Like Having Your Own Genius Bar

Richard was home for a few days last week.  It was great to see him and catch up on how he’s doing — and it was also great because I got to tap into our very own “Genius Bar” and solve a problem that had flummoxed me for weeks.

Any parent with kids under the age of 30 knows what I mean.  They’ve grown up with technology, are wholly comfortable with it, and seem to know, intuitively, how to fix any problem.  Richard and Russell have solved countless technology issues that have perplexed me — whether it is setting up wireless networks or explaining cell phone functions or diagnosing computer problems.

I was trying to deal with fallout from the demise of our old iMac.  My iTunes were on the old iMac and my iPod was synced with it.  I had the Apple folks remove the hard drive, bought a shell to store the hard drive and allow it to be connected to the new iMac, and was able to do that — but I couldn’t figure out how to transfer my iTunes from the old hard drive to the new computer.  The prospect that I would not be able to do so really sucked, because it meant my old iTunes were lost forever, I couldn’t sync my iPod with the new computer, and ultimately I probably would have to rebuild my iPod and its playlists.

When Richard was home I asked for his help.  He took a look and immediately figured out what to do, transferred the music, and this morning I was able to sync my iPod without losing everything on it.  Thanks, Richard!

And, incidentally, I disagree with those who will contend that this means I have officially moved into the “helpless and clueless senior” category.  I would argue that there is, or should be, a technology exception.

Culling The iMac Herd

We’ve had our home iMac for six years, and during that long period (too long, according to Richard) it has served faithfully and well.  Lately, however, it has been a bit slower than normal, and somewhat balky.  I asked Richard to take a look at it, and he found that in six years we had managed to use up a lot of space, which could be slowing the iMac down.  He deleted a few programs for old games, but also pointed out that by far the biggest user of space was our iTunes.  It would be a good thing, he said, to go through it and see whether any of the music could be deleted.

It’s amazing what kind of stuff you accumulate on a home computer over the years, and iTunes is no exception.  We had some 93 GB of music on the iTunes, and as I began deleting I found that it was pretty easy to do so.  How did Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson get on there, anyway?  (How embarrassing!)  I don’t think I’ll need, for now at least, the Arabic language primer that I downloaded when we were preparing for our trip to Egypt.  And — sorry, Russell! — I don’t have any problem deleting the heavy metal, electronica, and hip hop/rap music that I don’t like and don’t listen to. The main purpose of the iTunes, now, is to store songs and sync my iPod, so we don’t need to keep music that is never going to make the iPod cut.

So far I’ve deleted about 25 GB of files that were on the iTunes.  We’ll have to see whether the iMac becomes a bit more frisky as a result — but in any event it feels good to discard some of the outmoded musical baggage and cull the iMac herd.

Long, Long, Long

It’s been a long, long, long time, but the music of the Beatles is finally available on iTunes.  Apple and EMI, the Beatles record label, have worked out an arrangement.

Getting the Beatles on iTunes apparently was a big deal for Apple’s Steve Jobs, who is a Beatles fan.  Others, however, have questioned whether having the Beatles on iTunes will make much of a difference.  They reason that people who like the Beatles (like me) already have their songs on their iPods and won’t need iTunes to get them, and that younger people want new music, not music that was first recorded in their grandparents’ day.

I don’t agree with either point. In the modern world, iTunes is a basic method for getting music.  Putting the Beatles’ music on iTunes will make it easier for people to get to the Beatles’ music.  And I disagree with anyone who says that young people of today — and boy, does using that phrase make me feel like an old fogey! — won’t care much for the Beatles.  Richard and I heard a few snippets of songs on the NPR report on the Beatles-Apple deal, and the songs still sound incredibly fresh.  The Beatles catalog is just excellent, interesting music.  If kids haven’t heard it because it is not played on their favorite radio stations, they will now have an opportunity to discover the music on iTunes.  I’m betting they enjoy that discovery as much as their parents, and their grandparents, did.