Feb 11

Adventures with iTunes Match

This post is about bit rate and mono files while using iTunes Match. For those of you who don’t know, for a small fee ($25/year) my entire music catalog is moved to the Apple servers and I can play it on up to five devices. The service will sync my playlists and keep track of the play count. The best part is any file that “matches” in their database that is less than 256k in my collection, is easily upgraded with just a few clicks. That’s worth the first year fee alone. The service is limited to 25,000 tracks (I have about 15k) and the audio quality music be a minimum of 96kbps.

I have hundreds of dharma talks by Thich Nhat Hanh in my collection. These will not “match” with iTunes but I am able to upload them to the cloud if they meet the 96kbps criteria. Unfortunately, many of these files are below this threshold. Fortunately, it is possible to trick iTunes into uploading the files by “converting”

them to MP3 files with a higher quality. Obviously, the files won’t actually have a higher quality but they will meet the criteria. To keep the files small, I “upgraded” them to 96kbps and then deleted the original files. In the case of mono files, the custom setting had to be adjusted to 192kbps to get the mono files to threshold because of how iTunes handles importing files. It took a few days to get everything converted and uploaded to the Apple servers, but all tracks are now in the cloud.

My next project is to get everything synchronized between the two home computers and the one work computer. I noticed some discrepancies between the track numbers on each of the computers. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Seeing a winner with iTunes Match. Are you using this service? What has been your experience?

Dec 04

Apple Photo Stream Should Be Simple, Right?

It's taken a month or two of tinkering, and I think I finally have an understanding of how the Photo Stream works. Like other Apple products I've experienced in the past, this was perhaps too simple for my mind to grasp.

The first challenge arose when I tried to delete a picture from the Photo Stream. You can't. What you can do is reset the entire steam from iCloud. However, you must also remember to turn it off on all connected devices as well. For the record, Photo Stream keeps a rolling 30-days of photos (or 1000 pics).

The second issue had to do with getting photos onto my Mac. I could continue syncing when connecting to computer, but this seemed kind of silly to do in conjunction with the Photostream. What's the point of the Photo Stream if it doesn't backup to computer as well. Well, it does backup but one needs the latest version of iPhoto to accomplish. Launch the App Store and turn over $14.99 and an updated version appears. Lovely.

It took a while, some money, and a few inappropriate photos, but now I understand. It does keep the rolling 30-days of pics/videos, and it does sync between all devices, and most importantly, one can configure Photo Stream to auto backup to iPhoto and create monthly events.

Still can't delete, so if I take more inappropriate photos then I have two choices. Reset the entire steam (on all devices) after the fact or turn off Photo Stream temporarily on the iPhone taking the picture. The Photo Stream doesn't sync photos taken when it's off.

Though this has probably been covered elsewhere, I hope this helps a few of you.

#miscjoy #apple #iphoto #software #stream

Nov 14

iTunes Match versus Google Music

Am considering iTunes Match ($25/yr), especially since the Google Music (currently free) web app is having trouble on iDevices. For example, it's showing a blank screen when browsing via Album or Artist. But, I'm gonna try using gMusic app first (only $1.99) before making decision. I've essentially shut down my SubSonic server and will rely on a service rather than self hosting. Most likely I'll try Match at some point too, but annual fees are starting to add up across the Internet services I'm willing to pay for.

Where are you landing? Google Music, Amazon Cloud, iTunes Match, or other?

#miscjoy #music #Google #Apple

Feb 20

I Am Not A Gadget: A Buddhist’s iPad Dilemma

Apple iPadNext month the iPad will be unleashed on the world and I want one. First question, how can I justify the cost against a household with a fixed budget. Second, balancing the desire to reduce consumption and the need to stay current with technology. Third, the balance of ubiquitous computing and family harmony. Finally, the environmental cost of technology.

When is enough enough?

Though I definitely don’t own a great deal of gadget technology compared to many others, it still feels like quite a bit. Specifically, I own a 2004 iPod Click Wheel, a 2008 iPhone 3G, a 2009 Flip HD, and a 2009 MacBook Pro. What does adding an iPad to the mix create?

Each piece of technology comes with its own environmental impact in the production, ongoing use, and ultimate disposal. Aware that I am only one consumer, collectively we consume and waste a great deal. It seems that we often consume without thought or awareness and we easily succumb to desire through marketing and possibly an underlying unhappiness. Continue reading