Fixing problematic iTunes Match uploads

For months now, I’ve noticed that a few albums I have within my iTunes library that aren’t available to purchase on the iTunes Store were not uploading to iCloud, making them unavailable in iTunes Match. As usual, iTunes provides an almost pointless error message:

This item was not added to iCloud because an error occurred.

On the surface, everything seemed to be working correctly. I knew iTunes Match was enabled and working correctly as many other albums I own that are located within my library uploaded successfully.

I then remembered a somewhat similar issue my girlfriend had with her new iPhone 5s only last week. While syncing music to it for the first time, it reported an error with two songs that iTunes stated could not be synced because the file format was invalid. Strangely, the two songs were part of an album that were encoded in the same format as the rest of the album, (VBR 256k Mpeg-3).

I assumed there was some sort of corruption to the files or that the encoding contained enough errors to trigger an iTunes warning. As the songs played without issue within iTunes anyway, I simply right-clicked the two songs and selected “Create AAC Version” from the contextual menu, then deleted the two original tracks once iTunes had converted them into a new AAC 256k format. After that, the songs then synced to her iPhone.

Going back to my iTunes Match issue, I tried the same method again, thinking that a similar issue was occurring (even though the albums in question were in AAC 256k already). After performing the same action of creating a new AAC version and deleting the original1, the albums were then able to upload to iCloud successfully.

The albums I had this problem with were ripped into my iTunes library a long, long time ago, though it would still have been through iTunes, albeit a very old version. If you’re finding that albums are not uploading to iTunes Match, it’s worth trying the above steps to see if it then lets you upload them.

  1. When creating a new AAC version of the album, don’t deselect any tracks. iTunes will keep the original album highlighted, even after conversion, so that you can easily delete them without needing to check if the tracks are the new AAC version or the original. 

How to delete content you’ve downloaded from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Mac App Store

A useful Apple support article for those with hefty iTunes libraries who might be moving to an SSD-based Mac for the first time.

I recently purchased a 13″ retina MacBook Pro with 512GB SSD and have a 400GB iTunes library. Having acquired almost all of it via iTunes, I hadn’t realised that I could safely remove much of the content and be able to download it again whenever I needed. Because of this, I deleted some TV shows and movies I hadn’t watched (or plan to watch) in a long time, freeing up over 100GB.

Resolving Office 2011 export issues with AppleScript

A user I support recently upgraded their Mavericks MacBook Air to a new retina MacBook Pro. After using Migration Assistant, they found that the ability to send Microsoft Excel spreadsheets via email from within the app results in an error whereby Excel isn’t able to save a temporary version in the TemporaryItems folder, so was unable to add an attachment to a new message.

Rather than instruct the user on how to navigate to a folder, explain what the folder they need to navigate to is and then delete it, it was far easier (and safer) to simply write a script to do this instead.

Fortunately, the full path of the TemporaryItems folder is actually available within AppleScript simply by using “path to temporary items”. Here’s the full script that I then saved as a run-only app that the user could simply run1.

As a precaution, it displays a confirmation dialog first. To use it, just copy and paste the above into a new AppleScript file.

  1. Additionally, the path to the TemporaryItems folder differs on each Mac. If another user experienced the same issue (and they have), then I’d have to perform the same troubleshooting steps again. Automating this makes it far simpler to get the user’s issue resolved quickly and easily. 

ADB, the Epitome of Early Apple

Thomas Brand is on top form as he contrasts Apple’s Lightning cable with the company’s long-abandoned ADB interface:

In keeping with Apple’s 1980′s philosophy of industrial design, ADB was intended to be as simple to use as possible, while still being inexpensive to implement. Instead of inventing a new port and cable, a suitable connector was found in the form of the 4 pin mini-DIN connector, which was already being used by S-Video.

The new Mac Pro makes the iMac the power user’s desktop

Dan Frakes at Macworld makes an excellent observation about the Mac Pro vs. the rest of the Mac Lineup:

This all might sound like I’m disappointed with the new Mac Pro, but that’s not the case at all. On the contrary, I’m just especially impressed by the rest of the Mac line. I think it’s fantastic that people like me, whose needs are considerably more demanding than those of the typical computer user, but not in the realm of a professional-app user, no longer have to splurge on a Mac Pro. The new Mac Pro is a pretty great computer. It’s just no longer the Mac for me.

For a long time, the PowerMac G5 coexisted with the PowerBook and iBook G4 range. With IBM unable to provide a working mobile G5 processor, the PowerMac was always the ultimate computing machine with the iMac serving as a clear middle offering with its less powerful G5 processor range.

After moving to Intel, the gap between desktop and laptop closed so much that Apple even used the same processors in the first Intel iMac, and has done ever since.

Thanks to these advancements by both Apple and Intel, the lines have blurred so much between the entire Mac family that an iMac or even retina MacBook Pro are true powerhouses. It’s not that the Mac Pro isn’t much faster than the rest of Apple’s offerings, it’s that they are all so powerful that there is no longer a huge divide between them.

Alan Turing given posthumous pardon

BBC News:

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon.

It addresses his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.

The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.

The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.

Progress.

iOS 7 jailbreak installs pirate App Store for Chinese users

9to5Mac:

The pirate store only appears if your device language is set to Chinese. The reasons for the inclusion of this app is unconfirmed, but speculation on Twitter by several ‘informed’ members of the jailbreak community claim that the evad3r’s accepted a cash deal with a Chinese company to bundle the illegal app. The Chinese company responsible for the pirate app store is Taig.com.

Sketchy.