A new feature in OS X 10.10 Yosemite is Dictation Commands, which replaces the venerable “Speakable Items”. Essentially, this allows you to speak commands at your machine to launch apps and scripts, open files, and activate other tasks. Once you’ve set up Dictation Commands, you engage the Dictation Response HUD, a floating display indicating that your Mac is “listening”, by pressing a set of command keys (fn pressed twice, by default). While the HUD is displayed, your Mac will be listening for spoken commands which you have associated with apps, scripts, Workflows, and so on.
I was hopeful I could fire off the Play Random Album script with a voice command. What a boss I’d be at my next party.
Unfortunately, the joy-killer about using iTunes with Dictation Commands is that while the Mac is in “listening” mode waiting for you to speak a command, iTunes is muted! Even with headphones plugged in. So, to use Dictation Commands while you’re listing to iTunes, you’ve got to engage the HUD (two keyboard clicks), thus muting iTunes, speak your command to activate the script, then turn the HUD off to un-mute iTunes (another two keyboard clicks). And it’s not exactly instantaneous. If you’re launching a script to play tracks or playlists, well, you might just as well launch it from the Script menu with a mouse click.
An additional minor detail is that, while compiled scripts (.scpt) and applets (.app) work with Dictation Commands, script bundles (.scptd) do not. I use a lot the latter since I can bundle Scripting Libraries in them.
I’m sure Dictation Commands will be great for users who’d like to (or need to) bold their text by saying “Bold this text!”. But really. Four keyboard clicks. The (slight?) inconvenience of interupting my music for a few seconds. Plus the effort to set things up in System Preferences and having to convert script bundles into plain compiled scripts or slower-launching applets. (Daniel Jalkut has a couple of other gripes, too.)
This was going to be a project post on how to use Dictation Commands with various AppleScripts for iTunes because awesome. But I’m afraid it didn’t turn out that way since it’s just that much trouble to bother. The magic isn’t worth it. I’ll continue to use keyboard shortcuts.
You may have been surprised, as I was, by the new Get Info panel in iTunes 12. While it provides pretty much the same utility as the previous incarnation’s Get Info panel, it’s souped-up UI-wise. One function that’s missing is the Multiple-Items Edit checkbox feature to designate what tag changes to apply to the selection of tracks. I think what it does now is just detect changes and apply only the changes. I think. Not sure. Anyway, I’m not 100% comfortable with that.
Here’s Multi-Item Edit:
It works just like the old Get Info window in Multiple Item mode: It recognizes any common tags and displays them. Just enter/change some text or options and checkmark the boxes for the tags you want applied to a multiple selection of tracks, including “blank” entries.
This was something I was working on over the Summer so I could batch edit tags without having to switch among Get Info window tabs. But I re-jiggered it a bit as a new release for people who like their Get Info panel old-school.
I want to note that if you notice some tags and options missing (artwork, obviously), well, this is only v1.0.
Multi-Item Edit is $1.99 with a ten day full-featured trial period.
iTunes 12 no longer provides a means for editing the Description tag of multiple-selected tracks. This oldie, Enter Description Text for Selected, was just updated to v2.0 and will let you enter text for the Description tag of the selected tracks.
Technically (according to iTunes), the Description tag isn’t supposed to be applicable to music tracks. But all track entries have an AppleScript description property.
Apple has released iTunes 12.0.1. It’s not just available for Yosemite, but Mavericks as well. You’ll find it via the Mac App Store in the “Updates” section.
[UPDATE: According to Apple's iTunes download page, iTunes 12 can run on OS X 10.7.5 and later.]
You’re probably getting your iTunes library all in order to make it ready for a nice new operating system. If so, you’ll want to pick up the latest version of Dupin, the iTunes Duplicates Manager.
This latest version fixes a few rare bugs: a case-sensitivity issue with files located on an NAS that prevented Purging, errant detection of iTunes Match being enabled when it actually isn’t, a Selection Window flickering problem, no longer wheezes if you happen to move the iTunes Media folder while Dupin is running, and a few other way-out-there situations are accomodated.
You can get version 2.8.2 by using Dupin’s “Check for Update…” command in its app menu, or download it directly from here.
This is a free update for registered users of v2.5 and later. Otherwise, Dupin is $15.
Looks like OS X 10.10 Yosemite will see an official release sometime next week (at the earliest) now that Apple has announced a Special Event for October 16.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that over the past few of months I’ve been updating some of the more popular scripts and applets for Yosemite compatibility. Updating stuff for the latest OS has become an annual ordeal. I spend most of the Summer and Fall updating old stuff for compatibility, and then the next six months working on feature upgrades and new scripts. And then another WWDC arrives, and the cycle continues.
As a result, not everything gets the attention it deserves. So if there’s a script or app you use that needs to be updated for Yosemite, let me know. I’ve got a pretty long list, but I’d prefer to prioritize based on popular usage.
Many of the Yosemite-ready scripts are dropping support for pre-10.8 OSes. Frankly, keeping scripts working over five operating systems (10.6-10.10) and two processor platforms and making them work great for everybody is not fair to the majority of users who want modern features without compromise (nevermind the support issues). In many cases, older versions of the scripts will still be available. (Although, if you can get off of 10.7 I really believe you’ll be doing yourself a favor. It’s my least favorite OS ever.)
And then there’s iTunes 12. For the most part, and with the exception of UI changes and the like, iTunes 12’s scripting infrastructure is pretty much the same. I do worry that as new features are added cloud-wise some of iTunes’ AppleScript goodness will fall to the wayside (eg: shuffle, song repeat, gapless, playlist window, updatePodcast, and so on). But accessing playlists, tracks, files and tags in general is still pretty healthy. Apple even introduced a new iTunes Library framework with Mavericks. So things are looking pretty good in that department for the foreseeable future. And as I often say, I don’t care what iTunes used to do or what would be good if it could do; I just care about what it does now.
And “now” arrives next week. Hi-yo!
List MIAs v4.0 will check your entire iTunes library for missing and presumed dead tracks—those tracks that iTunes is unable to associate with a file and which are listed in iTunes with a “!”—and can create a text file listing these tracks by alleged File Path (if available), Song Name, Artist and Album, which you can view using TextEdit.
This latest version has additional support for OS X 10.10 Yosemite/iTunes 12, drops support for pre-OS X 10.8, adds a “Check for Update” menu command, and tweaks to improve performance.
More info and download is here.
Music Folder Files Not Added v4.1 will list the file paths of the files in your designated “iTunes Media” folder which are not in iTunes’ track library. Additionally, you can select a different parent folder and its contents will be compared to the iTunes library. Includes options to Add a selection of found files to iTunes, move them to the Trash, and export a text file listing the file paths.
This latest version has additional support for OS X 10.10 Yosemite.
See the video on YouTube.
Rob Griffiths (of Many Tricks and founder of Mac OS X Hints) had a rough couple of days this past weekend trying to get his new iPhone 6 to sync with his iTunes library. It just wouldn’t. He writes about the ordeal in “An iPhone 6, (no) movies, and me”.
It turns out, as Rob reports in a follow-up, “A nasty little iTunes/iOS bug may be causing media sync issues”, that there’s a bug in the pipeline between the current versions of iTunes and iOS 8. The syncing may stop if you have duplicates of purchased media files.
At first, Rob tried using iTunes’ “Show Duplicates” tool to locate any duplicates. But it didn’t find every duplicate track entry (it’s not very rigorous, even using “Show Exact Duplicates”). He then turned to my duplicate managing app Dupin and was able to find the dupes by jiggering the Criteria settings to find album tracks with the same track number—matching using the name of the tracks failed because the duplicates had slightly different titles. (I’m pretty sure iTunes’ “Show Duplicates” always considers the name of the tracks.) Once he eliminated the duplicates the syncing went fine.
I must admit, this doesn’t affect me and I hadn’t even heard about this issue until now. Of course, it’s still early days with iOS 8 adoption.
Needle Drop v5.0 will play each track in the selected iTunes playlist for a set time interval optionally starting at a set number of seconds into each track, beginning with the selected track. Handy for ’scoping playlists.
The latest version adds support for OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iTunes 12 and has other minor tweaks.
More information and download is here.