Hans D. Baumeister

Hans D. Baumeister

iTunes remixed - hopefully not a trend!

Okay, Apple comes out with a new version of iTunes and what do you do? You update your iTunes on your Mac, of course. For the past few years, iTunes has undergone a number of changes, most of them for the benefit of the user (and Apple, of course).

This latest version of iTunes - Version 11 - for the first time represented a major step back for me. Why? The changes in the UI, in the very core of how the software is used, are so massive that I can’t stop asking myself: “why change a running system, Apple?”

What’s the deal with mixing up music videos and regular MP3 or AAC songs? I was listening to some ambient music while working on a marketing piece when, all of a sudden, the music style did a 180° as Fettes Brot “Jein” started playing. What irritated me more than the sudden genre change was the movement I suddenly noticed behind the word processor window: it wasn’t just a song - it was a music video.

This is because iTunes 11 has a “Songs” … well, what do you call it? “Mode”? “Tab”? … whatever. Do we really need for iTunes to start mixing video and audio together like that? I guess if you’re looking for a Genius mix to play at a party, then it’s irrelevant wether you just listen to the music video audio or actually look at the video content.

This new (okay, folks, what is this new mode selection called? I don’t have a word for it, though Apple likely does) … “tab” … represents what irritates me most about version 11: the apparent need to make the view and selection of content “multi-dimensional”.

Personally, I don’t need it. When I want to hear ambient music, I knew how to select that in a matter of a few clicks in pre-11 iTunes; if I wanted to view a music video - ditto. Now, I can’t even get a movie, purchased via iTunes, to automatically load on my iPad without syncing it with my Mac.

What gives, Apple?
I loved Steve Jobs’ “simplicity of use” … under Tim Cook, it seems Apple is slowly but surely turning its bread-and-butter software into just another usage-disaster like Windows…

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The ultimate solution to multiple iTunes libraries?

I just found a fascinating solution to the problem of having multiple iTunes libraries on multiple Macs (or PC’s for that matter): A service / software called MediaRover.

This solution consists of a software package for Windows or Mac OS (free) that you install, as well as a service account that lets you control up to 8 (eight!) of these so-called „Rovers” to sync to a central server, such as a NAS box.

You get to set up the sync options (including the choice of wether you want songs deleted or not) for each „Rover” (Mac or PC with iTunes on it) individually.

The software then syncs all music to a central server directory to each Rover. The caveat: you need to have such a central repository, which can be either a „real” server or a NAS box acting as one. I set up a new share on my NAS, installed the software on my Mac Mini Media Center and off it went - copying all music and playlists to that share.

Next comes the same install on my MacBook, and hopefully it will then have an exact replica of the Mac Mini. Last but not least, my iMac.

It sounds like a dream come true and - at least for now - the service is free of charge.
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