Tag: iTunes

iTunes Genius Mixes

As big of a music fan as I am, I’m horrible at using the “features” of iTunes.

I use it to rip music, and store it.  Between Christine and I, we’ve got just over 80 gigs of music, which is all digital now. (I’m sure there’s plenty more CDs I opted not to rip, when I ripped ‘everything’ we own.)

I have one playlist, and I only created that so I could sync it to my iPhone.

I’m a terrible iTunes user. I know.

I’m home alone this weekend, and just upgraded to iTunes and decided to give this “Genius Mix” thing a shot.  I’m usually too impatient to wait for it to finish “delivering” results.  After all, it takes a while for iTunes to index that much music.

I let it finish (it took about 6 minutes or so), and have to say it’s pretty accurate.  It created 12 playlists for me. 12 Genius Mixes, I should say.  Here’s what it grouped, based on the 4 albums it makes thumbnails out of:

  • Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Green Day, Nickelback
  • Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Aerosmith
  • Disturbed, Dream Theater, Metallica, System of a Down
  • Foo Fighters, No Doubt, Lifehouse, (more) No Doubt
  • Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, David Cook
  • Bon Jovi, Tesla, Firehouse, Poison
  • REO Speedwagon, Billy Talent, Waltham, Hits of the ’80s
  • Van Halen, Queens of the Stone Age, Journey, Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit
  • Katy Perry, Jason Mraz, Howie Day, Teddy Geiger

Not bad mixes.  It’s certainly better than just playing all 13,000 tracks on random and skipping ten in a row, till I find something I like.

I’m gonna give the Genius Mixes the benefit of the doubt and let them play for a while.

Ripping More Music

So I splayed out all the CDs we own on my desk, and have been dropping them in my CD burner, as I’ve sat at my desk watching movies on my computer.

I learned a valuable lesson: Windows Media Player rips music much easier than iTunes.

With iTunes, you have to drop the CD in, wait for it to get recognized, then click the “Import” button, or click “Yes” on the “Do you want to import” dialog.

With Windows Media Player, you just drop the disc in, and close the drive. As long as you’re on the “Rip” tab in your player, it auto-rips the disc, and ejects it when done.   Then you grab it, and drop the next one in.

I did about 200 discs while watching The Incredible Hulk and Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay over the weekend.

I’ve still got a ton more to go, but it’s a start.   I wish I could remotely rip discs from work, to home. That’d be a big help, but I don’t think technology’s that advanced, yet.

So far, we’ve got about 39.5 gigs of music on the new terrabyte drive (aptly named “music”), with I’d guess another 100 gigs to go.   Good thing I bought a big drive, we buy a lot of music.


Finally!   It certainly helped having the conversion application running on the better computer.   Now   that all the music’s in one directory, it’s easy to see how many duplicates of some tracks we had.

I whittled it down from roughly 18 thousand songs to just over 10.   Talk about a lot of doubles?

Now I just have to go through Windows Media Player and add a lot of artwork to some of the discs that didn’t have it.

Deleting 40 gigs of music off the old computer is a bit depressing, and knowing that it’s going to go into the closet, for “spare parts” probably will hurt, too.   She was a good computer, and served me well.   Farewell Pentium IV, 2.53 single core, it’s time for you to rest now.

Still Converting Music

I think the problem is that I was using the “old” PC to do the converting, and not my new workhorse machine.

I installed the conversion software on my better computer, and things are speeding up much faster.   A song on the new computer takes roughly 15 seconds to convert, versus a minute and a half on the old computer.   That’s going over my wireless network from the old PC (where the music’s stored) to the new PC where it’s being converted and saved.

At this rate, I should get done today or tomorrow.   I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this in the first place.

Sometimes the software craps out, and doesn’t convert a track right, but I’m sure I won’t even miss those songs that it doesn’t work right on.   Will update again shortly.

Moving from iTunes to Windows Media

I thought it would be easy, and quick to leave iTunes.   I just wanted to break up, and start my new relationship with Windows Media Player/Center.   Why? Easy.

When we moved into our new place, there was no room in the living room for the “Media PC”, to be hooked up to the stereo anymore.   (We used to stream iTunes from it to the surround sound, and out other PCs).   So, I looked for a smaller PC, and determined it wasn’t worth it.

I then remembered that the XBox360 streams music from Windows.   Unfortunately, the 360, and iTunes don’t like each other, at all.

So, I made the decision to convert all of my music to Windows Media player, which sounded like it’d be easy.   They’re just music files, right?   Not so much.

See iTunes creates their own propriatary filetype (AAC, or M4P), when you rip a CD through them, which I’ve done with hundreds of gigs of music.   That creates a problem, as Windows Media can’t play/read AAC or M4P files.

So I had two options: 1) Re-rip hundreds of CDs, which took months to rip in my spare time, or 2) convert the music.

I opted for the music conversion, and found a program called “Protected Music Converter”, which boasts that it can “quickly and easily convert music files to mp3”. I thought “Great, it’s exactly what I need!”

I started running it at 9PM last night.   It’s not 9:15AM, over 12 hours later, and it’s only converted 457 tracks. That’s only .63 tracks per minute.   At this rate, it might have been faster to re-rip them.

It’s gonna be a long weekend. Good thing the software’s automated, and making the mp3s on its own.   Once it’s done, I just need to copy them over to my new terrabyte hard drive that I bought to house the music collection last week. (Bringing my total storage capacity to just over 8 terrabytes. I’ve got an obsession.)

Will update with a final “it took this long” post when it’s done.