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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Returning Mac User, Brand New Questions


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byzantinefalcon

 
Member Since: Jun 18, 2013
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Dont want to write a huge paragraph about my introduction to Apple, but it might be relevant? Changed over to Mac in 2006 (I think) with a Titanium Powerbook G4 (Onyx?) and the iPod shuffle. Loved them both. In late 2009 the Powerbook suffered an unfortunate work related accident (had to be left in a car during an emergency, and the temps got high enough inside to cause... 'issues'). It has only been earlier this year that I was able to afford a new Macbook Pro.

So here I am with the following:
- 13" Macbook Pro - 2.5GHz Intel Core i5, 4GB 1600 MHz DDR3, 500G HD running OSX 10.8.4
- 32GB iPad Mini (Wifi)
- 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle

Happy with the current setup. Would of preferred a larger Macbook, but thinking I might just buy a desktop when I get back home next year. The iPad is everything I expected and a bit more, but a few issues I am hoping I can get some help with. I tried switching to a 6th Gen iPod Nano for a few months, but found I only really used the shuffle still (gym, mostly) so sold it.


Now, questions. I am finding that I am having to re-learn or remember things from when I owned my last mac, and certain things are not working quite like I remember. Also, I want to avoid issues like what I ran into when my Powerbook died (such as recovering the info on it.. which I am still trying to do). Below are some of my current hang-ups, maybe I can get some advice?


- Is there a way to access the files on my iPad other than through iTunes? I want to move PDF documents over so I can read them on the iPad, but have not figured out how to make that happen. Internet connection where I am is... lacking... to say the least (currently deployed), so I was hoping there was a way to do it either via direct connection or maybe bluetooth?

- I have almost 40GB of music in a variety of folders, but most of it is made up of duplicate files. Other than going through and sorting every song individually, what would be the best way to handle it? I am worried if I just randomly combine the folders files are going to be overwritten that shouldnt be (a more complete version of a song, or a better quality), but most of the programs that supposedly clean up your iTunes library have gotten horrible reviews.

- Along those same lines, I have most of my movies on portable hard drives. Spent a few weeks sorting those, and still need to finish up, but now I am trying to figure out how to sync them with iTunes so they can be moved over to my iPad (or so I can watch them on my macbook), and so iTunes can track which ones I have seen and have not seen.

Currently, I am watching various TV shows. So, I take the folder from the external and copy it into the Movies folder on my Macbook. Then go into iTunes, find the folder, add to library, and sync with the iPad. The only way I have found to get it to work right (where it just puts specific shows on my iPad, rather than the 200GB worth of movies I have) is to select the option to just move shows/movies I have not seen before. What I would LIKE to be able to do is set it up to move over a series (Sons of Anarchy, for example.. need to catch up on that) to the iPad and when I sync it will make note of which ones I have watched when I open up my iPad/Macbook. Right now, when I watch it on the iPad I just delete the file. There HAS to be something I am missing here, so I feel kind of silly asking.

- Looking for some sort of program where I can write blog entries (I have a game/hobby blog through Blogger) offline, then when I do get online with it (finding a hot spot is a once a week thing, give or take) I can do an upload of the blogs/photos. I would prefer to keep the Blogger account, but am open to moving it. Currently just writing text documents and copy/pasting them over, but that is a real hassle (part of why I have not updated it in ages - Omar's Workbench ). Had hoped to expand my writing, but trying to find a more convenient way to accommodate the process. Even something that might not need to upload, but can store my writing/photos locally that I can access later. My notebooks are filling up.

- Backing up. I know I need to do it, and I have the means to do so (either with one of my 500G or 1TB externals, or I can go buy a new one.. but wanting to avoid the $275 of a time capsule), but not really sure HOW to do so. Help?


I guess in the end, I want to find the most efficient way to streamline my file/data management, consolidate files/storage, and eliminate the stack of externals I am working with. Keep one external that has all my media (movies/music), one thats my dedicated backup (with a way to plug it in to back up my current setup once a month or so, without doing a complete copy and having the duplicate file issue I am currently dealing with), and so that it does it with a click or two.. rather than the mess I am fighting.

ALSO - Suggestions on wireless headphones or such to connect to the Macbook/iPad, so I can keep the shuffle for the gym and have something else for use when I am working on projects (but not getting all sweaty/dirty).


Sorry for the long post, I imagine I missed a few things, and I HOPE this is in the right place. Feels great to be back in the community, but not having a 'go-to' guy locally is giving me fits. Picking up a ton of ideas from MacLife and forums, but thought some personal help might be in order.

Thanks in advance!
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chas_m

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantinefalcon View Post
- Is there a way to access the files on my iPad other than through iTunes? I want to move PDF documents over so I can read them on the iPad, but have not figured out how to make that happen. Internet connection where I am is... lacking... to say the least (currently deployed), so I was hoping there was a way to do it either via direct connection or maybe bluetooth?
Yes. There are innumerable ways to do this, but I'm going to suggest two:

1. If you don't already have it, download the free iBooks for your iPad. Once that's done, you can move PDF documents into it while it's connected to your Mac.

How to add PDF files to read in iBooks on your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone - Simple Help

2. Alternate method: download the free Bump app for your iPad *and* Mac. Transferring files will be self-explanatory from there.


Quote:
- I have almost 40GB of music in a variety of folders, but most of it is made up of duplicate files. Other than going through and sorting every song individually, what would be the best way to handle it? I am worried if I just randomly combine the folders files are going to be overwritten that shouldnt be (a more complete version of a song, or a better quality), but most of the programs that supposedly clean up your iTunes library have gotten horrible reviews.
You'll need to tell us if iTunes is organizing the music or you are using manual organization before I can give you a recommendation on that.

Quote:
- Along those same lines, I have most of my movies on portable hard drives. Spent a few weeks sorting those, and still need to finish up, but now I am trying to figure out how to sync them with iTunes so they can be moved over to my iPad (or so I can watch them on my macbook), and so iTunes can track which ones I have seen and have not seen.
Assuming that not all of your movies are in iPad-friendly format, you can use the free Miro Video Converter or the paid (and excellent) iFFmpeg ($12) among other options to convert almost any format into the specific iPad configuration iTunes will accept and thus sync with the iPad. One in iTunes, a little dot lets you know if you have never watched a movie, watched part of it or watched all of it. IIRC you can set iTunes to delete all fully-watched films on each sync. You can also use your perfectly-acceptable way of deleting the movie when you finish watching it if you prefer.

A batch-conversion of shows should be able to automatically add them to iTunes so you don't have to worry about moving the right files around.

Quote:
- Looking for some sort of program where I can write blog entries (I have a game/hobby blog through Blogger) offline, then when I do get online with it (finding a hot spot is a once a week thing, give or take) I can do an upload of the blogs/photos.
There is a free iOS app for Blogger that will let you do this, as well as a number of third-party Mac programs such as MarsEdit ($40).

Quote:
- Backing up. I know I need to do it, and I have the means to do so (either with one of my 500G or 1TB externals, or I can go buy a new one.. but wanting to avoid the $275 of a time capsule), but not really sure HOW to do so. Help?
Time Machine (software) is already built into your Mac. Format one of those drives (make it one with more capacity than your boot drive) for Mac and plug it in, Time Machine will ask you if you want to use it for backing up. You do. That's it.

Quote:
ALSO - Suggestions on wireless headphones or such to connect to the Macbook/iPad, so I can keep the shuffle for the gym and have something else for use when I am working on projects (but not getting all sweaty/dirty).
Here you go, love mine: Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $150 | The Wirecutter

Those are $70, and you can pair it with both the iPad and the Mac (not at the same time, obviously). Note in that article that there is an alternate bt option for people who sweat a lot that costs $81.
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byzantinefalcon

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Yes. There are innumerable ways to do this, but I'm going to suggest two:

1. If you don't already have it, download the free iBooks for your iPad. Once that's done, you can move PDF documents into it while it's connected to your Mac.

How to add PDF files to read in iBooks on your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone - Simple Help

2. Alternate method: download the free Bump app for your iPad *and* Mac. Transferring files will be self-explanatory from there.
Appreciate it, I will check into that.

Quote:
You'll need to tell us if iTunes is organizing the music or you are using manual organization before I can give you a recommendation on that.
At this time the files are sitting in a folder on my desktop. When I tried getting them all into iTunes a few weeks ago, there were difficulties. It did not read all of the files, was extremely slow in processing them, and there were other quirks. It started up, the system seemed to lag, and I aborted the import. Since then I just downloaded a few songs from the cloud to put on my iPod and came here.

Quote:
Assuming that not all of your movies are in iPad-friendly format, you can use the free Miro Video Converter or the paid (and excellent) iFFmpeg ($12) among other options to convert almost any format into the specific iPad configuration iTunes will accept and thus sync with the iPad. One in iTunes, a little dot lets you know if you have never watched a movie, watched part of it or watched all of it. IIRC you can set iTunes to delete all fully-watched films on each sync. You can also use your perfectly-acceptable way of deleting the movie when you finish watching it if you prefer.
Most of my movies are iPad friendly, though there are some that it has a hard time with. I picked up VLC early on, it was the program I have been using for years and it seemed easier that way.

I will look into how I can set it up to delete viewed movies/shows off both, but will it delete the ones that are not finished?

Quote:
A batch-conversion of shows should be able to automatically add them to iTunes so you don't have to worry about moving the right files around.
Here is my situation. I have my shows on an external. I then move them from there onto my macbook into the movies folder. Then, I add them to iTunes, which makes another copy of them in the iTunes folder (at least, I believe this is what happens). Can I get into iTunes and prevent it from making copies of the files, or is that necessary for it to 'view' them? Can I just manually move the movies onto the iPad independent of iTunes (since I dont use iTunes to watch them anyway, though I suppose I could).

Quote:
There is a free iOS app for Blogger that will let you do this, as well as a number of third-party Mac programs such as MarsEdit ($40).
Thank you, I did not see that when I went looking. I will take a look again.

Quote:
Time Machine (software) is already built into your Mac. Format one of those drives (make it one with more capacity than your boot drive) for Mac and plug it in, Time Machine will ask you if you want to use it for backing up. You do. That's it.
I have a 1TB external that should do the trick.

When I decide to back it up, will Time Machine look at whats on the hard drive from the last back up vs whats on it from the new back up and just delete/copy/replace to make it the most up to date?

Quote:
Here you go, love mine: Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $150 | The Wirecutter

Those are $70, and you can pair it with both the iPad and the Mac (not at the same time, obviously). Note in that article that there is an alternate bt option for people who sweat a lot that costs $81.
Appreciate the quick response!
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chas_m

 
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Member Since: Jan 22, 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantinefalcon View Post
At this time the files are sitting in a folder on my desktop. When I tried getting them all into iTunes a few weeks ago, there were difficulties. It did not read all of the files, was extremely slow in processing them, and there were other quirks. It started up, the system seemed to lag, and I aborted the import.
It was probably trying to convert your files that are not in MP3 or AAC format into those formats. It can also handle WAV and AIFF but those files are HUGE so files in those formats would need to be converted. It doesn't handle WiMP files or anything with DRM on it.

All that music sitting on your desktop is sucking your machine's resources pretty hard. Whether you decide to import them into iTunes or manage them outside iTunes, I would recommend moving them off the desktop ASAP.

Quote:
Most of my movies are iPad friendly, though there are some that it has a hard time with. I picked up VLC early on, it was the program I have been using for years and it seemed easier that way.

I will look into how I can set it up to delete viewed movies/shows off both, but will it delete the ones that are not finished?
No.

Quote:
Here is my situation. I have my shows on an external. I then move them from there onto my macbook into the movies folder.
Unnecessary step (see below)

Quote:
Then, I add them to iTunes, which makes another copy of them in the iTunes folder (at least, I believe this is what happens).
Yes.

Quote:
Can I get into iTunes and prevent it from making copies of the files, or is that necessary for it to 'view' them?
You can manage the library outside iTunes, but I don't recommend it (it'll end in tears). A better idea is to create an iTunes library that lives on a drive with a lot of space.

Quote:
Can I just manually move the movies onto the iPad independent of iTunes (since I dont use iTunes to watch them anyway, though I suppose I could).
It's not impossible, but you wouldn't be using the iTunes app to watch them anyway; you'd be using the Videos app on the iPad, and yes they need to be in iTunes to sync to the iPad.


Quote:
When I decide to back it up, will Time Machine look at whats on the hard drive from the last back up vs whats on it from the new back up and just delete/copy/replace to make it the most up to date?
After the first backup, yes that's exactly what happens.
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byzantinefalcon

 
Member Since: Jun 18, 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
It was probably trying to convert your files that are not in MP3 or AAC format into those formats. It can also handle WAV and AIFF but those files are HUGE so files in those formats would need to be converted. It doesn't handle WiMP files or anything with DRM on it.

All that music sitting on your desktop is sucking your machine's resources pretty hard. Whether you decide to import them into iTunes or manage them outside iTunes, I would recommend moving them off the desktop ASAP.
It is in a folder on the desktop.

I thought the delay with moving the data over the USB would take that much longer, I did not think having them on the macbook was going to be a problem.

My ultimate plan is to have them all in iTunes, sorted, and the old files deleted.. then I can backup the music on my media external (it will probably take the existing 30GB down to 15GB). Following that, I planned to prune it further, but wanted the 'cleaned up' files available somewhere in case they were needed again. My Foreign Language CD turned MP3's for example, do not need to be in my iTunes library.


Quote:
You can manage the library outside iTunes, but I don't recommend it (it'll end in tears). A better idea is to create an iTunes library that lives on a drive with a lot of space.
I like the sound of that, but how does it break down? Would I need to have that external hooked up when iTunes is on, or just for those files? How would I even go about setting that up?

Quote:
It's not impossible, but you wouldn't be using the iTunes app to watch them anyway; you'd be using the Videos app on the iPad, and yes they need to be in iTunes to sync to the iPad.
No problem, I will just stick with my TV shows on the iPad (and thus iTunes) and keep VLC for my movies.

Quote:
After the first backup, yes that's exactly what happens.
Thanks!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantinefalcon View Post
Dont want to write a huge paragraph...
Unfortunately you did! Human bites please!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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byzantinefalcon

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Unfortunately you did! Human bites please!

- Nick
That WAS the condensed version.
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chas_m

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantinefalcon View Post
I like the sound of that, but how does it break down? Would I need to have that external hooked up when iTunes is on, or just for those files? How would I even go about setting that up?
You can have multiple iTunes libraries wherever you want to put them. For example I have my "music" library on my boot drive (for now, thinking of moving it) and a "spoken word" library (which consists of BBC radio recordings, audiobooks, radio dramas, etc and suchlike) on an external drive. You can switch between libraries by opening iTunes with the option key held down (also how you create new libraries); the last one you picked becomes the default until you change it again.

Naturally, if you are accessing a given library, the drive its on needs to be mounted, otherwise you get an error message and a chance to change libraries.

So, with a little thought towards how you want to organize your music, you could have a compact library on your boot drive and larger libraries on externals that are hooked up when you want them or are at your desk.

You can, incidentally, do the same thing with iPhoto libraries. I am in the planning stage of taking my 100GB of pics (across various libraries) and splitting them into years. Only the most recent year will be on my boot drive; the rest will go on the media drive. One thing to remember: Time Machine backup software only backs up the boot drive. Anything on external drives that you want to protect (photos, videos, music etc) will need to also be backed up in some other way.
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byzantinefalcon

 
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Quote:
You can have multiple iTunes libraries wherever you want to put them. For example I have my "music" library on my boot drive (for now, thinking of moving it) and a "spoken word" library (which consists of BBC radio recordings, audiobooks, radio dramas, etc and suchlike) on an external drive. You can switch between libraries by opening iTunes with the option key held down (also how you create new libraries); the last one you picked becomes the default until you change it again.
Got it. I was under the impression that the library was the library, had no idea you could do multiple ones. That opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Quote:
Naturally, if you are accessing a given library, the drive its on needs to be mounted, otherwise you get an error message and a chance to change libraries.
Yup, that was my "did I really just ask that" question.

Quote:
So, with a little thought towards how you want to organize your music, you could have a compact library on your boot drive and larger libraries on externals that are hooked up when you want them or are at your desk.
Working on that. I really appreciate the help with that, I had iTunes on my PC, but I guess I neglected to update it because there are a LOT of changes to how it is. Got the .pdf thing figured out, and that was way simpler than I expected.

Any ideas on how to sort the library initially? Remove duplicates, pick the best quality song, etc?

Quote:
You can, incidentally, do the same thing with iPhoto libraries. I am in the planning stage of taking my 100GB of pics (across various libraries) and splitting them into years. Only the most recent year will be on my boot drive; the rest will go on the media drive. One thing to remember: Time Machine backup software only backs up the boot drive. Anything on external drives that you want to protect (photos, videos, music etc) will need to also be backed up in some other way.
I have yet to get into iPhoto. Another 20GB or so of photos from the past 10-15 years that need to be gone through. I opened it up and gave it a try, though I did not spend too much time with it. Is there a way to keep them from doing what iTunes does with importing/refiling them? I was having a heck of a time finding photos that I imported/edited in the finder after I put them through iPhoto. Again, good possibility of user error.


Got a chance to follow up on most of what you suggested. Turns out I had blogger on my iPad already, it just saw no use because of the lack of internet connection. For now, not sure if that is going to work, but the cost of the other one you mentioned was a bit high for a 'try it out'. I will figure something out.

I managed to get the external cleared and set up for Time Capsule. Thanks again for all the help with this, I got more done last night than I have in the previous month, now that I know where to look (or where I can find the answers myself).


Now it is just a process of sorting media and setting that up to work how I want it to.
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chas_m

 
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First off, well done to you for accomplishing so much!


Quote:
Any ideas on how to sort the library initially? Remove duplicates, pick the best quality song, etc?
There's a program called Gemini II that sorts out duplicates of all kinds, but for iTunes in particular it has a built-in duplicate detector (under the "View" menu). By picking what criteria you'd like to see in the columns (such as bit rate or file format, also controlled in the View menu), you can easily pick the "better quality" file.


Quote:
I have yet to get into iPhoto. Is there a way to keep them from doing what iTunes does with importing/refiling them? I was having a heck of a time finding photos that I imported/edited in the finder after I put them through iPhoto. Again, good possibility of user error.
Here's the "trick" to iPhoto: don't do **anything** to the photos except **within** iPhoto. Because people tend to accidentally toss/delete pictures they intended to keep, Apple has resorted to a "hidden vault" approach with iPhoto, and this means that if there's something you want to do to a picture, no matter what it is, the process starts and ends IN IPHOTO. Never EVER in Finder or anyplace else.


Quote:
Got a chance to follow up on most of what you suggested. Turns out I had blogger on my iPad already, it just saw no use because of the lack of internet connection. For now, not sure if that is going to work, but the cost of the other one you mentioned was a bit high for a 'try it out'. I will figure something out.
Get a nice little word processor for the iPad (and a keyboard if possible) and scratch out the text of your entries there (or on the Mac and then transfer them to the iPad later). You can always then throw em into Blogger when you have a connection and fancy em up.
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byzantinefalcon

 
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I really appreciate the help! Sounds silly, but some of these things had me hung up for weeks, and all it took was a few days and a game plan to get productive again.

I will check out Gemini II.

Let me play around with iPhoto before I start posting questions about that. I have an idea of what I want to do, so if I cant figure it out on my own I will be back.

Thanks again!
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