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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

The Bifocals Guide To The iTunes Music Store
July 25th, 2003

All Mac users who have Mac OS X 10.2.1 or higher on their machines have a new toy, and what a great toy it is. You may have heard about it already because it has gotten good press coverage over the past couple of months. It is the music store that is connected to iTunes.

Users with credit cards with a US address can download songs for US$ 0.99 each. To use it you must have version 4.0 of iTunes. It is free and you can download it directly from Apple's iTunes Web page. You also have to have version 6.0 or higher of QuickTime. It is also free. Once you have both pieces of software installed, you are ready to start. The music choices are in the thousands and the music store is easy to use. Anyone with basic competence using OS X will be able to use the iTunes Music Store (also called the iTMS) within minutes.

When you open the updated version of iTunes, you see "Music Store" as one of the options available to you on the left side of the open window. (I have marked it with a red arrow). Click on the Music Store icon, and it will open up right inside of iTunes itself. Very cool!

Sample Basic iTunes Window
(Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the image)

The iTunes Music Store Window
When you open the Music Store the home page window will look something like this.

Sample Basic iTunes Home Page

I've used the color arrows to point out a few of the features. The red arrow indicates the start button that allows you to listen to 30 seconds of any song you choose. The blue arrow shows where you can enter the name of a specific artist or band that you want to find. The green arrow indicates the pull-down window that allows you to go immediately to a specific genre of music, and the orange arrows indicate the top songs and albums of the day.

In my sample I have entered Sinatra and hit the return key. I immediately get a new window that lists every Frank Sinatra song available in the Music Store. I choose the one I think I want. I can listen to a 30 second sample of the song by clicking the play button mentioned above, or by double clicking on the song itself. To purchase the song I simply click the "Buy Song" button and follow the instructions. Obviously, the first time you make a purchase you will have to go through the registration process, including listing your credit card information. At this time, you can not use online payment options such as PayPal to purchase through iTunes.

Sample Window for Review and Purchase of Music

That's it. It really could not be any easier.

But Wait – There's more!
Burn Your Purchased Music to a CD

If your Macintosh has an internal CD-RW drive or SuperDrive, you can make your own audio CDs containing the songs you get from the Music Store. When I tried this out using a standard CD-R, I was able to get about 20 songs on one CD. For step-by-step instructions open iTunes and then choose the Help menu. Type in "burn cd" in the "ask a question" field and you will find all the information you need. It's really very easy.

Share Your Purchased Music With Other Computers

If your computer is connected to any other computer over a local network and you have OS X 10.2.4 or later you can share the music in your library with up to five of those computers. If you are using Airport then you are considered to be on a local network. Here are the simple steps.

1. With iTunes as the active window, choose the Preferences from the iTunes Pull-down menu It will open in the "General" Window. Click the Sharing button at the top of the window.

Select the Sharing Button From the Preferences Menu

2. Select the "Share my music" check box, then choose your library or the individual playlists you want to share. (Playlist refers to the groupings you have created, such as all songs by one artist.)

3. Type a name for your shared items in the "Shared name" box. If you wish, you can also include a password. Click OK to close the preferences window.

The shared name you enter appears in the Source list on any other computers running Mac OS X version 10.2.4 that are looking for shared music on your network. If you selected "Require Password," users will need to enter that password before they can see your shared music. Also, this requires that you leave iTunes open on your primary computer. If you do not, the other computer(s) wont be able to find your music.

Adjust for Sound Differences
Choose Go back to the iTunes Preferences (as noted above) only this time choose the "Effects" option. Put a check mark by the Sound Check option. iTunes will then control the sound differences between songs so that you don't have to adjust sound levels for different songs

Eliminate Parts of Songs
Some of the music I purchased came from live recordings, but I don't want to listen to the applause after each song. With iTunes and the Music Store I can fix that. The same goes for over-long intros. Start playing the song you want to modify. From the File Pull-down menu choose "Get Intro" and then choose "Options." Note there are fields for start and stop times.

Options Window

Also note that in the regular iTunes window there is a recessed gray box at the top that shows the song information as well as the elapsed time. Identify the exact spot that you want to end (or begin) the song. Enter that exact time in the Start or Stop field. When you do so the box to the left will automatically have a check mark and the next time you play that particular song, the new time constraints will be recognized. This option is for individual songs only. You may have to fiddle with the time a bit until you have it exactly as you want it.

Song Information Field

I hope you will try the iTunes Music Store and experiment with ways to get the songs you want in the way you want to have them.

My next column will cover more tips and tricks for using OS X.

Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.

Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

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