Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oct 18 - iPod Obsession or OCD?

I will start with my apologies for my lax Blogging, but life happens.

Anyway, in a previous Blog Why We Must Practice Subterfuge (Sept. 19, 2009) I took you on my journey of acquired a new state-of-the-art 160gb iPod. What I didn't tell you was my entire iPod Saga (trust me, it's more interesting than Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace).

November 4, 2005 - I purchase a used 40gb iPod for $300 (current retail is $400) and my love affair begins. I lot this baby up with tons of stuff, but selectively from my 1500+ CD collection.

June 2007 - I find a lost 80gb iPod in a locker at my gym. I post signs, but nobody claims it. It is filled lots of music I don't own, so in the Comments field, I label all of these as "newpod" and begin to listen to them. The bulk of these tracks are CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and while some the Rock from groups like Relient K are great, I delete a lot as soon as "he", "him", "Jesus" and "Lord" become overwhelming.

Also, the guy I'm dating has an iPod that's completely backed up to an external hard drive. He copies all his tracks to my iPod and backs up my tracks to his hard drive. This will prophetically save my life. I then spend a lot of time weeding out duplicates. Oh, and I give away my 40gb iPod which (to date) is still functioning.

May 2008 - Now dating a new guy (Mark whom I'm still with), I give him a lot of iPod tracks and he gives me all of his. I again spend a lot of time organizing and integrating these new tracks into my library.

Now, when I say 'organizing' I mean slaving over. I change all of the Artists to 'Last Name, First Name'; I standardize album titles - using things like "(OBC)" to indicate Original Broadway Cast; I find 4k Artwork to add to all albums, I add some 'Composers' (only ones I care to ever sort by); I standardize and limit my 'Genres'; and juggle over 30 Smart Playlists and 15 Manual Playlists. Because my iPod memory is larger than my MacBook memory, it contains more tracks than are in my Library - it IS my Library.

June 2008 - The iPod crashes. Big time! It cannot be read by iTunes, but utilizing a third party software, the tracks can be read on the iPod. They are all immediately downloaded back to iTunes, but some are damaged. I call my 'ex-with-the-hard-drive' (who now lives in Chicago) and he - very graciously - mails it out to me to retrieve the tracks. I also get 's iPod and retrieve his tracks. I now have about 23,000 tracks - including a massive amount of duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates and hundreds of scrambled titles.

This is not good and causes me A LOT of STRESS (which is why I think it's a form of OCD). In July 2008, I get myself a 500gb External Drive of my own and copy EVERYTHING onto it in separate folders (Old iPod [pre-crash from the hard drive], Old iTunes [pre-crash], current iTunes [rebuilt], Ex's iPod and Mark's iPod). These are then organized on the 500gb External Drive under the title, 'The Complete Library" and the rebuilding truly begins.

Now, since I cannot trust the tracks, I select the one version of the track that I can trust the most (from the ex's hard drive) and load those onto the iPod. I mark them all in the Comments field as "evaluate" and begin to listen to them - all of them. The rest of the tracks in the duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates in the Library and 'de-selected' but kept (for now) just in case the Chosen One on the iPod is bad. This process takes about a month of me straining over my laptop for hours upon hours after work... sometimes until 2AM, struggling between the Angel on my right shoulder saying "Go to Bed" and the Devil on my left shoulder saying, "Must finish iPod".

I create a Smart Playlist called 'Evaluate' in which every track lives in. BUT, if I listen to it and it's good, I give it a Two-Star Rating and it 'moves itself' to another Smart Playlist called 'Clean', if I don't like the track, I give it a One-Star Rating and it moves itself to a Smart Playlist called 'Delete' and if I like the track and it is damaged, I
give it a Three-Star Rating and it moves itself to a Smart Playlist called 'Replace'.

Scared yet... oh, there's more. Every few days, I have to jive the iPod back with the Complete Library - marking the Clean ones as good, deleting the Deleted ones and selecting or replacing the damaged tracks in Replace.

Over the next year, the 80gb iPod crashes another three times, but this time, the reload is much less painless, BUT I still have way too many version of too many songs and it is taking me FOREVER - because every time it crashes, I loose the "Last Date Played" info so I don't know what's clean! I then come up with yet another system.

Utilizing the BPM (beats per minute) field that I never use, I start putting in various numbers: 1=delete; 3=replace; 4 and 5 are simply four-star and five-star songs that put them into their appropriate Smart Playlists; and 24 is my lucky number so it simply = clean (oh, and a 2 will eventually mean it 'needs' something - maybe it's in the wrong Genre, Art is missing, etc.).

Phew - well in Sept 2009 (as you know from the earlier blog) Mark got me a new iPod. The transfer was easy and complete, but I now alter my game plan for what I hope is the final time and the most concise and thorough play through I can envision.

I create a Smart Playlist called "Play Me!" which contains every track that does not have BPM listed and has not yet been played through and a Smart Playlist called "Played!!" that has every track that's does not have a BPM and has been played. This the playlist I listen to most of the time and each night (or so) I true-up the "Played!!" against the The Complete Library (including deleting all of the duplicates and triplicates now that I have THE good track). As of right now, The Complete Library = 22876 Tracks, the iPod = 19,545 of which 4174 are certified as Clean... only 15,371 to go on the iPod (13 need replacing).

Oh, and if I add something new? I still mark it as 'evaluate' in Comments field, so those have extra steps to integrate after they are certified clean ('Evaluate' is a Smart Playlist and once listened to, they move themselves into 'Add' - another Smart Playlist).

Well... if you have actually made it to the end of this Blog, congratulations! It's only taken me about 2 hours to write it, and if that's not being Obsessed about an Obsession (or OCD), I don't know what is!

[FYI - lately I've been looking at the way the Artist's appear on the screen of the iPod... instead of "Last Name, First Name" I could change it to "First Name- Last Name" but to Sort properly, I'd have to also move the Last Name, First Name information to the Sort By Field!

- somebody please stop me... help!]


  1. me too, susan, me too.

    when did that ex send you the hard drive from chicago?

    which ex lives in chicago?

  2. man, i thought i was crazy!! i can spend 2 hours just importing 1 album..i need to get it just right! LOL

  3. Wow. What can I say. This is frightening.