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Mac Help  Preview
1 September 05 from Ian Mathers 5
Ah! Cool. It'll take a while to go through the whole collection, but it happens. Would it work if you just selected all the tracks and then clicked name, or?
1 September 05 from glenn mcdonald 6
I meant to use Browse to pick the artist, and then click Name to sort that artist's songs by title...
31 August 05 from Ian Mathers 5
Yes, but when you sort by song name it stops sorting by band name! I want some type of secondary sort, I suppose. Thanks for the heads-up on multiple infos.
31 August 05 from spinlps 7
As a former Mac owner (LC II anyone?) who converted to Wintel machines in the mid 90's, I am certainly intrigued with the latest generation Macs particularly in light of the new OS and the seemingly seamless integration of hw, sw, and peripherals, especially with the iPod. Perhaps I'll be a convert once more... Only two obstacles really: current career in Wintel heavy IT and the prospect of having to travel with two laptops...
28 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 6
Click on the Name column to sort by song title.  

Also, you can clear track numbers from multiple tracks at once by selecting them, doing Get Info, and checking the two checkboxes under Track Number while leaving the corresponding text boxes blank.
28 August 05 from Ian Mathers 5
I have the opposite problem, actually - I want it to sort by band name first and by song name second and by nothing else, but it sorts by album name. So I selected them all and set the album field to blank - they come close to being sorted, but they still go by track number, and I can't seem to bulk delete that.
23 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 4
I don't know why the track numbers aren't coming through, but I can at least provide a band-aid. Select the following script (starting with "tell" and ending with "end tell") and hit Copy.  

tell application "iTunes"
set allTracks to the selection
set thisTotal to the count of allTracks
repeat with x from 1 to thisTotal
set the track number of item x of allTracks to x
set the track count of item x of allTracks to thisTotal
end repeat
end tell  

Open Script Editor, do File/New, and Paste, then do Save As... and save the script as "Fix Numbers" or something, in your ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts folder. This will make it show up in the script menu in iTunes.  

Now, when you drag new files in, make sure you select them in the right order, and drag them into the left sidebar in iTunes, so that they are imported into iTunes and simultaneously added to a new playlist in the right order. Select all the tracks in the new playlist, then run the script.  

I use this a lot. The one caveat is that you should always create a playlist with the songs in the right order, and then use this script to renumber them in the playlist. If you try to renumber them in place in the Library, iTunes will re-sort them as each track is renumbered, which will cause total chaos.  

Hopefully that helps...
23 August 05 from JosefK 3
While we're on this subject, I have a ripped a number of tracks (to AAC and MP3) using a non-itunes program. I drag these into itunes and find that the embedded information "track N of M" is gone; the tracks are ordered by name. I have to edit the information for each file individually, so that albums can have tracks in the right order. (Non-itunes mp3 players can see the information in these files, though).  

This is tedious as all get out, to the point that I have simply stopped using my ipod: I'm never in the mood to type "1 of 16", "2 of 16", and so on for the next record that I want to load. Please tell me if there's a nice way to do this? My poor ipod has been languishing in a drawer for two months now.
21 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 2
No, you were just doing the equivalent of putting your new shoes back in the shoebox in the shopping bag from the store every night, instead of putting them into the closet with your other shoes and throwing away the box. No extra copies.  

I got a lot out of Mac OS X: The Missing Manual when I first switched. macosxhints.com is also a sporadic source of useful ideas. Mostly I just live with stuff until I feel like I've adopted enough of a new way of working that I find myself wanting some new tweak that is something I never had before rather than something I used to be used to, and then I go looking for a way to do that. The weird paradox of OS X is that it's great for people who don't want to have to tweak anything, ever, but also great for people who are willing to tweak lots of things. I have a small menagerie of Applescripts and SmartWhatevers and stuff I've gradually accumulated to handle things I do a lot. Most of which would make sense to nobody but me.
21 August 05 from Ian Mathers 1
Beauty - I'm going to have to sit down with that post at my Apple when I get another monitor in here and configure most of that out. A tiny bit of it I knew, but most of it is new and exciting.  

I am also terribly amused by the fact that I'm apparantly installing Firefox over and over again. Is it just re-writing over the same space, or do I now have 20 copies of the program in my applications, I wonder.  

I actually accidentally used Spotlight for the first time - I thought I was in another "Help" bar. So amazingly powerful. I'm going to be using it a lot.  

How do you pick up all these little tips for the Mac? Just experience, or is there a source I should be checking out?  

In any case, thanks again for all the help.
21 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 2
The Firefox thing you're opening is the installer! After you open the ejectable desktop thingy (a "disk image"), drag the Firefox application itself into your Applications folder. The occasional program requires a more complicated install process on the Mac, but most are that simple: drag 'em to Applications. Then you can eject and/or delete the installer.  

Another few notes:  

- Those things in the sidebar in Finder are just shortcuts to any folder, and you can drag stuff into and out of the sidebar. You're not limited to the stuff that's already there.  

- All your programs should go into Applications, but anything you use all the time, drag to the Dock (or if it's running there already, control-/right-click it and pick "Keep in Dock"). And you can drag stuff around in the Dock to reorder it, or drag stuff you don't want off of it.  

- Drag the Applications folder itself into the right end of the Dock (next to the Trash, to the right of that little vertical line), and then you can control-/right-click that to get a pop-up menu of all your applications.  

- There's no full-screen preference for Finder, but the little green button will toggle the window size.  

- Under Finder/Preferences you can control whether your hard disk shows up as a desktop icon, and where Finder opens. Personally I find it clearer to not show "Macintosh HD" on my desktop, since Finder is always available in the Dock anyway. And I have Finder start in Home. I almost never find myself needing to poke around in the structure of any other section of the hierarchy.  

- The little magnifying glass in the top right corner of the screen is for Spotlight, and the keyboard shortcut is apple-spacebar. Start typing what you're looking for, and Spotlight will find it. No need to open folders at all! Works for files, mp3s, applications, emails, contacts, calendar events, everything. Another thing that might radically change your computer usage.  

Fun!
21 August 05 from Ian Mathers 1
I'm trying not to forcibly apply those patterns, but for the first couple of days at least that always seems damn hard.  

But I think a good analogy would be to my new job, which I started two Fridays ago. They threw me in with basically no training and it felt like I'd be screwed for a few weeks before things start to make sense - but by Tuesday I had it all under control.  

I had not, in fact, checked out the Browse mode (I don't think I even saw the button), but that does sound right up my alley. The whole smart Playlists thing sounds terribly exciting too, I'll need to check that out (the idea of defining my playlist by just putting something in the comment of each song as I add it does seem rather a bit more robust than Winamp's method).  

I figured the difference in file structure was mostly cosmetic (and honestly, having less rather than more reasons to tinker with my computer and thus spend even more time in front of it is a good thing and one of the reasons I went Apple), but I think it'll take a couple of days for my subconscious to start fully appreciating all the tabs (Music, Applications, etc) on the left side as helpers in addition to the file structure rather than half-assed replacements for it. Is there any way to set the system preference such that when you open the hard drive it takes up the full screen, incidentially? I looked a bit but saw nothing.  

All of this does help, quite a bit, but if you don't mind I've got one more question (at least). Whenever I start Firefox it shows up on my desktop as some sort of ejectable device (titled "Firefox" - if I click on it, it takes me to a directory in which the only file is the Firefox executable) in addition to opening a browser window and even if I quit Firefox (and yep, I am familiar enough with Apples to know how to quit programs properly, I swear!) it sticks around. Safari doesn't do this, of course, but... well... Firefox. It's not bad, but it does seem a bit awkward - do you know anything about this/how to turn it off?  

Thanks a million...
20 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 2
Well, the keep-organized checkbox tells iTunes to automatically create a folder for every artist and a subfolder for every album, not to junk everything into one folder, so that actually might be to your liking.  

But yes, iTunes really wants to be your library manager, not just your file-format utility, and it's a whole lot better at that than WinAmp plus your file system (even your OS X file system), so it might be worth giving it a chance. Turn on Browse mode, if you haven't already (big round button in the top right). I never put my whole Library in a single playlist, either, but the combination of genre/artist/album browsing and searching and sorting and Smart Playlists and manual playlists is more powerful than what you're used to, not less. I use it for both music ripped from CDs and music I only have in file form, for example. I put "no CD" in the comments field for non-CD tracks, and then Smart Playlists can handle those tracks differently than ones I know I can simply reload.  

Also, the Mac isn't as different, file-structure-wise, as you might initially be imagining. If you open Finder and start at Macintosh HD in list or columns mode, you can see the whole folder structure very straightforwardly. "Music" is just a subfolder of "Ian Mathers" (or whatever your home folder is called), which is just a subfolder of Users, which is at the top level. If you get really homesick you can even open Terminal and get a Unix prompt and navigate the directory structure just like it's 1975 (ls instead of dir, etc...). I find the Mac to have less magic of the confusing unexplained kind than Windows, on the whole.  

Does any of that help? It'll all start making sense to you by Monday, I predict. The key is not forcibly re-imposing your old patterns onto the new system before you have a chance to grasp that the new system is offering you a wildly better way!
20 August 05 from Ian Mathers 1
It is the Ownerships and Permissions thing, after all - I figured that out about five minutes after I posted this.  

If you do what you suggest in the first paragraph, I'm pretty sure you won't get to edit the metadata (which is what I was having problems with) until you change Ownership - or if that's not the case, then I'm curious as to why copying them to the iTunes would revert them back to Read/Write as opposed to Read only when copying them to the hard drive doesn't do the same.  

My problems with iTunes are that I don't really want (or at least I'm not really used to) a musical database/organiser thingy - I just want something that plays music and I'm used to doing the organizing on the file folder side. I think I'm going to basically forgo looking at the Library and just use playlists, as I'm never going to want all the music on my computer (particularly the large "Unsorted" folder) on the same playlist. But you can't add a song to iTunes without it appearing in the Library, so I'll have to route around it.  

I've actually turned off the copy files bit, because I don't want all the MP3s dropped willynilly into one folder; I'd rather have a folder for each band. Partly this relates to a broader issue I'm having in switching over to Apple; I miss the ability to go into my Computer and see the whole directory structure stretched out in orderly fashion. When I click on my hard drive and then the "music" button, where am I going? I don't really know, and that's not _bad_, but it is an adjustment I have to make. My MP3 collection (that is, the stuff not ripped from albums I _currently_ own, stuff downloaded from the net and song ripped from albums/promos I subsequently sold) is, on this computer (I only have one monitor so I can't run the apple and this old PC at the same time) as well organized as my physical music collection, and I'd kind of like it to be the same.  

Also, unless I just haven't seen the button in iTunes, I don't see an easy way _other_ than drag-and-drop to get files into a playlist. Which is something I'm used to - hitting the "add files" button, searching through the file structure to find them, and adding them in. Plus, once you do drag-and-drop something, it seems like it's automatically saved to the playlist. I'm used to playlists being saved in files so that if you temporarily add something you can ust reload the file to get back to your base state.  

None of that really means iTunes handles these things _worse_ than what I'm used to, but it's something my mind isn't quite wrapping around properly yet.  

Also, the MP3s on my computer aren't back-ups or files to be put on an iPod or similar devices (I have little to no interest in those) - instead they're an adjunct to my physical music collection, full of those 2-3 good tracks from otherwise crap albums, out-of-print stuff I refuse to pay exorbitant amounts for, and so on. iTunes works superbly as a CD player, a ripper, a burner and so on (all of which I used to use Musicmatch Jukebox for), but not so much as a way for me to access my MP3s (which I used Winamp for), at least not yet.  

What sort of expectations or use-models do you have for iTunes, and for the music on your computer in general? That might help me get adjusted a bit.
20 August 05 from glenn mcdonald 2
I can't quite tell from your description what the problem with those MP3s is, but I would load iTunes by dragging your existing MP3s (from CDs or across the net)straight into the iTunes window (rather than the Finder), after making sure both "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" are checked (under Advanced in iTunes/Preferences). Then edit the metadata in iTunes.  

In general, I've never had any problems with files pulled off of CDs. Can you not even change the names? "Read Only", translated to Mac, is either the "Locked" checkbox towards the top of the Get Info dialog, or the Ownership and Permissions way down at the bottom. But I wouldn't expect either of those to be an issue with files copied from another disc.  

I love iTunes, personally, but I basically began my ripped-music-listening life with iTunes, so I never had to migrate expectations or use-models from anything else. What sort of things are bothering you about it?
20 August 05 from Ian Mathers 1
So my new Mac Mini appeared in the mail on Friday, which is great; but my switching over isn't going as smoothly as I'd like. Unfortunately my friend who owns a Mac and knows all this stuff is out of town this weekend, and I don't plan to try to ask every single question here, but there's three things that are bugging the shit out of me:  

1. My MP3 collection is backed up on CD, and so I've been putting those CDs in my apple and copy and pasting the files into my iTunes folder. Which works - except when I go to change their information the fields are greyed out and inaccessible.  

Now, on a PC when I copy files from a CD onto my hard drive I need to go into their properties and turn off "Read Only" to re-name them or whatever, but when I "get info" on these files there seems to be no such option. Which is annoying enough on these mp3s (theoretically I can just yank them straight off of my current PC using the local network), but has broader implications for anything else I have backed up or back up in the future on CD.  

2. The computer came with Appleworks - it says you can save in Word format but that doesn't seem to work. Am I screwed as far as creating .docs until I get Word, or what (and I don't really care whether .doc is a good file format or not - it's what my editor takes, you know?)?  

3. So far I hate iTunes. I'm sure that, just as with music that's at least partly a case of my needing to stop trying to want it to be something it's not (i.e. Winamp) and start learning how to use what it is. Are there any good (preferably free) resources out there on learning to use iTunes properly?  

Thanks for the help, from whoever gives it.
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