today was a bad day

Today was a bad day.

Work made me mad in the morning, Sharaun made me mad at lunch, and work continued to make me mad after lunch. The sun broke through on two occasions: First, the hour I had with Keaton while Sharaun was at the gym. She sat on my lap for nearly the whole time and we played. She was super huggy and talkative. Second, being able to do some brief listening to the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band multitracks on my new iPod. I wrote about them before, over here, but getting some time to actually hear them closely makes them seem so much more awesome. They are indeed amazing. I’d recommend you check them out, if you can manage to locate them, that is…

Anyway, it was a long, stressful, and frustrating day. But, I eventually made up with work… choosing to be the bigger man and continue to accept my paycheck in return for the occasional abuse. Incidentally, I also made up with Sharaun… apologizing for yelling at her and stomping around the house in a fit. So, all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

But… this does not end well. Not by a long shot. Later on, at night, I decided to try out a program I’ve heard other audiophiles praise. It’s called MediaMonkey and it’s one-stop music management application, and can even sync with iPods and other portable devices. On a whim, I decided to install it. Unknowingly, I had my brand new iPod Classic plugged in when I installed and launched it. Turns out, the damn piece of software “automatically” sought out my iPod, read the contents, and somehow completely corrupted the iTunesDB file. So, when I fired up iTunes again, I got the familiar heartbreaking message: “iTunes cannot read the contents of iPod…” Sigh, all my music lost. What a waste… I’m so upset. Why can’t I just learn to leave well enough alone?

Right now I’m frantically trying all sorts of recovery methods… and, even as I write this, I’m using a promising piece of software that touts one-click iPod-to-iPod cloning, with support for all generation iPods, including Classic/Touch. The cool thing is, it supposedly also will transfer all the iTunes/library data like “played count,” “rating,” etc. – which is exactly what I was looking for in the first place. If this works, I’ll make a quick writeup and post tomorrow. Wish me luck, OK?

Really sorry about all the iPod talk, but, as if you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit obsessed with this new toy. Hope you’ll understand as I continue to fawn over it. Thanks for sticking it out. Goodnight.

never long enough…

Still nursing your Turkey hangover? Unfortunately, one of the negative aspects of traveling to family for Thanksgiving is that you often have to return home without having enough time to enjoy a proper amount of leftovers. Half the reason I love Thanksgiving is because a plate of gravy-drenched stuffing almost always tastes better at 10pm the night after Thanksgiving than it ever did at the table the day before. Next time, I’m packing a backpack with dry ice and taking home some turkey, all the trimmings, and a couple slices of pie. But, we did have to leave, and now that we’re back home the trip seems like it really flew by. I guess it’s never long enough when you’re on vacation…

Walking through the airport today, I had a thought: What if I was stopped, just as I was at that moment, and asked to take a detailed for-insurance-purposes-like monetary inventory of the goods I was carrying. Naturally, I started ticking off items in my head. Laptop, two iPods (not typical, but I had them both on this trip), cash, clothes, miscellaneous electronic accessories, gold rings, and the clothes I was wearing. Doing some mental arithmetic, always off by bit at best when I’m the mentalist, I was surprised to come up with a total in the several thousands of dollars. To think that people like me are so blessed that, at any given time, they have thousands of dollars of goods on their person, while there are people in the world who won’t go through that in their lifetime. Not that thousands would necessarily make those folks any more happy, it’s just pretty amazing the amount of material “wealth” we have with us in general. I complain because my laptop bag is heavy and uncomfortable to carry around when it’s got two iPods, a book, my $200 headphones, and a couple AC adapters in it. Guess I should be thankful I’m not on my barefoot way back from the river with a yoke across my neck, two buckets of water hanging from each end.

Let’s change gears now, and talk about iPods again…

I have so much room now, with my new Classic, that I’m having a great time decided what “new” things I can put on my iPod. I’d basically topped off my 60GB with what I thought was pretty much the best limited-to-60GB collection of tunes I could muster. But now, I can expand that collection more than 100%. Worried that I’ll end up putting some “just OK” stuff on there, and potentially pepper the “Shuffle All” feature with bad tracks, I made myself a promise that I’ll prune and manage the quality of the the new device just as diligently as I did on the old one. For starters, I’m going to load the thing up with Beatles bootlegs. Having nearly 32GB of Beatlegs in my collection, I had decided to leave them off the old iPod altogether. But, I’ve always wished I had at least a sampling loaded, as I feel like I now under-listen to what used to be a super-important kind class of albums to me. Problem is, I need to be careful about how I treat Beatles bootlegs, and for that matter, bootleg recordings in general, on the iPod. Because I have so many, I want to make sure that, between the Beatles’ commercial and bootleg releases, my iPod doesn’t get skewed too heavily to the Beatles. So, I’ll do this intelligently.

  1. Modify the “genre” tag (the MP3’s ID3 tag) for all my Beatleg albums, making it read “Beatles bootleg”
  2. Using iTunes, sort the music on my iPod by genre, and make sure that all items in the “Beatles bootleg” genre are marked as “Skip when shuffling”
  3. Finally, in case I want to hear a shuffled mix of bootleg Beatles recordings, create a smart playlist which randomly grabs all songs in the “Beatles bootleg” genre
  4. Ta-da! I can now put thousands of illicit Beatles tracks on my ‘Pod, and not have to worry about overdosing on them during a “Shuffle Songs”

Well, sorry about all the iPod-themed entries of late… as you can see I’m having a little bit too good of a time configuring my new 160GB iPod Classic. You’ll forgive me, won’t you?

Thanks, and, see you back here Monday!

new iPod & i want my old tunes!

Don’t miss the latest updates to this story, click here.

Being in Oregon – the land of no sales tax – I decided there was no better time than now to go ahead and drop the dosh on one of those new-fangled iPod “Classics.” The 160GB-ness of the thing has been taunting me since the things were announced, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I upgraded. And, not only did I save the ~$25 sales tax I would’ve paid in California, but I also took advantage of the Costco price, which is already $10 less than Apple’s suggested retail price (iPod’s are rarely sold under this suggested price, especially by major retailers). So, all in all, I think I made out just about as good as can be. Took the thing home for $339 out the door. May sound expensive to those who could care less about 60GB vs. 160GB, but for musicophiles with platter-busting collections it really is worth it to carry around that much more variety.

So, last night I began trying to figure out just how in the world I was going to get all my music off my old iPod, and subsequently on to my new iPod. See, I manually manage my music on my iPod – I don’t use the iTunes library features to manage my music collection, and that means I also don’t use the “automatically sync” feature to get music on and off my device.

I realize this may put me in a minority of users, but, because 1) I don’t use iTunes to manage my music in general, and 2) my collection is larger than my iPod’s capacity, it’s just more convenient for me to drag-and-drop what I want when I want rather than relying on some selective sync functionality. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the plus-side to using the auto-sync functionality, like not having to completely delete and re-add things in situations where I’ve “updated” an MP3 folder/album on my hard drive, perhaps adding artwork or updating ID3 tags. But still, I prefer to do it manually.

Anyway, back to my problem. Surely someone has faced this before. Say you’re a manual iPod user like me (there has to be more of us out there, right?), and you outgrow your old iPod, or just figure the new one is plain “cooler,” and decide to upgrade to Apple’s latest offering. If you’re like me, you’ve likely spent a lot of time pruning, tending, and shaping the music (and other content) on your iPod, and you probably want to “start” with your new iPod having the same content as your old one, and then add new content from there. In other words, it’d be nice if the “baseline” content on your new iPod was a mirror image, or snapshot, of what all is on your old iPod. Makes sense, right? Think of it as “migrating” the entirety of your old iPod onto your new one.

Note: I’m aware that techniques exist for doing this using both iPods in disk mode, but I’m pretty sure that will only work on two iPod’s of the same generation (or, at the least, having the same database version). Since Apple changed the iTunesDB structure completely (version 25) going to the Touch/Classic sixth generation devices, I don’t think I can get away with doing something as easy as this when moving from a less-than-sixth generation one. But, honestly, I also didn’t give it a try.

Again, before you criticize me in the comments and tell me this would all be “easy as pie” if I just used iTunes to manage my music collection – I know. Trust me, I know. I just don’t want to use iTunes to manage my music, OK? Now that we’re done with that…

Now, even though I still have all the content that’s on my iPod stored on my PC, I don’t exactly know offhand what’s on there and what’s not. I have a general idea, but my collection is huuuge, and the best and easiest way to be sure I get an exact copy of my existing iPod content would be to simply “copy off” everything that’s on there and then move it to my new iPod. Sure, worst case, I could simply re-pick all the right content from my larger collection, but it would likely take me weeks to get just the right items (honestly, you may opt to do this… give yourself a “fresh start” and relive the fun that is filling your iPod with the perfect collection of music for the first time). So, again, we need to do the following things:

  • Copy all the music off my old iPod (and onto the PC, as an intermediary location)
  • Put the resulting music from step one onto the new iPod, ideally retaining the neat track-level metadata like “last played” dates, ratings, play count, etc.

I’m gonna tell you how I did this, even though it was an imperfect process in the end (meaning, I didn’t exactly meet my own requirements above, as I lost the iTunes/iPod metadata). Ready? Here it is; it’s actually quite simple:

  1. Download SharePod and copy the folder to your old iPod (your iPod must be plugged in, and must be enabled for “disk mode” use).
  2. Run SharePod from your old iPod (if you get an error, make sure you have the .NET framework installed).
  3. Select all your songs from SharePod’s righthand pane, and click the “Copy to PC” button.
  4. Choose your preferred location and foldername/filename structure (make sure you have enough hard drive space to hold what you plan to copy off).
  5. Kick back and relax while SharePod copies every last track off your iPod (if you had a full 60GB model like I did, this can take over an hour, even at USB2.0 speeds).
  6. After SharePod is done, close it out and unplug your old iPod.
  7. Plug in your new iPod.
  8. Fire up iTunes (or, alternately, fire up whatever you normally use to add songs to your iPod), and drop all the extracted tunes on your new iPod.
  9. Relax while iTunes (or whatever you use) copies all your songs onto your new device.
  10. Oh, and remember, if SharePod saved the day for you… go ahead and PayPal the author a few bucks… it was certainly worth it for me!

To be clear, SharePod does create an XML file which you can use via iTunes’ “Import” function. I originally thought that, since this XML file contained the metadata mentioned above, I may be able to preserve things like “play count” and rating, etc. when importing. Turns out, iTunes didn’t “get” the metadata, even when using the import feature and SharePod’s XML file (at least, for me it didn’t). So, the end result is that you’ll effectively reset all that data. You’ll lose play counts, ratings, last played dates, etc. It kinda sucks, but it’s better than nothing. And, as far as I was willing to muck with it, it was the best I could come up with.

There may be other ways to do this, using different software to achieve the same thing (especially since I’m only talking Windows here, and not Mac). But I think it all amounts to the simple process of 1) extracting the data from the old device and 2) putting back on the new device. I would love to find a way to maintain the metadata (I know… you’re going to say, “Use iTunes to manage your music…”), but for now I’m happy enough to have a cloned copy of my old iPod as a starting-point for my new one.

But Dave, what about my playlists?

Look, I know that a lot of people have spent a big amount of time and effort making super-awesome playlists from the content on their iPods. For that reason, I can see why you’d want to make sure your playlists come over to your new iPod intact as well. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure how to do this, as I didn’t have any treasured playlists I wanted to bring over for my upgrade. I think, however, that you can use SharePod’s playlist export feature in much the same way as described above for tracks to accomplish the same thing. Export the playlist, which, I believe, amounts to exporting the songs that the playlist contains, and then import the playlist through iTunes using the XML file that SharePod creates.

Well, that’s it. That’s I how managed to transfer all the music from my old iPod onto my new iPod, and start with what’s essentially a carbon-copy of what I already had. Hope it helps someone who may find themselves wanting to do the same thing. Oh, and, by the way, if anyone has any suggestions or tweaks for this process (especially if you know how to do the above while keeping the metadata for the tracks), please leave a comment on this entry and let the world know! Thanks!

Update – 11.27.07

After writing this, I decided to try a bunch of commercially available alternatives to the method I describe above. For what it’s worth, all the software I tried was able to get the MP3s off the device. However, none were able to successfully preserve the iTunes metadata (things like playcounts, preset-EQ, date-added, skipcounts, etc.). My findings:

  • CopyTrans: This application is supposed to copy music from your iPod and into your iTunes library. The webpage advertises full iPod Classic compatibility. Out of the four, CopyTrans got closest to what I want as it was able to import the playcount and date-added metadata into iTunes.
  • iCloner : Part of the CopyTrans suite, this is like Ghost for iPods. It promises to make a “clone” backup of one iPod which can be restored onto another iPod. The functionality is there: I “cloned” my 5G iPod and then restored the image onto my new 6G iPod. However, the 6G with the restored 5G image was still unrecognizable to iTunes, and the music would not play. I also noticed that, in disk view, the post-restoration 6G iPod was truly a “clone” of the 5G (which is a bad thing, since Apple changed the folder and database structure from 5th to 6th generation). Even though the website claims full iPod Classic compatibility, the version of iCloner I used couldn’t do 5G-to-6G. Interestingly, I have to think that iCloner may indeed be a “real” solution to my problem if I was trying to move from one same-generation iPod to another. And even though I haven’t tested it, I would expect iCloner to make a carbon-copy, including all meta-data, if the target iPod is of the same generation as the source.
  • Music Rescue (formerly PodUtil): Music Rescue also successfully exported the raw MP3 files, but was unable to preserve the metadata when importing the tracks iTunes.
  • Amarok (Linux only): Although I didn’t run the test myself, I had a Ubuntu-loving buddy confirm that the latest version of Amorak (at the time of writing, at least) can export MP3s from iPods (all generations), and copy them back onto iPods (all generations). However, when testing specifically to see if the metadata can be preserved, nothing was imported.
  • iTSfv (iTunes Store File Validator): This tiny piece of free and versatile software can do lots of neat things with your iTunes music library, and has an extremely promising tab called “Backup/Restore.” At first glance, this tab appears to contain the holy grail: The ability to export an XML file containing only the not-in-ID3 metadata for your tracks, along with another option to “restore” the data in the resulting XML file back “over top” of another library (iTSfv looks for matching song titles, and writes the saved metadata on a hit). Unfortunately, it looks like iTSfv can only export this data from tracks that already “live” in an established iTunes library, and not directly off of an iPod. Too bad, because it looks nearly perfect for what I want. However, being that iTSfv is open-source, I’m actually tinkering with the idea of modifying it to work directly off the iPod… keep your fingers crossed.

So, again, overall it seems like there are a lot of solutions to reclaim your actual MP3 files from an iPod and move them to a new one (regardless of iPod generation). However, based on my research, I cannot find any reliable application to reclaim files and metadata – specifically going from a pre-6G device to a 6G one. So all you people who manually manage your music, and want to upgrade your iPod Photo to an iPod Classic… get ready to lose your metadata.

Again, commentary welcome!

Oh, and hey, before I go… and also iPod related…

On another note, I’m with this poster… I’d love it if Apple allowed you to group the tracks within a playlist by album or artist. This way, you could open a “New Music” playlist and see, not a huge list of songs, but instead, a nice tidy list organized albums or artists, to which you could further drill-down to track level. I know this isn’t useful for most folks who don’t view their music from an album-level of granularity (rather than just a “loose” collection of tracks), but since I tend to listen to music as albums moreso than a string of singles – it would indeed be useful to me. Anyway, would be nice to see in a future firmware… is all I’m sayin’.

Until later, take care.

another iPod one

Well, I’m off to Houston early tomorrow morning – humid, hot, swampy Houston. It’ll be a short trip, with a good bit of the two days I’m gone being devoted to travel. I’m not looking forward to it, I just don’t want to go… there’s all sorts of reasons I’d rather stay here instead: mowing the lawn, playing with Keaton, sleeping in my own bed, and not having to present to customers. Alas, however, I’ll go. Bright and early to the skies and back late the next night. Enough lamentation though, eh?

Remember back a while ago I mentioned that I’d submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI in attempts to find out if there was any juicy information out there to be hand about my grandfather? I was inspired by the Get Grandpa’s FBI Files website, and half figured I’d never hear anything at all. The other day, though, I got confirmations from both the local field office and the DC headquarters that they had received my request and had assigned me a FIOA tracking number. Not that it means I’ll actually get some dirt on Grandpa, but was still a neat “next step” to get a couple letters from the FBI.

Gonna get nerdy now.

If you’re like me, you have a huge distribution of music on your iPod, spanning decades, genres, and focus. One of the classic problems I used to run into was maintaining a peaceful iPod coexistence between music that I really enjoy on some occasions, but don’t necessarily want to hear on shuffle. That may seem odd, but I submit that there are plenty of musical scenarios for which this sort of “selective shuffling” would be desirable.

Take for instance the case of holiday music, who doesn’t love a nice collection of time-honored Christmas classics to put on shuffle while the family sits around in pajamas sipping coffee and opening presents? You may only listen to it once a year, but it’s an important asset to your iPod’s overall portfolio. Problem is, you don’t exactly want Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to get served up along with your “general purpose” library during, say, a Saturday afternoon wakeboarding or, worse still, a beer-drenched evening throwing darts in the garage with the boys.

Similarly, what about artists that you really like – but only when the mood strikes? For me, that’d be the Grateful Dead. I absolutely love a good, long, noodly Dead jam – and the more live shows I have on my iPod, the better chance I have at hearing something new and unique. So, my ‘Pod is disproportionally packed with the Dead, I have like all the Dick’s Picks series and more on there, gigs and gigs of live Dead. So much so, in fact, that statistically, a Dead track is more likely to be shuffled up than a non-Dead track – and I run the risk of overly-Dead “random” shuffles. This, again, can be a mood killer when you desire a truly random mix of your tunes. I face a similar issue with my large stacking of Beatles music, I’m sure I’m not alone.

My solution to these issues is to implement smart playlist based shuffling. Here’s how you do it, using Christmas music as an example: Highlight all your Christmas music in iTunes and right-click to “Get Info,” in the options screen that appears, tick the box titled “Skip when shuffling.” This means that all your Christmas music will no longer be considered when you choose “Shuffle Songs” from the main menu. However, it also means that, if you have the Main|Settings|Shuffle|Songs enabled in the Settings menu – the songs you just ticked will be ignored, and won’t be played. Seems like a quandary, right? You don’t want Christmas music shuffled in with your normal jams, but you most definitely want to put all those Christmas songs on shuffle while you open presents. What to do?

Never fear, Smart Playlists offer a perfect solution. First, make sure that all that Christmas music (or those live Dead jams) is set to “Skip When Shuffling.” Then, with your iPod highlighted in the lefthand iTunes pane, choose “New Smart Playlist.” Now, define your smart playlist so that it chooses those songs (for Christmas music, I suggest defining your playlist on the “genre” tag – assuming you’ve assigned the Christmas tunes to the Christmas genre; for the Dead, you can filter on “artist;” for others, get creative). Limit the playlist to however many songs you want (use a high number if you want them all), and set “select by” to “random.” Next, tick the “Live Updating” box and save the list. Voila! Non-shuffled songs in shuffle mode, ripe for that special occasion without having to worry about them popping up at the wrong time. For some more cool Smart Playlist ideas, check out this page (you can really do some cool stuff with these things).

Jeez, after typing that, it seems like such a waste of effort.


iTunes is crap

I have a massively boring entry all about iPods. I considered not even posting it, or double posting it along with a more respectable entry (I wrote both Thursday and Friday last week, but was up late playing iPod each night and just forwent posting). Well, you’ve been warned… tech-babble ahead.

“The Timetable,” or, “Looking that horse in its mouth”: Sharaun wins iPod in radio call-in contest, tells me it’s a gift to me. She picks it up the same day, and it’s awesome, black and 30 gigs. I’m up late loading songs on it, it’s filled to capacity by 1am. The next day, I put it on Ebay, where it sells in under 5hrs for $275. Next afternoon, I use the leveraged Ebay cash to pickup a 60GB instead. Sharaun’s OK with it, after I explain. I stay up late loading songs on it, and am satisfied with the canon at around 50GB and 2am. That brings us up to date.

Saturday morning (not too early, we slept late) I set about installing my new Alpine-to-iPod interface thing (Alpine’s KCA-420i) in the Ford. Turns out the deck came out with zero effort, and the proprietary Alpine AiNet interface was just plug-and-go. I cleaned out the glove box, mounted the unit inside with velcro and ran the wires from behind the deck. Under 15min of work and the thing was discretely installed and I was browsing my iPod with the Alpine deck’s analog wheel, scrolling through artists like I was on the iPod (albeit slower than running through the list on the iPod itself). Sound is line-quality and the unit charges the iPod while it’s plugged in. I was initially impressed, and happy.

However, one trip downtown in the evening for dinner, and the unit’s drawbacks became pretty apparent: All the iPod’s controls are disabled when it’s plugged into the deck, forcing you to control it through the deck. It’s frustrating to have to learn the Alpine deck’s way of emulating the iPod’s controls (and, it’s dog-slow refreshing the on-screen text). What’s worse, the interface only supports a maximum of 255 albums or songs per playlist. Wanna listen to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy? Press ‘3’, ‘FUNC’, ‘3’ and then use the rotary wheel to scroll to ‘L’ (allow ~3min scrolling time, no joke). Then you advance song by song until you get to song #1 on the album you’re after. The process is slow, ridiculous, and conducive to running off the road for staring at the deck. Anyway, who doesn’t have more than 255 albums on a dang 60GB iPod?

So, I took back the KCA-420i and returned it for a AiNet-to-RCA adapter and 3mm-to-RCA cable. This way, I can control the iPod from its brilliantly simple click wheel, with awesome speed and ease, and I still get line sound. The drawbacks?: No ID3 info displayed on the head unit – something I can live without. Also, no charging while plugged in – also not a huge deal since there plenty of cheap cigarette lighter iPod chargers. So, it’s not as neat of a wiring scheme, but it’s overall better since you can use the iPod’s user-friendly interface and controls manage tunes. And, don’t forget the whole thing is less than half the price of the 420i.

In other iPod news, also on Saturday night the thing decided to completely flake out. Under every video sub-menu, (movies/music videos/etc.) my entire song list would show up – with the videos mixed right in. And, if I scrolled to and tried to play an actual video (all of which played fine previously) I’d get nothing but audio, just as if it were a song.

To preface the following, I need to mention that I’ve been using the 3rd-party iPod management software, EphPod, to load songs. I like the interface better than iTunes, and it seemed more “PC” and less “Mac” to me… so I felt more at home using it. However, as it stands now, you can only use iTunes to load video content – so I was switching back and forth between the two apps to load songs and videos. OK, read on.

The whole “video” part of the iPod and, especially, iTunes is kinda buggy to me. I had noticed, when first trying to get some test videos on, that iTunes seemed to add them as songs instead of videos. For that matter, adding videos is completely unintuitive. How the eff are you supposed to figure out how to get them on? I settled for dragging them to the iPod icon and dropping, seemed to work, although iTunes still said “updating songs” as the video copied over. Unplugging the iPod, the videos were under “movies,” and seemed to play OK – but the whole deal was flaky; sometimes the videos were there, sometimes they weren’t. I don’t know if this is EphPod’s doing, but I suspected as much.

Plugging it into iTunes, I got the message: iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPod. Use the iPod software updater application to restore the iPod to factory settings. Great; WTF? Running the iPod Updater would, of course, wipe all ~50GBs of music I painstakingly added just one evening prior, and it takes a damn-long time to comb through my >60GB library on disk picking-and-choosing which ones get to go on the ‘Pod. Close iTunes, fire up EphPod – all my music is there and checks out fine. Being new to this, I’m freaking out; I don’t want to lose all my music. I try a few things in EphPod: verifying the database (removed some songs whose “file size didn’t match,” whatever that means) and deleting the existing videos that had added as songs. Still getting the “cannot read” error from iTunes. Fire up EphPod again, and for some random reason decide to try and “delete all playlists,” done. I also followed some instructions on the net and renamed my active iTunesDB file to iTunesDB.old and made the .backup file the active one. Just to be safe, I also hard-reset the thing several times.

Back to iTunes, I can now see my iPod again… so one of the tricks above must’ve worked. Great! However, all the “play counts” are now set to insanely high values (most of them at 16794634, some even higher). WTF? So, I select all my songs and right-click “reset play count.” This seems to work, but every song’s “last played” value is still set to some random date in 1970… crazy; at least I can access the iPod at all using iTunes. After fiddling around some more, I narrowed the error down to a repeatable situation: if I’d added videos using iTunes, then loaded my database into EphPod and messed around before saving, the video list would get all screwy and full of songs – and iTunes would complain it couldn’t read the iPod. The solution was also always the same: load the thing in EphPod and “delete all playlists.” This enabled iTunes to again access the iPod, and loading a single video through iTunes would fix the video-showing-songs problem. Crazy.

Interestingly enough, I’d seen an article on Digg the other day entitled iPod Update Causing Major Headache for Some Video Owners, which mentioned that the v1.1 firmware was hosing some video iPods (60GB models in particular). In the Digg comments, someone posted a link to a utility that can be used to “downgrade the iPod firmware to the previous v1.0 – without losing your data. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go that route – as the palylist trick above fixed everything for me.

Still, video functionality seems flaky, and I’ve decided that I hate iTunes as a application in general. It’s bloated, loaded with BS like QuickTime, and is completely convoluted and hard to use.

And, in my last iPod-related topic, since getting the iPod and obsessing over loading it with tunes (oh, the joys of tag-cleanup), I’ve been sharply re-focused on finishing my Great Digital Migration project. I finally went through and cleaned up my master project spreadsheet, making a concise list of what discs still need to be archived. Doing so was a bit of a surprise, as I realized I’m actually farther along than I’d been thinking – basically having only live, various artists, and bootlegs left to rip (all the nasty items that won’t auto-tag and require manual work). In addition to finishing up the ripping, I’ve been trawling the music scene for new and exciting items. One of the new techniques I’ve developed is searching on the keyword “remaster,” which turns up all the newest “deluxe,” “expanded,” and “remastered” editions of classic albums. Usually, you can stumble across some great albums that’ve received the expanded treatment, and grab better sounding copies of stuff you may have or maybe even score some previously unreleased tracks.

That’s it folks, one big iPod entry. I have some more “charismatic” stuff canned from last week – y’know, the baby bit and all that – which I’ll be rolling out Tuesday and Wednesday.

Until then, love ya.