“The trouble is, web design, although it employs elements of graphic design and illustration, does not map to them. If one must compare the web to other media, typography would be a better choice. For a web design, like a typeface, is an environment for someone else’s expression.”—Understanding Web Design by Jeffrey Zeldman
I’ve been meaning to blog about my iTunes setup for a while now since I’ve been trying to give a few pointers to friends every so often. Some of the tips I have in mind are rather complicated, so they’ll have to wait.
But until then, here’s a quickie.
We all know we should rate albums in iTunes, right? At least in theory, we know ratings are a good thing, but if we never rate things, they’ll never fit into any rules we set with smart playlists and the whole system topples over on its own accord. It just doesn’t seem worth it. (I myself currently have almost 6000 unrated tracks in iTunes. Talk about daunting.)
Here’s the thing: We all have favourite albums. There are a lot of songs that you’ll know, the minute you see them, that they’re 5-star songs. Or four-star. Or one. So let’s weed these out.
Part 1: A new feature in iTunes 7 is the addition of Album Ratings. These can be used in two ways. Either, you set an album rating, and all songs from that album are automatically set to that rating per default. Or, you rate a few songs on the album, and the album rating becomes the median.
Here’s an easy example: Rate one song on “Ray of Light” 5 stars. Now the album rating for that album is 5 stars. Rate another song 1 star, and the album rating sinks to 3 stars (the median between 1 and 5).
The playlist to give you all the unrated songs from your favorite albums.
This playlist only works for songs on albums you’ve already rated at some point, so it might not be great if you’re just starting out with ratings. But once you’ve got a small sampling of your library rated, this should prove a very easy way to get all the favorite albums rated.
Part 2: Choose to play this playlist in Partyshuffle. This way, you won’t automatically loose newly rated songs mid-play when it dissapears from the original “Easily rated” playlist.
The iPod trick: Why is the “Last Played is not in the last 1 days” there, you ask? In order for you to get a little rotation on your iPod every time you sync it. I’ll get into this more in some future installment, but the gist of it is this:
If you have a small iPod (such as my tiny 8GB nano), you’ll want to use Smart Playlists to rotate the songs on the device every so often, in order to maximize your music intake. Adding a “Last played” rule to any such playlist will instantly give you fresh content the next time you plug your iPod in.
And as for the “Last skipped” setting; you don’t want to have unwanted songs hanging around even if you aren’t interested in hearing them, right?