As I wait for the batteries on my new iPod nanos to drain I thought I’d offer up a few odds and ends related to the new iPods and iTunes that you may have missed.
Voice memos for nanos
Macworld Podcast that Jason Snell, Dan Frakes, and I recorded on Tuesday, I mentioned that the new iPod nanos, unlike the first-generation nanos, can record voice memos. Just like the 5G iPod, the nanos can record both low- and high-quality audio files with a compatible microphone. I’ve tested the feature on all three second-generation nano models with both
Belkin’s TuneTalk and
XtremeMac’s MicroMemo and it works.
These devices were designed to work with a full-sized iPod so they look ungainly when attached to the nano but it’s nice to see the feature brought to Apple’s mid-sized iPods.
The latest version of iTunes lets you store media in more than one location. This is a godsend for those with large libraries (or who will soon have large libraries after they’ve purchased several movies from the iTunes Store). Here’s how to go about it:
Go to iTunes > Preferences and click the Advanced tab. Choose General, click the Change button, and choose a new place for your files—an external hard drive, for example.
Sounds familiar, right? Right. In the past, this was how you told iTunes to store music elsewhere. The difference here is that iTunes won’t ignore the files in the original location when you tell it to store music elsewhere. Instead, its database will keep track of files in that original location as well as the new location you just created. When you add new tracks and videos, they’ll be stored in this new location but they’ll play regardless of where you stored them previously.
CoverFlow and compilations
If you have an iTunes library crammed with greatest hits, genre collections, and tribute albums, you’re undoubtedly frustrated by iTunes’ new artwork and CoverFlow views. Scan through your music collection and you’ll likely find multiple entries for the same album. The secret to putting things right is to enable the Compilation tag.
To do so, select all the tracks that should belong to a particular collection, choose File > Get Info to call up the Multiple Item Information window, and choose Yes from the Compilation pop-up menu. This tells iTunes that these tracks are supposed to belong together. Click OK. As a consequence, the album’s tracks will appear under a single artwork or CoverFlow entry.
Dan Frakes tells me that album art can also get messed up if you’ve tagged your music with a genre that contradicts the genre used by Apple. If album artwork isn’t showing up when it should, see how Apple’s labeled it and create tags that match Apple’s settings.
Missing album art
If you’re seeing a lot of generic black covers bearing a couple of eighth notes, don’t despair. iTunes grabs cover art for only those albums that are available from The Store. So, if you have an extensive Beatles or Led Zepplin collection, you’re going to be looking at a lot of dull artwork unless you grab some of your won. That’s right, iTunes will display any artwork that’s contained in a track’s Artwork tag. Use one of the countless utilities out there to grab album artwork or do it yourself by visiting Amazon, grabbing a large image, and adding it to the Artwork field of an open Multiple Item Information window.
Variable album heading
Macworld’s Dan Miller showed me this one: Try clicking the Album entry in iTunes 7. Hey, look at that. Doing so cycles the heading through Album, Album by Artist, and Album by Year.
Open an information window and you’ll see that it contains a new Album Artist field, a nice way to further parse your music.
And your problem is…?
Dan Frakes reports that Apple has reworked its iPod syncing error dialog boxes. In the past you saw single error message that told you that some of the tracks, such as XYZ, weren’t transferred because they couldn’t be played on the iPod. You now see a single error message that bears a small triangle. Click the triangle to see a list of all the errors—helpful should you wish to fix some but not others. Select the error you want to deal with and its full details appear. Click the “go away” button, iTunes figures you’re not interested in each problem, and goes on about its business.
Digging into Visualizer
If you haven’t explored all the Visualizer’s hidden features, now’s the time. Start Visualizer and press H to see a list of commands. The “?” key shows you more. Enjoy.
About those nano accessories
Yes, the new nano has the same dock connector and headphone port on the bottom, but they’re spaced differently than previously. This means that any nano accessories you now have that require both the dock connector and headphone port (a lanyard or FM transmitter, for example) won’t work with your new nano. Bummer.
Among a list of details, these are the most minor.
• The iPod preferences screen accurately reflects the color of your iPod. Jack a blue nano into your computer, and the preference represents its true color. This works with older iPods too. iPod preferences recognized that my 6GB iPod mini is green.
• While in the iPod preferences screen, try clicking on the Capacity bar at the bottom. When you do so you’ll see that the readout toggles among the amount of data (7GB, for example), number of items, and the amount of time that media would take to play (2.4 days, for instance).
• Right-click on your iPod in the Source list and instead of reading “Update iPod” as it once did, it now reads “Sync.”
Have some details you’d like to add? A single click of the Comments link will set you on your way.