Homo Fabula

Synaptic Misfirings of an unpublished author

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"I'll definitely see you there, unless I get shot with an elephant gun"

~ Guy on the phone seated behind me in a cafe today

I don't normally listen to peoples conversations when sitting in cafes, honest. That quote just kind of osmosed into my conciousness whilst writing and I had to write it down.

Yes, I write in Cafes, and no, I'm not a pretentious arsehole. I do not have a goatee, nor do I have a beret. Well, I do, but it's an old military beret and it doesn't fit, besides which it's blue and so not really suitable. I honestly find cafe writing helpful in my progress - the cafe in which I write is busy enough to force me to concentrate, but not so busy that I feel smothered. Most excellent.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I've always had a problem with iTunes ratings.

That sounds a lot like a confession at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I know, but it's true. I love the program, don't get me wrong, and I use it a hell of a lot, even going as far as purchasing music with it, despite the (admittedly lax) DRM. But there's this thing, this littler irritant that's always niggled me about it.

Maybe it's just me, but I like a song more or less depending on its context, making assigning ratings very difficult. Say if I'm feeling happy, I don't want any songs that'll bring me down. Likewise, if I'm angry I either want to listen to happy songs to make me feel better, or smoulder for a bit in my angry songs.

I intially thought tagging was the answer: I've been on a flat hierarchy trip lately, Gmail and del.icio.us have been rockin' my work world so much I've installed a similar system on my Mac with the aid of spotlight comments. But on further investigation, it may be easy to tag a song with iTunes by sticking a word in the comments, but there's no way to append to these comments as far as I can tell, which is what I can do with Automator. I considered seeking an Applescript solution, but then I thought, hey, what if I'm out on the road with my iPod, find a new (ish) song, and want to categorize it on the fly?

So I chose to use ratings as a tagging system.

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This isn't ideal as I only have five categories for all of my music, meaning they end up as wider, emotional categories rather than the traditional narrow playlist. But then again, maybe that's a good thing.

Incidentally, that 'Baleetable" playlist is for any songs I want to delete. I'm not a completist about album listings, and I'm more than willing to sacrifice track 4 of an album even if it means things aren't all neat, like. But I guess I could jsut use it as an 'Unplayable' playlist.

So, if you're finding you're not using Ratings as much as you'd think, why not give this a try?