How can I get my iPod to play nice with my PowerBook and my XP box?
September 12, 2005 4:30 PM   Subscribe

One iPod (60 GB). One PowerBook. One XP Box. One keswick. How do I keep all four happy?

Okay, I finally bought an iPod (60 GB) the other day. My 70 GB music collection resides on my XP box under my desk. I was able to cull my collection down to 55.8 GB for the iPod and got it loaded along with some smart playlists. I have it set to sync only certain playlists rather than automatic sync or manual sync.

My main computer, however, is my PB (also 60GB).

Here's a few things I'd like to be able to do. Maybe you can tell me if a) they're possible and b) how to do them.
  1. I'd like to be able to some how administer my iPod's library on my Powerbook, because (apparently) you can only append comments (rather than replace/edit comments) via iTunes OSX.
  2. I'd like to be able to create new smart playlists on my PowerBook and put them on my iPod.
  3. Also, if possible, can I add the MP3s located on my XP box to my PowerBook's iTunes library without adding them to my PowerBook's drive?
Basically, I'd like to kick my XP box to the curb, proverbially speaking.
posted by keswick to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: 1 - You can edit comments, rate & rank, create playlists as much as you want on the machine that isn't the iPod's "home" - you just can't (with iTunes) get the music back off of it

2 - See #1, it's not so much creating then putting, but creating on the iPod.

3 - Yes, just drop the MP3's from your XP box onto your iPod, when you next plug your iPod into your PB they'll appear in your iPod.

Remember your iPod's HDD is a seperate entity from either your XP's or PB's HDD.

If you want to kick it to the curb, then that's another matter...
posted by oliyoung at 4:40 PM on September 12, 2005

Response by poster: Yes, but how? Do I need to select "manual" when hooking it up to my PowerBook to prevent it from trying to copy all the MP3s to the PowerBook's HD? And if so, does putting it manual on the PowerBook affect the semi-automatic setting on the XP machine?
posted by keswick at 4:50 PM on September 12, 2005

If you're runing OSX, you should be able to launch a Samba share from the console to network the windows machine. The windows box will show up as some directory. In Unix, the command would be
smbmount //your_windows_computer_name/shared_directory /some_directory_on_the_mac/ -o [OPTIONS]
I imagine there is an easier way, but I'm a linux person, and I don't know Mac OS. This should work ok, from what I know of OS X.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:52 PM on September 12, 2005

It sounds like you want iTunes on both your XP machine and your Powerbook, and for both of them to have the same library.

While this could work, have you thought about not even using iTunes on your XP machine? You could just treat your XP machine as an external hard drive, and manage your music from the Powerbook exclusively. The following method might work with two iTunes libraries, but you'd have a hell of a time keeping them in sync.

In the Finder, choose Go > Connect To Server (Cmd-K.) This will bring up a window that asks for a server name. Click Browse at the bottom. This should open a Finder window from which you can select Network > Workgroup > (etc until you find your shared folder on your XP box.)

You might have to enter your Windows username and password to connect to your XP box (in fact, I'd be worried if you didn't,) but it should work. Now, in iTunes, you can set this folder as your iTunes music folder.

Use iTunes as usual. Just make sure you're connected to your XP machine before you update your iPod; iTunes doesn't like not being able to find its own files.

I have not actually used this method, and I cannot guarantee it will work. Perhaps some fudging will be required here and there, but if you post on this thread again, I'm sure someone can answer where I can not.

Good luck, and enjoy that new iPod.
posted by Third at 5:46 PM on September 12, 2005

D'oh. I didn't see that last line. Hopefully my method will work out for you and you won't have to open iTunes on your XP machine ever again.
posted by Third at 5:48 PM on September 12, 2005

I'm in much the same boat. I recently bought a PowerBook and I'm wondering if there's any value in moving my iPod maintenance onto the PB from the XP machine. What are the pros and cons, given I have things pretty well set up on the XP box (in terms of downloads, ID3 tag editing, etc.)?
posted by yerfatma at 6:21 PM on September 12, 2005

If you want to use the auto-synch feature of iTunes where it'll duplicate your entire music library to the iPod, you'll have problems. If both computers have this setting on, one collection will wipe off the other on the iPod. Although it's more of a pain, if you want to regularly copy some music from either computer to the iPod, then turn off automatic synching and use the manual mode. Then you select what you want on the iPod and can add from whatever source you want. If you're trying to limit down how you access things, go with one of the suggestions upthread.

That appending versus replacing/editing comments thing is weird. You should be able to change everything about a file, regardless of platform. I've noticed some weirdness in iTunes 5 so I wonder if they've done something sneaky to limit down what you do outside of the "source" library. I'll post back to the thread if I find anything out.
posted by mikeh at 8:06 AM on September 13, 2005

Response by poster: Okay, I figured I'd update with what I've learned:

I switched to manual mode and was able to update the comments using the Append-To Applescript. I also updated the years of some tracks. However, for some reason, I was unable to reorder existing playlists on the iPod. (Yes, I made sure I selected the iPod's playlist in iTunes.) I decided to go back to a semi-auto sync on the XP box.

On the initial first resync, I was afraid it was going to recopy all 60GBs. Luckily, this was not the case. HOWEVER, it overwrote the updated years I tagged via my Mac. It DID NOT overwrite the comments, but synced them and reflected the changes I made via iTunes OSX. I'm now continuing to use the iPod with the XP box in semi-auto sync.
posted by keswick at 5:51 PM on October 1, 2005

Response by poster: update to the update. After making changes to the years on the XP box and syncing to the iPod, I switched to manual mode again and tried to append comments via OSX. When I resynced back to the XP machine, the comments disappeared. I have no idea what to expect anymore, so I'm just muddling by with Dumb Playlists.
posted by keswick at 3:51 PM on October 5, 2005

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