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Cover Flow: View tricks

Scroll Through Your Collection In Cover Flow, use your mouse’s scroll wheel to quickly flip through your library, cover by cover. The faster you spin your wheel, the faster the flipping will be. You may have to adjust your mouse’s scrolling speed if you want to see just one album cover per scroll click.

Include Podcasts You can browse podcasts in Cover Flow if you create a smart playlist defined as Podcast Is True.

Toggle the Album Column Whatever view you’re in (list, album, or Cover Flow), clicking on the Album column now cycles among three options: Album (in which albums are sorted alphabetically by album title), Album By Artist (in which albums are grouped by artist and then listed alphabetically), and Album By Year (in which albums are grouped by artist and then listed chronologically). Those last two options are particularly nice for playing whole albums at a time and keeping artists together.

Party Shuffle: More iTunes 7 tips

Skipping Records iTunes 7 keeps track of when and how often you skip a song (by clicking on the Next button). The Skip Count view option keeps track of how many times you’ve skipped to the next track within the first 19 seconds of a song. (Skipping backward or using the mouse to begin playing a different song doesn’t count.) The Last Skipped view option shows you the last time you skipped a track. These new view options have no history before iTunes 7, so iTunes 7 will track only those songs you’ve skipped since you installed it.

You can use these two options to create smart playlists of tracks you don’t like to listen to. For example, you could create a smart playlist with the criterion Skip Count Is Greater Than Number , where Number is any number you choose. To get rid of tunes you’ve been skipping, select them and press Command-option-delete to immediately expunge them from your library.

How Fast? When you’re waiting for your latest purchases from the iTunes Store to arrive over the Net, you can monitor their download speeds in the Downloads section. Click on the gray text under one of the songs that hasn’t yet started to download. When you do, it will change from “48.2 MB of 402.3 MB - 24 minutes remaining” to “48.2 MB of 402.3 MB - (15.3 kb/sec) 24 minutes remaining”—a simple way of checking your download speeds.

You can now start watching a video or movie from the iTunes Store before it has finished downloading. In the Downloads pane (click on Downloads in the Store section), double-click on the downloading item you want to watch. It will open and start playing, even as the download continues.

Open a New Library Maybe you have a massive music collection. Maybe you’re planning on buying a bunch of movies from the iTunes Store and wonder if you have the hard-drive space to store them. In either case, it can be handy to keep your iTunes collection in multiple libraries. iTunes 7 lets you. Launch iTunes while holding down the option key. A dialog box will appear, asking you to choose an existing library, create a new library, or quit the program. Once you’ve created multiple libraries, you’ll need to hold down the option key while launching iTunes whenever you want to switch between them.

Easy Backups The new iTunes makes it easy to back up your collection. When you select File: Back Up To Disc, you can choose to back up your entire library, just your store purchases, or just the items that have changed since the last backup. iTunes can back up only to recordable CDs or DVDs, so you can’t specify an external hard drive as the backup destination. The program will, however, automatically split your library into chunks appropriately sized for the selected media.

Convert Smart Playlists One of the niftiest things about the new Source list is that it lets you quickly convert a smart playlist to a regular one: just drag the smart playlist from its position in the Source list until it’s directly over the Playlists entry, and then drop it. iTunes will create a new regular playlist containing the current contents of the smart playlist; the only difference is that the new playlist won’t update itself. The original smart playlist will remain as it was, so you won’t lose anything in the process.

[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of Secrets of the iPod, fifth edition (Peachpit Press, 2005), and The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide (Peachpit Press, 2006). Senior Editor Dan Frakes is also the senior reviews editor at Playlistmag.com. Senior Editor Rob Griffiths edits the Mac OS X Hints Web site. ]

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