Displaying iTunes album art

This has been bothering me for some time now, but it was one of those things that I just learned to live with. I’ve found in the past that it can be difficult to know what search term to enter into Google to find solutions for problems such as these.

So, what is the problem? I have a smart playlist that includes everything from my library, barring podcasts and audiobooks, that has a playcount of 0. As the tracks changed, the album art in the lower left-hand corner did not update. I would have to select iTunes and hit Ctrl L to select the track that was playing and have the album art update.

I decided today to try a quick search and entered this into Google: [itunes play shuffle album art doesn’t display].

That quickly led me to this post at macosxhints, whence I found another related post entitled
See album art for music in a shared iTunes library.

It says:

If you click on the top bar of the little album art window in the corner, and change it from “Selected Item” to “Now Playing”, you’ll be able to see artwork from the shared libraries as it plays. This has been working in iTunes for a few versions already, although it’s a bit hard to expose this functionality.

Here’s a screenshot showing the two options.

It’s just a small thing, but it had been annoying me for such a long time and it’s nice to have it finally resolved. Seemingly it will work with shared libraries too, although I haven’t tested that out yet.

First day on the Mac, by a Windows user

I got my MacBook and have spent a couple of hours with it. This if the most I’ve typed on it yet. The keyboard is very nice actually, and the whole thing just feels quality. However, I’m finding it rather frustrating to be honest, mainly because of the unfamiliarity. I’m quick on a Windows machine and have the keyboard shortcuts down pretty well – so much so that I don’t use the mouse that much if I can help it.

I get that command Q is the same as Alt F4, but what about Ctrl W? I can delete a word at a time using the alt key with backspace, rather than Ctrl as it is on Windows, but where’s the delete key? And how come Firefox didn’t show up in my regular user account after installing it on the admin account?

Part of the problem is that I don’t get to play on the Mac until the evening when I’m really too tired to be reading how-tos and manuals. I’m sure it will come in time. But, as this is my only Mac in a Windows world, I’m curious as to how frustrating it is going to be switching between them all day long with the keyboard shortcut issue. I haven’t tried doing anything really productive on the Mac; that’s not really what I got it for anyway, but it would be interesting to see how it works for heavy word processing, audio editing, etc. I guess I should start off by finding a site of info for switchers from Windows – anyone recommend anything?

It is a nice machine though. I also got a nice Timbuk2 bag for it.

I’m not sure about the glossy screen. It does reflect the light, but so far it hasn’t really been an issue.  

As I find with my iPod, it’s the little things that make Apple products nice. I went to plug in the magnetic power cord, which is a great thing in itself, but the thing that made me smile was that there was no right way round – downside up or upside down, it fits! And the button the battery that makes the lights come on to show how much charge is left is another example of the Apple goodness.

So, all in all, it’s a nice laptop, but there’s a curve. I’m pleased.


Hamish has had rather a bad chesty cough for over a week now so we reckon it’s time that we took him to the doctor. He seems perfectly happy, but you hear scare stories about coughs turning into pneumonia and the like, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Of course it means a long wait for Lorraine in the waiting room – it’s bad enough when you have an appointment, never mind when you don’t! And since I have to work, she’ll have to take Freya with her as well. Thankfully there are plenty of toys in the waiting room, but also plenty of infectious diseases too!

Lorraine took some pictures yesterday to use for our Christmas photo cards and we’ve been deliberating over which picture to use. I can’t attach one right now as I have some hard disk diagnostic checks running on the downstairs computer right now and, of course, I hadn’t copied the pictures up to the centre of operations. I’ll post them up later on today and maybe you can help me choose.

Translation wise, I have a mere 500 words to go of chapter 7 to go, and that leaves only chapter 8 and the conclusion, some 9500 words. The end is visible.

Oh, and I got the MacBook yesterday. It’s going to take some getting used to – being partial to keyboard shortcuts, it’s rather frustrating not to have them any more. I’m sure there are some shortcuts to learn, they’re just different.

Back to work then…

MacBook: the saga

This follows on from my excited post about my new MacBook.

So I did bunk off and nip into town yesterday to pick up my new MacBook, just as I knew I would. I had to get up at 6 am so that I could do that.

I arrived at the shop, presented my invoice and they collected the computer for me. While it was sitting on the counter, I asked why the 2 GB of RAM I ordered as an upgrade was on top of the box and not in the computer. They said that I would have to remove the existing RAM modules and replace them with the bigger ones. “So what do I do with the old RAM then?” was my obvious response. To which they replied something along the lines of “whatever”.

So I called for the manager and had him explain to me that they would install it for me for a mere 49 euros. Bear in mind that this is a five-minute job, which makes the hourly charge for switching RAM 588 euros. Hmmm. But then they explained that, if they were to do that, they could keep the old RAM and deduct that from the price. Forgive me for being presumptious, but I just assumed that that is what they would have done in the first place. The overall result would be that I would pay 90 euros less, even taking into account the 49 euro charge. So I came home empty handed and dejected, and had to get up at 6 again this morning so I can make the trip into town again today.

When I got home, I examined the original invoice and the updated one to take into account the 49 euro charge and deduction. That’s when I began to get really confused. The original invoice had the RAM listed at 154 euros; the updated one had it listed as 271.42. So I sent an email to the shop asking that they explain the pricing and also to let them know how disappointed I was about the whole thing.

I’m going back in to town in about an hour to pick it up and will hopefully get some good service (not common in Luxembourg I’m sad to say). Dare I start to get excited again?

MacBook and haircuts

You all know that saying that says if you hang around a barber’s shop for long enough, sooner or later you’ll get a haircut? Or, as Nick Cave so eloquently put it, if you dine with the cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten!

My point? I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Windows guy and a power user. I cut my teeth on Windows 95, onto Windows 98 (not SE), Windows 2000 and I’ve been using Windows XP Pro since Service Pack 1. Along comes Security Now (the first podcast I ever subscribed to) then TWiT, This Week in Media and then, pretty much down to the fact that I enjoy listening to the TWiT-casters, I found myself subscribing to MacBreak, then MacBreak Weekly and now even the iLifeZone. This was rather strange, as I’ve never owned a Mac in my life. Most of the TWiT-casters are Mac guys, some even openly admit to being fanboys. So listening to the TWiT-casts was the equivalent of hanging around the barber’s shop. It was just a matter of time.

So, Apple switches to Intel chips and now Windows can go on a Mac. Now there’s a thought. My wife’s Sony Vaio (P266 MMX with a whopping 32MB of RAM) is looking rather long in the tooth and so it seems only right that we upgrade the notebook. So, that decided, I said I was going to wait and see if Apple would ever put the Core 2 Duo chips into the MacBooks, which of course they did. So, I placed my order for a my first ever Mac on Saturday 11 November: a white MacBook with 2 GB of RAM. Being a little concerned about the switch, I decided to add a copy of Parallels and Windows XP Home to the order. I’ll see how much I can get by without Windows, but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up installing it at some point.

And, joy of joys, I just got a call from the shop to say that my MacBook has arrived and is there waiting for me to go and pick it up! Of course, it would come on a Tuesday, when the only day I can easily get to the shop is a Saturday. Still, it could be worse, it could be Monday! But I’m fairly sure that I’m going to try and bunk off tomorrow morning so I can go and collect it – I can always get up a couple of hours earlier to work and then nip into town for my MacBook.

Exciting times!