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Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Technology Challenge: Storing Media

pilecdsI love music. All kinds. The problem is I have so much of it!  If it’s not already loaded on my computer, I can’t usually find what I want, when I want to listen to it. Why isn’t it all loaded on iTunes, you may ask? Well, I did have 22,000 songs loaded (no, that’s not a typo) but I didn’t have enough space on my computer to load any more. In fact, for the past year I’ve been fighting to get by with about 50 GB of free space on my 500 GB hard drive. Needless to say, my computer was running slow and any time I downloaded something new, it usually required deleting something else.

I’d tried storing media on an external drive– years ago– but the communication between the two drives was just too slow. I’ve been wanting to do some video editing and the only way was to clear some space. I got a 2 TB My Passport external drive and have now begun the process of moving files and ripping all my music, pictures and video. After moving all my iTunes media from my computer to the drive, I got back nearly half of my hard drive’s storage and I immediately noticed a difference in my computer’s overall operating speed.

Now I find myself surrounded by CDs, in the middle of uploading six bankers boxes to my drive. Then finally, I’ll have immediate access to all my music in one place. (I’ll back it all up, of course.) That is— as long as iTunes doesn’t mysteriously start deleting songs again.

What’s that, you say? Have you ever gone to listen to an album you’ve loaded and found songs missing? This is a regular occurrence for me. I’d say probably 2/3rds of the albums I’ve ripped from CD are missing an average of two songs. This has even happened with mp3s I’ve purchased through Amazon.

For example, I went to listen to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and all the song tracks were there– except one… Thriller. How is that even possible!?!

The only albums that appear to be safe are… digital albums purchased from iTunes. Coincidence?

It might not entirely be an issue with the iTunes app but the files are no where to be found on my computer. It could also be partially due to the cataloging of the Gracenotes Media Database and the constant updates that occur between the two. But that doesn’t explain how the files disappear from the computer.  I can listen to an album one week and all the tracks are there– the next time I go to listen… two or three songs are missing– and the disappearing songs aren’t consecutive in the playlist (album) making it more of a mystery.

Sometimes an album gets split into multiple locations, or playlists making it frustrating when you want to listen to a complete recording. The only way to do that, when this happens, is to manually create a new playlist with the song files. Sound complicated? It shouldn’t be this hard. Understandably, these issues occur, caused by human or computer database error. In the long run, this technology is still relatively new and will continue to improve over time.

digital-musicAs I add more CDs to my digital collection, I have noticed more frequent communication with the Gracenotes Database, hopefully, cleaning up the files. I still have a huge stack of discs that aren’t recognized in the database. This will required, should I decide to add them all, that I enter the titles of each album, song, artist for each individual song track. After that, iTunes gives you the option to share/send the information to the main database for better recognition. It’s a lot of work for the ability to access music but the future convenience of it will make it worthwhile.

End Note: Since I started this process, I’ve gone from just over 2,000 albums in my digital collection, to over 4,000– and so far, no more songs have been lost.