iLife or MyLife?

Posted on December 28, 2012

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The spare periods between Christmas meals and the impending New Year offer some time for re-organisation and filing. Once such are is the mammoth task of music, pictures and videos. I have thousands – GigaBytes of the stuff.

Organising this takes time and can be hugely frustrating if it goes pear-shaped.

The Apple iLife suite seemed to simplify this years ago – there was enough HD capacity to hold all the music, pictures and videos on the internal drive. But no longer. Everything I have is on external HDs.

Apple do try and keep things simplified – but this is the area that they fail in most. iPhoto is pretty much OK – if you move your iPhoto library to an external drive and it is not connected, it will let you know. If it is connected (but you have and archive connected as well) it will ask you which one to choose – OK…but can become confusing).

iTunes on the other hand – which has become the hub for music, Films, TV shows and podcasts is the big FAIL here. It still insists that the iTunes folder that holds the library HAS to be on the local drive. So – if the external HD that your iTunes ‘Media’ is on is NOT connected – you see your library and in the background iTunes recreates a ‘media’ folder on your local drive – without warning!!

So you go to play a track – and get the exclamation mark of dread….Nooooooo!

Your iTunes library is now messed up. iTunes has now set your iTunes Media folder to you internal HD not the external – and none of your media will play ‘cos you haven’t the external HD attached.

Even worst – this tends to happen when you click on a link in a web page to purchase something – it fires up iTunes and starts downloading – TO THE INTERNAL LIBRARY – not to the external HD.

So when I go back in time machine, and restore my old library files (which pointed to the external hard drive) there is no mention of the recently purchased files. I have to manually add them or check for purchases that haven’t been downloaded.

The situation has now gotten so bad that I have considered seriously looking for another media manager for my media – as iTunes is clearly not up to it.

A recent update made it all the worse.

In the old version, with one click you could see all duplicates so you can manage them. In the new version this has gone. So I have been attempting to manage duplicates – only to find that the duplicates are actually duplicate ‘labels’ of the same physical file – which I have trashed.

Thankfully a secondary backup of my media is on hand – others will be less fortunate. So I can restore my lost files – but for how long can I take this?

I decided to sign up to Music Match (£21.99 a year) which would read my entire music library and store the originals (if available) in the cloud – or copies of my own creations so that they are available to any of my devices. This has become my backup. The trick is to make sure you have one master machine with ALL the music, Films and TV shows on it that acts as the source to match against.

I don’t know the answer to this dilemma. It’s getting harder to store, manage and access my stuff easily. I can see myself becoming an increasingly grumpy old bugger very soon – if I am not already there now.

Here’s to a happier, more organised New Year.

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Posted in: Apple, Music