the Life of Zim

24th May
written by dzimney

Recently I switched over to Songbird as an alternative to iTunes. Songbird, in all it’s glory has the ability to integrate with iTunes, which includes importing the library and sharing playlists among other things. It’s great if you want to be using iTunes along with Songbird or are even just wanting to port your iTunes setup to Songbird. However, if you don’t want to be using this feature, there’s one flaw. In the lefthand nav, Songbird creates an iTunes “folder” for playlists brought in from iTunes. Even if this folder is empty, it still shows up. So naturally, it can be a bit of an eyesore when you’re trying to get as far from iTunes as possible, but still have to see it represented along with your Library and playlists.

iTunes listed with other playlists etc.

The solution lies in the service-pane.rdf file found in your Songbird profile folder. On OS X, Songbird profiles are stored here: ~/Library/Application Support/Songbird1/Profiles/. The Songbird1 portion of the path is subject to change. Mine was called Songbird2. There should be only one folder with this naming scheme though.

Each folder within the Profiles folder will be named *some_random_string*.default, where *some_random_string* is replaced by… some random string. For example, my profile was called a3ufknya.default. It’s possible you may have multiple profile folders, so you may need to snoop around a bit.

Once you found the profile you want to edit, within the profile folder find your service-pane.rdf file. Now be sure to duplicate the folder in case you botch things up. I just copy and pasted the file as service-pane-orig.rdf. Now open up the original file, service-pane.rdf, in your favorite text editor. I use TextWrangler, but you can use anything that’ll save the file out as UTF-8. Now do a search on the file for “iTunes”. You should find two bits containing the word iTunes:

<RDF:Seq RDF:about="SB:iTunes">
<RDF:Description RDF:about="SB:iTunes"
        NS1:Properties="folder servicesource-itunes"
        NS1:Open="true" />


<RDF:li RDF:resource="SB:iTunes"/>

The second line is what you want, or rather don’t want. By deleting this line of code from the file, you remove the reference to the first bit, thus remove the item from the left nav menu. Ta da!

Songbird sans iTunes

It’s always good to keep the service-pane-orig.rdf file in case you need/want to revert back. It’s also possible that Songbird will add the item back into the file if you re-enable the iTunes synchronization, but I don’t know as I’ve completely kicked iTunes off my machine.

Hope this helps someone else out, as I couldn’t find any information online regarding this topic.

7th April
written by dzimney

Recently I made the switch from iTunes to SongBird. The main reason for the change is that I also recently made the switch from my iPhone to the Nexus One. To make a long story longer, I’ve felt that Apple has been on a slow and steady decline since releasing the iPhone and probably more attributed to teaming up with the likes of AT&T and other carriers internationally. In short Apple has been tightening it’s grip on user experience and customizing, which I hate. Don’t get me wrong I love(d) my iPhone, but it was just time to switch. And although I haven’t blogged about it much yet (which I should) I absolutely love my Nexus One. Love it. However, iTunes and the Nexus One don’t play together. Not that they don’t play well, they’re just completely incompatible; another sign of how Apple’s grip is loosing customers. While the Nexus One is completely open, simply appearing as an external drive that can be written to, iTunes will only write out to iPods and iPhones. Maybe I’d still be using them if they could write songs to any device. Oh well.

So. Now that I’m off of iTunes, I’m in need of a new source of digital music. After seeing an old friend’s facebook post about their new album being released on Amazon, I figured I’d get myself a copy and have since purchased a number of songs and albums off of Amazon’s MP3 store. That is until today. Last night I started up Songbird on the task of organizing my music. With the quantity of music to be copied to a new location the task took quite a bit of time. Meanwhile I decided to download a few songs from Amazon. The way the Amazon MP3 works, is that you download an Amazon MP3 file that must be opened through their Amazon MP3 Downloader. Well yesterday I had Songbird going through all my MP3s and soas not to create havoc in that process I decided to refrain from downloading my Amazon MP3s until the morning. I had downloaded the files to be opened by the Amazon MP3 Downloader, but not the actual MP3 files. Upon open said files this morning I see this coming out of Amazon’s app:

Download no longer available.

What the hell is that!? I go into my Amazon account. I can see the songs that I’ve purchased. When selecting my three songs from this morning, Amazon says “already downloaded”. Hmm. Annoying? Yes. Bullshit? Yes. Explainable? I wish.

Basically what this comes down to is that I’m not using Amazon to download MP3s anymore. Or if I do, I will be skeptical. Digital downloads are a tricky thing. I’m a web developer. I understand this. That said, if a company like Amazon wants to start selling MP3s, it needs to have it’s shit figured out. After a quick google, I found that I am hardly the only person this has happened to. It’s one thing to download a file, accidentally delete it and then not be able to re-download. But to say you can’t download this file because you’ve already downloaded it, when you simply haven’t? That’s bullshit. That’s someone else’s f*** up that I just paid $3 for. If it was more money I’d probably contact Amazon and have a string of posts after this talking about how bullshit (or amazing) Amazon’s customer service is. But it’s $3 so I don’t care that much. Instead I’m just not going to use them any more. Little ‘ol me? Not a big deal. I might spend a few hundred dollars a year on MP3 downloads. However, for a company as big as Amazon, I’m sure there are hell of a lot more people just like me that are having a similar experience. Say 1,000 people? Reasonable? Sure. Multiply by $300/year? That’s $300K a year because some programmer(s) can’t get their shit together? Lame. Especially when Amazon is going up against a giant like Apple’s iTunes Store? No wonder they have such a huge market share.

Me? I’m still trying to stay off of iTunes. Apple’s getting too big for it’s own good. I still love them, but they’re doing things that make me nervous for them. Songbird has the 7digital store, which is okay. Seems like they’ve got a fair amount of stuff on there. Haven’t used it a ton, but it seems to be pretty well integrated with Songbird, which I like.