Some of the most unlikely people now have Macs

Sat on the train the other morning minding my own business (well adding ratings to my iPod – more on that later) when a woman sat herself opposite me. She dived into her generic handbag and whipped out a MacBook, a big one too. I smiled to myself at the pervasiveness of this brand and then it all became clear; she dived back into her back, past a floral umbrella and deposited an Innocent smoothie carton on the table. I wanted to take a look under the table and see if there were Birkenstocks on her feet and then I realised I didn’t need to look as I’d already got a full house, she was wearing square, thick-rimmed specs.

If anything puts me off buying a Mac it’s this creep toward commonality (and maybe Steve Jobs’ insistence on wearing black shirts tucked in to jeans with all the collar buttons done up).

But back to the ‘pod. Last weekend I was clearing up my hard drive after the traumatic but oddly easy transfer of all my music and photos to a Buffalo Linkstation. I saw my old shared music folder and thought I don’t need to share that anymore, cue changing of file access rights. A few hours later after I’d reset and returned to do some more work I discovered iTunes wouldn’t open, complaining that it could find or change the ‘My Music’ folder. But I’d carefully saved that hadn’t I? I’d made sure when I changed the location of the music that I’d retained the .itl and .xml files with all my playlists, a year’s worth of ratings and play counts …

However, the priorities changing meant that windows had lost information about which ‘My Music’ folder I was now using and, despite attempts at file recovery and re-installs of iTunes, I couldn’t recover any of this information. Gutted. Ok, so the music was safe on the Buffalo, but the thing that really makes iTunes and the iPod work is use, a worn path that indicates favourites, preferences, moods etc. etc.

The solution was complicated and basically involved a session inside RegEdit (a 'how to' guide) to find the keys pertaining to My Music (a Shell Folder) and restoring these to a given location. TweakUI hadn’t been any help as it didn’t even show ‘My Music’ in the list. That done iTunes restarted, I switched to an Ethernet connection and imported 30GB of music again and began to set-up a host of playlists.

Fortunately the iPod had retained a load of ratings and play data so I made sure that, before I re-synchronised it I printed off a few playlists to go back and re-rate. I should consider it a positive. Hindsight allows me to rate more tunes in context and complete a process which I’d got bored of about three months after getting the pod, in a few weeks of long commutes I should have begun to get that wonderful sense of ownership and familiarity again.

And the best part about it? I don’t blame Apple one bit, it was a Windows cock-up caused by a naïve user error. Apple are blameless. In fact, after a weekend trip to the Apple store in Bluewater to show my fiancée the New Nano I’ve decided I’m getting one too (despite middle-aged frumpiness and Steve’s black shirts), sticking my worn first-generation Nano on eBay. But, before I do, any takers at a good price?

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