Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Apple taking business for granted?

I recently completed an 8 part series on how I buy music and audiobooks on iTunes Store (~95%) and amazonmp3 (~5%).  Using a common sense, fair use approach, I access and grow that collection on both my work WinXP and my home Kubuntu machines, using a Windows-formatted iPod as the sneakernet between the two.

The iPod I use to accomplish this is a 60GB iPod Photo, which (according to a wikipedia timeline) I must’ve purchased in late ’04 or early ’05.  I chanced upon this article yesterday which makes me question whether my approach will continue to work if I choose to buy a newer iPod.  If this is an intentional move by Apple, it certainly is a curious one.

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amazonmp3 usability feature needed by iTunes Store

To preview an album in the iTunes Store can take twice as many mouse clicks as the album has songs (1 play per song, 1 skip after each song).  amazonmp3 bests Apple on this one.

amazonmp3 Preview all feature

amazonmp3 Preview all feature

Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 8)

I feel much better about buying from the iTunes Store than I did before I went down this path.  I’m no longer “locked in” to Apple as my sole source for purchasing music, but I will continue to buy music there as long as their iTunes Store maintains compelling usability.  I’d use iTunes Store over amazonmp3 on the Linux side, too, if Apple would develop a Linux version.  Actually, a Linux version would be less of a technical stretch for Apple than a Windows version, but I’m no more interested in Apple rants than I am in DRM rants.

Windows-iTunes-iPod-Rhythmbox-Kubuntu music loop

Windows-iTunes-iPod-Rhythmbox-Kubuntu music loop

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Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 7)

Before deleting the DRM-ed files in your collection, give all your newly burned MP3s a listen from beginning to end.  In my experience, over 99% of the burns were good to go, but there was one skip or human error in a long while that I chose to go back and re-burn.

After I finished this step, I did actually delete the DRM-ed files in my collection to avoid duplicates, and to eliminate the hassle of having a partially DRM-ed collection.


Part 1 – introduction
Part 2 – stop buying DRM music
Part 3 – initial backup
Part 4 – upgrade to iTunes Plus
Part 5 – burn remaining songs to MP3
Part 6 – rename files
Part 7 – trust but verify
Part 8 – conclusion

Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 6)

NoteBurner burned “virtual” CD directories based on how much data would fit on a CD. In other words, it didn’t maintain correct song numbers, and it usually split albums across two directories. This obviously required some fairly tedious manual file renaming to correct.

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Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 5)

NoteBurner virtual CD burner

NoteBurner virtual CD burner

At this point, a subset of my library was still DRM-ed. Apple allows burning your iTunes Store-purchased music to CD. So I purchased a copy of the NoteBurner coverter to virtually burn (straight to hard disk, no CDs) my remaining DRM-ed iTunes songs to DRM-Free MP3s.


Part 1 – introduction
Part 2 – stop buying DRM music
Part 3 – initial backup
Part 4 – upgrade to iTunes Plus
Part 5 – burn remaining songs to MP3
Part 6 – rename files
Part 7 – trust but verify
Part 8 – conclusion

Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 4)

As I said earlier in this series, DRM music purchased from the iTunes Store is 128 kbps. Some of your DRM music purchased from the iTunes Store is probably upgradable to iTunes Plus. The two key features of iTunes Plus is that the music is DRM-Free, and it’s 256 kbps. New iTunes Plus music costs the same as iTunes DRM music, but you have to pay to upgrade your existing iTunes DRM music to iTunes Plus.

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Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 3)

You should backup your collection before you make the step to DRM-Freedom.  I make my backups to my iPod, effectively storing my entire collection there twice.  I do this because iTunes’ automatic sync to my iPod doesn’t maintain the artist/album/song directory structure on the iPod side that I would expect.  First, when my iPod is connected to my Windows box, I “enable disk use” for the iPod in iTunes like this:

iPod enable disk use

iPod enable disk use

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Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 2)

I’ll start this installment with one paragraph of background.  I do not pirate music.  You Napster kiddies got the Britney Spears you deserved back in the day.  Music has never been better in my life than it is right now, and I strongly believe that’s because good artists are now getting paid (wow, what a concept!)  Also, I’m unashamed to admit that I like iTunes and the iTunes Store.  Its usability beats everything else I’ve used, and the Genius feature added in iTunes 8 has led me to music that I actually like based on my prior tastes.

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Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 1)

I’m running iTunes 8 on a WinXP box at my work.  I’ve got a Windows-formatted iPod Photo.  I buy music on iTunes Store from work, and it all plays on my Kubuntu machine at home (using Rhythmbox) via my iPod.  I buy Amazon MP3s from my Kubuntu machine, and those play just fine on the iPod and my WinXP box.

productive coexistence

productive coexistence

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