How I rock out with iTunes/iPod and my Mac

When I got my iMac back in the day I decided to dive head first into dreaded iTunes waters. My experiences with iTunes on my Vista laptop were scarring and jarring so I was skeptical about using iTunes as my music library manager. Turns out that iTunes isn’t all that bad after all! Especially 9.0 with the sweet app organizer feature ^__^ (something I longed for previously).

In this post I am going to lay out which music related programs I use, how I set up my playlists, and any other handy things I’ve learned.

One of the first things I did when I started configuring my music setup was to download You Control Tunes so I could rate my music without having to switch to iTunes. I really love the ticker feature which You Control Tunes provides in the menu bar as well.

Another program I use and love is the Last.fm scrobbler. (there are also Winamp, Windows Media and other versions available!) I have just started using this one more frequently because I was looking for ways to share playlists, favorite songs and such with friends. I set up the scrobbler preferences so the dock icon is hidden so I can “love” songs through the menu bar icon. I also use Last.fm because it updates Facebook with what I am listening to or have “loved”. I also use the iPod scrobbler which runs invisibly while playing music on your iPod and sends the data to Last.fm when you sync. I think Last.fm has a lot more functionality that I just haven’t tapped into yet. You can view my Last.fm profile here to see my music library in the cloud. Last.fm is also pretty good at recommending new music.

After all that jazz comes the main event – iTunes! I’ve found that one of the most important things to do in iTunes is RATE your songs. I use:

5 stars for favorites
4 for really good songs
3 for average mediocre whatever sometimes songs
2 for not my usual taste but sometimes
1 for possibly delete or replace if it is low quality

Next is playlists. I have 8 main playlist folders.
*iPod – will go over in next paragraph
Already Burned – cds I have already burned (duh)
Decades – smart playlists that grab the date tag (2k music, 90s, 80s, 70s, etc.)
Moods – manual lists which depend on how a song makes me feel (Classics, Ethereal, Lovesongs, Quirky, Rockin, Sexy and a few more)
Music Made Me – some manual lists that I feel shaped me as a person and my musical tastes (Incubus, Jamiroquai, The Moody Blues, The New Radicals, Three Dog Night, White Town, The Doors, Erykah Badu, Foo Fighters, Semisonic, Blues Traveler)
MusicForYou – songs I think certain people I know would like – I have lists for my brother, sister, mom, etc.
Smarts – Mostly the default smartlists with a couple others added (unchecked, checked, top rated, haven’t played etc.)
ToBurn – Cds I want to burn

Whew….. Ok, so the important folder is *iPod! It contains 5 lists and I will just post images instead of trying to explain everything about these beasts. These lists basically fill my iPod in such a way that my absolute favorite songs are present, I get to hear new music from my library, I have work out music, and my iPod stays full of tunes. Why did I do this? Because I only have an 8giger and I wanted a less hands on approach to getting what I want on there. These lists actually work reaaaally well! You would have to adjust some values depending on what size of iPod you have and how many audiobooks and podcasts you want to include.

iPod Lists:
1st – iPod Must Havs. This is a manual list I’ve created that has my absolute favorite songs that I always want to have with me like Electric Feel by MGMT and Today by Zero 7. Sometimes I also put songs on here that I have never listened to but want to make sure I hear.

2nd – Workout Music. A manual list of songs that pump me up!

Pics time!
3rd – iPodFavs. This is a smartlist and the settings are as follows: How I set up my iPod Favs Smart Playlist

4th – iPodNew. This is another smartlist that gets new music onto my iPod!

5th – iPodRandom. This is my final iPod smartlist that gets songs from my library that I haven’t heard much of or rated onto my iPod.
Part 1:
and Part 2:

And finally, how it all comes together – the sync!

Hmmm. Yup. I’ve probably spent too much time tweaking these lists but hey – now you don’t have to! Hope this helps ya’ll get the most out of all that awesome technology in front of your face and in your pocket.

Bonus tip – selecting a group of songs like an album for instance, and then hitting Shift-Cmd-N in iTunes on a Mac creates a new playlist full of the selected songs! This is really useful when you want to burn a CD from one artist ^_^

An observation

Since I’ve been getting acquainted with my new mac I am discovering something. Something I suspected but didn’t anticipate the scope of.

For every feature I’ve ever searched the web for – for every program i’ve installed a plugin for – for every half hack mashup i’ve hunted for windows – the mac seems to have it all built in. How much time I could have saved not battling with my home network, not trying to get picasa to publish to flickr (iphoto has this feature built in now), and so on and so on.

I <3 my mac. Wish I would have gotten it sooner.

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(very non-) Typical day

WARNING: this is just a mind flow – no punctuation. Spelling is probably bad. No sentence structure -  I am tired and lazy!

Woke up early enough – started doing homework – was supposed to drive adam to class @ 9:30 – he postponed until 12:30
Got homework half done – drank tea – made josh drive me to school because I would have been late otherwise
Mike talked about how he wished the USA had health insurance like Canada – I slowly got more and more furious at the thought. I have been trying to live a healthy preventative lifestyle. I know he has had heart problems, used to smoke, and who knows what his diet is like – why should I have to pay for his bad choices? Missed half the lesson because I was so peeved.

you made the choice – you pay the consequences – i am not referring to accidents with this statement – they happen – but most American’s (expensive) problems are an accumulation of poor lifestyle changes – not broken arms or whatever.

after class met with Mike and Hutomo about SL goals – totally forgot about driving adam until 12:30 – had to arrange for Josh to drive him even though Josh had stayed up all night and was sleeping. Ate a quick bite during that stuff. then walked to Personal Transformation – it was cold. By that time I was pretty excited to bring home the mac. Class was good – that class is always good. Real eye opener.

Josh picked me up and then I went and got the computer – brought it home – cleaned house a bit – mostly to make a decent space for the thing. vacuumed kitty litter, moved magic cards, straightened LR. Started unpacking mac and noticed condensation – called bookstore about it  simply a matter of temperature difference – let the thing warm up for a few hours to be safe – unpacked suitcase from casino – did more house straightening – and a little dvd burning

Then took Josh to work – went to target – found josh a cool cheap shirt – then adam txt me about the ride home – i had totally forgotten – check out lines at target were CRZY so i ended up leaving the shirt and rushing to get adam, After I  dropped him off i went to Moxie and then the library to get Shell Game – got it and went home – started unpacking mac more – got it up and running and sis txted – wanted to go work out – it was a tough decision but I ended up going to work out for a half hour while adobe installed on my machine, twas good.

Got back from working out and just started in on the mac – bookmarks> check, add ons> check, twitter>check etc etc. Pretty close to a great environment now. still have to adjust adobe workspace layouts.

There were sprinklings of cute cat happenings throughout the night.

Josh got home and we went to find food – ended up going to chashwise to get groceries. got salad fixins. http://www.flickr.com/photos/epizoic/3294745404/

came home – josh was doing dishes so we didn’t start cooking until 9:30 or so. Watched Big Bang Theory while eating. Then back to mac. Then showered. Now typing. So much I still want to do tonight – will have to wait until tomorrow. I adore this computer.

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Shooting Star

Last night after Josh was done with work he told me that his friends invited him to go to the casino – it turned out to be a pretty good time although I had originally planned to just relax at home. After a very chilly drive there (smoker in the car had the window down…brr) I realized that I have actually been at that casino before! My memory is so bad – which is the main reason I am trying to write more… Turns out my aunt and I went to that same casino to see the Vagina Monologues last year.

I played some of the penny slots – not fun. No control and no strategy…. Josh and I eventually wondered over to the bar and I got the best mixed drink I’ve ever had. It was just a rum and coke but it tasted perfect. The had some cool keno multi-games embedded in the bar so i played some Joker Poker and Deuces Wild. I probably could have sat there for a long time but the guys were ready to go. I was actually able to make money at those games – doubled my five bucks into ten a couple times.

I don’t steal

I go into people’s houses and steal stuff – in my dreams….

I was very aware of my pounding headache in my dreams this morning. I also had a false awakening where I got out of bed, went into the office, and found a box spilled onto the floor and smoke streaming from somewhere. I tried to find where the smoke was coming from but my eyes kept going wonky – sometimes when i am dreaming my functions shut down – this time i was going blind. Then on top of that my body got stuck in a crouched position so I had to wake up.

Before that false start I dreamt about walking through a sunny neighborhood – entering someones home – and gathering some of their stuff together. I think I was going to take the items but then someone started snooping around the house and I took off. As I left the house I saw an interesting vision of a row of houses – somewhat backlit by the setting sun, with two large pillars which looked more like lollipops in front. It was kind of pretty.

I also dreamt about dogs, family, giong to a movie, my eyes being fucked up (this was because I was so aware of my headache), an outerspace platform, and who knows what else.