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Dang it, iTunes!

In a land far, far away, I used iTunes. It was great for organized my music, setting up tags, getting the artist, album, song title, all correct on my music. I really enjoyed importing my songs from CDs (and I had quite a collection) and now those thousands of songs are just the way I like it.

Then I get an iTunes update. Sure, why not. Apple hasn’t done me wrong before. Why would this install do anything differently, right? so I let it run and go about my business. Then iTunes fails to install properly. Huh? What? I try the install again. Again it fails. The version I have on the computer, it also doesn’t run.

I uninstall iTunes and try again by downloading it from the website. Some Apple service fails to start*, therefore doesn’t allow iTunes to start. I restart my computer. I go about uninstalling EVERYTHING Apple, I restart, I download iTunes again. It fails because of some missing service.

At this point I grumble and go about reading online about people having this issue for years (oldest I saw was from 2008). Well, I’m not about to be outdone by a piece of software. Oh no I’m not! I went about installing an older version of iTunes. Yeah. You can guess how much success I had with that.

So after two and a half hours (when I could have been writing) I give up. I read forums and they’re recommending all sorts of hack to get iTunes to just work. Well, I’m mad, unhappy, and not about to try and hack some software to work when their installer failed me. Oh hell no!

So I did a google search. “windows software like itunes”. I got a bunch of hits and lists showing multiple software like iTunes. Given that WinAmp is no longer supported and really didn’t give as robust an interface as iTunes, I felt the need to find something new. Something that felt like iTunes, but wasn’t iTunes.

There on a list, I saw MusicBee. I cried. The screenshots really didn’t look like iTunes. I really liked the iTunes interface. But I decided to read about MusicBee because all the others looked like players without much more. Like winamp. Sure, you could adjust tags and what not, but it wasn’t as clean. Building playlists weren’t as good.

But reading about MusicBee, it imported things like playlists from iTunes. You just told it where iTunes was installed and BAM! done. So I figured why not. I’ve already wasted enough time, if I don’t like MusicBee, I could always uninstall it, right?

So in went MusicBee. I told it where iTunes was (and currently sitting there and not working because it doesn’t love me any more). I liked the little bee. It was cute. Looks like it’s farting a musical note. So I was hopeful. I really was.

The interface came up and looked nothing like iTunes. At first. I clicked buttons, clicked menus, found my music, my playlists! it was all there I modified the columns to look like what I had in iTunes. I put the music in one big list. I saw where some songs I still hadn’t updated and I was able to update it just like I had in iTunes. The music played. The EQ worked. I discovered SKINS! So now instead of the gray and white of iTunes, I have some blues that looks really nice and don’t burn into my skull.

I’m only a week in, but I don’t think I’ll be reinstalling iTunes. Sure, it’ll be on another computer in case the wife or my favorite daughter (who both have iPhones) need to pull off pictures or whatever. I won’t be using it any more. I’ve got MusicBee. It seems to do all I need (and so much more). Hopefully it won’t go the way of WinAmp.

After a month, I will revisit this topic and let you know what I think of MusicBee. If I’m still happy with it, I’ll be going back to their site and donating. The software is free to download and use (as was iTunes) but if they make me happier than iTunes ever did, I will be sending some love their way. 🙂 Sorry iTunes, you’ve been replaced!

What do you use on your PC to play music? Have you found something other than iTunes? Still using iTunes? Let me know!

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

* this is the message I got:

Service ‘Apple Mobile Device” (Apple Mobile Device)
failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to
start system services

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Daily Update: Music and more.

A while ago I had posted my frustration about the mp3 players on my tablet. Winamp was showing between three and five of each song, Google took over my music player and forgot where all my music was even though all the music was listed twice. I had finally downloaded MixZing and had been happy with it. The main reason for my happiness was because I could select where my music folders lived instead of having everything that was an MP3 show up. Due to the large amount of music I’ve accumulated over the years (endless hours of ripping CDs) has given me a huge library of a couple thousand songs.

Some upgrade happened at some point. Now MixZing doesn’t allow me to select a specific folder, but only a “top level” folder. So it was only playing music from the core memory and not from the SD card. Now Google Music shows only one version of each song and it remembers where those songs are. I still can’t tell it where the music is and where the audio books are so that’s a minor frustration, but I’m back to where I was before. I have a working MP3 player, but I can’t easily set up and manage playlists. I’d like to just add a folder of music to a playlist and set it up rather than add one song at a time. Perhaps I’ll take some time to review playlist generators again and see what I can come up with.

I’m saddened that I cannot count on MixZing to do what it was doing so well before. *pout*

In happier news, I’m writing again. My fingers are still getting used to typing out words, but it’s happy to be back at the keyboard. My current goal is to get back to 50,000 words over my annual goal before the end of the month. I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I need to get working on it. These posts may become shorter in the coming days.

I’ll be doing some new blog posts in the coming days as well. The things I’ll be adding, Daily Duck (This will be a picture of a duck each day until I run out of photos), Daily Writing prompt (this will be a sentence or paragraph to help spur some writing creativity in others), and I’m going to do a read through of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. I’ve never read this before and before you start gasping and sucking all the air out of the room, I was more into superhero comics as a kid and kept reading them through the 90s and into the Naughties. Yes I read things like Stray Bullets and Cerebus, but my main focus was Spiderman and most of the Marvel lineup. I had heard about Neil Gaiman and Sandman, but it was too expensive at the time to pick up all the back issues. So here I am, I have a digital version of the Sandman books and I’ll be reading them and posting my thoughts on each one. Not sure how long it will take me to read through them all, but we’ll see how it goes.

Beyond that I have a short story on submission with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. It’s a great slush pile process as you can see where you’re at in the list. I’m currently the second in the first round. If you’d like to follow along you can go here (http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/submissions/track-submissions/) and my story is 19174. I’m hopeful this one will move along in the process and we’ll see what happens from there. I’m excited about this story. I’ve submitted to them many times but I don’t think any of my previous submissions was up to the caliber of this story. I honestly think this one has a shot. If it gets rejected, it’s on to the next market.

Last night was a lot of fun as ‘the kids’ I mentioned yesterday surprised us all and came down for the week. Everyone was at the in-law’s house and there was much swimming in the pool and eating. My Favorite Daughter got her surprised returned and it was quite funny.

There is a lot to do. Not only do I have a lot of words to write during my free time, but I’m also writing a large number of technical documents for work this week. It’ll be a lot of writing that I need to do this week so I’d better get at it.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: I was annoyed, but now I’m happy

I spent too much time last night trying to figure out why I couldn’t play music like I should be able to. I use my Xoom tablet for almost everything and I had Winamp installed and the latest Xoom update made the generic music player become the Google Music player. Ok, that’s fine.

However when I went to play a song, I noticed that winamp skipped a couple before it played a song. I didn’t think anything of it for the first couple of days until I opened the Music player and it wouldn’t play anything.

See, I like winamp, but the Music Player would allow me to select an album an play only that album in order. I wanted to listen to Pink Floyd – The Wall. For some reason winamp doesn’t think I should be able to do this without creating a playlist.

So I tried to figure out why the Google music player wasn’t playing, got really frustrated, and went back to winamp to play Weird Al – Hardware Store (love this song) and as I’m scrolling through the songs in winamp I noticed that there were three, four, and in some cases FIVE copies of each and every song. Huh?

I have (or had) all my music on the micro SD card. That’s the only place I’ve ever put songs. At some point all the songs got copied over onto the Xoom’s main memory. Ok, fine. That’d account for two, but all the rest? They were pretty much dead songs and I had no way to remove them except to navigate one by one in winamp and remove the offending songs. I uninstalled winamp and reinstalled it thinking that would cure the problem. Well, no. It didn’t

I installed MixZing. At first, yes, it also had the same issue. All songs were listed multiple times even after deleting the duplicate music folder. Color me confused, but MixZing has an awesome feature that allowed me to say “HERE’S MY MUSIC! RIGHT THERE! ONLY THERE!” and I selected only the SD card music folder and magically I have only one of each song again. Color me a happy boy.

I still need to play with it and discover if I can play an album instead of just shuffling the songs, but at this point I think it’s pretty cool. It also downloads and displays cover art which I also think is pretty cool. I’ll keep you updated if I ever figure out what happened. I think Winamp or Google Music created the duplicate folder and/or some bizarre playlist that goofed things up. I’ll have to look deeper into it, but for now I’m a happy music listener.

In other news, Mike Plested and I have begun the plotting of Jack Kane book 2 (title pending) and we had a conversation last night. We had each other laughing which is a good sign. Hopefully we can make others laugh as well. We’re currently doing our plotting in google docs and ‘tagging’ each other as we add a line/paragraph for a given scene and we’ll keep going back and forth until we have an outline. To help with continuity we’ll  be doing one chapter at a time and, again, play tag. It’ll be an interesting experience.

I’ve got to run. I’ll ramble more tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!