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iBook, iPod, iTunes and OS X: News, Notes and References

News: Mac, OS X and iPod
Core OS X Sites
Mac OS X Hints
Apple Discussions
Quick Notes Blog

Notes and References
  • Introduction
  • OS X and iBook
  • iPod and iTunes
  • iPhoto
  • AppleScript
  • JF Local Files
  • History
  • Rev: 12 May 2007.


    This is my iBook, OS X, iPod, etc news and notes page. It was last updated @2003, nowadays I put this material into my tech blog. Since I wrote this I've added a few iPods, an iMac and a MacBook. My old iBook still runs, but the hinge broke long ago, so it's a nice kitchen machine. Despite the age of this page I scanned it in 2007 and it really did have a lot of pertinent material, so I'll leave it up.

    OS X and iBook

    iBook and OS X Links

    iPod and iTunes

  • Putting Medical Lectures on an iPod for Portable CME
  • Reconstructing your iTunes Library from an iPod
  • Using iPod and iTunes with an SMB share iTunes library
  • Managing a single iPod and SMB shared iTunes repository with Mac and PC iTunes
  • Classical Music
  • iPod & iTunes Links
  • Putting Medical Lectures on an iPod for Portable CME

    This is a quick collection of hints for someone who wants to do this. I subscribe to AAFP Audio and Audio Digest Family Practice. I import the lectures from the CDs to my iPod. I listen when at the gym, traveling, driving, etc.

    After you name your tracks, but before you burn, please use the iTunes Advanced Feature of "Submit Track Names". A unique ID for the CD is then tied to the track names. Others will benefit. I was amazed on 12/03 to see someone had done this for the AAFP audio. I'm sure their interest is unrelated to this page, but one never knows ....

    iTunes fields and recommended use

    Genre: Lecture-Medical (create your own, not a standard genre!)
    Song Name:
    Lecture title, often revise to better match topic. Make first 15 characters distinctive.
    Artist: Lecturer.
    Composer: The source of the music. AAFP Home Audio, Audio Digest, etc.
    Album: The lecture series if applicable (Audio Digest) and then volume, number and date information.
    Compendium: I've played with this a bit. Not sure what's best. When there are multiple speakers on the same topic I check the Compendium box.

    Tips and settings

    Lecture Length

    Geoff Green notes that long "songs", such as those resulting from joined Audio Digest tracks, drain the iPod batteries faster than short tracks. See iPod How to Get the Most Out of the Battery. If you want maximal battery power you can keep the AudioDigest tracks separate and organize by album. Be sure to turn "randomize by song" off or else the lectures will be out of order! In practice I haven't noticed this to be a severe problem, but I'll keep an eye on it.


    Classical Music

    The iPod and iTunes software is optimized to organize by Artist, not by Composer -- though after iTunes 3.x a new Composer tag was added. At the moment I do the following during imports (select all tracks and then Cmd-I or Ctrl-I to show the information dialog. It's easy to change album, composer, artist., etc.)

    Genre: Classical (Opera is a separate genre, similar handling).
    Song Name:
    Usually leave unchanged.
    Artist: Set to the common short name of the composer, as in "Beethoven", "Bach", "Handel", etc.
    Composer: Set to composer's full name, as in Johann Sebastian Bach.
    Album: Name of the album. In parentheses place conductor, orchestra, sometimes major soloists.
    Comments: Soloists, recording data, etc.

    There are probably better approaches. See also MacDevCenter.com Cleaning iTunes [Jan. 17, 2003] about organizing classical music.

    Reconstructing your iTunes Library from an iPod

    An iPod is intended (by Apple) to sync using iTunes with one, and only one "host" computer. There are several ways that one may unwittingly end up with music on an iPod that's not in iTunes on the host computer. This happened to me early on. I set my iPod to manual control and removed music from iTunes to free up disk space. When I came up with a better way to manage my iTunes storage problem I wanted to move the music back to iTunes. That's not a supported action; Apple's copy protection mechanism requires that iTunes drives synchronization.

    In general you do want iTunes to drive synchronization, putting content only on the iPod is one way to address limited hard drive storage, but it has a lot of problems. For one thing, backup is very tough. In Apple's world it's the Mac that's the digital hub, not the iPod. If you backup iTunes you're fine and can restore an iPod readily. Backing up the iPod is not as simple. There are currently many applications and AppleScripts that work around Apple's design, but Apple could break them at any time (by encrypting the iPod database for example), so they may not be a good long term solution.

    Here's how I reconstructed my iTunes Library from the content on my iPod (note I'm sure there are better ways, including using some AppleScripts I've listed above, this is just the way I did it. In the iPod links section I list about a half-dozen similar programs. I'm going to check out some of them, especially Slurp).

    1. iPod preferences were set to manual control
    2. Using PodMaster 1000 I "unhid" (made visible) the control folder on my iPod.
      (Note: In a separate test I found PodMaster could not reliably extract content to an SMB share, I suspect there's a common problem with representing some OS X unicode characters on a PC. That did not affect use for my purposes though.)
    3. I opened iTunes and cleared out everything in the library, except that music I'd purchased from Apple's music service I left untouched -- just to be safe.
    4. Using the Finder, I located the music folder on my iPod and dragged it onto iTunes.
    5. iTunes imported all the files. I had to recreate ratings, some sound settings, my PlayLists, etc. This didn't take very long, I mostly use query driven (automatic) Play Lists.
    6. I set iPod preferences back to synchronization. iTunes warned me the iPod content would be erased. I clicked OK.
    7. Synchronization proceeded without a problem.

    Using iPod and iTunes with an SMB share iTunes library

    My iBook has only a 15GB drive. With iPhoto and iTunes that's nothing. When I get my dual-CPU G5 Mac and start doing iMovie I'll need Terabyte data storage and backup systems. I'm down to 4GB free on the iBook.

    My iPod has a 30GB drive, which will suffice for my audio needs for a while -- unless the Teaching Company follows my advice and puts their thousands of course hours on my iPod. My first approach to the storage problem was to set the iPod to manual update and to delete files in iTunes. Bad idea. You can't readily back up an iPod for one thing, but you can backup iTunes easily.

    I do have several 80GB and 120GB drives on my Wintel server, which does LAN backup using Retrospect. I set iTunes to use an SMB share on the Wintel server. (See iTunes advanced preferences, see Help for iTunes to see what it does and how you can end up with files in several places). This has the advantage that I can browse the iTunes directory from my PC and play the music that way. I have to try the new Music Match that came with my iPod and see if it can play the AAC files.

    This works amazingly well even over an 802.11b wireless LAN. It's almost as though iTunes was designed to work with its files stored on an SMB share accessed over a WLAN. If I'm synching a LOT of tunes I connect over my 100MB/sec LAN, but for routine use the WLAN is just fine. When I travel I have the music on my iPod, so I don't miss access to the music. (WARNING: Apple's Jaguar SMB share service can run into character set problems, including creating files that Windows Explorer can't handle. Thus far this hasn't bitten me, but it's a real problem.)

    Managing a single iPod and SMB shared iTunes repository with Mac and PC iTunes

    Strictly for lunatics.


    1. Win2K based SMB share with two iTunes libraries. One is made up of CDs burned from a PC iTunes, one from an OS iTunes. Both iTunes are on networked machines.


    1. In iTunes advances setting configure iTunes library to SMB share.
    2. Check "keep iTunes music folder organized".
    3. UNCHECK "copy files to iTunes music folder when adding to library". (This means library will have a pointer to files on server.
    4. When I IMPORT music from CD, or purchase via Music Store, the iTunes instance I'm using puts the library in its own folder hierarchy.
    5. Periodically, in the Finder or Win/Explorer, I use "add to library" and choose the entire "alien" folder. iTunes does not create duplicates. It may delete information that iTunes keeps only in its library, such as equalizer settings, comments, rankings, etc.

    iPod & iTunes Links



    JF Local Files

    (Not accessible via web)


    Metadata - Keywords

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    Author: John G. Faughnan.  The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. Pages are updated on an irregular schedule; suggestions/fixes are welcome but they may take weeks to years to be incorporated. Anyone may freely link to anything on this site and print any page; no permission is needed for citing, linking,  printing, or distributing printed copies.