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Wednesday, March 22, 2006  

Logic Will Break Your Heart.
I’m sure you have heard me bitch about my longer commute, and I tell you it would be much worse with-out my trusty 2nd Gen iPod. At only 10GB it pales in storage capacity to the newest beasts, but 10 gigs of music is still A LOT. Too much in fact to just fill-up, hit shuffle, and hope for a pleasing mix. Luckily iTunes has an under utilized feature called, “Smart Playlists” that allow you to hit your iPod’s library with the big hammer of logic. I use a smart playlist, (well, actually 9 playlists) to create “--> Drivetime:” a smart playlist that hovers around 500 choice tunes and never fails to deliver a great selection of songs for my drive. Here are the details on how it works.

First there is the “master” playlist; the one that I actually “play,” (on shuffle of course,) during my drive. I created a “smart playlist” (by hold “shift” or “option” and pressing the NEW PLAYLIST button in iTunes) that will play songs that are on the “drivetimeis” playlist but not on the “drivetime –remove” playlist which I named “--> Drivetime.” The dash-dash-bracket is important because this pushes my playlist to the top of the list on my iPod removing the need to scroll through my long list of playlists The “drivetime -remove" list is a standard playlist where I can put songs/artists/albums that I for one reason or another DO NOT want to hear in my car. For example, while I at times enjoy the ambient textures of M83, I don’t really lie to DRIVE to them. I put the M83 songs on this list and the are magically removed from my drivetime playlist. . The “Drivetimeis” list is a smart playlist that brings together songs on 6 other playlists that hold the bits of logic that do all the heavy lifting. These are:

-New gig: [“not podcast” limited to 1GB by “most recently added.]
This captures the newest stuff that I have added to the playlist, and represents about 50% of the total songs contained in the master playlist.

-Oft’ Play’d: [playcount is < 10 limited to 100 songs most often played]
This represents my “top-40 hits” and contains songs that I’ve listened to multiple times, but not so many (10+) that I’ve grown tired of them. Though I’m toying with the idea of moving the “<10” operator into the master playlist as there are songs with much higher play-counts that are getting through on the other lists.

-Shorty Podcasts: [podcast is true, time < 8:00, playcount is 0]
this was meant to grab any Podcast that I hadn’t listened to that was short enough to “fit” in-between songs. Really the only podcasts it catches are Merlin Mann’s 43folders podcast. Everything else is too long or has been deleted because it sucked (NPR “Story of the Day” I’m looking at you…)

-4Star: [rating is > 2star]
I tend to only rate songs I REALLY like, and then I usually only give them 4 or 5 star ratings. (Currently I rate 150 songs 4-stars or above.) But this playlist ensures my FAVORITE songs get put into rotation.

-50mix [playlist is not “newgig,” “oft’ Play’d,” or “4star” limit to 50 songs by random]
This is the newest addition and it is there to keep enough suprises in the master-list to keep it “fresh.” The “playlist is not…” operator ensures none of the songs picked by this list show up on any of the OTHER lists.

-Drivetime +add
This is a standard playlist where I can drop songs/albums/artists that I want in the mix. I usually have between 100-200 songs from my “standard” albums/ This allows me at least SOME control for my general “mood” from day-to-day…

That’s it. All the thinking is handled by the iPod, and I can concentrate on driving (or singing along.)

posted by JMV | 3/22/2006 05:36:00 PM
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