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Topic: Live Updating: Which criteria work and which don't?

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Old 01-30-2011, 01:42 PM
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Live Updating: Which criteria work and which don't?

So I had sort of given up on live updating on my iPhone awhile ago. I pretty much just listened to one playlist without switching and that way I wouldn't hear duplicates which was why I used live updating previously. But I just started getting into podcasts (I know, welcome to 2004 ). So I would listen to music, then switch to listen to a podcast and then go back to music and I started hearing duplicates and it annoyed me, so I started researching what worked and what didn't and I figured it would be helpful if we could start a list.

Since I'm not sure if only the iPhone OS version or the iTunes version or both matter, I'll list both: I'm on iOS 4.1 with iTunes v.10.0.0.68.

Criteria/Options that allow live updating to work:
-Comments
-Plays
-Rating
-Artist
-Year
-Album
-Genre
-Date Added

Criteria/Options that break live updating:
-Playlist
-A check in the "Limit to X items selected by random"

It is my understanding that having any or all of the criteria in the first group will allow live updating to work, while adding one or more from the second group will break live updating and one test confirmed it.

So to make live updating work before, I had gotten rid of the "playlist is" option, but now the limit option was breaking it. Since I don't use comments for any song I want on my iPhone, I figured I would use that to limit the number of songs (which I need because the playlist wouldn't fit on my iPhone without a limit). So now I just change the comment to a word and then use that in a playlist that I sync to my iPhone. It's pretty ridiculous that I have to jump through these hoops to use my iPhone like I used to use my old nano.

So does anyone else know any criteria that breaks live updating? Or any that work? Are there any other combinations of criteria/iOS version/iTunes version have different results?



Matt | 16 GB iPhone 4 | 3G 8 GB black iPod Nano | 16772 songs | 43.8 days | 87.39 GB
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnagel View Post
So does anyone else know any criteria that breaks live updating? Or any that work? Are there any other combinations of criteria/iOS version/iTunes version have different results?
I've not gone to the trouble to exhaustively test all possible criteria, but it's a fairly reasonable assumption that almost none of them work. The one remaining criterion that does work and actually changes on an iPod is rating.

The chief problem with trying to work around the current slew of bugs is that there are no useful smartlists you can create where live updating is going to make a practical difference. Since there's no way to get tracks to drop off a smartlist by playing or skipping them, all you can create are nearly static playlists or ones based on rating. I suppose a genre based smartlist might be slightly useful for pulling in a new track/album if you buy music directly to your iOS device, but otherwise, that's it. Then you compound it by the inability to limit the playlist in any way, and at least for a collection the size of mine, the few semi-functional lists are too large.

My "solution" is to sync giant filtered playlists (~48 hours worth). Since each playlist is the filtered results of a smartlist generated music pool, there's considerable overlap, so even putting half a dozen of these lists is still only between 4-5 GB. Then I just shuffle those lists. Whenever I sync the mixed playlists get updated, so the repeats are minimal with playlists of this size. It's not ideal, but it's as close as I can come with the current borked smartlist system on iOS devices.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the reply Code Monkey. I figured you'd reply. I saw quite a few of your posts when I was searching for threads about the issue here

What I was saying is that I found a way to get my iPhone to live update while using the playlist I want (with a few extra steps).

I took my old smart playlist that had a limit of 500 songs that I wanted to live update, but didn't because of the limit. I then added a comment to all of them. I then made another smart playlist with comment is as the criteria, plays is 0, and not 1 star. So now when I listen to a song and it gets a playcount, it does drop off. The 1 star criteria is there because I rate songs I don't want to listen to as 1 star so those will drop off too now. So it works the way I want, but I do have to do some extra steps, but like I said, since I'm switching back and forth between music playlists and podcasts, I wanted live updating to work so that songs I listened to or rated 1 star would drop off so that I don't hear them again.



Matt | 16 GB iPhone 4 | 3G 8 GB black iPod Nano | 16772 songs | 43.8 days | 87.39 GB
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:04 PM
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A couple updates on this.

using Playlist Folders also breaks live updating.

Using the "limit to" does not break live updating.

Last Played date does not break live updating.

The last one is key, it causes songs to drop off if you have listened to them recently.

Still buggy - but better.

I am on iOS 5.1.1
iTunes 10.6.1.7
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:45 AM
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Last Played date does not break live updating.

The last one is key, it causes songs to drop off if you have listened to them recently.
Are you 100% certain? Last time any of us checked under iOS 5 it simply moved the songs to the bottom of the playlist, never actually dropping them, never actually pulling new tracks in.

I'll go test it and be back, but I would be amazed if Apple has fixed ANYTHING at this point.

EDIT: Well I'll be a human's uncle, they actually did fix this. Not sure you can still make a usable smartlist, but there must be one guy they let work on this for free after hours on Friday

Unfortunately, iOS 6 is just around the corner and because the whole number revisions start with code bases seeming more than a year out of date, I expect even these minor improvements will soon be gone.

Last edited by Code Monkey; 07-29-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:03 AM
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It is nice that it is fixed, and hopefully it will not get lost in the next upgrade.

I really want it to be fixed so that playlists or playlist folders do not break live updating since I use the "limit to" function on each playlist that makes up the master playlist.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:17 PM
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For situations where you need a smart playlist to reference another playlist to include or exclude something (Playlist Is/ Playlist Is Not) that still breaks live updating. I really hope iOS 6 fixes this since I'll be traveling for a few weeks this fall with no ability to re-sync to refresh my playlists.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:42 PM
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For situations where you need a smart playlist to reference another playlist to include or exclude something (Playlist Is/ Playlist Is Not) that still breaks live updating.
Exactly, so long as we can't do more complex chaining of rules *on* the device, they remain functionally useless to the group of users who care about them in the first place without semi-regular computer syncing.

I can understand this wasn't a high priority fix, but for the richest tech company in the world to take so many years to get us to a degree of functionality that is far behind what a first generation iPod was capable of over a decade ago is all the proof I'll ever need that the Jobs as perfectionist PR was pure myth. This is a relatively simple database matter that any half way competent programmer would have had more than enough time to rebuild by now if the original code base was such a mess they couldn't figure out what the original programmer had done. That it remains broken says loud and clear that assigning anyone to fix it is so far below their list of priorities that it isn't happening.

Of course, this is the same company that has taken more than a year to deliver far worse podcast handling on iOS devices than existed prior to iOS 5. I'm still dealing with the corrupted play state flags from when I tried to use their *updated* Podcasts app while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. And Podcast management is hardly a niche matter like smartlists.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:03 PM
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Anyone know if this problem has changed?

I'm running an iPhone 4S with the latest iOS (6.0.1).

I've got a "High Rated" smartlist that only has 4 and 5 star songs. That seems to work fine. I then have a "High rated recent" that pulls from that list for songs that havent been played in the last month. I know it dosent live update because i've been listening to it all morning and it still reads 815.
Does anyone know if it's gotten better worse with the new iOS and know of any workarounds?

I'll try removing the reference to the other playlist to see if that helps... I'm glad i'm not the only one out there that thinks Apple overcomplicates basic tasks by trying to make them 'intuitive'...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Monkey View Post
Exactly, so long as we can't do more complex chaining of rules *on* the device, they remain functionally useless to the group of users who care about them in the first place without semi-regular computer syncing.

I can understand this wasn't a high priority fix, but for the richest tech company in the world to take so many years to get us to a degree of functionality that is far behind what a first generation iPod was capable of over a decade ago is all the proof I'll ever need that the Jobs as perfectionist PR was pure myth. This is a relatively simple database matter that any half way competent programmer would have had more than enough time to rebuild by now if the original code base was such a mess they couldn't figure out what the original programmer had done. That it remains broken says loud and clear that assigning anyone to fix it is so far below their list of priorities that it isn't happening.

Of course, this is the same company that has taken more than a year to deliver far worse podcast handling on iOS devices than existed prior to iOS 5. I'm still dealing with the corrupted play state flags from when I tried to use their *updated* Podcasts app while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. And Podcast management is hardly a niche matter like smartlists.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:51 PM
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Does anyone know if it's gotten better worse with the new iOS and know of any workarounds?
The two most important criteria still break Live Updating -- "Playlist Is/ Is Not" and "Last Played" will not allow updating on the device between syncs. Your 2nd playlist seems to use both of these, so even if you modify it to incorporate the 4 and 5 star criteria, the Last Played will break it. For what you want to do there is no workaround
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:26 PM
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Inconceivable!

I really dont care much for apple...

Does anyone know if there are any [good] apps out there for playing music on the iPhone that would replace apple's music crApp? I feel like this should be fairly simple database programming... (feel free to redirect me if there's already a thread for this...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmyplimsoul View Post
The two most important criteria still break Live Updating -- "Playlist Is/ Is Not" and "Last Played" will not allow updating on the device between syncs. Your 2nd playlist seems to use both of these, so even if you modify it to incorporate the 4 and 5 star criteria, the Last Played will break it. For what you want to do there is no workaround
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:27 PM
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Does anyone know if it's gotten better worse with the new iOS and know of any workarounds?
It's exactly the same. Basically, there are no workarounds for any smartlist more complex than a one or two *category* based filter (your high rating, or genre is <foo>, or <artist> with high rating, etc.). If you want to use anything more complex, forget ever moving everything to the cloud (smartlists are nearly as broken with iTunes Match) and get used to an offline system.

My iPod touch 5G is a significantly better computer than a Mac I used iTunes on several years ago in a lab I worked at, but somehow my touch can't do what that old Mac did. Drives me nuts.
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