I was happy to see Steve return on the Apple keynote of 9 September, because boy does Apple need somebody with clear vision. The introductions on the new iPod line are all over the place. Let me tell you why I think Steve has not been running the operation for the past few months: Read the rest of this entry »
What I loved about iTunes is the three pane “Genre-Artist-Album” on top of my music list. It allowed me to quickly go through my music and find that great Anouk album I was looking for. After installing iTunes 9, it was gone. And I was sad. But I found a way to get it back.
Look at this screenshot (sorry, it’s in Dutch). In iTunes, select “View”, “Show Column Browser”. Now, put it on top by selecting “View”, “Column Browser”, “Top”. Voila, your trusted browser is at the top. You may need to add “Genre” and “Album” there, but you’ve already seen the options for that now, have you? 😉
A lot of companies like to sell you applications to put DVD’s on your iPhone. Usually these apps are just wrappers around existing tools, and are pretty expensive if you consider you can do it for free. And you don’t need to be a computer wizard either! The steps are simple:
- Use Handbrake to rip the DVD to iPhone format
- Drag the generated mp4 file into iTunes
- Sync it to your iPhone like all other content
To show you exactly how this is done, I’ve written up this “babystep-by-babystep” tutorial. Let me show you how I ripped “For A Few Dollars More” and put it on my iPhone:
Disclaimer: The DVD I ripped is bought and payed for. This article does not relief you of your responsibility to obey the law, so please be careful. And be nice, don’t pirate.
I recently found an old harddisk which used to be in one of my old PC’s. I discovered some FLAC files on there, which were rips of old CD’s I used to have. iTunes is not too happy with importing them into my library, and the original CD’s are in a box in a deep dark corner of my garage.
I searched for a converter and found this wonderful converter which can just about convert any audio format out there. It’s called “Max”, it’s Open Source, free to use, and available as bundled OSX application. Brilliant! It does have a bunch of options, but as long as you go for the “MP4 Audio” output format, high quiality, 256 bits and VBR, you can’t go wrong.
According to their website “Max can generate audio in over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Monkey’s Audio, WavPack, Speex, AIFF, and WAVE”.
Regular readers know that I’ve been ranting about the way the music and movie industry are selling us crippled content, which actually feels like punishing you for honestly buying your digital content. Coincidentally, a month after that rant, Steve wrote a mail to the music industry in which he stated that DRM clearly was not working, and we needed to approach things differently.
A few months later, Apple and EMI actually started a new service in iTunes called iTunes plus, selling 256kbps DRM-free AAC files. If you’ve seen the latest Macworld 2009 Keynote Address by Philip (Phil) Schiller, you will have noticed that Apple hasn’t been sitting still. At the end of this quarter, all songs in the iTunes store will be available as DRM-free iTunes plus version. And there’s an easy button in iTunes which let’s you upgrade all your DRM-ed music automatically (payed, ofcourse). The link is in the iTunes Quick Links box, top right. I tried it, works fine.
Finally, your music will travel with you and play anywhere, just like those trusty CD’s did. Even better: with your iPhone you’re now able to buy music anywhere you are, because Apple has added 3G to the iTunes store on the iPhone.
As I explained earlier, I think it is really important to go beyond the specs. It’s really important to put care and attention in your product. The new version of iTunes has a great (little) example of what I mean. I use Itunes to play music through both the computer speakers and a stereo in the livingroom, connected to an Airport Express.
In iTunes 7, when I added the Airport Express to the set of outputs while playing a song, the music stopped, and after a while resumed playing through all the selected outputs. I never minded the short silence, and was amazed at how Apple got all the outputs to play perfectly in sync.
In iTunes 8 things changed a tiny bit. When I select the Airport Express, the music keeps on playing on my computer, and after a few seconds the music also starts playing from the speakers in the living room. An still, the music is in sync.
It’s these little things, the amazing attention to detail, that give Apple products a tremendous “perceived value”.
That, and the Genius button ofcourse. 🙂
I know you’ve been playing with your ultra-cool iPhones, but did you realize that it only is 6 years ago that Apple showed is the first iPod? It’s amazing how fast technology advances nowadays. Today I read that 128GB flashdrives are not far away, so how about an 128GB iPhone, or even a MacBook with a solid state disk? We’ve got a nice future ahead…