The Daily Belmore

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Managing Your (small) iPod

Do you have an iPod Nano? A Shuffle? an iPhone? Or even a fancy iPod Touch? If so, you are limited in the amount of storage available to you on your iPod. Sure, any new iPod sold today will give you a large amount of storage; but the chance that it will be able to hold your entire library are slim to none (at least if you have been using iTunes for a few months prior to loading it up).

I too am faced with this dillemma. I used to have a 40 GB iPod (fourth generation) but after the hard drive failed a few years into ownership, I had to revert back to a 2 GB Nano I had lying around. It was mainly used while I ran, but now it was thrust into primary position as my music player of choice. But how, might you ask, did I work around the obvious constraint of only having 5% of the storage space I was dependent on?

Smart playlists. Plain and simple. Implement them to be smart (no pun intended) and efficient, and you will have a much easier time. I currently have my Nano sync to four different playlists; Most Often Played, Most Recently Added, Random, and Podcasts. Each one has multiple rules attached, and each are very important. Follow along:

Here are the rules for Most Often Played:

  • Kind – does not contain – video
  • Playlist – is not – * Most Recently Added
  • Last Played – is not in the last – 1 – days
  • Play Count – is less than – 10
  • Last Played – is in the last – 6 – weeks
  • Limit to – x MB – selected by – most often played

Why these rules? Well, my Nano does not play video, so let’s eliminate those to save space (this is a rule I have in all of my smart playlists). Also, we don’t want it popping up here if it is in another smart playlist that I sync to. And in order to avoid repeats, let’s not have it sync up if I listened to it in the last 24 hours. I threw the play count rule in there so that this list would change periodically, and I would not get tired of the same songs over and over again (if you have more than 2 GB of space, you should change this at your leisure). And if I haven’t listened to it recently, it must not really be a top song, so get it off the list

Here are the rules for Most Recently Added:

  • Kind – does not contain – video
  • Last Played – is not in the last – 1 – days
  • Date Added – is in the last – 6 – months
  • Podcast – is false
  • Play Count – is less than – 10
  • Limit to – x MB – selected by – Random

What do we have here? Aside from the obvious, this playlist needs to contain recently added songs, so I used 6 months as a good time period. And as Podcasts have their own playlist, let’s keep them off of this one. Other than that, it’s pretty similar to the last playlist. Selecting this playlist by random will keep it from being to predictable (which is something I was yearning to avoid).

Here are the rules for Random:

  • Playlist – does not contain – * Most Often Played
  • Playlist – does not contain – * Most Recently Added
  • Kind – does not contain – video
  • Last Played – is not in the last – 1 – days
  • Play count – is less than – 10
  • Limit to – x MB – selected by – Random

Again, this is very similar to the other playlists. Keep it from being a duplicate song (although this does not actually put two of the same song on your iPod, it will keep it from maximizing space; if you are using smart playlists to sync any iPod, make sure to throw rules like this in to ensure that all of the iPod space is used up), and then make it a random selection.

And now on to my golden gem; the Podcast playlist. Leo Laporte has had several calls regarding this, so I thought I would show you how I manage them:

  • Podcast – is true
  • Play Count – is – 0
  • Kind – does not contain – video
  • Kind – does not contain – movie

What do I use this for? Well, being subscribed to a lot of podcasts, I like to listen to them in succession while at work, without having to select a new one each time. So I set up this playlist like so, then have the playlist sort by Release Date, and voila! It plays from oldest to newest, without any interaction from me so that I can work without interruption.

I base the size of the playlists off of the podcasts playlist like so: [size of smart playlist] = [(size of iPod – size of Podcast playlist) / 3]. For the non math people out there, that means you subtract the size of your podcast playlist from the total (usable) size of your iPod, then divide that number by three to get the size each of your other playlists should be.

I don’t mean this to be any sort of rules, just a good idea of how to use iTunes to benefit you and your subpar iPod (don’t be ashamed…I’ve hated only having 2 GB for over six months now…not all of us can afford new iPods every time one dies!). Now go experiment and see what works for you! And if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

September 24, 2007 - Posted by | Music, Technology | , , , , , , ,

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