I am somewhat of a playlist addict. I started by doing something sort of like this
, but I have tweaked my iTunes playlists so that they're dependent on other playlists to about 50 playlists deep. The details of this are fodder for another blog post (or 10) entirely, but suffice it to say, iTunes runs VERY, VERY slowly thanks to my efforts.
(Aside: I've told Apple that all I would need to fix this is a "Turn on/off all smartlist live updating" switch - then I could turn them all off, make changes and turn them all on again when I'm done).
But that's okay. I learned to deal with iTunes by only playing music on the iPod. Every day or so, I sync with iTunes and it grabs me some new tunes (according to the mega playlist rules) and (mostly) scrobbles to Last.fm.
Well, considering my issues with iTunes, I was very excited to hear about iTunes 8.1 and the drastic changes in database speeds
. But I was cautious. I searched for problems (and sadly didn't find anything alarming), I backed up the library and I tested things before I decided it was okay. My 2nd Gen iPod Nano synced fine and scrobbled nicely (which is usually a big test of a version change).
iTunes 8.1 was a phenomenal database change. My library size dropped from about 300KB to 30KB and iTunes 8.1 was LOTS faster. Things that used to take half an hour to do (like changing the rules to one of the more heavily depended-upon smart playlists) now took a couple of minutes. It was awesome.
And, since the iPod had synced and scrobbled several times I was very happy. Last.fm had even found some tracks I thought it had forgotten. It was great. I decided to stick with iTunes 8.1 and began to make serious playlist updates. I tweaked lots of things. I added more music. I played a lot of music. There's no going back to the old library - it would just take too long.
Then I screwed it all up. I synced Bruce's 3rd Gen iPod Nano. iTunes hangs and dies. Interestingly, Last.fm scrobbler now thinks Bruce has an iPod Nano and an iPhone with the same serial number. But that's not the end of it. Now, when I sync my iPod it hangs too. Damn Damn Damn. It still works beautifully before you sync.
Anyway, I start hunting around for fixes. iTunes 8.1 seems to be a problem for all 4th Gen Nano.
I'm the first to mention a 3rd Gen Nano, but maybe that's because all the people who just bought their 4th Gen and got the newest version of iTunes are both more pissed off and more likely to be using iTunes 8.1 than their 3rd Gen counterparts who have probably not upgraded to iTunes 8.1 yet. Incidentally, this only seems to be a windows problem. Yay us for using a Windows machine for our music serving - maybe not for long.
So, if you're using Windows and have an iPod Nano 3rd or 4th Gen DON'T UPGRADE to iTunes 8.1 - wait until they've fixed the problem.
I synced my iPod yesterday (slowly). iTunes hung, but Last.fm scrobbled some tracks. Later I realised that my awesome playlist rules (which ensure things I just recently heard aren't on the iPod anymore) worked perfectly in removing the tracks from my iPod ready to get new stuff. But, it didn't grab any new tracks to replace them. And it's completely hung while the iPod is plugged in, so I can't manually pick new playlists. Grr! Plus, Last.fm only scrobbled 40 of the 400 or so tracks I'd actually listened to. Hopefully it will find the rest later.
So, in order to scrobble now, I can sync the iPod and hope. But I can't get any new tracks on to the iPod and I'll need to turn live updating off on the playlists I have just so I can keep the tracks I have - need to have something to listen to!
I can see I'm going to get very sick of the 5 albums I randomly chose to put on my iPod just before this started.
Anyway, just think of the ridiculousness of all this. Apple have managed to release iTunes without testing that it works for their latest iPods under one of the world's most widely-used operating systems. You. Complete. Idiots.
Thankfully, in order to sell more 4th Gen Nanos, they'll need to sort this out pretty quickly. And then I will be able to properly enjoy the awesomeness that came with the database access changes in iTunes 8.1. *drools*
I'll be upgrading iTunes almost every day hoping for a fix.