A Frustrating Week in Macville

| Editorial

If you stay within certain boundaries, the Macintosh experience is very pleasant. However, I've been doing Macs for 25 years, so take it as a personal liberty to mess around with my Macs and get away with it. Lately, the Mac has pushed back.

I should emphasize from the outset that this isn't a rant. It's just an editorial musing about some of my experiences. The real goal is to get (polite) discussion going that also serves to entertain and educate newbies.

1. iTunes. My iTunes library is getting big, over 52 GB. Following our esteemed managing editor's Quick Tip "Move Your iTunes Library", I moved the iTunes Music directory to a second internal drive in the trusty PowerMac G5. (This is a directory found within the iTunes directory.) After I reset the location of that directory in iTunes preferences, I got a progress window suggesting that iTunes was updating the path to each item. When it was finished, I played some music, and all seemed well. That was Friday.

This morning, after a weekend's worth of Time Machine updates (not that I think that matters), I had an exclamation mark in front of every iTunes song and TV show. The listing was fine, but if I double-clicked a song, iTunes reported that it couldn't find the song. So Something mysterious is going on here, and the procedure to move an iTunes Music directory may have changed since Jeff published his note. Has anyone had a similar experience?

2. Pulling the Rug. My wife and I have been eagerly following a really neat SciFi fantasy called Legend of the Seeker. Each week, after the show airs on our local PBS station, Apple has been adding the HD version (for $2.99) to iTunes. This morning when I went to download the latest episode, I found that every HD episode had been removed and replaced with the SD equivalent for $1.99. Now ABC (the source) may have forced this on Apple, but it seems to me that when people make an investment in a product, a sudden degradation of the quality isn't called for. Apple shares some blame for allowing this. Just another technological disappointment that fills our small buckets of patience and overflows.

3. Patrick McGoohan died last week. His legendary, cult, and significant TV show from the 1960s, The Prisoner made a mark on all of us along the way. Before he died, he spoke many times about the message of the show and how it relates to our lives. Here's a quote from Wired last week

"We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche.... As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy.

"We all live in a little Village," McGoohan concluded in the same interview. "Your Village may be different from other people's Villages, but we are all prisoners."

A poignant example of that is if you try to update an unlocked iPhone 2G using iTunes 8.0.2 instead of 8.0.1. Some of you know what this means, so I won't go into more detail. Enough said.

4. AFP, ACLs, and Achoo. This is an apocryphal story because I haven't documented the events and named the suspects.

It seems to me that after I updated to 10.5.6, I am no longer able to do something I've always done. I have the same named account names on my MacBook Pro and an old PowerMac G5. When I use Apple File Sharing Protocol (AFP) to go from one machine to the other, that user's Desktop directory is not visible on the other machine -- as part of all the other directories one can see, such as Documents, Music, Pictures, etc. Instead, the Desktop directory shows up as a separate, mountable volume, even though it's not listed in /Volumes.

Say what?

I asked Ted Landau about this at Macworld, and he's not seeing the same behavior, but I'm betting his account names are different. In fact, if I log into different account (name) on my own MBP, and then connect to the PMG5, the Desktop directory shows up right where it belongs, same as every other. I think this is either a new bug (allergy) or a new "feature" of 10.5.6. Feedback is welcome.

When I looked at the directories on the PMG5, I noticed that some directories, including Desktop, have acquired Access Control List (ACL) privileges. (Designated by a "+" sign at the end of the directory entry.) This is something normally only done on Mac OS X server, and Mac OS X client users should never be confronted by this. I used some command line magic to remove the ACL, but it didn't solve the above problem, and I'm especially mystified because these ACLs never appear on my MacBook Pro for the corresponding directories.

So that's my list of recent frustrations. No doubt, some of you will say, "John, you shouldn't mess around like this." But indeed I do. That's how I learn. It's just that creative play isn't always, well, like, totally fun -- to borrow a phrase.

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Comments

LC

John,
I have my iTunes library on my in-home server, and all 4 waterMacs in the house use that as the location for iTunes music.  The only time I have issues is if the volume doesn’t mount at startup or if someone in the house messes with one of the names of the folders in the path to the music library folder.  Have you changed the name or part of the path to that folder?

One thing to check is that if the path you set in iTunes is still there in the advanced preferences.  iTunes resets the path (only temporarily) to the iTunes default, if it cant find the path at launch. Quit iTunes, make sure the volume is on line and the path is correct and restart iTunes….

John Martellaro

LC:

Yes, I am aware of all those things. Relaunching iTunes didn’t help it identify the new location on the other drive, even though it was set in
iTunes->Preferences->Advanced->iTunes Music Folder Location.

- J.M.

cheezem

John,
I had the same problem. iTunes, by default, puts an iTunes folder in the user folder on the system drive. I put an alias to the iTunes folder on the second drive in the user folder. Now, unless I don’t have the second (external) drive attached, iTunes finds the correct library.

drew

The simplest way to move an iTunes library is to alter the preferences to the new location with ‘keep music organized’ checked, then simply do ‘Consolidate library’ from the file menu.
Apple give you the tools to move the Library, RTFM can save you pain and suffering.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1449?viewlocale=en_US
It may be easiest to go back to a backup & start over.

John Martellaro

Reader Drew is correct. That updated procedure worked for me.
  - J.M.

brett_x

One issue with alternative iTunes folders: Make sure you have your alternative location available (network share mounted or external drive powered on) when you download anything new in iTunes or it will change the preference back to the default. One thing that you might try if this is a real issue is to make a symbolic link instead of changing the preferences. I haven’t done this myself yet, but I do fight with it to maintain my alternative location and will probably do that the next time it “forgets” I told it where to go.

As for your ACL/ AFP issue..  I doubt your ACL and AFP problem are directly related, but it’s possible.
Your AFP issue:  I suspect you have some strange setting in your Sharing-> File Sharing preferences. Check what is listed for shared folders and Users. If nothing is there, check what ACL is attached using the ls -le command.
A few notes about ACL’s:
They are default in Leopard for all of the folders at the root of your home directory. Leopard likes to paste an ACL that reads: “group:everyone deny delete” to those folders so that you can’t mistakenly delete any of your initial home folders.
You can remove ACL’s by using chmod -N . It can be done recursively with -R, but use at your own risk… Apple has started using ACL’s more and more. In fact, that’s how your downloads are tagged as “unsafe” until you grant permission for them to launch. (I.e. ” ?Cocktail? is an application which was downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?”)

Finally, there’s a way to restore all of the Leopard user permissions.. It involves booting from the Leopard DVD first: http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20090114235735188

Hope this helps…

Jeff Gamet

Hey John -

Sounds like it’s time for me to update my Quick Tip on moving your iTunes library. Good to know. smile

Jeff

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