Our Favorite iPod AppleScripts
Want to enhance your quality of life, save time, and reduce the incidence of repetitive stress injuries? Well here’s how, using some of our favorite iPod AppleScripts.
If you havenít heard of Bookmarking before, you might wish you had. When an AAC audio file has been so annointed, you can return to the track at any later time and have it pick up right where you left off. Audible has included Bookmarking in their audio book AACs. And you thought bookmarks for plain old regular books were super convenient!
Apple revealed in a briefly-posted Knowledge Base article (#93731, now removed) that all you have to do to make an AAC file bookmarkable is change its file type to the four-character “M4B ” (that fourth character is a space). This is different from the file extension, which would be “m4a” or “m4p”. Apple suggested using a “third-party” file editor, but somebody there forgot that Appleís own “first-party” AppleScript is capable of the job. Make Bookmarkable is an AppleScript that you can run from iTunesí Scripts Menu that will change the file type of the selected AAC tracks (protected and non-protected) so that they are bookmark-groovy.
For audiobook listeners who rip their own books, being able to make imported files bookmarkable is bliss. Set a track in iTunes as bookmarkable, copy it to the iPod, play it back, and itíll pick up playing right where you stopped it in iTunes! Too awesome.
You know how some people read Sports Illustrated or Marie Claire or, for lack of anything else, the mode d’emploi on the labels of hair products in the bathroom? Well how about reading your iPod?
The latest versions of iPod software allow you to copy and view text files as Notes in the iPod, which is nice if you like portable reading. Unfortunately, itís only nice if you like little Notes (they can only be 4kb in size).
The iPod can still read vCard-type Contacts, and the vCard format is pretty cool. It’s not just for contact info Ė they can hold a lot of text! Clipboard to Contacts segments text of any length from the clipboard into many vCards and writes them to the iPod “Contacts” folder. Just select the text you want in Safari (or from anywhere text is sold) and copy it, then run the script from the Script Menu. The script will want you to name the file it will create, and that’s it.
A vCard file can be any length. However, scrolling is stifled when the individual vCard entries get very big. One great thing about the vCard format is that each vCard needn’t be in a separate file, they can all be part of a single file. So this script segments the text into scroll-safe chunks, and titles the vCard entries sequentially, so all you need do is pick the first one in listed in the Contacts folder, and use your Next and Previous buttons to skip back and forth between the sequential segments. (If you’ve never done long-format reading in the iPod, you will soon develop some amazing new eye/scroll-thumb coordination abilities. My PlayStation Dual Shock handling is noticeably more precise.)
By the way, if you happen to use the excellent RSS newsreader NetNewsWire from Ranchero Software, the script NNW Subscriptions to iPod Contacts will copy the selected news items as Contacts to the iPod. We love that script.
How Smart Is Your Smart Playlist?
If a track plays on the iPod, naturally its play count is increased. But this information isn’t beamed back to the respective file on your computer. Nor is the last played date. So, for example, “Hey Ya” on your iPod could be played 10 times, while the one in iTunes is only played once. Even if you like “Hey Ya”, after hearing it 10 times via iPod it might time for a rest. How can you keep it from playing again too soon in iTunes?
If you frequently replenish your iPod with tracks from the iTunes mothership, now you can make sure that your iPod play counts actually count and the last played date of a track is for real. The script Synch iPod-iTunes Data, written by Greg Townsend, synchronizes select data between your iPod and iTunes. The data that can be synchronized are “Date Last Played”, “Play Count”, “Rating” and “Comments”. The data can be transferred from iPod to iTunes or the reverse, or can be synchronized between the two.
This script works great in conjunction with a Smart Playlist which you have set to keep live-updated with tracks by last played. Have it automatically update to iPod. Then, by ensuring that you synch the “Date Last Played” and/or “Play Count” of the iPod tracks with their respective iTunes tracks, you’ll keep the Smart Playlist honest.
Two Reasons To Be Cheerful
It’d be nice if you could import tracks directly from CDs to your iPod, wouldnít it?
Fortunately, there’s Rip To iPod. Rip to iPod is an AppleScript that imports each enabled CD track to iTunes and immediately copies it to the iPod, deletes the file, and removes the track from the iTunes library, giving the appearance of seamless CD-to-iPod importing. This is great for people who want to load their iPod up but keep their hard drives free of extra files.
Sadly, we hear variations of this 911 about every other week: “I need help really bad. I accidentally deleted my iTunes library. However, I have not plugged my iPod back in to iTunes, so all the songs are left on the iPod. Is there anyway I can get them back? I am really worried about this.”
That’s a scary thing, no doubt. There’s also an unstated concern here that the iPod battery will run out of juice if they don’t plug it in soon and that they’ll lose everything on the iPod. And further adding to the anxiety pile is the notion that if they do plug it in, iTunes will automatically update a whole lot of nothing to the iPod!
Whenever youíve accidentally deleted your entire library (and who hasnít - ahem), re-mount the iPod while holding the Command and Option keys, which disables automatic updating. If you own a Generation Dock-less iPod you may want a second person to help with this maneuver because it’s wicked hard to do with just the hands you got - unless you are able to also use your chin to hold the keys down. Then set iPod Options to “Manually manage songs and playlists”.
Now, how to get the files back. iPod Help says “You can’t transfer music from iPod to iTunes.” But you can. You just can’t do it they way you think you can. The audio files in iPod are stored in a Super Double-Secret invisible folder. Yes, invisible…to the Finder. But not to Terminal or AppleScript.
And that’s where John Paul Davis’ Import Selected iPod Tracks comes in. This script will copy the files of the selected iPod tracks to your computer, and add them to iTunes. If you’ve lost your entire iTunes library at least the iPod files can be salvaged.
So those are just a few of the ways AppleScript can help deepen your relationship with your iPod. If you need more information or more AppleScripts, come visit the authorís site. And above all: have fun!
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