Merging Multiple iTunes Libraries Using a Mac

Making a single itunes library from many a simple processDigitally, I have cleaned up my act with two GLARING exceptions: Multi-Media and Photos.

For years I’ve had multiple iTunes libraries, backed up from multiple machines on multiple external drives. Basically, it’s been such a mess that I quit using iTunes and all my media contained therein. I could never find what I wanted, but I found what I didn’t want multiplied with duplicate copies. Grrrrr…

I’ve used iTunes for many years, and let’s just admit that the first attempts at music management were less than perfect — especially from the data management side of things for power-users of multiple machines with varied OS systems. I’ve tried to consolidate in the past. The result has always been even more duplication and additional itunes folders. With that said, I’ll also have to admit that it’s dramatically improved since I first looked at iTunes with a critical eye. So, I decided to tackle one of my remaining behemoths… my iTunes media files, folders, podcasts, music, movies, TV series, audiobooks and whatnot.

It took a great deal of time, but I transferred all the iTunes libraries over to one external drive (with the exception of the library on the machine I was using to do the cleanup — which was my iMac). I had nearly three terabytes of iTunes stuff in duplicate, triplicate and so forth. Yep, you read that right… TERABYTES. I used a three terabyte drive with two terabytes of iTunes stuff on it and ignored (initially) nearly another terabyte on my iMac’s hard drive. Continue reading

Minimal Android Interface: Maximum Function

Minimal Android Home PageI’ve been working on minimizing my digital life in the same way I’m minimizing my physical footprint. To that end, I’ve uninstalled a whole slew of apps on my android (I tend to be a collector when I’m not careful). Additionally, I wanted an organized, easy way to get what I like to use quickly — without all the visual clutter.

I’ve found a minimalist launcher to be the primary “clutter-buster” on my android device, but I also need quick access to more apps than this clean screen will allow. To that end, I found a notification tool that kicks serious green android butt. Continue reading

Big Creativity: Writers in Small Spaces

Creative Space for WritersI just adore this concept for getting a full library into a small space. This space, specifically, is a writer’s nook. Designed by Travis Price Architects, It offers an open floorplan for the creative process, good natural light and access to all the writer’s favorite books (without having them too close, or too tempting when kicking the can about writing that next chapter).

All the inspiration, none of the temptation. It’s almost like a “thought bubble” of books above the writer’s head. I love it. Simply awesome!

Free Books for Your Kindle (or eReader)

I’m spending much of my free time reading — and collecting more books to read! Here are three sites that I find pretty helpful in my quest for cheap library additions:

Mobibookz.co – This is a great site to use to download kindle-friendly mobi formatted books. It will download directly to your Kindle app, if you are using an iPad, but it takes a little more work to get it into the Kindle device (transfer from your computer).

Zero Dollar Books – This page is actually a script that “grabs” any books Amazon is currently offering for free. It doesn’t grab ALL of them, but it does grab a nice selection. Since it searches constantly, and since some of the books offered are only available for an hour or a day, you will need to check back often for the best selection. Also, since it’s through Amazon, once you buy it, it’s yours in the cloud and you can read it on any device that supports the Kindle app. Nice!

FreePartay.com – Offers a selection of Amazon freebies in several genres.

And, if you want to enjoy wickedblog.com on your Kindle, you can subscribe here. I’ll continue to update any other cool freebie book sites I find. ;)

My Little High Tech Cabin Evolves

I’m spending time this spring inside. Yep… not planting, not maintaining the road, not feeling guilty for all the stuff that needs to be done outside. I’ve been keeping inside and making the indoors my little haven. My little technology heaven.

I’m looking around at the things I want and I’m getting them. I’m evaluating the things that have been driving me nuts — and finding solutions for those crazy-makers. I’m paring down the number of possessions through donations to Goodwill, while buying the stuff I really want and those items that will make my life better and my little cabin more “me.”

In that pursuit, I’ve had the UPS, FED EX and USPS burning up the roads from online catalogs to my door — mostly from Amazon, but not exclusively. I’m always a bargain shopper.

The Organized Pantry

I finally got the downstairs pantry closet set up (see the photo above). For under $200! I ordered a commercial grade shelving unit that rocked the space and helped me to finally get it all working. I also put a door-hanging organizer (which I already had) to work. The rest of the work around the house was more dedicated to “hi-tech” stuff, but I just had to share the pantry — it’s been a LONG TIME coming! If you want one for yourself, you can order it from Amazon, which is where I got mine: Commercial 7 Shelf 22 Bin Storage Rack System.

Tiny Office

My laptop (MacBook) is my primary machine. I’ve cleaned it off and have offloaded everything to a 3 TB External Hard Drive. I COULD be using my beautiful antique secretary desk for my workday, but in all honesty, I’ve found a better option that is much more comfortable. I have a large leather chair with an ottoman in the media room (actually opposite my desk proper) and I use a lap desk to make the perfect place to write and build web-pages and communicate with clients. I found some incredible deals for mine. The luxury leather chair and ottoman cost me $250 at a second hand shop and I picked up the lap desk for $5.00 at a thrift shop, and it’s just as nice as the ones I’d been eyeing at Levenger.com for ages. I love Levenger, but I love a good deal more. :)

Feet propped up, iced coffee on the chair-side table, house phone headset in the charging cradle and the droid in it’s little dock (broadcasting my internet via “hot-spot”) and I’m “in business” each day.

I also picked up two expensive (at least by my standards) sets of earphones. One is a plug-in type that has the most amazing sound EVER. V-MODA Nero Noise-Isolating Metal Headphones. Normally, I go for the cheap earphones… I consider them disposable. But since my boyfriend is an audiophile and he let me listen to his, I had to order some of my own. Yeah, I went from $5 earphones to plopping down over $100 based on that one listen. It really is THAT dramatic. I had to get the Nero version, just to “one-up” him a little. :)

The second set is a bluetooth stereo set that is so comfortable that I forget I’m wearing them. I just listen to music while I work and click to answer any incoming calls. I picked them both up through Amazon and can’t recommend them highly enough. I like the LG Tone Bluetooth Stereo Headset (HBS 700) ones so well, I even got a pair for my mother for Mother’s Day. She loves hers too! (And there’s a good chance Pops is getting a set of his own for Father’s Day — since he’s coveting mom’s.

I may tire of this set up at some point. In the summers, I tend to work on the porch pretty often, but right now, I’m loving the current digs.

Hard Drives: A Hoarder No More

I had 13 external hard drives ranging from 500 gigs to 2 TB. Count them! And much of the information on those drives was just duplicate information. I spent a week (every spare moment I had) transferring and consolidating and eliminating duplicates. There is still MUCH to do, but I’ve got all the stuff I could salvage on a single drive and I’m in the process of organizing that one drive into an amazing, easy-to-access server of all my “stuff”. Once I’m finished with the organization, I’ll make a copy of the master drive to keep offsite. The master drive I selected was on gold-box special over on Amazon: Seagate Expansion 3 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STAY3000102

Several of the drives no longer work. Those will be tossed. The smaller ones that DO work will be given to people who will use them. I’ll keep a couple for mobile file transport, but I’m no longer going to HOARD hard drives. Someday I may even quit hoarding digital data… but that may take longer.

Media Room

It’s finally starting to look like a media room, rather than that weird room with all the plugs on that one wall. I finally broke down and bought a widescreen TV. I settled on the VIZIO 47-Inch TV. I got mine as a refurb, which really cut the cost. It’s flippin’ huge (especially since I’m accustomed to something small enough that I can tuck it in a bag and take it with me). It’s internet ready (a “smart” TV) so I don’t even plan to hook up anything else (beyond a blueray player and a stereo system. I’m honestly amazed when I watch a movie on it — the clarity is uncanny. Of course, I’m sadly behind the times on this technology since I’ve not had a TV for so many years.

The TV (thanks to the fine mechanical skills of the Boyfriend and a set of Cheetah Mounts) is now hanging on the wall. I’m still going to have to figure out how to handle the attachments without stringing wires everywhere (I HATE wires!), but that’s a project for another time.

Kitchen

I’ve decided that just because a device IS mobile, doesn’t mean it needs to STAY mobile. Case in point… my iPad. I’ve carried it around since it was released. And the place I enjoy it most is in the kitchen. In the kitchen, I can watch a movie, listen to music AND look up any recipe I want. I also don’t like the weight of carrying the iPad everywhere. I don’t like the additional cords and chargers (since I use a Droid, instead of an iPhone these days, everything is duplicated). I don’t like carrying a HUGE purse and I don’t like the weight it adds to my “everything” bag.

So, I bought an under-the-counter ipad holder for it. (Be sure to shop around on Amazon, I got mine for a lot less than the linked model — and sales do run on occasion.) I wanted something that will pull down when I want it and push up (basically invisibly) when I don’t need or want it. I don’t want a TV or a computer downstairs — but I do like having this to bridge the gap in the kitchen. Now, I just have to install the holder…

Bedroom

I’ve moved the iMac into the bedroom. I use it for Netflix, DVDs and as a workhorse to transfer HUGE files from one external drive to another. Other than that, it’s horribly underutilized and I don’t care. I’m considering installing a wall shelf to eliminate the need for a surface for the iMac that takes up floor space.

There are several other things I want to get to continue the progress… but it may have to wait until my finances can catch up. I’ve been on quite the “spending spree” lately — especially for me. But it’s been worth it… every single cent!