually you will see a screen with 5 grey circles. If you spin the wheel you can rank. Voila.

I am constantly, perhaps compulsively ranking songs. If a song comes on that I like, I give it 5 stars. However, if a song comes on I don’t like I give it 1 star and when I re-sync the Ipod the first thing I do is go and delete those songs. 4 stars means for me that there is a coding problem (wrong title, wrong band, blank info, etc) and three stars means there is an audio problem.

Smart Playlists
This is the one that almost no one uses…and that is a crime. As you know, a playlist is a static list of songs you have manually created. You name the playlist, you drag songs you want over. Fin.

A Smart Playlist takes this to the next level. Instead of manually selecting you give the playlist a set of parameters and the playlist is automatically created.

Cool, right?

Let’s make an easy example. You are feeling romantic and want to make a playlist for an intimate dinner with your sweetie.

Smart playlist = Song title contains, “Love”

Depending on your music collection you will now have every song that contains “Love” in the title. Remember that the smart playlist is dynamic, so if in two months you add a new album which has a song, “I Love Paris”, that song will be added to the playlist.

I could literally write a book on this stuff. I’ll share my favorite two smart playlists and then let you guys share.

Smartplaylist = Top 100
This is straightforward. Basically I created a playlist that is limited to 100 songs ranked by how many times I have listened to them. However after a while this playlist can get a little boring as you are limited to the 100 songs which led me to my really cool playlist

Smartplaylist = Top 100 rotation
This is where it pays to understand the parameters you can use. Basically I copied the exact parameters of the Top 100 and added one additional paramater: “Do not include song if played in last 6 months”

You don’t see the subtle brilliance?

What happens now is that after I listen to a song it gets removed from the playlist and a new one is added based on playcount. It dynamically updates itself so it remains structured but fresh.

There you have it campers. Oh, I almost forgot. Remember how I have you ranking your songs now? Smart playlists is where this pays off. Whether you want to make a, “Best Jazz” smartplaylist based on the genre tag or “Best Frank Sinatra” based on the artist tag…all you have to do is add the additional parameter “and has 5 stars” and you have yourself a kick-(sorrybarb) playlist.

While I haven’t done any Smart Playlists (I have 13 gig of music and spend most of my time on podcasts. :eek: ), I do use the normal playlists. For my audiobooks! For some reason, not all of my audiobooks show up under “Audiobooks”. Sooo, I created a playlist for each book and now they are easily accessible. Especially on the Ipod Touch. Which, by the way Solai, doesn’t have a wheel for easy ranking of music. :slight_smile:

Good to know…how does one get to the ranking screen…though tapping I assume?

As someone who has worked with PCs and macs for more than 2 decades, I have to say I hate macs. I hate apple’s pretentious oversimplifications and new disposable high-end electronic business plan. I’m surprised it doesn’t say “just buy a new one” on the Apple Store ‘Welcome’ mat. Macs on their own are of little threat, but networking several macs together or with other office devices not made by apple and the beasts begin to rear their ugly heads. The more Apple tries to make their computers ‘idiot-proof’ the more they make them ‘repair-proof’ and ‘mod-proof’. If you older macs don’t have their latest Beastiality OS you better cut back on the lunches or gas, you will have to buy the new one (which will be phased out in 5 months or less) but why upgrade when you can double the investment and but a NEW mac… which will be so new now your other Macs can’t interface till you upgrade ALL their shit. The oversimplification aims for the lowest common denominator and doesn’t account for any individuality or customization needs of the user. Thus creating a legion of drones for the Apple zombie empire (look for the movie next summer).

As much as I despise Macs in the workplace, and their arrogant form over function design and interfaces…

I frakkin’ LOVE the iPod.

Yeah I said it. I frakkin’ love it. I received one as a gift and it changed my music listening habits forEVER. haha Why do you ask? for the same reason I HATE macs… the Apple bullshit tech strategy fails for hardcore computing and gaming, but succeeds masterfully with portable audio. Oversimplification is a delight when you are on the run or stuck in a wild commute, you need change volume, skip, stop and play on a dime. Simple, easy to use controls are a must. Searching for music should be as pain free as possible and they nailed it.

Docking your iPod is also a breeze, while getting Mac OS is dumbdowned and so picky it only works with it’s own clique, the same can’t be said for the iPod which is just a fancy external HS, so it only needs the shortbus of interfaces to work. Sure you are slave to iTunes, but if you really use iTunes, you wouldn’t use anything else (music wise, it SUCKS for video)

iTunes is really the true jewel of the Apple music empire (sorry, Beatles, the Apple Music Empire is here to stay). Solai is right on the money with the smart playlist and song rankings, I use this to full effect. ITunes’ idiot-proof song management is near perfection. It’s simple, fast, and so easy to use your grandmother could purchase downloads with it, even if she’s dead (sorry grandpa). This is simplicity where you want it. and the eternal upgrades actually just keep it eternally dumbed down to cover their bases. But who cares when all you want to do is make a playlist, buy a song or update yoru iPod. This is where iPod shines. I’m able to generate playlists, sort music do a library wide search quickly and easily like I never could before. Searching by any and all ID tag info, and adding your own 5-star rankings, will unleash control over your playlist like never before. It even let’s me burn CDs of music and doesn’t report me to the RIAA like I assumed it would. While I can go without the over-abused reflection motif (ok, I get it, the future has shiny floors, thanks immigrants of the future who buff and polish every horizontal surface to mirror sheen) the super jukebox simulation itunes provides is a joy to use and beautiful in it’s UI-simplicity. When something NEEDS to be simple and IS simple. That is art. Add on to that, podcasting, which opens up a world of FREE downloads of commentaries of your favorite shows, to song countdowns of your music fantasies.

The ipod takes your greatest hits collections, complete audiobooks, and complete band discographies on the go… in one little device not a huge disc player with moving parts that will eventually destroy itself with use, or a sling full of CDs that is beginning to make your spine crooked. (I’ll spare you the ‘in my day’ anecdotes about lost evenings recording mixtapes, clunky walkmans without auto-reverse, and an ammobelt full of AAs) Scaling down and miniaturizing of technology has never been as glorious and a quintessential evolution than it has been with the world of portable music.

Now if only they could give me a ‘shuffle’ algorithm that didn’t play the same damn songs over and over.

[i]I frakkin’ HATE you steve jobs!
but I love your iPod…

and Pixar.[/i]

yes thru 3-4 taps during song playback.

But I have yet to verify if song rankings changed on the iPod are synced back to the mp3s on your HD thru iTunes. I think changing them in iTunes is the only permanent way.

Cool, thanks.

Yes and no. The physical mp3 file is not altered, but the iTunes library file is. Any ranking changes made on your iPod get reflected post sync.

not to turn this into a mac vs pc debate, but I love my mac(s). I still have every mac I’ve ever purchased, with the exception of the performa I bought in 1990 that had 10 mb of RAM and a 32 mb hard drive, and they are all still in use. my most recent laptop went to my mom, and the desktops are all working hard edutaining my kindergarteners. in fact, I just bought a reconditioned iMac to add to my classroom. I’ve only ever run into the OS obsolesence problem a couple of times (in 20 years), though this latest one (Classic not supported after 10.3 I think?) is bothersome, as almost every ed software title I have is pre-OS X

but beyond that–and here’s the important part. I’ve never had a problem with a mac that I couldn’t solve myself–in 20 years. and believe me, I’m no tech-geek. I’m only slightly more adept than the average elementary school teacher. but when you work in a place where the tech guy basically ignores the staff, it’s important to be able to solve your own problems.

I actually use this as a way to create channels for the video podcasts I download. After syncing my iPod, I can walk it over to the TV and watch nice television after hooking such up appropriately. One of the channels is for Revision3 stuff, for example.

i love my iPod and I love my MacBook. They are my most excellent possessions and I hate PC’s now.

Solai - I did not know about the smart playlist thing - that is excellent.

Yup, Smart Playlists are the bomb, yo.
Most of my playlists are Smart. The only use for the regular is to drag specific songs into as you described. Even if it is a album playlist I still have the habit of making it Smart. I have to admit that I am not big into mixing up various artists into one playlist. I usually listen to a single artist and rotate through their songs. This is what makes the SP so convenient. You can just set it and forget it.

A question on rating. I had noticed that in the past the rating were not saved in a way that would carry over, say you moved your library to a new computer and re-synced your Ipod. Is that correct or have they changed it?

My Ipod is always full (80G). I work nights and can’t get enough. Music Podcasts, Radioshows and Audiobooks are sooo convenient on the Ipod.

Can’t you just connect the TV directly to the computer? It is one of the best things I ever did. Comp TV, the wave of the future.

I hope your husband doesn’t know about him. :smiley:

I got my iPod a few months before discovering the Watercooler, and then my life changed forever. My music library hasn’t grown by a whole lot, though I’m working on it, thanks to iTunes (others have sung its praises better than I could). But I’m subscribed to a couple dozen podcasts now, and I listen to them faithfully every week. In fact, I’m so frakking addicted to the thing that I recently decided to take a weekly day off from my iPod to allow myself contact with the outside world. It was hard, but I think I’m a better person for it now. However, I misplaced the thing a couple days ago, and I was going crazy until I found it again. :o

In many cases, I need such to be portable. To be able to take such on the road with me, it involves less overhead to hook up the patch cable between the iPod and a television’s composite input. I have a really nice patch cable, too, that is thickly coated in rubber which helps provide some protection against gnawing household animals and small children.

I’ve got the cable for my MacBook to be able to hook it up to a TV. I even have the patch cord to go from the headphone jack to composite sound inputs. While FrontRow is nice, sometimes it is just overkill.

You know, now I think about it, a Ipod probably is portable enough to take into the outside world. :smiley:

Just kidding, it drives me nuts to see people out in public with them on. If you are going to interact with the rest of the world you need to pay attention. For exercise it’s fine, if you are in a grocery store or shopping mall, (Sorry Barb)No!

I find such to be a very non descriptive word. I agree, such could be very embarrassing to be caught red handed with - IYKWIM. Shh, we’ll keep it on the DL.:wink:

Hmm…I was more thinking along the lines of something easy to transport from here to my aunt’s place by UNLV stadium that doesn’t require me taking 15 minutes to bag up all the associated hardware for transport. Two pieces to move to take a demo presentation on the iPod compared to almost ten for the MacBook. Having the iPod on-hand as a backup slides source to feed the projector is great too when at academic conferences with computers that might croak…especially when it would have done more harm to my shoulder lugging a laptop bag everywhere.

TheFifth, after spending half an hour trying to get a friend’s Vista laptop to connect to an open wifi router (and failing) I was very happy that my Powerbook is so dumb. :wink:

I’ve never owned an iPod, but I absolutely adore my iPhone. It is to cellphones what the iPod is to portable music players.

Do you remember the brand? I could use one of those.

Belkin. Found it originally on Amazon but found it cheaper at Newegg.

Yeah, I usually wear it at the grocery store to block out the musack they play, but I always make a point to take out the earbuds when I check out. It just seems polite.

Solai says while fiddling with your iPod “… you will see a screen …”

Um, perhaps one might insert “after you take off your regular glasses and put on your reading glasses” before that statement for the over 45 crowd.

And I now love my Nano. I bought it because of GWC but it’s good for so much more…