January 2008


I was lamenting the other day about stereo configurations and alluded to my ever ending struggle to manage my iTunes library across several laptops, external hard drives, iPods, etc and how no matter what I do I can never get them synced the way I want them to be. I started asking a few people how they handle their own set ups to try and get some ideas on what might work better and I think I have a new solution in sight. I have to give credit to Jason Carlin for some of the concept here as I’m following his lead on a good bit of it.

My problem, which has frustrated me to no end, was trying to have everything synced up, and with me, and accessible, at all times. I should have applied my “just let go” concept of the rest of my life to this as well but didn’t. My new plan, is forget about syncing it all – break it. I’ll explain.

Thanks to Simplify Media I can not only access a small handful of friends iTunes libraries from anywhere I have a web connection, but I can also access my own libraries. See where this is headed? As long as I have a machine that is always on, and always online, I don’t need to drag everything with me all the time. Of course there are some things I want with me all the time in case I need them when I don’t have a web connection, or if I want to let friends check them out. This is where Jason’s suggestion of multiple libraries suddenly makes so much sense.

There is a good chunk of my MP3 collection that I never want to get rid of, however it’s not something I listen to regularly. Friends bands from college, audio books, kitchy theme albums, etc – things that are great to have and pull out when needed but don’t need 24/7 access too. This is where the massive home library comes into play. Home computer + web connection and bingo I can listen to any of that stuff any time I need.

Then comes the issue of breaking the library from that stuff, older archives, and newer listen-to-it-a-lot kind of things. That’s really just going to take some sorting by hand but it shouldn’t be too much of a pain. The newer stuff I can keep with my on my laptop (which is also connected so I can access it at home too) and gives me access to those files when I need them. My main concern with this is making sure that some of the data in those two iTunes libraries isn’t lost such as playcounts and things, which brings me to my next point.

For the first time in my life I was considering an iPod that held my entire connection now that there are finally some big enough, but then I started thinking about the above stuff why do I need some of that stuff with me, which I felt meant endless amounts of sorting. Jason told me that he has one giant playlist of anything he’s gotten since some date that he syncs to his iPod so he always has the stuff he’s interested in listening to with him. I already use smart playlists quite a bit and thought a tweek on this might be really good. A few of the smart playlists I already use are New & Loved (Added within last X days, play count more than Y, skip count less than Z) as well as New & Unheard (Added within last X days, play count less than Y, skip count less than Z) and some of the more common things like songs that have been played more then 25 times, etc.

I decided to make a list of songs that have been added since Jan 1 2007 with a play count of more than 1, skip count of less than 1, genre that isn’t books or lectures, and a few other things and coupled it with some of the above lists. I auto sync those to my iPod and suddenly instead of 80GB+ of everything I have, now I have something closer to 12GB of stuff I listen to all the time. It’s going to need some tweeking, I can tell that already, but I think this is the right direction to manage this stuff.

The Prop S Conspiracy, The Backchannel

In reference to this post on blogging.la I thought it would be in the best public interest to fully disclose all behind the scenes communications preemptively. It should also be noted that the people responsible for the sacking, have been sacked.

This morning, Joseph Mailander wrote:

Dear Sean,

This is an earnest inquiry.  How come the blogs that skew younger in town don’t seem to care about Prop S? It’s the only local civic measure on the ballot Tuesday, and the tax seems to affect those in the younger demographics most.  Ten extra bucks a month on every wireless device you have, just because you have a City of LA mailing address, that sounds like something worth at least discussing.

All the best,

To which I responded:

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. The person(s) responsible
for this oversight have been fired.


Which brought this response:

So, do you have an actual political opinion on a City of LA issue, or do you just want to fuck around?


And I followed up with:

Dear Joseph,

Wowza… good question for sure. I need to talk with my lawyer,
accountant, and interior decorator before I make any “official”
statements on this but for our internal discussions go ahead and
tentatively put me down for “just want to fuck around” but I reserve
the right to change that decision should it negatively impact me in
the future.

Thanks again for your concern.

As of 14:17 PST that is the end of the conversation though I’ll be sure to update if anything else arises.

Configurations, Yeah Yeah

It’s that time again, when I list a bunch of hardware and yap on about what I’d *like* for it to do and you guys all tell me if I’m totally out of luck or if there’s an easy way to pull it off or what I need to consider.

Existing: Right now I have a MacBookPro and an external HD with my entire MP3 library on it. (iTunes library is on the drive, not the MBP so I need to have the HD plugged in to launch iTunes) This is what I drag around with me everywhere. At home I have an old PowerBook G4 with external HDs that I manually back up the MP3s to, though syncing the actual library has proven to be near impossible. Additionally I have an old stereo head with speakers and I’ve hooked up AirTunes to and can play music from the PBG4 to the stereo. I have a small TV/DVD combo thingy that isn’t hooked up to anything.

Future: I just inherited an HDTV (thanks cruftbox!) and want to reconfigure things to make this all work a little smoother. For now I’m not worried about smooth syncing between the MPB(and the external HD with it) and the stuff at home though if you have a good suggestion I’m all ears. What I want to do is hook the PBG4 up to the HDTV (I suspect via a DVI-HDMI cable) and use that as the DVD player/media server for the TV. I’d also then just directly connect the sound out on the laptop to the stereo and not worry about AirTunes anymore (save for on the MPB if playing songs off that). Anything I need to know or watch out for? Any recommendations of software or cable brand to research. I need to buy the DVI-HTMI cable so if anything off the shelf is fine then cool, but I’ve heard there is actually a difference between the $20 and $100 ones.

Also, this is my first step into the world of HD. I’m guessing at some point I’ll buy a BluRay disk player but in the meantime playing my standard DVDs through my laptop to the HDTV will still work right? Thanks for any and all advice on this one, I used to be crazy A/V nerd and would make my own coax cables exactly to the size I needed and all that but the 72,000 formats and resolutions and all that have me a bit off my game.