The Linux Story – Part II – The Apple Season

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And There Was Light…

So, In the previous post of my first steps with Linux, why I never used it and pretty much what I was using most of my life (hi, I’m only 31) I will continue from the same point.

So, after not being able to handle some of my needs with Microsoft Windows I decided in 2005 to buy an iMac, it was iMac 20″, the last model to use PowerPC CPU, a great computer, used to all her Linda.

After a short time playing with the new operating system, I went back to work. Right away I found it was much easier for me to work with Apple’s native applications such as Logic Pro and Garageband. Between  2005 to 2011 I produced three live albums for a local artist here in Israel. Even after finishing with these projects I remained with Apple. The model I currently have is a 5 years old iMac 27″ (late 2009 model)

I also began to play the Lute and study for a B.A. in music, although I do have Windows installed on that iMac, I don’t recall booting to it for a while now. My work for the college did not required any use of Hebrew so I have no issues working with Microsoft Office for Mac or Apple’s Pages. And as some (most actually) aspects require music engraving application. Even for my pastime OSX is great, the only two games I play (World of Warcraft and Star Trek Online) support it, my iPhone sync with iTunes that runs my music library which is shared with every device in my network and my TV is connected to MacMini so I can watch movies and TV shows.

My main work today is music engraving, tabulating, editing, etc. Last year (2013) I received for my 30th birthday a Lenovo G580, a great laptop with Windows 8, I don’t have problems with Windows, until my projects required more and more of my time, which is the main reason I needed a laptop in the first place.

In the next part I will explain what exactly I’m doing, and why on earth I decided to use the applications I’m using.

 

The Weekly Playlist – June 14th 2014

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The Playlist:

June 14th 2014

The Winner of last week:

I decided to add another something to my playlists and that’s the big winner of the week. Basically, it’s the album I liked most. So last week (June 7th) was Gateway by Bongzilla, some weird album with cool attitude, light and funny. I gave it 5 stars, worth listening!

The Sad iPhone Story:

This week I also encountered some really bad behavior from my iPhone and now I’m not sure it will hold another 6 months until I replace it. The original cable is…well…pretty much torn and the backup cable doesn’t allow me to sync, only to recharge. In the last minutes of the battery, I managed last night to sync it and set up WiFi sync. Only 6 months, that’s all I ask.

The Request:

as always, you can view the list and recommend some other bands which you think I might like, I’ll be happy to hear from you!

The Linux Story – Part I – The Prehistoric Era

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A long long time ago…

My first Linux experience was in 1998, some introduced Linux as the next operating system, much safer and better then Microsoft’s Windows. I remember Installing Red Hat (Now Fedora), Suse (Now OpenSuse), Debian, and other distributions. There were some compatibility issues but I did manage \in the end to use Red Hat with KDE.

But at that time, there was nothing in it for me. I tried several other versions of Red Hat but I pretty much forgot about it, plus, some Linux people were over enthusiast and claimed Linux is perfect and Windows is the root of all evil, some probably still do. I stepped away from Linux for a while but I do recall trying Fedora in around 2003 but I still couldn’t find anything in Linux for me.

Now, in those days, Microsoft rules the Operating System market (it still does in a way) but it was also the time of viruses and malwares all over the new growing Internet. I never cared much about these things, and I never had viruses or malwares, just common sense user. I have nothing against Microsoft or Windows or Bill Gates. I think Microsoft provided us with good technological advances and easy to work system. Plus, games developers preferred to develop for Windows. I think I’ve used every version of Windows since Windows 3.11, some more then others.

After graduation from high school and started to work not only on my music but on others too, Windows and PC’s could no longer support my needs, even with a strong computer it just wasn’t natural. Don’t ask me what do I mean, I’m not a psychologist, I can’t explain it. I tried changing software, Windows version, dedicated drivers. Still, nothing worked right.

So, I’ve made a drastically and expensive change.

Want to know more? Stay tuned to the next post.

The Silent Troubadour And Technology – iTunes Story Part II

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iTunes is far from perfect, but again, it is the best application I found so far. One of the most annoying is that lack of styles in it but never mind, lets go back to the story. I bought most of the music I have from iTunes Store but yet, not every single album can be found. So If I can’t find it there, I go to Amazon. And if I can’t find it in Amazon?

Well, for that I go to the unofficial channels offered by the Internet, second hand stores mostly. Lets face it, even then not every album can be found, and lets be honest, a lot of people won’t bother to rip or buy their loved music. As far as I’m aware, Torrents are today the main and most useful way to spread files around the world.

Now we face few problems,first, again, as far as I’m aware, iTunes organize the library by the metadata of the files, I’m not sure if it can be changed or not and I don’t know how Windows or Android organize their libraries. I do know that in my very old MP3 player it used the file and library names. And even so, some files might just laying around without even a library, or in the wrong library.

Anyway, many of the files you might download from a torrent will have incorrect metadata, no album arts, no album names, artists, etc. For iTunes and the random album smartplay list it creates a problem and the library will become one big mess very fast. You can of course start changing it manually, it will probably takes forever when the library is huge. Lets take for example a torrent of Jethro Tull running around, some albums are <unknown> tracks, caps lock when aren’t needed, no album arts at all, some album is divided to 5 parts, no years, and some tracks are on the wrong place or just sitting alone without album.

What if I’ll tell you there’s an easier and much faster way? well, there is one. It’s called MusicBrainz Picard, this application works on Linux, OSX and Windows. It use a community based database, everyone can contribute to it, you can find many albums there (so far I only found one missing album art of AC/DC it’s fine now, I contributed) and it is very easy to use. The instruction on the website pretty much tells you what to do.

After using this application, the albums now have the correct metadata, the albums are organized well, songs are in the right position, tracks are listed, album arts, release dates, everything is fixed. That Jethro Tull album became “A” from 1980 with two extra tracks in the wrong library.

So now, not only I found out how to create the smart list I want, I was also able to fix all the bad metadata, as iTunes doesn’t care about the library structure or file names, I don’t even care how they’re organized. It will still take some time to fix the entire library, but it will go much faster now.

Just a request, if you share music, at least make the small effort and fix the metadata or go large and set the files right.

 

 

The Silent Troubadour and Technology – iTunes Story

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I will start this story from the start, few years ago I moved to Macintosh, I found better platform for my uses. several years ago I had two macs, my main iMac and Mac-mini For that handles my home theater uses. I had three external hard drives, one of them was dedicated to my music library which holds about a year worth of music and always expending. As a mac user, the logical choice to handle my music library is iTunes (I also had iPod and now iPhone) to be honest, I was looking for different application but I couldn’t find one I felt comfortable with.

Back to the hard drive. One day it died, not a natural death, one of my cats (Venus) just decided to kick it off the book case. I did managed to restore some of it, but much was lost and I had to use a different hard drive to store the survivors and to start restoring the library. For now, I managed to restore almost every single album I had.

Now you need to understand, I love music, I actually listen to music when I’m not playing, as B.B.King sings “Music is love and my love is music”. I have bands like Acid Bath, Soulfly, Kyuss together with B.B.King, Metallica, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and it goes to Dr. Dre, Eminem and of course some classical music, Beethoven, Telemann, Holst. I hope you got the point, I listen to a very wide variety of music.

But one thing in iTunes always bothered me, I could not find a way to create a smart play list of albums (I don’t like listening to single songs from albums) I had to do some research and after a while I gave up. Recently I tried again and asked the guys in Macrumors and the answer was found, I felt kinda stupid because it was in front of me all the time.

So as a good person I will share the answer with all of you. First step is going to Controls, then Shuffle and change it to By Albums. Then creating a smart list my first rule and only rule was to select only albums with less then 5 plays. Of course you can select by genres, rating, last played, and more. For the limit I selected 15GB (so it will fit my iPhone) and of course, to select it by random.

Now, iTunes is not a perfect application, there are a lot of missing features like styles or moods but it does work for me, it send music all over my network so I can listen to my music everywhere in the house, syncs with my iPhone and just works.

Here’s my love story with iTunes, the tragedy of a dead hard drive and the finding of what I need.