43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.


Borges on iTunes. Sort of.

For one of those gnostics, the visible universe was an illusion or, more precisely, a sophism. Mirrors and fatherhood are abominable because they multiply it and extend it.
- Jorge Luis Borges, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," 1967.

For Christmas, I was quite pleased to get a Zen Stone Plus in my stocking. I'm one of those people - the ones who exist between platforms. (I lost my true allegiance decades ago, and have been a switch-hitter ever since.) One of the things this means is that I do some things by hand that other people - the loyalists - are used to having done automatically.

So there I was, Christmas afternoon, moving playlists from the iTunes on our Windows machine onto the cute little non-iPod. Grab, drag, copy.

The process immediately reminded me of Jorge Luis Borges' riffs on mirrors.

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Jacob Marley vs. Bob Marley: Shutting Out the Ghost of Music Past

In the few weeks since I wrote my first plea to trim the fat from your iTunes library, I've continued purging my own collection. On the first pass, I simply deleted the clearly objectionable stuff, things that I couldn't understand what made me want to keep them in the first place. It was rather easy, and like I said, it slimmed my corpulent media collection by a third.

Now though, it's getting down to brass tacks, and I'm making some hard decisions about what to keep. I don't need to do this for disk space, mind you, but as I've been trying to do a better job of organizing all my music and video with smarter lists and ratings, I've come to a simple conclusion: even if I still think it's good, I just have too much.

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Put Your iTunes Library on a Diet

My music buying habits have slowed considerably since my college days, when I'd rush down to the music store every Tuesday and spend every penny I hadn’t guzzled through a beer bong the previous weekend, but I still managed to amass a rather prodigious CD collection. When I got a Mac and an iPod, this turned into a rather prodigious iTunes library, and quickly became a major thorn in my side.

Having suffered through a couple hard drive crashes, upgrades, and subsequent backing and re-backing up lately, I've really been feeling the weight of that 100+ GB media millstone around my neck. I felt so great when I ripped that last CD and put all those unsightly jewel cases into storage, thinking it would simplify my life. Instead, it just created bigger headaches.

I know, I know, there are a bazillion ways I can slice and dice my iTunes library, storing it on different drives, shunting the videos off to a server, pimping out my machines with terabyte drives, etc, but it begs the question: do I really need all that crap in my life?

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Amazon launches sale of DRM-free MP3s

Daring Fireball: The Amazon MP3 Store and Amazon MP3 Downloader

Given the Amazon MP3 Store’s audio quality, prices, and user experience, I can’t see why anyone would buy DRM-restricted music from iTunes that’s available from Amazon. And given that Amazon is quite a bit cheaper than iTunes Plus, you might as well check Amazon first. I plan to.

I'm with Gruber -- this is a welcome and fan-friendly addition to the marketplace. And, frankly, I'm glad there's finally somebody out there who can really give Apple some competition in this area.

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"Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting


I noticed a lot of people are favoriting this screen grab of the "Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting (I posted it to Flickr, so I won't keep forgetting it when I need it).


Ever since I saw this in that Mac OS X Hints article, I've used it as my default equalizer in iTunes -- it seems to give a nice pop to MP3 tracks in particular.

HOWTO and specific settings from the original article:

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select "Make Preset." Call it "Perfect," because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):

db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db

iTunes Plus, DRM-free tracks, arrive on iTunes Store

iTunes Plus (iTunes link)

iTunes Plus now available

For help getting set up with "iTunes Plus" (giving you access to buying/upgrading EMI's DRM-free tracks), don't miss this handy helper from MacUser.

The DRM-free features are being billed as “iTunes Plus”: in order to turn it on, you have to click on your account name in the top right corner of the iTunes store. You’ll be prompted for your password, and then brought to the account information page. The top button on that page now reads “Manage iTunes Plus.” Clicking on that will let you choose whether or not iTunes will show you DRM-free tracks when available. Click the checkbox and hit “Save Changes” and you’re ready to rock.

Microsoft to boldly go where Apple is already going...eventually

Microsoft changes tune on selling DRM-free songs

Exciting news on the digital music front. Microsoft plans to follow Apple's plan to sell DRM-free tracks from EMI to its extant army of Zune enthusiasts. Welcome to the social:

"The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple," said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service today. She said Microsoft has been talking with EMI and other record labels "for some time now" about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.

Way to innovate, Redmond. Once the period of EMI's exclusive deal with Apple has ended, this should make both Zune owners very happy.

[via: Boing Boing: Microsoft dropping DRM from Zune Music Store]

MacBreak Weekly Special: the iTunes & EMI deal

MacBreak Weekly Special Edition: Fixing A Hole

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and John Gruber

A special edition discussing the Apple EMI announcement. Look for our regular weekly MBW on Tuesday as usual.

Direct Download MP3 file

Here's a few links related to this very cool story:

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Vox Pop: Want HD video from iTunes and Apple TV?

Since the new TV can handle video up to HD's 720p resolution, there's been a lot of speculation about whether the iTunes store will eventually start selling HD content, such as TV shows and movies. You can bet that the desire for that quality of presentation is theoretically out there (at least it is for this HD TV owner). The problem, as many folks have discussed at length, is that the file size for HD movies, in particular, may be prohibitively large for the garden-variety home broadband user.

As Greg Keene notes, "With simple math, we can extrapolate that a 2-hour movie would be about 3.9 GB." That's not only a substantially lengthy download for, say, a residential DSL subscriber, it also represents the investment of over 10% of the available space on the Apple TV's drive (as well as, it should be noted, an equivalent chunk of space back on your Mac or PC's disk).

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TechDigs: Mac-friendly RAID 5 setup with Infrant ReadyNAS

Help, My Hard Drive is Full! - TechDigs.net

Infrant ReadyNAS 1 Terabyte Network Drive

One of my ongoing rants on MacBreak Weekly revolves around how hard I've found it to keep up with the spiraling need for responsible personal backup. Photos, movies, audio, documents, you name it. As Mark Pilgrim asked last May, "How do you back up 100 GB of data per year for 50 years?" And don't get me started on media rotation and offsite copies. The mind boggles. I mean, remember when a shoebox full of Zip disks and a copy of Retrospect was all you needed? Good times.

I don't have the long-term solution I'm after just yet (although, I sometimes think Amazon S3 is heading us in the right direction), but for the middle-term, my call for help has been answered handsomely by Greg Keene of TechDigs, who's put together a detailed breakdown on how he wires things together around his Infrant ReadyNAS NV (amzn) -- it's Mac-friendly, Raid 5-able, and has an assload of configurable options.

Greg lays out the problem he's trying to solve:

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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