Archive for March, 2006

Downloading Audible Content Directly into iTunes

March 28, 2006

Using a small program called Audible Download Manager, available from the Software page at Audible.com, you can have Audible content, including Audible podcasts, automatically imported into iTunes, Audible Manager, or both.

The program is easy to configure. The hardest part is finding it on your computer once you’ve installed it. Go to the Start menu, type P to choose Programs or All Programs, and go to the Audible Manager submenu. One of the choices is Audible Download Manager; press Enter on this choice.

The program is simply a two-page dialog box. Most of the options are self-explanatory, but one that isn’t is that the Start Audible Manager and Start iTunes check boxes on the Audible Delivery page determine which program or programs Audible content will be imported into. Just make your changes and click the Done button. It’s nice to have such a straightforward, effective program available.

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Making Files Save Your Place on the iPod Shuffle

March 1, 2006

There are several ways to make a file save your place when you play it on the iPod Shuffle. This means that if you leave the file and later return to it, you will be at the point where you were listening, not back at the beginning. This is sometimes called creating a bookmarkable file. The following approaches only work if you use iTunes to transfer the files to your Shuffle; if you use Anapod Explorer, Format 4 Audible files are the only ones that save your place (see my post about Anapod and Audible).

If you use iTunes to download podcasts, they are automatically made bookmarkable. iTunes is not a very accessible podcatching program, though. However, I recently learned from Jonathan Mosen that Replay Radio and Replay A / V include a free podcast client that has the option of automatically making the podcasts they download bookmarkable. This program seems quite accessible, and Jonathan demonstrates its use on his blog.

If you want to make files bookmarkable yourself, there are two methods. I learned the first one from Chip Orange on the Blind iPod mailing list:

  1. Import the file into iTunes.
  2. Select the file.
  3. Click the right mouse button (press Shift-F10 if you’re using Brian Hartgen’s JAWS scripts for iTunes.
  4. Press Enter on the first choice, Get Info.
  5. Press Tab until you reach the control for selecting pages in this multi-page dialog box.
  6. Press Left or Right Arrow as needed to reach Options.
  7. Press Tab until you reach the “Remember playback position” check box.
  8. Press Space to check it.
  9. If this is a file you don’t want to hear in Party Shuffle, press Tab once and press Space to check the “Skip when shuffling” check box.
  10. Press Enter.

This method works very well. I don’t know, though, how enduring it is. IN other words, if you tried to play the file in iTunes on another computer, you might have to follow these steps again to make it bookmarkable. There is another way of creating a bookmarkable file that will always make iTunes treat it like an audio book; the file will be bookmarkable, and iTunes will not play it in Party Shuffle or transfer it to an iPod Shuffle during Autofill. Here’s how:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. If the file isn’t an AAC file, select it, click the right mouse button or press Shift-F10, and choose “Convert selection to AAC” from the context menu. Conversion may take several minutes if it’s a long file.
  3. If you converted the file, the file name is now listed twice; delete the first listing because it refers to the version of the file you don’t need anymore.
  4. Find the file in Windows Explorer. It will be in the iTunes\iTunes Music subfolder of My Music, in a folder named for the artist.
  5. Rename the file extension from M4a to M4b. You will be asked to confirm this change; press Enter to say yes.
  6. Select the file in iTunes and press Enter. You will be told that iTunes can’t find the file and asked if you want to find it. Choose Yes.
  7. You will now be in a browse dialog. Press Shift-Tab once to a file list. Your file should be in this list. Select it and press Enter.