Tag Archives: iTunes

Apple Flashback 2001: SoundJam a Goner

soundjampanelStill Waiting for the music alarm…

October, 2016, iTunes version 12.5.2 released. By most accounts iTunes is still a mess, as Apple tries to clean up the application that has for years devolved into the baffling, unmanageable compost pile of all Apple media. But fifteen years ago, iTunes was a gem, a minimal Apple interface quickly slapped on top of a great third party app called “SoundJam”. But what would be the fate of the real “SoundJam”? The one that had the VU Meter/scope display, karaoke mode, and other cool features that iTunes lacked?

“Sound Jam 2.5.3 – You figure this out, I sure can’t. What is the status of Sound Jam?? One day there’s an article on MacWorld about them abandoning development for OS X. The Sound Jam web site is getting real old, and the product shows all the signs of being abandoned, BUT NOW there’s a new update to version 2.5.3. The web site says 2.5.2 is the most recent version. This all sounds WEIRD AND FAMILIAR. Remember the TWO YEAR death throes of WORDPERFECT MAC at the hands of those FOOLS at COREL?? A little TRUTH from Casady and Greene would be nice. I like Sound Jam better than iTunes, but I predict we’ll all be using iTunes before long…”

“…back in U&O #16  I predicted the demise of my favorite MP3 player, ‘SoundJam’, at the hands of Apple’s favorite (free) MP3 player, ‘iTunes’. What I didn’t mention is that I wrote the CEO of Casady and Greene, suggesting that he COME CLEAN and tell the Mac community what was going on with SoundJam. I even wrote a press release for him. Did he listen to me? Who knows. But today C&G announced the end of SoundJam MP as of June 1, ‘at the request of the developers’—who all work for Apple now. I only hope Apple will add the missing SoundJam features to iTunes, such as the ability to use it as an Alarm Clock. And we should appreciate that Casady & Greene like any GOOD MAC COMPANY, DID THE RIGHT THING and told us the truth.”

—From Unpredictable Issue #18 May, 2001

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IPad Quirky? Unstable? Manage your storage!

A former colleague, Cary, asked TechWite about her unstable iPad. TechWite responds…

Your iPad, has a limited amount of storage.  You may recall hearing that it had: 16 Gig, 64 Gig, 128 Gig (Gigabytes). Depending on what you do with it, that storage on your iPad gets used by photos, songs, movies, books, and everything else. If the iPad gets slow, undependable, crashes, or won’t install the latest iOS update, chances are the storage space (whatever it was originally) is all “filled up”. A trip to visit your local Apple Store, or Apple Dealer, or friendly, knowledgeable consultant may be in order. But first, you can try clearing out some space yourself.


“What was a lot then, is nothing now.” —Christo’s 2nd Law of Computing

What’s a Gig? A Gigabyte is a thousand Megabytes. What’s a Megabyte? In the PaleoMac days of the PC revolution BI (Before iOS), early adopters and PC enthusiasts liked to throw around numbers the way auto afficianados today talk about the doomed-wheeled-hunks-of-metal-and-plastic that will soon be replaced by autonomous cars. Those PaleoGeeks made hilarious comments like, “I upgraded my Mac to 512K RAM and bought an external 10Meg SCSI Hyperdrive.” If you’re a Facebook user, or an “elliptical” (as the media calls this new generation), you don’t care what a Megabyte is, and it doesn’t matter. So forget the details.

Just remember, as always in capitalism and technology: more is better. When you buy your next Apple device, try to get the one that has *more*. Eventually, even that won’t be enough, but for now, that’s all you need to know.


To get started, the Settings app is the place to go. Open it, and follow along…

Step 1 – Check Storage

Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

This will take you to a panel that displays your “Used” and “Available” storage (below). There is no hard and fast rule here, but you want the “Available” number to be big. (If it is already 5 Gig or more, then storage is probably *not* what is causing your problems.) Next, let’s make more storage available by getting rid of stuff that no longer serves you.

Step 2 – Manage Storage

Tap Manage Storage…
It may take some time for your device to fill in the details of your “Storage” panel. Be patient. Eventually, you will get a list of your apps and how much storage they use—sorted from biggest data usage to smallest. You can go through all of these apps, but you are going to get the best results by working on the apps at the top of the list, which are usually Music, Videos, and Photos (below).

Step 3 – Identify and Delete Songs that no Longer Serve You
Tap Music:
You’ll get a list of all the music on your iPad, grouped by Artist, Album, and Song. You can start deleting right at this “top” level, and Delete all songs by one artist.

Tap on one Artist, and Slide to the LEFT, to reveal the “Delete” button.
Tap “Delete” to delete all the songs by that artist.

Don’t want to get rid of everything by that artist? Just want to delete one song? You can “drill down” and use the same method as above to Delete specific albums or songs. Below, we tap Artist “A.C.Newman” > Album “Shut Down the Streets” > Song “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns” and then Delete.

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Step 4 – Repeat, and Validate
Repeat this process to get rid of as much music as you want. You can then use the same process to Delete the space-eating data of other apps on your iPad. When you are done, check your storage again. (From Step 2, above):
Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

Finally, power your iPad completely down and restart it:

  1. Hold the “Sleep/Wake” button down until the screen goes dark and you see the “Slide to Power Down” button on the screen.
  2. Slide to Power Down.
  3. After the iPad completely shuts down, wait 30 seconds, and power it back up. How? Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

NOW, with that extra space that you’ve saved, does your iPad behave better? If not, you could try re-installing the OS, but for most people, that means it’s probably time for a visit to your local Apple support person.

Thanks for stopping by,

—TechWite

This post was written (almost) entirely on an iPad using Evernote. Interested? Tell me.

iPods and The Mystery of the Missing Songs

It was a calm, cold night—much as any other this wet December on the brink of a new year. I settled carefully down in my Queen Anne near the warmth of the radiator, hissing its gentle song, and propped my MacBook Pro on my lap to peruse the day’s email. For the most part there was little of note: The usual uncaptured spam, offers from Shutterfly and CVS, a note from my massage therapist, and several droll requests for assistance that required little thought and for which I had no interest. But just as I was to resign myself to another night struggling with the need to sleep in the absence of a full mind, the Subject: “Too few songs!!” caught my attention, and I seized upon this interesting message from an old acquaintance.

The fellow, whose anonymity I shall protect here, had over the years acquired quite a collection of iPods which he had managed to connect to assorted computer and audiophile equipment. He was no dunce certainly, and in fact had once worked for the diplomatic corps in a foreign post where he had kept a low profile until acquiring the wealth to enjoy his life with a gusto I envied, dabbling now and then in the legal profession, and as far as I could tell from my distance, primarily acquiring and enjoying a phenomenal collection of music in many styles and formats. With interest, I perused his query, which I edit for brevity as follows:

“Here’s something I do not understand.  My 2nd generation iPod, which has 20GB  of storage capacity, can hold around 2,000 songs.  My newer (like five years old) 60GB iPod can’t hold anywhere near as many.  Why?”

Clearly there was an explanation that went beyond the obvious assumption that he was mistaken either about the number of songs or the capacity of the devices—he assured me the numbers were accurate as provided. And so began another late night adventure, as I committed to resolving this mystery, when for the sake of my health, I might have been better sleeping.

Although I might have formed my own questions and submitted these to a higher internet authority, I started first by closing the lid of my laptop and leaning back in my chair, taking a deep breath, and entering my “memory palace”, where I was quite convinced I could locate a solution. A few moments later, and confident in what I had found, I started my iMac, plugged my iPhone into it, and launched iTunes to validate my deductions.

I include here an excerpt from the response to my client:

“Theoretically, we can assume that your music is recorded in its ‘largest’ format on iTunes on your computer. For example, you could use Apple Lossless format for the music on your computer and have GREAT quality (which would require a gigantic hard drive because of the large file format). You could listen to your music on your mobile iOS devices in the large format, but because they have less storage, you would be better off using much smaller files. You would sacrifice some of the music in terms of quality, but be able to put many more songs on the device than otherwise. And I postulate that you may have already configured your two iPods in this fashion, although you did not configure them both in the same way, causing an odd discrepancy in the number of songs that each device holds.

“I believe that the settings in iTunes are unique for each device. In the attached screenshot are the settings for my iPhone 6. Under Options, there is an option for ‘Convert higher bit rate songs to [128 kbps] AAC.’ If you had selected that for your OLD iPOD and your songs were all 256kbps or higher, and you used the DEFAULT (unchecked) setting for your newer iPod, then, since the lower 128kbps files are SMALLER, you could probably get a lot more songs on the old iPOD.

iTunes_convert_higher_bit_rate“This only uses greater compression when it syncs, leaving your songs on your iTunes on your computer, at whatever compression/quality level they were ripped.”

And here, with my apologies for a tale that has grown far too long, I conclude with a satisfactory answer, for it was only the very next afternoon that I received another electronic epistle confirming my solution to the mystery:

“TW:  When I plugged in the 60GB iPod and ‘downsampled’ higher bit rate songs to 256 kbps, I ended up with approx. 7,000 songs.  So that accounts for the older iPod seeming to hold more songs.”

B.

What if you are one of the unusual folks who wants the free U2 album, but can’t get it?

TidBITS: How to Get (or Delete) Your Free U2 Album.

I’ve been waiting around to see if the U2 album ever shows up on any of my Apple stuff.

I’m not whining because Apple gave me a free album and pushed it down to my stuff without even asking if I wanted it. There are plenty of whiners out there to handle that. And I don’t know, I suppose a Beyonce or Taylor Swift album appearing on my iTunes might have pushed me to whining (or worse). I have compassion for those who don’t like U2. I’m not one of them.

Apple isn’t perfect. They could have handled this better. If the Executive VP in charge of Doing The Right Thing (EVIP of DRAT) had been consulted, I imagine she would have said, “I think we should give people the choice. Isn’t that what Apple is all about? Great choices? If we threw in another gigabyte of iCloud storage, how many people would complain? Then we wouldn’t have to even think about  how many people didn’t choose the download!” But clearly The Tim wasn’t listening to the EVIP of DRAT that day. And the U2-hating-whiners have deluged Apple with complaints. It could have been avoided.

But back to me. I never even got the download. I waited over a week. And after a couple of fruitless Google searches that turned up article-after-article and blog-after-blog of whining about Apple giving people free U2 albums without even a whit of free extra iCloud storage, I found this article in our old friend TidBITS.

I followed the instructions for how to get the album if you are one of the unusual folks who actually want it, but can’t get it. And I got it.

Thank you Adam Engst and team for, once again, publishing the right stuff at the right time. Well written!