The iPod is too fancy for its own good

Scripting News: 12/23/2005:

Let’s say I bought an audiobook, it comes on eight CDs, I rip it into eight folders, write a script to name the files 001.mp3, 002.mp3, 003.mp3, etc. From there, if I copy the files to the Archos, it does the right thing when I start playing the first file, it goes to the second, then to the third.
But the iPod can’t be made to care what the filename is, so it plays them in the order of the ID3 info, which is almost completely random because the ripper has no idea that the eight CDs are actually one big document.
So the Archos wins, I can use it to listen to this book because it’s a Really Simple MP3 player. The iPod which adds a layer on top of the filesystem, manages to remove just enough functionality as to make it completely useless for this task.

Hmmm. If I get the same audiobook from Audible – search for The Path Between the Seas – I can save $15 off the list price, I get 1 or 2 files that transfer to the iPod (or any of dozens of players – no Archos) just fine, play intelligently on the iPod, and I can burn CDs if I want to.

If I had 8 CDs and ripped them using iTunes I can add metadata as necessary, and at the minimum collect them into a playlist that I can easily transfer to my iPod.

Dave goes on to ask

When is something on the iPod? How many copies of the music do I have? Where the fcuk are they? How do you delete something?

  • You can tell if a “tune” is on the iPod by looking in the iTunes. The iPod is listed in the Source panel. Highlight the iPod and the list of tunes shows up on the right. You can tell if a tune is on your computer by looking in the “Library”.
  • If you have copied a tune to the iPod you have 2 copies. One on the computer, one on the iPod.
  • If you do a “Get Info” on a tune in the Library you are shown where the corresponding file is. You can also use the menu command “Show Song File” to open a Finder window at the location of the file. When tunes are on the iPod the “Show Song File” is disabled, and a “Get Info” does not show the location of the file.
  • To delete – highlight the tune and use the delete key, or the menu option “Clear”.

I must admit that the “Clear” option is confusing with regard to playlists. The command behaves differently. The tune will be “cleared” from the playlist, but not deleted from the Library. You can force a delete by holding down the option key. It’s a matter of “views”

disclaimer: I have used iTunes since forever (meaning SoundJam days). I have used the Mac for as long.
I don’t have a problem taking my DRMed source and converting it to audio CDs. I “triple backup” my “managed tunes”. I don’t backup MP3s made from my CDs. I’ve never tried to use my iPod without iTunes.


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