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Learning to Live with iTunes

August 8, 2009

As I mentioned previously, my biggest gripe about my new iPhone so far is that I need to use iTunes to transfer media files to it. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, my preferred media management software is J River’s Media Center, which (like most non-Apple applications) will not work with the iPhone, thanks to Apple.

I had not used iTunes before and when I installed it, I was shocked to see what little functionality was present in this popular application. I was especially annoyed by its inability to watch a folder automatically for new media files and automatically add them to the iTunes library. Reimporting all the files in a folder to pick up new additions resulted in many duplicate entries in my library for some reason.

However, one advantage of iTunes is that its popularity has resulted in the availability of many third party applications that add functionality. FolderWatch is one such application that adds the ability to add new files from a folder and delete dead links (to files that no longer exist) from the iTunes library. Running FolderWatch starts iTunes, so all I have to do now is run FolderWatch instead of iTunes when I want to sync my iPhone. The free version of Folderwatch has some annoying nag screens, but given how little I use iTunes, that is not really a problem for me.

By the way, I still do most of the management of tracks on my iPhone with J River Media Center. How? I have created a special directory for iTunes and I have set up that directory as a syncable “device” on Media Center with a set of smartlists that describe what files I want on my iPhone. So syncing my iPhone is a two step process: run Media Center and sync the iTunes directory “device”, then run FolderWatch to sync update iTunes, and run iTunes which syncs the iPhone itself.

Although this actually not quite as bad as syncing my Windows Mobile phone (which as a practical matter involved removing the micoSD Card each time), it is still worse that syncing the Blackberry, which Vista recognized as two drives (one for the Blackberry and one for the storage card).


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