In praise of Senuti

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!ituneS, uoy knahT

OK, in case it’s too early in the morning for your brain to fully comprehend the preceding sentence, that’s “Thank you, Senuti!” in normal forward-speak English. So what’s a Senuti, other than iTunes spelled backwards? Senuti is an application designed to help you move music from an iPod back to your Mac. Typically, of course, music only moves in the opposite direction. While it’s possible to make the flow of music a two-way street on your using Terminal and some free time, it’s a real pain. Senuti makes the process as simple as using iTunes.

Senuti has been covered by Macworld before; Dan Frakes wrote about it in early 2005, and the application won an Eddy award as one of the top Mac products of 2005. Personally, though, I’d never had a need for it, and as such hadn’t ever tried it.

At least, not until my recent trip to San Francisco for the Worldwide Developers Conference.

While taking the short hop down from my home in Portland to the conference in San Francisco, I pulled out my iPod and headphones, ready to settle back for an hour or so of good music. Unfortunately, the iPod had different plans. The troubles began as soon as I pressed Play. Instead of music, I heard my iPod restart—no sound at all, it just instantly rebooted as soon as I chose a song to play.

After the reboot, I tried again. Same result. All the other functions seemed to work fine, but as soon as I tried to play music, the iPod would reboot. Sometimes I heard a few seconds of a song, other times I heard nothing at all.

Looked at with a long-term perspective, this really didn’t bother me much—all of my music is on my home machine and backed up in a couple of spots. I knew that once I returned home, I could wipe the iPod clean and just reload it, losing nothing more than a bit of time. In the short-term, though, I had a big issue—I was headed to WWDC for five days, and would apparently have no music at all to help me through those early-morning sessions of posting OS X hints.

After checking in and getting the MacBook set up, I first tried Disk Utility on the iPod. No go—it felt the disk was fine and needed no repairs. I don’t have a copy of DiskWarrior on my MacBook, so I couldn’t try that solution.

Next stop, Senuti. I downloaded the app, connected the iPod, launched Senuti, and crossed my fingers. The first try wasn’t so good—the iPod didn’t show at all. I reset the iPod one more time and tried again—success! The iPod now showed and was browseable in the Senuti window.

If you haven’t tried the app, it’s amazingly easy to use. It really feels and works much like iTunes. You select songs, albums, artists, playlists (basically whatever you want) in the Senuti window, and then drag them onto the “iTunes” entry in the Source column. I couldn’t just grab everything, as my MacBook only had about 15GB of free space. But in a relatively short amount of time, I’d copied about 5GB worth of music onto my MacBook—more than enough to get through the week.

When I got back home, I gave the iPod the old restore treatment. But thanks to Senuti, I at least had background music for my WWDC travels.

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