sounds familiar Musing on the present. Reminiscing about the past. Posturing for the future.

2Nov/062

it’s the little things


Wednesday night. I have a terribly boring blog tonight. A little about changing brakes, and a little about iTunes. Neither of which is that interesting. Sorry about that.

Saw a link for the new version of iTunes while browsing Digg today, and installed it immediately to see if it might rectify my iTunes 7 artwork issues. First off, why the heck is the iTunes installer 35MB? All it is is a shoddy add-on to QuickTime, which is a piece of software I hate for the fact that it offers me nothing and hooks into my system more than I want. 35MB of what? SharePod does essentially the same thing and is only 580KB - you're telling me iTunes adds 34.5MB of "goodness?" I don't think so. Anyway, about 5min into the thing's ridiculously long installation time (you'd think I was installing a Windows service pack for as long as the thing takes), it pops up and tells me that I need to close Microsoft Outlook because it's using some files that need to be updated. What?! iTunes is updating files that Outlook is using? Why in the world would it be doing that? I mean, I'm sure it's some standard Windows/IE DLL thing… but still, that software is totally parasitic if you ask me.

Anyway, on a whim I plugged in the iPod, navigated to the Music setup screen, and did the famous "Display album artwork on your iPod" un-tick, apply, re-tick trick. Before iTunes 7 went to the new single-file artwork database structure, this used to fix artwork issues on individual misbehavers. But with previous versions of the 7.0 family, you were stuck if you 1) had embedded artwork in your MP3 files, and 2) manually managed your iPod (i.e. you drag and drop to get tunes on/off the iPod rather than using the library sync feature).

After some 20min of "optimizing artwork," I unplugged my iPod and, with some anticipation, pulled up a track with known embedded artwork (a track whose artwork used to display perfectly prior to iTunes 7 and firmware xxx). You'd think that, after spending nearly 20min doing something, there might be some noticeable change, right?

(Note: While iTunes was "optimizing artwork," I did a branch-predict and wrote the following paragraph. However, once you get through this paragraph and onto the next, you'll see that my predictive writing was, happily, in vain).

Wrong! Stupidass iTunes just churned for the sake of churning, because not a damn thing changed. I still can't see the album artwork which is embedded in my MP3s on the iPod itself. Oh sure, it still displays fine in iTunes, but not on the iPod. What I hate most about this is that it used to work fine, it was perfect… Talk about frustrating. Apple, are you listening? Fix this!!

(Now, what actually happened.)

Right! As I pulled up that first track (Michael Jackson's "Beat It"), I was thrilled to see my artwork displayed proudly to the left of the ID3 information. The artwork is back! I can't believe it, way to go Apple! Oh, and I'm sorry about that speculative paragraph above - but I just didn't have a lot of faith that it would work.

Kudos for giving us manual users their embedded artwork back on their iPods, it was missed while it was gone. Let's change subjects now, OK? OK.

This evening I changed the rear brakes on the truck. See, the truck's been making awful, awful, grinding noises from back there - and a visual inspection the other day led me to believe that badly worn pads were the cause. I knew I needed back brakes anyway... but I didn't think there were as bad as they were. And oh... were they bad. On the tire making the noise, I was actually into the steel on the pad, way past the squealer thing and way past the rivets. It was baaaaad. Being only the 2nd unassisted brake job I've ever done, not to mention really the only larger-scale maintenance I know how to do on a vehicle (aside from things like putting air in the tires), I'm no expert at what bad brakes look like. But even me, an auto idiot, could tell this was not good. So, I slapped on new rotors and pads, put the tires back on, and fired up the truck for a victory lap around the block.

The noise was ten times worse than before.

Crushed, I pulled back into the garage. I'd noticed while putting on one set of pads that I kinda bent the little squealer thing, and I thought maybe I'd bent it too far inward and it was rubbing. But, despite my best efforts to try and see without taking the tire back off, I just couldn't tell. So, up went the truck on the jackstand and off came the tire. Turns out the squeal tab was fine, but being able to see the caliper assembly I immediately ID'd the problem. There's this little "clip" thing, two of them actually, that sit where each brake pad clamps in. I don't know what they're for, they're tiny little thin things that serve no immediately recognizable purpose to me. Anyway, I must've unseated the bottom one, and it had gotten lodged between the rotor and it's housing. Off came the caliper, on went the "clip" thing, and the whole thing went back together.

The next victory lap was blissfully silent and smooth. Success.

Goodnight.


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  1. My ipod 5g also quit showing album art on most of my mp3s. What sucks is that I can see them all okay when I play the mp3s on rhythmbox.
    All was fine prior to the firmware update to 1.2. The ipod drive got corrupt so I had a friend use itunes on windows to restore it. The upgrade to 1.2 was a bonus.
    I guess I’ll have to wait for 1.2.1 to get the album art back.

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