Setting Up

I have spent part of the last few days setting up my new mobile phone so that all the music is on it and that it works how I want it to work. Given that this is an Apple phone and most of my stuff is backed up to the cloud moving stuff to a new phone is remarkably simple.

In the old days you learnt how the new phone worked by entering all the contact details manually and playing around in the settings menu. Now all you do is enter your cloud details and wait. All the settings transfer over along with contacts and ringtones. While this is an improvement and people now have way too much data the requires transfer it is also a shame as it means most people don’t mess around in the settings menu.

When people ask me how to make a phone or device do a particular thing I often ask “Have you messed around in the settings menu?”. The reply is often “no”. People expect everything to work correctly out of the box and don’t understand how to tweak things or even that perhaps they should tweak things.

The main contents I needed to transfer to the new phone was music. Now, I suspect that within five years this won’t be necessary at all as I will stream all the music that I want. But that time is not yet so I keep “hard” versions of a lot of my music. I could use iTunes to transfer music. However, iTunes hates me. Or it hates my PC. Or it’s just shit. I’m not sure which it is but iTunes often freezes on the PC, fucks up the iPhone or just deletes the entire music content on the phone. I haven’t used iTunes to back up my phone for a few years now and I don’t use it to transfer music. I do use iTunes to import music onto the NAS and also create playlists and keep the folder contents organised to some degree. I have been frustrated with the way that iTunes hasn’t been consistent with the folder structure it uses and so I often delete the xml library file, move the folders around and then get iTunes to scan for new music.

A list of music that is contained within the iTunes folder is on this page: My Music. It isn’t a list of all music on the NAS because there’s also kids stuff, audiobooks, and stuff I rarely play.

I have used CopyTrans to move the music onto the new phone. It’s way more useful than iTunes and far more predictable.

I have used CopyTrans in the past to keep text messages and back those up but I rarely do that now, it’s not needed.

CopyTrans doesn’t hurt the PC in the same was iTunes does. It is a positive experience and well worth looking into if you find that iTunes is unpredictable and hard work on your PC. I have transferred around 7000 songs onto the new iPhone in a few hours. Job done. I’m a happy chap.

A Playlist [and a good one at that!]

So, it has been written within these communications that I have seen Combichrist a few times. , here, here and here. In fact it would be easier just to search Fooyah.net here.

So, out of those four gigs I reckon that the best set was the Old School Set they performed at Electrowerkz. I have now created a playlist on my iPhone and Sonos system that reflects what I think this concert was. I don’t have an exact list but this is close enough and a bloody good list of songs it is too!

OldSchool

CopyTrans Manager

For quite a while I have found iTunes to be thoroughly frustrating. It has issues with my music collection, randomly adds songs I’ve deleted and doesn’t like updating the artwork on my albums. iTunes also takes an age to synchronise my phone and when it does it fails to update artwork, copy playlists or new songs across to my phone. It seems to be a pretty bad and bloated piece of software. I don’t use iTunes to back up my phone and rely on the cloud for that, which I am thankful for as iTunes probably wouldn’t cope very well with it.

I searched the internet thingy and found a free piece of software called CopyTrans which has a suite of iPhone utilities. I was rather hesitant about using it as it could really mess things up. Would it work with iTunes and my phone and help me do the following:

  • Edit my playlists on my phone without me having to add songs one at a time?
  • Update the artwork on my phone without me needing to delete the songs and then load them again?
  • Copy music onto my phone quickly and efficiently?
  • Actually read my phone database and allow me to edit it (kind of)?

I do still need iTunes but only to manage my playlists on the NAS drive as that is where my Sonos system reads the files. I guess I could use a completely different music manager but iTunes works well as long as I don’t connect my phone to the PC (which is kinda the point of the software).

I downloaded CopyTrans and started it up. The Manager part of the suite is free to use. I was quite wary of doing this. I love my music and have spent ages making sure I have the songs I want and the correct artwork. It’s quite a time investment.

“Connect Your Phone”

CopyTrans wanted my phone. I connected it and waited. CopyTrans read my database and a song list appeared on my computer. I tried to copy some new songs across to my phone.

IT WORKED

AND QUICKLY

I tried editing a playlist – easy. I even tried making sure my artwork was up-to-date (I had noticed two albums only had artwork on the first song), this was really easy and IT WORKED.

The online help files are really good. It all seems so easy.

CopyTrans you have made my life a lot easier and I am thankful. I hope millions read this and use your software, but unfortunately this website only gets ~270 hits a month. More people should use CopyTrans.

Confession –  I have absolutely nothing to do with CopyTrans. I just think their software it worth a mention here.

Device – Device

This album is from the singer dude from Disturbed. Let’s face it, it sounds like a Disturbed album. It’s good. Not outstanding, but good.

He does have a song with a woman singing along with him. I don’t like that.

Sonos

I have installed some Sonos components in my house. I have been really impressed with the simplicity of them. They work really well. My only complaint would be that I have to physically turn the speakers on and off as I walk around the house. I don’t want them screaming out all the time to no-one.

I want an RFID chip installed in my arm and detectors placed in my house and then that connected to my Sonos system controller so it knows which speakers to turn on and off. THAT would make me extremely happy and also BIONIC. Yippee.

I lied, I have another complaint. As the Sonos controller unit reads my iTunes library I think it should be able to write to it so I get a “played” count whenever I play tunes. There are some tunes on my NAS drive that aren’t in my iTunes library but then I couldn’t care about those. It is highly unlikely I will ever play those through the Sonos system.

Long Time

Continuing the iTunes and iPhone theme I have here a list of songs arranged by time (descending).

iTunes sorted by length of song
Long Songs

I need to listen to most of these to check whether they are proper songs or just tricks that have lots of empty space. Time to melt by Lard definitely seems to be a proper song. Over time I will check these and get back to you. The list stands as follows:

  • Lard, Time To Melt – seems a proper song.
  • Therapy?, Sister – seems some parts of silence, cheats!
  • Combichrist, At The End Of It All
  • Senser, Weatherman
  • Lodestar, Iliac Crest
  • Nirvana, Something In The Way – gaps and silence.
  • Throbbing Gristle, After Cease To Exit

iTunes Albums

I spent a few hours at the weekend sorting out my iTunes library and then changing it back. I’ll explain:
My car stereo lets the iPhone plug into it. I can then browse the library and select songs and playlists etc. from the stereo display. Unfortunately the display doesn’t have many characters and so long album names scroll across which takes some time. If there are two parts to an album and I’ve jogged the select wheel while going over a bump then I have to wait ages and concentrate on the stereo display while the album name scrolls across. This is a touch unsafe and irritating.
So I decided to rename all multi-part albums with a 1 or 2 prefix so that I could see which part I had selected quickly on the car stereo display. Doing this took a while as I have my music library on my NAS drive and iTunes takes a while to adjust the music tags and then copy the new files to the phone.
That night I slept rather uneasily. It was distressing me that my albums were not correctly named. It seemed wrong.
So the next day I set about changing it back. Again it took a while but I feel more relaxed about it now. The albums are all correctly named and I’ll just have to be careful when selecting these songs in the car.
See my music collection here.
When I mentioned to WW that I had changed everything back to what it should be she said “I thought you’d do that”. I guess she knows me very well.