Thoughts on the iPod and Music Management

As I said I just got an iPod, so now I have to deal with managing the music for it in my particular situation. I have the following going on at home right now:

  • A fileserver with approximately 140G of mp3s all nicely tagged via MusicBrainz‘s tools and organized nicely into directories (ie: music player independant). All music is stored there.
  • Laptop from work. “Daily” music is stored here, podcasts are downloaded for playing at work, and when I download my radio show during the day at work, I load it onto my mp3 player from here.
  • Windows workstation with headphones. Minimal music management is done here, this is a gaming and accounting box.
  • Linux workstation, hooked up to speakers. Music playing is done here, music management (basically rating songs and creating playlists) is done in Rhythmbox. No podcasts here.

I’ve never had a decent mp3 player before, the one I have now has 256mb of space, so not a lot of daily changes are made.

Anyway, music management on the iPod is supposed to be done through iTunes which is a nice application, however it has a few downfalls.

You can only sync your iPod on one computer.

Bah. Unless there’s a trick around it, when you sync an iPod to a computer, and then take it to another one and try to sync it, it tells you the device is new and anything on it will be nuked off. Say if I were to sync music for the gym on it at home, then try to put the radio show or something new on it at work. No fun at all.

Except that the new iPods don’t work under Linux thanks to Apple encrypting stuff. It’s already been broken, but hasn’t made it’s way into any released products.

What I was hoping to do was to sync things like my radio show and podcasts via the laptop, and load up the music under Linux. Looks like that won’t work, at least for now 🙁

My solution in the meantime….

I’m copying 141G of music onto my work laptop, in the theory that it moves from work to home and back. Inconvenient however as I don’t want to have to pull out the laptop each time I add some new music. Of course, the laptop doesn’t have that big a hard drive, so I’m mounting it on the laptop and adding all the music in it to the iTunes library. So in theory it’ll just show up as “can’t find file” when I’m not at home.

This will let me get everything I need, for now. I’m hoping that I can, in theory, manage songs via Linux when I get there.

Anyone have better ideas? It comes down to:

  • Can’t sync an iPod on more than one computer with iTunes.
  • iTunes doesn’t run (well) on Linux (last time I checked) and isn’t what I want to use under Linux anyway.
  • Can’t manage an iPod from Linux

Anyone have anything similar? Any better ideas?

6 Comments on “Thoughts on the iPod and Music Management”

  1. I have an iPod Video 30GB, about 6 months old. I use Winamp in Windows to sync it. Unlike iTunes, with Winamp you can just add/delete music like a normal MP3 player. Having music on my iPod that isn’t on my computer is not a problem with Winamp.
    Are you sure your iPod Nano has the new security feature, I thought that was only the new iPod Touch. Give it a quick try with Winamp to see if that will work.
    Alternatively, you can manually copy the music from your iPod down to your PC. The file names/directory structure are all screwy, but it works.

  2. Nope, quite sure it does. Loading music on with Rhythmbox under Linux loads it fine, but the iPod shows no music… and itunes told me the ipod was corrupt and had to restore it. It’s all the new ipods using some new hash or something like that. Ain’t proprietoryness great?!

  3. I haven’t had any problems adding music/using my iPod on two different computers. But… I don’t use the sync feature. I’m too much of a control freak; I add everything by hand. And, well, it works for me. I’ve been able to add music from both my laptop and my desktop with no problems. Through iTunes. ‘course, mine is a Gen 3 so YMMV.
    As for the Linux thing… well, that’s sort of old news, that news broke when the new gen was released.. so maybe you missed your due diligence before purchase? 😉

  4. I did know there were issues, I also know the new hash was cracked 🙂 Just waiting for things to be nicely integrated…..
    So how do you copy files to an ipod with 2 diff computers? When I plug in it tells me it can’t be synced and has to be nuked…. or can I hit cancel and do something by hand or something?

  5. I checked the winamp forums:
    – new iPods not supported currently by Winamp
    – 3 days ago someone posted the link to the crack source code to the forum
    – the lead winamp developer posted saying that this was good news
    So there is hope. The crack will probably be available in released products within a month or so I would guess.

  6. I turned sync’ing completely off. You can do that… somewhere. I can’t remember where, exactly. But there is a toggle for auto-sync’ing. Then you can just drag/drop inside iTunes from your library to your iPod. That’s how I’ve always done it, and I’ve regularly been able to add songs from either computer with nary a complaint from iTunes. I prefer to do it this way, since it gives me more control over what exactly resides on my iPod. I have some mp3s that I just don’t want to listen to on a regular basis, so they don’t reside on my iPod, just on the desktop.