The Dork Report for September 27, 2006

  • Because I just can’t help myself, a few more comments on iTunes:
    • The iTunes 7.0.1 maintenance update has finally dropped. I haven’t noticed any real speed improvements, but Apple has fixed the bug of dragging image files to the album art window not working. Partially fixed, rather… you can now only drag one image, not multiple as you used to pre-version 7 (you can still do so via the pop-up Song Info window).
    • I’ve had an "iPod with Video" for months, but just now noticed an oddity. One of Apple’s touted features is the elegantly simple "Shuffle songs" menu item. One click and you’re served up a random steam of the entire contents of your iPod. The problem is, it draws from the entire contents of your iPod, including video! If a video comes up on shuffle, it plays the audio only, with a still from the video serving as album art. Obviously not looking at my iPod screen unless I need to change something, the only reason I noticed this issue is that it started playing a song for which I know I only have the music video purchased from the iTunes Store. Video soundtracks are typically of a much lower audio quality than a dedicated MP3 or AAC audio file, so it sounded terrible. To avoid having videos mixed in with your audio, you apparently have to forgo the Shuffle menu command altogether, and take the extra step to navigate through the "Music" menus or to a playlist you’ve manually created yourself.
    • And finally, an iTunes smart playlist question: is there a way to refresh a smart playlist generated by random? If you set up a smart playlist of, for instance, 10 random songs from the 1980’s, iTunes will create exactly that for you, but it appears to be frozen that way unless you change a criterion. What if I just want a different 10 songs from the 80’s?
  • Jasper Hauser on designing an icon.
  • Steven Heller interviews Gary Hustwit, director of the documentary Helvetica.
  • A new record in narrowly focused blogs: Hawk Wings focuses exclusively on Apple’s Mail.app. Who knew there were so many add-ons?
  • Disco is having Toast for breakfast. A much-needed tool for the Mac, cool-looking and blessedly cheap.

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