Advanced method for fitting large library into 4GB Mini

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nagromme

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iTunes will automatically make a playlist that fits the Mini, but I propose a more advanced--but low-effort--method for providing access to a collection larger than the Mini's 4GB. The key is that in iTunes Preferences you can choose MUTLIPLE playlists to auto-synch, while excluding others. I don't yet have an iPod, just a lot of experience playing with Smart Playlists--so if anyone tries this, give me feedback :) (Scroll to my next post to see a quick-and-simple method for this.)

Make the following playlists for iTunes to auto-synch (and for each, you might wish to exclude songs by filetype as described in MacWorld):

1. A Smart Playlist of favorites--by rating ideally, or by most-played. Set a threshold that fills, say, about half the Mini. (If you already have one or more non-Smart lists, that would work too.) Goal: to make sure you'll have the songs you'll manually seek and most enjoy.

2. A Smart Playlist (of enough MB to nearly fill the rest) of LEAST-RECENTLY PLAYED songs. (Exclude lowest-rated if you wish.) Every time you auto-synch, songs that have been played--on your PC/Mac OR on your iPod(s)--will be dumped automatically and replaced with new--so that eventually ALL your music gets shuffled through. And as you random-play your library, you can only hear so many songs anyway before you next synch--so you won't even know the others aren't there. And eventually they will be! (This is a fun playlist even without an iPod--I'm hearing music I'd forgotten! And thanks to shuffle-play, you don't get STRICTLY the oldest song, then the next-oldest... you get a nice non-repeating mix of songs you haven't listened to in a while.)

That's the basic version... but you CAN do more (make the "least recent" list a bit smaller as needed):

3. Want your custom "mood" mixes or other playlists too? You can probably fit most of them just fine: they probably overlap a great deal with your "favorites" Smart Playlist. If they don't all fit, de-select some.

4. I'd personally want ALL my newest music, no matter what the rating--so I have a chance to change my mind on what I think of it! So I'd want a Smart Playlist of 50-100 "Newest Added." In time, those additions will either end up in your "favorites" list or else be shuffled through by date along with everything else.

(The resulting MB size of all this will vary a bit--so I wouldn't attempt to fill the whole iPod--maybe 90%? That leaves space for emergency file backups/transfers anyway.)

Now you have a Mini with all your favorites and custom mixes ALWAYS there, all your newest music, AND "everything else" available too--on a rotating basis--with no further effort ever required. (Unless you do your "favorites" list in a way that grows or shrinks over time--then you might occasionally want to re-size the "least-recently-played" list to compensate.)

This strategy is the reason I'm not afraid to choose a Mini despite the lower capacity. Lots of variations are possible.

Hope this is useful to someone! :)
 
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MikeM

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That's great way to do it but you still need to be a tweaker often. [It certainly sounds like you are!]

Others who aren't probably won't use this method. They're candidates for a large capacity iPod.
 

nagromme

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Simple version

You don't have to tweak and customize my method unless you CHOOSE to do it that way: those are Smart Playlists, and will update themselves and auto-synch forever. Both #1 and #2 can be limited by MB, and anything beyond that is optional. #4 too is a Smart Playlist, and #3 is just keeping the mixes you'd already created anyway (if any).

Simple but powerful version--auto-synch three Smart Playlists:

1000 MB of highest-rated (or most-played) songs.

1500 MB of least-recently-played songs (rating > 1 or 2 stars if you wish).

200 MB of most-recently-added songs.

Your'e done... forever!
Those lists will intelligently update based on your behavior--on your iPod AND your computer--without you having to think about it ever again. (Want to fit your custom non-smart mixes? Go ahead, and make one of those three playlists smaller if you need to.) Highest-rated is a better method than most-played, since most-played penalizes newer music.

And you're right, I myself would choose to customize more :)
 
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abalboa

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Thank you nagromme. I just purchased a new mini, and was fiddling with how I could set-up some smart playlist that would keep my music fresh, and you hit it on the nose. I had a 15gb, but don't think I will be using that one anymore, and these smart playtlists are just another nail in the coffin for my older ipod, ;) Thanks again.
 

jeg999

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Forgive me for my possible ######ation but...

I dont play my music at work (I listen to the radio during the day). Does Itunes recognize how often or little I play music on my ipod? I just started using ipod today (just got a mini and got rid of my 15 gig). How else could I rotate songs on and off of the mini through Itunes? Thanks in advance!

Jamie
 

nagromme

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Yep--the beauty of iTunes auto-synching is that it doesn't just synch music, it synchs info about how you listen! iPod and iTunes BOTH track--and exchange--the following:

* How many times you've played a song (vs. skipping it after it starts)

* When you last played it

* When you added it to your library--and when you last modified it

* How you have rated it

So no matter whether you play (or change rating) a song on your computer OR one of your iPods, those stats will be updated across ALL your devices via auto-synch. One more reason to choose iPod over others.

Thus, my method will work even if your computer is just a repository, and you actually play music only on your iPod.
 

jeg999

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Excellent! well, now I have to sit down and figure out your system. I read it twice, but I am stupid with directions and didnt quite understand how it works. Scary that I am an IT Manager.
 

nagromme

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I wouldn't mind clarifying/improving the instructions... so if something doesn't make sense, ask away :) I think once you look at the dialog for a new Smart Playlist, and then iTunes Prefs where you can tell it which playlists to synch, it will make sense. Smart Playlists are pretty easy really--fun and powerful.
 

jeg999

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So I followed the directions. I set up a couple regular playlists with all the mandatory tunes for the ipod and then a smart playlist for some random songs (that hopefully will cycle through). I synced with Itunes today and in my library (or in the playlists) none of the songs I have listened to show a last listen date or play count. I thought that when i listened on the ipod it would update itunes. This program is complicated!
 

nagromme

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Actually, what you're expecting IS how it works, nothing more should be needed from you. Maybe there's a technical problem--but perhaps you skipped the songs before the end?

The way it works is that iTunes (and probably iPod too) count a song as played IF you play to the END of it. Just the beginning doesn't count, or it would be meaningless: songs would come at at random, you'd skip ones you don't like as much, but they'd still count.

Interestingly, if you skip through most of a song and play JUST the end, iTunes still counts it as played.

Also--Important:--If you want that Smart Playlist of other songs to cycle through your whole library, do NOT say "random." Say "least-recently played". Then any song that gets played no longer qualifies and will be swapped for a fresh one.

Now, you probably do want to randomize that and not hear songs in the strict order of the last time you played them! But do that with random-shuffle PLAYBACK--not in the playlist itself.
 
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jeg999

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I definitely listened to them to the end. Anothe problem I had is that I loaded some additional songs at home and when I connected it at work, it removed those songs. How do I stop it from doing that?
 

nagromme

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There's your problem I think. An iPod is meant to synch with only ONE computer. When you synch with another it resets and becomes THAT computer's library. (This is an anti-piracy decision--but there are downloadable apps that get around it.)

Simplest solution: synch your iPod at home only, and use some other method to get additional music to your work computer. Such as a CD--OR drag the songs to the data hard drive of the iPod on your desktop--and back out from there to your work iTunes. Just be sure when you connect to the work machine they you don't synch.

So what if you want to synch PLAYCOUNT and last-played dates between two computers? I know of no way to do that. Stats track between your one "main library" computer and all of your iPods.

So if you want stats to be tracked while you listen at work, I would suggest just plugging your computer speakers into the iPod!
 

jeg999

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Actually, I only want to sync at work now. I will bring all music to work on a usb flash drive and add it to my library that way. But my question on why play count and last listened stats werent updated when i synced today is still out there. Any ideas?
 

nagromme

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If you had previously synched top a DIFFERENT computer then that could make sense: your iPod may have started fresh from the new computer, losing the library that had been on it before--including the recent playcount changes. BUT if you had previously synched to that SAME computer, and were simply coming back the the iPod's "own" computer... then something else is wrong. With any luck (and maybe an iPod Reset--see manual) the problem won't happen again. You might also try quitting and re-launching iTunes. Good luck!

(And you can use your iPod instead of a flash drive: just use the data hard drive part of the iPod--don't involve iTunes in making the copies. You might need to erase your music from the iPod first to make room. Then, when you get to work and drag your songs into the iTunes window, the default iTunes preferences tell it to copy those files into your music library. At least, that's how it works on Mac, and I don't think it's any different for Windows. If you've changed your iTunes prefs to say NOT to copy new music to the library, then drag from the iPod to someplace on your PC first--and THEN from there to iTunes.)
 

eriqesque

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Just created the smart playlists based upon your instruction
and I have to say this has got to be my favorite piece of Modern technology since I purchased my IBM T40
I love this little thing and based on your advice it works exactly the way I want it to.
 

fujiorange

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Hey I'm new to iTunes and iPods, and i was setting up a most recently-played Smart Playlist to auto-sync with my ipod. However, I've noticed that when i play songs not loaded in my iPod, they don't go under the most recently-played songs list that i made. But songs that are loaded on the iPod do get updated in the playlist. Can anyone tell me why this is happening? thanks.
 

Apesbrain

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Can the same be done with "albums"?

Exactly along the same idea, but I want to keep entire CDs together rather than individual songs, e.g. "Favorite Albums", "Least Played Albums".

Can that easily be done? If so, how?

Thanks.
 

nagromme

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eriq - glad my method was helpful!

fuji - did you tell iTunes to SYNCH that playlist? Look it iTunes Preferences, you can choose which to synch.

apes - good idea! but iTunes has no "albums" option in the Limit section, of you want to auto-limit by rating, times played, or whatever. The closest you can come is limit "by album" and then use the condition above to set a playcount you wish the songs to be over or under--but that won't limit the MB, so filling your Mini that way will require more effort and tweaking.

It would be great if the Limit line let you limit by MB AND Album both, instead of either-or.

Workaround: make a playlist of your favorite whole albums. Synch that along with the rest, and shrink one of the Smart Playlists' MB to make room if needed.
 

Faide

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Smart Playlists - My suggestions

Ok. Ive only had my mini for just over a week and already i love Smart Playlists.

I have the following playlists setup (ok i used to be software developer so i love this kinda stuff)

I have over 4GB of music and since i just installed iTunes last week none of it is rated etc. So i needed a way to go thourgh all my music and start rating them. The playlists i created are designed to rotate through all my music as well as keep my favourite music on my ipod. (disclaimer: ive only been using them for a week and so far i like the results. You may feel different)

Smart Playlists
------------------
I create several Forgotten <Genre> smart playlists using the following rules;

My Mini is set to shuffle play the tracks

eg Forgotten Rock
-----------------------
Genre -> is -> Rock
My Rating ? is not ? 1 star
My Rating ? is not ? 2 star
Limit to - 25 songs - selected by ? Least recently played

(This will play tracks that you havent heard in a long time with 3 or more stars PLUS any non rated tracks, ie new tracks you just added)

Do the same for your other Genres eg. Pop, Classical, Oldies, Easy etc

Then i have my Favourites (these get better and better as you rate more of your songs)

eg Favourite Rock
-----------------------
Last Played - is in the last - 2 weeks
Genre -> is -> Rock
My Rating ? is greater than ? 3 star
Limit to - 25 songs - selected by - Random

(This brings back 4 and 5 star rated tracks that you have listened to in the last 2 weeks. It also selects by random so you get a nice mix)

Do the same for your other Genres eg. Pop, Classical, Oldies, Easy etc

I also include the following Smart Playlist in my iTUNES but i DO NOT synch this. This is just to help me remember to rate the songs.

eg To Be Rated
--------------------
Play Count -> is greater than -> 0
My Rating ? is ? 0 Stars
Limit to - 100 songs - selected by ? Most recently played

(This keeps track of any songs that i didnt rate on-the-fly while listening on the iPOD. I make sure i rate these on a daily basis)

My Star Rating is as follows;
0 - Unrated
1 - Cr*p
2 - So-So
3 - Good
4 - Very Good
5 - Excellent

As i said these have been working fine for me so far. Im sure they will get better as i rate more of my songs.

If this helps any of you guys please let me know. Or if you have any suggestions too.

I also have a selection of standard playlists which i use when i want to listen to a new album i just bought.

Have fun iPodding!

-Faide
 
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