November 16 '16 - 6:52 pm
Sal Soghoian

According to several sources, including MacStories, Sal Soghoian’s position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies at Apple has been terminated. Sal oversaw AppleScript, Automator, JavaScript, Terminal and like-technologies.

Before we get all crazy, it is Sal that is no longer at Apple. The technologies remain. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Sal is a great guy. I’ve met him and chatted with him numerous times. He’s been evangelizing AppleScript since the System 7 days when he caught the AppleScript fever through his desktop publishing work with Quark. He always paid thoughtful attention to me and my site. He once told me he would make a point of showing my site to Apple engineers as an example of the power and public popularity of AppleScript.

Meanwhile, I am optimistic about the future of desktop automation on the Mac. I guess I have to be.

UPDATE: Sal has written some thoughts about this at his website. Most importantly:

“Seriously, if you have any questions or concerns about the future of user automation, ask Apple. If user automation technologies are important to you, then now is the time for all good men and women to reach out, speak up and ask questions. The macOS user automation technologies include: UNIX CLI (shell, python, ruby, perl), System Services, Apple Events (JavaScript, AppleScript, AppleScriptObj-C, Scripting Bridge), Automator, Apple Configurator (AppleScript, Automator), and Application scripting support in Photos, iWork, Finder, Mail, and other Apple applications.”

“Other Apple applications.” Like iTunes.

November 13 '16 - 12:37 pm
UPDATED: CD Text to CD Info v4.3

In our recent The Next Track episode where we discussed CD Text, I brought up the script CD Text to CD Info, which will grab the CD Text from a CD (if it uses CD Text) and apply the data to the appropriate CD tags. Then I thought: “Hmm, better have a look at that to make sure it still goes good.”

CD Text to CD Info

It does, but it occurred to me that I could tidy some things up. So this latest version removes a launch reminder about making sure the CD is sorted by play order; this is no longer necessary as the tracks are identified by their track number. I also added a “Export CD Text as XML” feature that will export the CD Text as a property list file. Probably not useful for most users but there it is.

This latest version is for OS X 10.10 and later only, free to use with a donate nag, and can be downloaded from this page.

November 13 '16 - 10:46 am
Another Ambiguous Property Value

Not too long ago, a version of the iTunes scripting definition used the new value “music” for the media kind property. Unfortunately, this caused confusion with the similar “Music” value for a playlist’s special kind property. This was eventually fixed such that “song” was used instead of “music” for the media kind property. All’s well now, right? We’ll never see a mistake like that again, right?

Never say never.

It happens that “songs” is an enumerator value for the search command as well as for the new shuffle mode property. And, unfortunately, when “songs” is used as the search command’s only value—eg: search somePlaylist for “my search text” only songs, indicating that one wants to search just song titles—some kind of ambiguity issue causes a reversion to the default all value. Thus, every tag is searched for the search term instead of only the song titles and you’ll get a lot more search results than expected. For example, in searching my Movies library for “Big”, I not only got “The Big Lebowski” and “The Big Chill”, but a bunch of other movies that had the word “big” in their description tag.

Ironically, a search of the scripting definition file may have caught this before “songs” was re-purposed for shuffle mode.

This affects at least one script of mine, Search Results to Playlist, which I’m fixing with a silly workaround using hard-coded enumerator codes in a run script handler. Yech.

November 11 '16 - 3:19 pm
Artist Photos

Kirk wrote about missing artist photos in iTunes for one of his Macworld columns recently. This is an effect that was introduced in iTunes 12.5 and the iOS 10 Music app. It is disappointing to have so many microphone logos and tiny artist photos in one’s library.

Several correspondents have inquired about fixing this with some kind of homebrewed kludge, but I’m afraid not. Artist images are handled internally by Apple and the iTunes/Music apps. There is no “artist image tag” or hook or cache or anything like that such that images can be supplied by the user.

November 11 '16 - 8:16 am
UPDATED: Doug’s Check For Update v1.2

Doug’s Check For Update v1.2 is now available. This applet/droplet will check if an AppleScript that has been downloaded from this site to your computer has a newer version available.

This latest version fixes a problem that was occurring on some systems whereby the droplet function was not recognizing dropped files. It could still be used as an applet by double-clicking, but the handy drag-and-drop feature was amiss; this is fixed.

The script, for macOS 10.8 and later only, is free and can be downloaded from this page.

November 11 '16 - 7:59 am
The Next Track – Episode 26 – Ask Andy #1

Kirk and I asked our pal Andy Doe to come on the show for the first of an every-now-and-then feature we’re calling “Ask Andy”. We get lots of techy queries from listeners that we’re under-prepared to answer but that Andy is happy to take a crack at. Topics in this episode include stereo speaker placement, iTunes playback effects, new (and dubiously useful) audio file formats and more.

Check out the episode at The Next Track website or subscribe here in iTunes.

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November 1 '16 - 7:09 am
iTunes 12.5.3 Released

Hot on the heels of v12.5.2 on October 28, Apple has released iTunes 12.5.3. The description
in the App Store app is the same as the previous version, so perhaps there are just additional “stability and performance improvements” that were caught over the weekend.

[UPDATE: The 12.5.3 release is apparently for Mac OS X 10.11 and macOS 10.12 only.]

[UPDATE ALSO: Curiously, after I originally updated to, the App Store app notified me of another 12.5.3 update about a day later. This turned out to be version Just sayin’.]

October 28 '16 - 12:49 am
iTunes 12.5.2 Released

Apple has released the latest version of iTunes, 12.5.2. It has fixes for an issue whereby Albums do not always play in order and for Lyrics not always being available over Beats 1. More as it develops.

October 22 '16 - 5:14 pm
No AppleScript Necessary

AppleScript is great for performing tasks that can be aggravatingly repetitive for humans (Mac-using humans, anyway). However, it is not always the best solution to a perceived problem with tag editing in iTunes.

It seems to me that some users are ignoring (or are perhaps anxious about using) several built-in features of iTunes that makes tag editing relatively fast and simple.

Multiple Item Editing – I am always surprised that even seasoned iTunes users don’t know about this which has been available since iTunes was Sound Jam. Select two or more tracks and choose “Get Info” from the iTunes Edit menu (or press Command-I). Unless you’ve turned the warning off, a dialog will appear that asks if you’re sure you want to edit multiple items. Yes! Press the “Edit Items” button. An Info window will appear that is similar to the Info window for a single track except it will not contain single-track specific tags, like Name-related tags.

Smart playlists – Creating temporary Smart playlists is the fastest way to assemble a batch of tracks that have similar attributes. Use them liberally. Select all the tracks that have been assembled (Command-A to Select All) and multi-edit them. You don’t have to keep a Smart playlist around when you’re done editing the tracks it contains. In fact, at my house I consider all playlists semi-temporary. On the other hand, keeping a live-updating Smart playlist around for track tags you occasionally want to edit (say for converting track ratings to some loved or disliked equivalent) is a good idea, too.

The Column Browser – The Column Browser is another feature that allows you to select only certain tracks by Album, Artist, Genre, Composer and (kinda strangely) Grouping while in Songs or a List view. With the Column Browser visible (Command-B, or View > Column Browser > Show Column Browser), click a particular Genre, for example, and only the tracks with that Genre will appear in the browser window. Press Command-A to select all of those tracks and do the multi-edit. The Select All does not, as you may fear, select all of the library tracks, only those displayed in the browser window by virtue of what’s chosen in the Column Browser.

No disrespectin’, but it sometimes seems to me that some users are trying to create a set-in-stone just-so library (emulating bookshelves of pristinely ordered CDs or LPs?) and are reluctant to use some of these techniques because things’ll get messed up. But the tools available in a digital media library actually make it very easy to quickly access anything at any time. Give in to their power.

October 7 '16 - 5:26 pm
The Next Track – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Subwoofers

Kirk and I had been kind of winging it when it came to subwoofers, so we asked our pal Andy Doe to explain the basics and help Kirk decide if he actually needed one. Check out Episode #21 of The Next Track Podcast.

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