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!

A couple of things…

I haven’t updated the blog in quite a while. I’ve been working on a lot of things but haven’t found the time to document the work.

The latest thing I did was update this blog to 3.0. So far I haven’t seen a huge difference. I also changed the theme from “minamalism’ to twentyten, which is the new theme for WordPress.

I like the new theme. Very simple, great style.

I will be exploring if I can use it as the basis for another site which isn’t a blog. The twentyten theme allows for custom menus so in some regards it could be used as a general blog site instead of a blog.


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…

Cameras, FlipShare and iMovie

I’ve been using the Flip Ultra HD for a few weeks and I really like the camera. What I don’t like or more accurately need is the FlipShare software. If you don’t have iMovie 09, FlipShare is probably worthwhile.  I do have iMovie and FlipShare is worse than superfluous, it auto-launches when I attach the camera to my Mac even though I want iMovie to import the clips. [iMovie importing isn’t cast in-stone… I might start converting the H.264 video to ProRes format, if iMovie can easily handle it. More to come on this.]

For now, I wanted to have iMovie startup when I plug-in the Flip and not FlipShare. For me, this was a two step process because I also have other cameras that I want to use as well.

Step 1 – Keep FlipShare from launching.

Apple has three places for a program to automatically startup. The easiest to find is “Login Items” in the Accounts preference pane. Nothing about FlipShare there. The next two places are essentially the same but one is for the user and one is system-wide. This location is either in ~/Library/LaunchAgents or /Library/LaunchAgents. [Remember “~” stands for Home folder in the Finder and a file path starting with “/” means it is at the lowest level of your directory.]  I didn’t find  a reference to FlipShare in my ~/Library/LaunchAgents but I did find “com.flipvideo.FlipShare.AutoRun.plist” in my /Library/LaunchAgents directory. Hmmm… That sounds like it might be what is causing FlipShare to launch when I plug-in my Flip. I moved it to my Desktop (just in case), re-booted (just in case) and plugged in the Flip. Nothing! Just want I wanted!

Step 2 – Open iMovie only when I plug-in the Flip.

The Mac uses Image Capture to set what happens when a camera is plugged in. It performs the same action regardless of camera, so if I change the preferences in Image Capture to “Open iMovie” when a camera is plugged-in, iPhoto won’t launch when I plug-in my Nikon. Hrrrrmph!

First a shout-out to LifeHacker, what a great site. It recently ran an article on cameras improves the way os x deals with connected cameras. Thanks! And many thanks to Flexbits who created Cameras. Cameras is a preference pane that allows you to select which camera opens which application. Sweet!

Now when I plug-in my Flip, iMovie opens. And when I plug-in my Nikon, iPhoto opens. And FlipShare never opens.  [And yes, I could have just deleted FlipShare but I might want to use FlipShare.]