Archive for May, 2010

iTunes Expressions

iTunes smart playlists are actually fairly complex boolean expressions (since iTunes 9, previous versions were not as robust). This page describing iTunes library management contains more text than the entire Lua 3.0 manual! (I’m cheating here, Lua is on v5.1, and the manual is more than twice as large these days, but the point still stands). Via dropdowns and text boxes you’re practically writing SQL WHERE clauses when creating a smart playlist.

Yet for all that complexity, there is STILL no way built into iTunes to make a Smart Playlist that can precisely select between High-def and standard-def TV Shows and movies.

My compromise is making a playlist that selects shows between 20 and 31 minutes that are greater than 500MB, and shows 39 minutes or longer that are greater than 900MB. Those numbers aren’t very precisely chosen, but they seemed to work properly for all but one episode in my library, there was one hour long episode that says it’s “HD” but is only 600MB, I ignored that one, but it illustrates why this is such a bad solution. There are standard def shows that are nearly 600MB in my library too.

The compromise some people come to is manually adding an HD Tag to the composer, description, comments, or some other field, but the whole point here is that I’m trying to avoid manually doing anything to differentiate them. I could just as easily add all the HD videos to a dumb playlist, and then select on that playlist in a smart playlist.

I’ve had this frustration for at least a year, since we first got an Apple TV. When, when, when will Apple fix it? Or if they have, then when, when, when someone on the internet figure out how to do it?

Since the thing I wanted this playlist for is already an Applescript that’s iterating TV Shows from a playlist, I suppose the “solution” in this case is to make the Applescript able to differentiate. The filename actually has an “(HD)” in it for HD episodes, and Applescript does have access to filenames, but iTunes proper can’t select on filename contents.

On the other hand, the horror of having to actually write more than a few lines of Applescript caused me to write just enough to be able to call out to a python script instead. So there’s a whole ‘nother rant about crappy Apple “programming languages” right there. I do realize that Python can use Applescript interfaces directly, but then it’s harder to just Download a script that almost does what I want and fix the parts that don’t.

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I Got a New Dumb Terminal!

Yesterday, I managed to install the new version of emacs on the server that hosts this blog. I know what you’re thinking, amazing, right?! Well yeah, but I did it sitting on my mom’s couch (happy Mother’s Day, mom, don’t mind me while I sysadmin) with nothing but an iPad and iSSH. Not only did I install it, I can actually use it. And blog about it.

None of it as easy or as fast as it would be at a “real” computer, but I’m pretty happy I was able to do it.

I guess that’s hundreds of dollars spent in order to emulate a 32 year old dumb terminal. Sounds like a bargain to me!

The hardest part of all of the above? Getting the links and pictures in this post. The WordPress software for iPad really kind of sucks. I did this via the web based HTML Editor. I probably should’ve used emacs.

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Stuff I deleted from Facebook

I don’t really care if the world knows all this, I just resent Facebook making it ever harder for me to control. So my Facebook profile is now almost devoid of info besides a link to this site. Also It thinks I was born in 1992. You used to be able to edit your birthday, so I did, often, just to see what ads I got for different ages (and because they never let you leave the year blank). Now you can’t, so I’ll be 22 years younger forever since the last time I played with it I made myself 18.

Things Facebook used to know about me include:
I work at Blizzard
I live in San Clemente, CA
I attended UC Riverside and Dana Hills High School
I “like” Rock Sugar (the band), Bruce Campbell, Have’a Corn Chips, Swiss Army Knives, and half a dozen other random things
You can find various ways to contact me over there on the About/Contact page.

Also, this is my first post from an iPad. Typing on it really doesn’t suck!

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