February 17, 2010
One of the great things about iTunes is having your whole library in one place, every track available for any playlist and whim. But it's only great because that place in turn lets you enjoy your library everywhere, and not only because it handles syncing with your iPhones and iPods. iTunes is local network smart, which makes possible Home Sharing, for instance, plus participating in sharing over your local network (work, dorm, etc.) via the Sharing tab in the Preferences panel. And in the Devices tab the "Look for remote speakers connected with AirTunes" checkbox enables still another kind of local network capability.
Apple's Airport Express Wi-Fi base stations come with a technology called AirTunes and include an audio minijack for speaker systems. Plug the Airport Express into the wall near your speakers and add it to your network (or use it to create a network), then plug the speakers into that minijack. Your AirPort Express will now show up in a pop-up menu in the lower righthand corner of the iTunes window as one of the places you can pick for the music to come out. Checking "Look for iPhone and iPod touch Remotes" will also make it show up as a Speakers choice in the free Remote app available from the iTunes App store. All the shared libraries are available via the Remote as well.
February 9, 2010
As you point in turn at the album/slipcase/etc. images in the iTunes Music, Movies and TV Shows stores, a small control will appear in the lower right of each image -- an iconic "i" (info) in Music, an iconic play button in Movies, and both in TV Shows. What they all share is a way to hear, see, and know more about the item in question and to act, all without having to leave the page you're on. Click the play button to bring up a panel containing video, basic info, and buttons for the buying/renting possibilities. "I" panels contain play and episode lists, and Buy buttons for each track/episode as well as for whole albums/series. And as you point at each track/episode, a small play button will appear on the left to let you preview the content.
Throughout all the panels a click on the small triangles next to each Buy button offers opportunities to share your thoughts (Facebook and Twitter), give the item as a gift, and/or add it to your wish list for later. In the Music store there's also a Preview All button at the bottom of the panel which plays through the preview for each track in turn, and a particularly interesting "Other Versions" option available via the triangle for each buyable track. Choose it to get an iTunes page containing other recordings and covers from all over the music store. Fun and often surprising.
February 3, 2010
You have more power over your view of the media you own than you may have realized if you're not in the habit of clicking around and dragging to see what you can do. When you use the List option to view your library (click the leftmost of the three View controls next to the Search box, or use As List at the top of the View menu) you can rearrange the order of the columns for instance by grabbing each in the title bar and dragging it to a new location.
You can resize the columns by dragging the lines in between them in the title bar -- convenient when you need to see all of a name too long to fit in the default "name" space for example. And clicking on a column header sorts your library contents by that criteria. (Clicking again reverses the order. Want a quick way to find all the digital booklets in your music library? Sort by Time. They'll all be at either the beginning or end of the list depending on whether you're sorting short to long or vice versa.)
You can also add and subtract columns to and from the view. Choose a section of your library (Music, Movies, etc.) then select List view and then choose View Options... in the View menu. Enter and remove checks from the Show Columns check boxes to determine which columns you'll see. You can make different choices for each of your library sections.