I have a simple task – at least it should be simple in 2008 compared to 1998 when I first did it. I need to burn a music CD.
My home network is in a star configuration with one of my PCs acting as a “file server”. The file server then backs up to another machine whose sole purpose is to store backups, as well as to an external HD. All my music is on the file server so that if my HD crashes – which it did a year and a half ago – I don’t lose everything, or most everything (like I did then). It’s a simple and cheap configuration for someone with lots of aging hardware and little cash to blow on a more sophisticated solution.
Since all the music is on the file server, all my iTunes songs are on there as well, although the vast majority of music I have are in .mp3 format. Because I wanted a CD that a couple of the iTunes songs, I couldn’t use Nero to burn the CD; I had to use iTunes. So I fired it up – and because it hadn’t been used recently it wanted to update itself. 10 minutes later, after it threw several prompts in my AVG firewall demanding access, up came my library. However it wasn’t showing several songs I wanted so I had to import them. Then in order to burn a CD you have to create a playlist. You can’t build the playlist by adding songs, you have to select the song and add it to the playlist. After I had all the songs for the CD I popped in a CD - but was told that the session spanned more than a single CD. For 58 minutes of music? I pull a few tracks and bring the size down to 48 minutes – and still get the error. I search for some setting that might be flipped and not recognizing the CD size.
But like most Apple stuff that I’ve messed with, if things don’t work the way they should it’s very difficult to make them work at all without reinstalling. There are very few controls that you can play with to make it work. I tried an existing playlist and got the same error – so I kicked out the CD and put in a new one. That seemed to work, and eventually the CD was finished. Total time of the process? About an hour.
I took the CD out with me to the car, and the CD player, an Alpine that is less sensitive than most players I’ve had, didn’t recognize the CD. After I came home from running errands I put the CD into my main gaming PC and the Samsung drive didn’t recognize it either. I use only Taiyo Yuden CDs because I hate burning coasters, and while the CD burner on the file server isn’t state of the art, it has worked reliably enough in the past. So ruling out the CD and the burner, that left iTunes. Instead of reinstalling the app I decided to use iTunes on the gaming PC, access the play list on the file server, and burn the CD from there.
But for some reason I couldn’t figure out how to access the playlist. After going back and forth between the file server and the gaming pc I determined that you had to share the library which isn’t set by default. So I set that… but I still couldn’t access the playlist on the File Server although I now could at least see the iTunes on the file server (they showed on the navigation bar of iTunes as a shared library. Then I decided to build the playlist on the gaming PC from scratch. I created a new list, but when I clicked on the shared iTunes library I couldn’t get the playlist to show on any of the files. I noticed that when I right-clicked on the shared files I get a way too abbreviated list of choices compared to a couple of iTunes that were installed on the gaming PC. That told me I was running up against the licensing issue.
So here I am 2 hours of frustration later and I still haven’t burned a CD properly – something that I first did in Sept. 1998 on the job. 10 years later and the frustration is simply comical. It kind of reminds me of that classic skatepunk song by Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized” in which a kid whines “all I wanted was a Pepsi.” All I want is a CD to listen to music in my car. Music that I f***ing paid for.
But I’ve decided on a plan of action:
1. I am going to somehow get the iTunes songs off the file server and onto the gaming PC.
2. I will burn the songs to CD.
3. I will reimport the songs as .mp3s.
4. I will uninstall iTunes on all the machines the Wife doesn’t use (she uses one of the laptops to connect her iPod to.)
5. I will pray that Steve Jobs gets hit by a bus.