Muschamp Rd

Simplify Media Rocks

March 12th, 2009
Simplify Media logo

During my recent upgrade ordeal, or perhaps one of the hopes I had while upgrading my G4 was to do more with my music collection. I’ve slowly been ripping it, ranking it, and making custom playlists. I’ve even started using smart playlists, folders, even Genius in order to have the best soundtrack to my life possible. I’ve got some intelligent random mixes for a variety of situations, plus literally dozens of custom “Musk Mixes” that I’ve made over the last 8 plus years.

I had an iPod before I had my Powerbook. I took the iPod to Japan, but I don’t like listening to music through headphones, so eventually bought some speakers and cobbled together a mini stereo system. I do most of my music listening at home. In fact I bought my iPod when I was home for Christmas. Previously on iTunes I’d only ripped songs I needed for a mix, listening to CDs on my main system, which I had previously upgraded by buying a NAD receiver I hardly used prior to moving to Japan, but I’d researched and earmarked part of my bonus for just such a home theatre upgrade.

So in short, although I had a 20 Gig iPod I didn’t have that much music on it and I missed both my music collection and my stereo while in Japan.

During my MBA I used my iPod as my stereo in my little dorm room. My Muslim roommate complained too much about the volume, I never once complained about his prayer music or his early morning prayers. I practically learned Arabic. I had a randomly assigned Korean roommate too and this slacker guy who of course dropped out/got evicted for not paying his bills.

That is actually something I can relate to, too many crappy roommates in one lifetime.

Now that I have my own apartment again, with my full stereo system, and my G4 back from my mom, after I bought her, her own Mini, I was looking for a way to have my music with me. I learned that putting your iTunes library on an external hard drive causes iTunes fits. And before I upgraded my laptop to triple it’s hard drive space, there just wasn’t room for a music collection my size. Here is a list of all the cds I own. I have more music than this, as I have tapes, albums, and legal downloads from the iTunes Music Store. I’m a big music fan.

Right now I’m listening to a great Tom Waits song called “Long Way Home” from the “Big Bad Love” soundtrack. Apparently Norah Jones covered this song, something I learned in a Gastown cafe once when it came on. I can do this while sitting in Blenz because my entire iTunes library is available to me via Simplify Media, securely over the Internet. Even using a free WiFi connection it hasn’t skipped once.

But wait Simplify Media does more, it lets you share your music with other people, say my mom, or my sister, or Jesse from work, or Pat who used to hound me to make more mixes for him. There is a limit to how many people you can share with and how many can listen at once. But the software is free. Totally free to run on your Mac, PC, or Linux computer. Where the company and their VCs hope to make money is selling the iPhone app and when people actually buy the music through referrals.

I guess in the quest for thinness Apple sacrificed hard drive space, so your iPhone or iPod Touch can just download all the music you need right now from your hard drive over the free WiFi connection at Waves on Main Street.

In my post fever joy, I decided to do my part in popularizing this service which is a major boon for an audiophile such as myself. I still don’t like headphones, though the nice Koss set I bought a few years back definitely sound better than the stupid buds that come with the iPod. I don’t like the pressure on my ears, or being shackled to my computer, or being so cut off from the outside world, so I don’t know if I could join the headphone, cubicle nation. I don’t even have a cubicle anymore.

As great as Simplify Media seems to be here are a few wishes. One it turns everything on my home Mac into a playlist, this includes my “folders of playlists”, the “music” library itself, even the last running of genius. This confused me at first and created redundant playlists. Two it doesn’t update the metadata. I wish it would record play counts and play dates as I’ve started using those extensively in my smart playlists. That is one of my many gripes about the Blackberry I have for work… RIM’s Mac support leaves a lot to be desired even with third party apps. Another feature I’d like is the song currently playing from my library by me to be on the sidebar of my WordPress blog. That is one of the cool features I got working when I was a more active blogger. I used a simple script, a little PHP, and a tiny app from a now defunct company. So yeah a Simplify Media WordPress or Facebook plugin would be cool.

Well I’m overdue to return from lunch, so this will have to be the second of three posts I hope to write today. More to come as I get my life back in order.

Update March 17th 2009

The new version of iTunes contains a DJ feature where iPhone and iPod Touch users can send requests to my Mac and see what tracks are coming up. Considering I already have a smart playlist choosing songs from some of my custom mixes that I can play at a party to leave the host free of doing most of the DJing, that was already my staple Party Shuffle input playlist. Changing the input playlist is the best way to control the randomness of Party Shuffle, that and carefully rating your songs.

It’ll be a long time before I have an iPhone or throw a party big enough for this feature to be useful. I still have plenty of problems and not just with my computer and website…


  • Also on the metadata front. I’d like the songs I played on my laptop to show up in the recent played even though they were streamed. This might be tough as the songs aren’t legally on the laptop, but I still like to know what I was listening to before, maybe Simplify Media has to do it’s own meta data, but it would be best to work within the frame work of iTunes.

    More granularity when sharing music is the point I wanted to make above in the original post. I don’t want to share my unfinished playlists for instance, or the Chinese vocabulary exercises… I really don’t know where they came from, some program I invested in but never really used. I tried so many things to get my mind off of all my problems…

  • Also on the metadata front. I’d like the songs I played on my laptop to show up in the recent played even though they were streamed. This might be tough as the songs aren’t legally on the laptop, but I still like to know what I was listening to before, maybe Simplify Media has to do it’s own meta data, but it would be best to work within the frame work of iTunes.

    More granularity when sharing music is the point I wanted to make above in the original post. I don’t want to share my unfinished playlists for instance, or the Chinese vocabulary exercises… I really don’t know where they came from, some program I invested in but never really used. I tried so many things to get my mind off of all my problems…

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