Using Kaleidoscope to sync iTunes

Like many of you, I have multiple iTunes Libraries. One for the laptop, one for the house and another for my media center. Keeping these in-synch with almost 6,000 songs and over 1100 TV shows as become more than laborious.

I have tried to use Supersync in the past and while attempting to use it yesterday, I ran into a “must download Java 6 SE” issue that I really didn’t want to solve. (Hint: google “Java zero day”)

So I considered for about 10 minutes, exporting the Library in XML format, converting to SQL and using Base to analyze. (yeah, overkill but it would have been interesting and fun!)

It dawned on me that my favorite new programming tool would be perfect for this activity. Kaleidoscope!

Kaleidoscope is a folder and file diff tool that is quite capable and very smart. The new version 2.0 is what I’ve always wanted in a diff tool.

So my work stream is the following:
1) Use “Export Playlist as Text” script from Doug’s Applescripts for iTunes. Install into your iTunes Scripts library.
2) Use the Export… on both machines (or libraries) to create a text file listing the Songs, TV Shows etc. I used ## as a delimiter as the “,” can appear in song titles and the script doesn’t recognize “\t” as a tab.
3) Drag both text files to Kaleidoscope and examine the results! Kaleidoscope is quite smart and will show you blocks of songs that might be missing between the two databases.

Have fun!


Oh, the agony.

I spent the better part of a day trying to get Xdebug working on my MAMP site on my Mac. I read here, here and here… all you have to do is to “edit your php.ini file” and bada-boom! you are off to the races.

No, no and no. The problem was that it kinda works, then it doesn’t, then nothing does, then things work but xdebug doesn’t.

Over the years, I have realized that when things start to get real hard, I’m doing something wrong, terribly wrong. Some where in some place, I’ve made the simplest of errors, creating a cacophony of bugs so bad, I’ve got to look down to see up.

I use MAMP, I also use MAMP PRO. Some scorn, I don’t because it seems to save me time. It would have this time, if I had RTFM’d. No, I didn’t. Instead I read what everybody else said “edit your php.ini file by hand”. WRONG!

Instead, use MAMP PRO’s  File-Edit Template command. It was RIGHT THERE!!

Thank you, Drupal. You saved my sanity. As for the rest, the rest of your information was pretty good, all except for…

Yes, you can…(retain data on a split OS X Mirror RAID)

My Leopard installation used a OS X RAID 0 implementation to keep my system safe and sound. I mirrored two 1 TB drives then used them for my startup volume.  When I switched to Snow Leopard, I needed an extra drive to ensure I had sufficient backups prior to installation (I always clean install when I upgrade operating systems.)

I thought the easiest thing to do would be to “split” the RAID 0 drives up with both containing a complete backup of my Leopard installation. But I also thought it sounded too easy and while purchasing Snow Leopard at the Apple store, I casually asked “can you split a mirrored RAID and retain the data?”

“No” was the response by two of Apple’s finest.

Still it seemed worth it to try it. Particularly when Disk Utility actually states (something to the effect) “when deleting a RAID configuration, you’ll end up with two drives containing identical data”. WOW! That is exactly what I want, where do I click?

Clicking on “Delete”, I waited and voila!  A message informing me that the “Operation can’t be performed because the RAID configuration can’t be unmounted.”

“Mmmmmm. That should be easy to fix, perhaps Finder is still “using” the drive.” Close all windows, try again.


Eject RAID?


Reboot? “Nope”

Use diskutil instead of Disk Utility? “Nope”

Finally, what if  I booted in SAFE Mode? Ejected the drive, then deleted?

Bands played in the street, everyone rejoiced, the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly! “It worked!”

So here’s the deal. To split a Mirrored RAID 0 configuration into two identical drives:

  • Boot in Safe Mode
  • Eject the RAID volume
  • Delete the RAID configuration in Disk Utility

Now back to installing Snow Leopard…

OK, now I get it

Spaces… didn’t get it, didn’t try it, til today.

WOW! What a concept!

In a nutshell, OS X has the ability to create virtual screens for you. You create a matrix of screens, assign applications to a specific screen then manage your work by going to specific screens. Yeah, it sounded too complicated to me as well.

Here’s what I did:

1) Created a matrix of 2 wide by 3 deep of screens and added the Spaces element to the menu bar

2) I assigned Safari to screen 1

3) I assigned Transmit, Textmate and CSSEdit to screen 3 (vertically right below screen 1)

4) I assigned XyleScope to screen 5 (vertically down again)

Now I quickly move from screen to screen by clicking on the Spaces menu bar element. Its easier to do then to describe. The reason why I mentioned the vertical aspect is that it seems easier for me to keep track of what is on which screen by thinking of my Web edit environment as three vertical screens. My Final Cut environment could be vastly different.

I also made Preview open documents in Screen 2, this way, I can have eBooks open all the time and switch over to review something very easily.

Try it out, slowly then you’ll start to Spaces in a whole new light!

Simple video
showing what I mean. Watch the cursor as I move between screens, each time the cursor goes to the menu bar, I select another screen.

Compressor (and multiple cores) is your friend

This is a big deal.

In addition to what this note says note says, you can use other computers to render your files. It has taken me a little while to figure this out. This tutorial describes just using one computer but you can do the same for multiple computers. I did try this on a Dual 1GHz G4 and it slowed things down, so make sure that the additional computers have sufficient power.

Read the tutorial to learn a bit more, here’s my overview:

1) Install Compressor and QMaster on your non-FCP computer and use the Quick Cluster option. It will make things much easier. On the FCS 2 install disk there is a installer just for this action.

2) When you want to compress, click Submit and select your FCP computer to serve as the cluster controller.

3) Sit back and watch your files get rendered in 1/4th the time.

I use a MacBook Pro because I need the portability. I used to use a MacPro Quad 3.0… now I use both when I need to render video. What a lifesaver.

As for Digital Rebellion? Great site for video! Thanks, Jon!