Saturday, November 10, 2007

Adventures with iTunes

Last month I mentioned that we got my son an iPod nano for his 12th birthday. He's really enjoying it - takes his music when we go places or visiting family so he can listen to the songs he likes. He's even done some downloading of music from the iTunes Store site with the giftcards he got on his birthday as well.

I had set him up with about 80 or so mp3 files myself from files I had stored on his computer. That computer was my old desktop model which I had used for many years. Still stored on it were fourteen directories filled with mp3 files of songs I pulled from our CD collection. I had them organized by year (1970 through 1983) and I actually had burned a copy of each directory onto CDs for storage purposes.

In setting him up with songs for his iPod, it got me thinking about all those files again after a long time. I took the CD back-ups and put the files onto my laptop. Then I installed the free iTunes software from the Apple site. Now the iTunes software can work independently of an iPod; one can use it really just to organize music files, video files, photograph files, etc. on your computer. It's pretty slick for some free software. Apple's goal, of course, is for you to use their iTunes Store to pay to download music, videos, etc and/or to get an iPod to take those things with you.

I'm mostly playing with it for the music files. One of the fun things you can do is update the details on the music files. You can modify the attributes like artist, song title, and music genre. You can also update the data from which album the song came from. When you do that, you can also click the mouse and have iTunes sync up with the iTunes Store site to download the album artwork, if they have that album on the site. How cool is that? Since the iPod will display an album cover when it plays a song, you can have a visual touch to go with the music. That appeals to me a lot.

Now, I have noticed that some albums aren't there. There tend to be more greatest-hits type collections. I'm really trying to sync my songs with artwork from the albums the songs first appeared on. So that takes a little longer to get the exact album. In fact, I've gotten obcessive over the past few weekends and started to clean up my files. I've updated artist names and albums and then pulled in the album art for many of the songs I had. It's been time consuming but a lot of fun too. One of the other neat features on the iPod is to scroll through the Album Art. It reminds me of flipping through albums on one of those CD jukeboxes.

I also noticed a number of artists, surprisingly, did not have any songs in the iTunes store. Sure, some are one-hit wonders so I would expect those not to be there. But, also, some bigger names: Led Zepplin, AC/DC, Bob Seger - to name but three.

My goal for all this? To have my files set up perfectly for when I get my own iPod. It's on my Christmas list - actually the only thing I'm really interested in getting. We might break down and snag one sooner, just to be sure stores don't sell out too close to the holidays. That's okay though - it has been many many a Christmas since I've had any big surprises under the tree. In any case, I'll be ready to roll with my music collection when the time comes. Yeah, I'm a huge plan-ahead kind of person. Can't you tell? ;)

1 comment:

Michael O'Connell said...

Heck yeah! I started using the iTunes software long before my sister bought me my first Shuffle. It's a great way to organize and play your music. But once I did finally go mobile (I've since replaced my jacked up Shuffle with the new, much cooler (and cheaper) Shuffle, and I've stepped up to the Nano since Tony sent me an extra first-gen one he had sitting around his office (it's good to know people who work for Apple...if I ever decide to go iPhone, I'll be able to use Tony's employee discount). I can't believe I used to drag a CD case around with me on airplanes. How last century is that? My favorite recent use of my Nano, though, is sticking whole books on tape on there. Very cool. You're going to love it when Santa drops you one for Christmas, dude!

It just hit me. I'm old enough to be able to look back on my travel music experience and see how it evolved. Starting with a Walkman and carrying around cassette tapes (in a briefcase). And spending ten minutes fast-forwarding to the song I wanted... Then the Discman, and initially carrying full CD cases in my backpack, then moving up to small CD binders with sleeves. Then, when CD burning began, being able to burn favorite song CDs instead of dragging a bunch of CDs around (only needing one or two for a trip). And, finally, a little Apple product in my shirt pocket that allows me to having loads of whole CDs jammed onto it. Wow. We're really old.