GBI: Better Late Than Never

The final contestant on GUEST BLOGGER IDOL is JEFF. Jeff describes himself thusly:

Jeff is soon to be 38 years old and hails from Louisiana. The last book he read was River of Darkness by Rennie Airth. Given the choice between giving up beer or giving up coffee he would give up beer.

And here is Jeff’s audition post.


I just recently concluded a substantial undertaking that was a long time coming and had been done incompletely several different times — ripping all of our CD’s onto our computer. This December I splurged a little on a huge hard drive and Airtunes, and we can now play music via iTunes through our home stereo over our wireless network. I have to confess that I am enjoying the heck out of this. For one thing, we now have lots more shelf room in the living room without the 1000 or so CD’s taking up space. This gives us yet another place to put toys and other assorted kid things. Yes!

More than shelf space, though, I’m rediscovering a lot of music that I love. Back when we had to put CD’s into the CD player, it was too easy to overlook albums. I could stare at the same shelf of CD’s for hours and nothing would jump out at me — much less an album I enjoyed for two weeks in 1993. With iTunes that still happens if I’m just scrolling through the artist or album list, but then I discovered “smart playlists,” and I’m hooked. It’s entirely possible that I’m the only one who reads Dave’s blog that hasn’t been using some version of smart playlists for the last several years, but a smart playlist is one where you select the criteria and then iTunes searches your music for songs that fit and creates the list for you.

One of the first playlists I created I just called “Grad School.” It’s not a particularly smart list — I just searched for all albums that came out from 1992-1999. I had to delete a few Gregorian Chant and Christmas albums, but since I didn’t search on the “non Gregorian Chant/Christmas genres” I guess that’s okay. It ended up at about 1500 songs, and it turned out much better than I expected. It’s fun to hear a lot of music that I really like that I would never hear if I had to put the CD in myself. I’ve also frequently been surprised by how songs I don’t remember from grad school can bring back a lot of memories. It’s like my own XM radio station!

Another list I experimented with was “all songs that are 3:43 seconds long.” That was a surprisingly long and interesting list. A friend of mine made a playlist of “all songs with ‘water’ in the title,” but I haven’t tried it. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has any ideas for a fun smart list to try.

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One Response to GBI: Better Late Than Never

  1. Dave says:

    I’ve never really gone nuts with the playlists (I don’t use iTunes, but Winamp 5 has this feature) but I’ve done a couple of simple ones that turned out fun. “Track 3” is a favorite. There’s something about Track 3 on a CD that makes it usually pretty good. I also was going to do a time-based one, though mine was 3:45.