Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Switching from my PC to a Mac – keeping iTunes ratings

Posted by shannonclark on October 25, 2006

This is a first of what will likely be a series of posts documenting what I discover as I seek to make my new iMac 24″ system functional and make it and my trusty ThinkPad T40 running Windows XP play nicely together – and together make me more productive.

Yesterday I started (it ended today) the full backup process from my PC to my new iMac – migrating over the nearly 30 gbs of data (though not yet my ~8gb of mail archives) including my full media library.

Today I tried (and finally succeeded) to make my iTunes on the iMac reflect the current state of iTunes on my PC. What I first tried was importing the files (which then copied them to another directory – default behavior on the mac) and which did not keep my many playlists or even more crucially my ratings and play counts.

I found a great resource online on how to at least migrate iTunes libraries in way that preserves my ratings and playlists. However it does not, unfortunately appear to preserve playcounts – which is a field I use extensively when managing my listening – especially managing my shuffle.

Since further Apple does not (at least last I heard) allow an iPod shuffle to work with two machines (they do let regular iPods) I will probably have to keep on using my Thinkpad as the sync machine for my Shuffle.

I looked at many podcatcher clients for the mac and so far, I am not at all impressed. They look nice and have some “features” but none of them that I have found so far have the features of Doppler Radio which I have come to really appreciate and love. Specifically Doppler Radio allows me to manage each podcast feed separately and transparently (though mac podcatchers do a much better job of integrating the rss feeds and the full posts – so they are very nice as rss readers). Each feed gets a new playlist in iTunes (something I can not imagine forgoing ever again – as I rarely want to just listen to all my podcasts – rather I want to easily select between the individual episodes). One of the mac clients has the “feature” of adding podcasts to iTunes as a podcast.

However for a shuffle user in particular this feature is nearly utterly broken. By default (and I really truly do not understand why) all podcasts go into iTunes with the “do not shuffle” checkbox selected. There is no way, at least that I can tell – and I have looked, to change this default. And it has the impact of not allowing those files to be added to a shuffle. So as a result I am very, very reluctant to use iTunes to subscribe to ANY podcasts as I have to manually make that change for each and every podcast episode when they come in if I want them to get into my shuffle automagically when I next sync it. Very frustrating and nearly useless. (keep in mind that I subscribe to about 60 podcasts or so).

Also I haven’t found a podcatcher for the mac that is as simple as Doppler Radio is when it comes to managing and auto-deleting files.  On the PC I simply set for each feed what criteria I want to use (I usually say anything that is rated 1 star) and then when I decide I do not want to keep that episode I rate it one star and the next time I sync via Doppler it gets cleaned up for me automatically.

On the mac that cleanup process appears to always be separate from the process of subscribing. And further, I can’t get the very basic stuff like “update all feeds” to work smoothly.

So my plan is to migrate all my non-podcast media to the iMac and use it into the future as where I keep most of my media (non-podcast) files. This will free about 12 gbs of data from my ThinkPad (I may keep a few gb of music I listen to most often for the occasional times I’ll want it when traveling. I probably will remove most of my podcasts from the iMac – with the exception of the ones I have rated highly and want to retain. I’ll sync my shuffle with the Thinkpad and keep using Doppler until something better comes out for the mac.

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