February 21 '17 - 9:29 am
UPDATED: Join Together 7.7.1

Join Together has been updated to version 7.7.1. I am extremely gratified that this venerable software of mine—which began its life at the turn of the century as a basic AppleScript workflow between iTunes and QuickTime—has remained popular.

Join Together will create a single AAC or Apple Lossles file from the audio of tracks dragged from iTunes or files dragged from the Finder.

While many people use this for audiobooks, I’ve lately taken to creating Sides of music albums. For example, “Exile on Main Street” is one of my favorite albums. I’m old enough to have purchased the original vinyl version and so I’m quite innately used to experiencing it as four separate record sides. I used Join Together to re-create four audio files comprised of the album’s four album sides. I even found the artwork for the original album’s sleeves, which has the track and personnel listings:

Great album artwork concept, right?

Anyway. This is a free update to registered Join Together users and $5 to purchase. More info and download is on this page.

February 21 '17 - 9:04 am
UPDATED: M3Unify v1.7.1

I neglected to post that I have updated M3Unify to version 1.7.1. There were a couple of compatibilty issues with macOS 10.9 that had to be fixed.

M3Unify accepts tracks dragged from iTunes or audio files from the Finder and can export copies or converted versions of the files to portable media, primarily for car audio use. But it’s also useful for archiving and back-ups.

Had a nice email from a fan named Rick: “I was searching Prius chat, Toyota chat and others to solve the dreaded playlist problem with the in-car players. No one there knew how to solve the problem. And then through a Google search, I found M3Unify. It is the simplest, most powerful little app for dealing with iTunes and USB drives used in cars. Thanks for such a well thought design and it’s cheap too!”

This is a free update for registered M3Unify users, $5 otherwise; watch the video and download the free demo from this page.

February 9 '17 - 7:45 am
NEW: Launch at Login v1.0

It is often convenient and desirable to have your designated iTunes Media folder—the folder pointed to in the “Advanced” tab of iTunes’ Preferences—located on a large external drive or server. Those of you who do this know the advantages.


An issue that has been known to occur with this configuration is that if the volume or server containing the designated iTunes Media folder does not mount during the computer’s startup before iTunes launches, iTunes will presume that this folder is inaccessible and it will default to using the ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/ folder instead. It does this because it needs a definitive place in which to save CD rips (which still happen at my house), converted files and Store purchases.

(More modern versions of iTunes are much better at reverting to the designated iTunes Media folder if its volume is mounted later. But for years this was always dicey and still can be.)

This swapping of designated iTunes Media folders can be problematic. It can render tracks in the iTunes library dead, duplicated, missing, orphaned. And so on.

My podcast partner, Kirk McElhearn, and I discuss this issue on an upcoming episode of The Next Track podcast concerning using a network-attached storage device (NAS) to store iTunes media. In conjunction with that episode, I wrote a script applet to be used as a “Login Item”, Launch at Login, that will attempt to mount the volume at startup, confirm it is actually mounted and only then launch iTunes.

Typically, AppleScript can use the mount volume command, which under some circumstances requires providing a username and password. I didn’t want to do that because 1) it is difficult for AppleScript to securely manage storing that data and 2) it is awkward having users edit the script to “hard-code” their username and password. But this script avoids having to do that—and not in any devious way—by attempting to open a folder on the volume pointed to by an alias to it in a specific local folder on the startup drive. In order to open this alias’d folder the operating system will be obliged to mount the volume/server it is on; the script will wait until that folder is accessible and then will launch iTunes. If, for some reason, the folder does not become accessible within a reasonable amount of time because the volume didn’t mount, the script will not launch iTunes and will display an alert saying so. At that point the user can decide what to do; presumably, mount the server and then launch iTunes manually.

The anxious part of me feels obliged to note that this script does not use any security (other than being signed with my Developer ID) so if you do not want a volume or server to be mounted in unattended startup situations then do not use it.

There are some simple yet specific instructions and caveats to heed before using the script at your house so be sure to read the documentation that accompanies the script in the download. More information about the Launch at Login applet and download is on this page.

February 3 '17 - 8:40 am
The Next Track – Episode 38 – Audio at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show was held a few weeks ago and Chris Connaker from Computer Audiophile joins me and Kirk to talk about audio gear at the show and some interesting information about the future of the MQA audio format.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe here in iTunes to make sure you get all future episodes.

January 23 '17 - 6:49 pm
iTunes 12.5.5 Released

Apple has released iTunes 12.5.5 (alongside a Sierra 10.12.3 update). Nothing specifically announced as new except the nonspecific “minor app and performance improvements”. More as it develops.

January 13 '17 - 10:46 am
The Next Track – Episode 35 – Peter Chilvers

Kirk and I are both fascinated with Brian Eno’s generative music app, Reflection. So we asked the developer, Peter Chilvers, to come on the show and talk about generative music and his other app collaborations with Brian Eno.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe here in iTunes.

December 23 '16 - 11:42 am
The Next Track – Episode 32 – DACs

Outboard DACs are a subject that we’ve been meaning to get to and so we invited Chris Connaker of Computer Audiophile to be our guest once again to explain everything we’d want to know about using a digital-analog-converter in an audio system.

We’re sponsored by WALTR 2: transfer virtually any media files to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, without using iTunes. Save 15% on Waltr 2 with a discount code from The Next Track.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe here in iTunes.

December 17 '16 - 7:21 am
The Next Track – Episode 31 – Apple Music

Jim Dalrymple, long-time Mac journalist and founder of The Loop, recently wrote a critique of Apple Music and we asked Jim to elaborate on his experiences and thoughts with the service.

We’re sponsored by WALTR 2: transfer virtually any media files to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, without using iTunes. Save 15% on Waltr 2 with a discount code from The Next Track. Seriously: check out WALTR 2.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe here in iTunes.

December 13 '16 - 2:47 pm
iTunes 12.5.4 Is Out

Apple has released iTunes 12.5.4, which appears to add support for the new TV app, Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, and other minor fixes.

December 7 '16 - 9:34 am
M3Unify v1.5.0

M3Unify is a simple file managing app that can copy and arrange audio files to a selected folder, volume or portable media. Tracks can be dragged from iTunes or files can be dragged from the Finder. When loaded in M3Unify, a set of flexible exporting options enables you to arrange your music files the way you and your music player want.

With M3Unify you can:

  • Copy files of tracks dragged from iTunes or the Finder to a selected folder
  • Rename copied files using substitution patterns based on track tags
  • Create Album or Artist/Album sub-folders based on track tags
  • Export album artwork as “folder.jpg” files, one per Album sub-folder
  • Create an M3U playlist
  • Format M3U Extended track information using substitution patterns based on track tags
  • Optionally convert files to AAC files (or MP3 files via iTunes)

Plus, these features:

  • M3U preview
  • Track information and Quick Look auditioning
  • Uncluttered, easy-to-use interface
  • On-board and online help

This latest version adds the ability to drag Finder files; skip conversion if source files are already in the selected format; adds limited pattern matching for sub-folder creation (eg: [year]/[genre]); other enhancements and performace fixes.

M3Unify is $5, free for current registered users, video demo after the jump, download is on this page. (more…)

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