June 28, 2010
iOS 4 for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPod touch (2nd generation), and iPod touch (3rd generation) is now available. Once it's installed, you can download iBooks for free. It works with your iTunes account to keep your reading in sync across your devices. As you move among your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, whatever you were reading opens to where you left off, and any bookmarks and notes you've created are synced as well. And books you purchase from iBookstore need only be purchased once -- you can place them on your other devices by going to iBookstore on each, tapping the Purchases icon on the lower right, and clicking Redownload for each one you want.
iBooks 1.1 can also display PDF files on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can add PDFs to iBooks using Mail (and Safari on iOS 4) or drag them directly into your iTunes library and sync them to your device. A PDFs button will appear alongside the Books one in the navigation bar at the top of your iBooks Library display to let you switch between the two. To customize what gets synced, select the device being synced in the Devices list in iTunes 9.2 and use the Books panel. When viewing PDF documents you can slide between pages, and spread and pinch to enlarge and shrink the contents just like you do in Safari, and your place will be automatically synced across your devices.
June 14, 2010
When you buy music via the iTunes Store or rip it from your CDs, iTunes saves basic information about the tracks and how they were recorded. (For music you rip, make sure "Automatically retrieve CD track names from Internet" is checked in your iTunes General preferences, and that you're online.) You can see what was saved by selecting a track and using the Get Info command in the File menu. If you have information you'd like to add or change -- because you're a stickler for accurate, complete composer information, for instance -- select the Info tab in the Get Info panel to see and use the fields you can edit.
By the way, you can also fine tune your search efficiency via the Sorting tab. To see what it does, select a track from an artist in your library whose name begins with "the" -- the Rolling Stones for instance -- and look at the information under the Sorting tab in the Get Info panel for that track. iTunes automatically eliminates "the" for the sort name for all groups whose names begin with "the." Search for those artists without starting with "the" and they'll appear in the Artist Column under the "t's" as you type, but most likely more quickly than if you'd had to begin with "t." In general it's a technique you can use to customize searching to fit how you personally like to look for particular music.
June 7, 2010
iTunes lets you see and use what's in your library in different ways which you can fluidly switch among to suit your moods and needs. Control starts at the top with the three View buttons next to the Search box on the upper right of the iTunes window. The one on the right, Cover Flow, lets you flip through your albums as though they were in a rack.
The Grid switch in the middle displays cover art as well, and it also brings the iTunes View menu into play. When you choose Grid view, a new Grid View command appears in the View menu offering a submenu of sorting choices. To get a sense of what each might do for you, select the Display Header command near the bottom of the menu to produce a narrow bar at the top of the view containing the different options, then switch among them. Each choice other than Albums produces what frequently amounts to stacks of albums. Hover over a stack and a play button will appear.
The List view on the left works in conjunction with a powerful Column Browser command in the View menu. The Show Column Browser command lets you put selection filters (Genres, Artists, etc.) on either the left or top of your view (your choice, near the bottom of the Column Browser menu), which you can then click among to find what you're looking for. The larger your library, the more useful you're likely to find this view. And finally, you can also see album art when you're using list view via Show Artwork Column in the View menu.
June 1, 2010
From the Quick Links section on the upper right of the iTunes main page, the My Alerts link takes you to a page where you can choose to see what's coming and what's recently arrived from artists whose content you've downloaded from the store, and to receive email alerts when new content from them appears. If you have Genius turned on you'll also see an option to have iTunes look at all the content in your library no matter where it's from to determine what to display. When you choose an option it'll be in effect the next time you click My Alerts. Don't be afraid to experiment. You can turn options off immediately if you don't like the results, or at any point in the future if your desires change.
There's another route to requesting email alerts about artists for music fans. When you click an artist's name in the iTunes Store, whether from search results or on an album page, you're taken to what amounts to a clickable index of all of that artist's albums and songs in the Store, plus a set of Artist Quick Links on the upper right. Click Alert Me and you can choose to add the artist to an email alert list of specific artists. To remove artists from the list after you've added them, use the Manage My Alerts button accessible via My Alerts on the iTunes main page and additionally from any alert emails you receive.