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 Not-so-smart playlists? (dynamic updating)

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Okay, I've asked this on ipodlounge and of Apple tech support (nice try), but the smart playlist masters live here, so warm up your smart hats.

I have a mini. Dynamic playlists should work. And they used to work. These are the two playlists I sync (automatically):

"More Rock Less Talk":
My rating is > 3
Last Played is not in the last 2 weeks
Grouping is not Oldies

"Recently played":
My rating is > 3
Last playes IS in the last 2 weeks
Grouping is not Oldies


I have 700 songs that fit the criteria "greater than 3 stars, not Oldies", and this puts all of them onto the iPod. I'm happy so far.

However, once the songs are on the mini, the playlists won't dynamically update until I sync. I'm positive they're not changing--I can listen to a song and it will stay right where it is in "More Rock Less Talk", and the number of tracks in that list won't change. Similarly, songs never get added to "Recently played" until I sync.

So I thought dynamic updating was just completely hosed. Wrong. To test it out, I create a list called "Last 5":

Play count > 0
Limit to 5 songs based on most recently played


This updates just fine on the mini: every time I play a song, it shows up on Last 5 right away. Similarly, I tried making a list containing a single EP plus "last played is not in the last 1 day" and the songs disappeared off it dynamically as I played them.

So what could possibly be wrong with my big main playlists? I tried deleting and recreating them with new names. I tried doing a restore on the mini and reloading it. Nothing. And it used to work! Up until a week ago or so, those lists dynamically updated like happy little rock stars.

Any ideas would be hugely appreciated, because at this point, my mini is making me said, and that should not be. Thanks!


by mamster on Apr 09, 04 | 12:31 am
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Comments

Can anyone with a mini comment on this? Mine won't be coming until July! (estimated ship date)


by dfbills on Apr 09, 04 | 12:37 am

Figured it out--"Grouping" doesn't work on the iPod. Don't use it!


by mamster on Apr 09, 04 | 2:06 am

ah- we've covered grouping before.

I must have been tired when I posted this last night. I didn't even notice the grouping criteria on your playlist-


by dfbills on Apr 09, 04 | 8:24 am

I have found yet another bug in the way Smart Playlists are dynamically updated on the Ipod itself (without syncing to Itunes).

I was simply looking for a way to put the songs I like in a playlist, but have them drop out of the list once I played them, so it always had fresh music in it.

So I created a master playlist called BigList with all the songs I liked in it.

I then created a Smart playlist with the following settings:

Playlist is BigList

Last Played is not in the last 14 days

Limit to 300 songs, selected by least recently played

But it DOES NOT update dynamically on the Ipod. If I change the first criteria to something other than "Playlist is Biglist" it works fine.

So it appears to me that the grouping problem is not the only bug. It looks like you can not create a smart playlist based on another playlist and hope for it to dynamically update on the Ipod itself. It will update if you sync to Itunes, but not on the Ipod.



by FredH on Apr 13, 05 | 9:06 pm

On certain smart playlist parameters are actually updated on the iPod.

I believe these are:

Play Date
Play Count
Rating


by dfbills on Apr 13, 05 | 9:10 pm

<<On certain smart playlist parameters are actually updated on the iPod.

I believe these are:

Play Date
Play Count
Rating>>

Ok, but I have a parameter based on Play Date, and the SmartPlaylist does not update itself, if it is built from another playlist.

It seems like it is a bug.


by FredH on Apr 13, 05 | 9:14 pm

I am having this exact same issue. I setup a smart playlist to include all the podcasts that come from TechPodcasts.com. I then setup another smart playlist to only show those that had not been played (PlayCount=0). This works great in iTunes, but it does not updated on the iPod mini. When I listen to a podcast, I still shows up in the smart playlist.


by Kerry Sanders on Apr 30, 05 | 12:50 am

I spent a good half day trying to figure out this business of smart playlists based on other smart playlists.

I've read lots of comments here and elsewhere suggesting that smart playlists based on other smart playlists do NOT update properly on the IPOD.

I don't think that's true.

My extensive tests show that, provided that:

1. The criteria in the smart playlist are understood by the Ipod (for instance last play date, play count, rating, genre, artist, album).

2. The Ipod has full access to the source playlists (this is IMHO what's tripping up so many people... I'll explain this further in a sec)

Then you can pretty much go crazy with your smart playlists and they WILL update dynamically on the IPOD. I've gone as far as creating a smartplaylist based on 3 smart playlists based on 3 other smartplaylists each... and it all worked like a charm.

The key here is point 2. The IPOD MUST have full access to your source playlist, otherwise it's NO-GO.

So for example...

let's say you create a smart playlist in iTunes: MYFAVORITES that selects all songs in your collection with a rating of 3 stars and above.

Let's further say that THAT playlist ends up being 7GB and you have a MINI...

So you figure, I'll create another playlist that uses that playlist and sync that to the IPOD.

So you go and create a playlist called "MY FRESH MIX" that sets criteria like: PLAYLIST IS MYFAVORITES, LAST PLAYED IS NOT within last 3 days, selected by least recently played, limit to 3.5GB of songs.

You then set THIS playlist to sync to your mini.

That's NOT GOING TO WORK (it won't dynamically update on the ipod). While on the road, your mini has no clue what in the world to do with "Where playlist is MYFAVORITES" since THAT playlist is NOT on the IPOD, and that throws off the whole dynamic updating.

...continued...


by whitemiata on Jul 05, 05 | 5:22 pm

...continues from above....

Stop! Don't despair!!!! Here's the solution:

1. Create another smartplaylist called "MYIPODFAVORITES" this playlist is defined as "Playlist is MYFAVORITES" , select 3.5GB of songs by least recently played.

Then Create your "MY FRESH MIX" smartplaylist like this:

PLAYLIST is MYIPODFAVORITES
last played is not in last 3 days
select 50 songs by least recently played.

Now sync BOTH the MYIPODFAVORITES and MY FRESH MIX playlists to your Mini (by definition they will fit... after all MYIPODFAVORITES is set to be 3.5GB, and FRESHMIX is a subset of MYIPODFAVORITES.

In fact THAT is the key to getting smartplaylists to update dynamically on the road.

Note that the MYIPODFAVORITES playlist will NOT update on the road... but that is NOT supposed to update on the road... it's just your repository smart playlist that you then do all your smartselecting from.

I hope this helps.

By the way... you can go totally wild in BUILDING your MYIPODFAVORITES playlist (for instance you can make IT be the product of numerous smart and non smart playlists in iTUNES) ... and then you can create many smart playlists that query off of IT, or it's children... and provided that you sync IT and it's children, you'll have your own virtual radio station set going on... dynamically updating

I have a 2Gen 4Gb Mini, FWIW.

Oh and of course If 3G or 2G or 1G ipods don't dynamic update I can't change that... this post is for those with updating ipods that don't seem to work as expected.

HTH.


by whitemiata on Jul 05, 05 | 5:22 pm

Well, the Smart Playlists are totally broken today. They will not update at all on my iPod Mini now that I have used the latest iPod Updater software.


by Kerry Sanders on Jul 05, 05 | 10:44 pm

"My extensive tests show that, provided that:"

Unfortunatly, your "extensive tests" were limited to a Ipod mini and not a regular Ipod. I think you will find that the behavior on 2g, 3G, and 4G are all slightly different in this regard.

For example, the 2G won't auto update any SmartPlaylists.

The 3G will update Smart Playlists, but only if they are not based on other playlists.

And the 4G will update all Smart Playlists, even those build from other playlists.


by FredH on Jul 06, 05 | 1:13 pm

"And the 4G will update all Smart Playlists, even those build from other playlists."

Wrong. I have a 4th generation iPod Mini and it will currently not update any Smart Playlists after the latest iPod Updater install. Before that, it would only update Smart Playlists that were not based on another playlist.


by Kerry Sanders on Jul 06, 05 | 3:31 pm

"Wrong. I have a 4th generation iPod Mini and it will currently not update any Smart Playlists after the latest iPod Updater install."

First off, the bug of SmartPlaylists not working after the update is a documented problem that is posted on this site and is also now on the Apple site here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301910

I was not talking about this problem, which is a whole other subject. If you use the latest updater, NO smart playlists will update on any Ipod.

As for your reference to your "4G Mini", I was unaware that the Mini had gone through 4 generations. When I say 4G Ipod, I mean just that. I do not consider the Mini Ipod to be a 4G Ipod. It is a Mini Ipod, not a 4G Ipod.


by FredH on Jul 07, 05 | 7:43 am

"Unfortunatly, your "extensive tests" were limited to a Ipod mini and not a regular Ipod. I think you will find that the behavior on 2g, 3G, and 4G are all slightly different in this regard."

Of course you're right... unfortunatelly I don't have the cash to buy all the Ipods required to do as extensive a test as would be needed to cover all those bases.

What I meant by extensive tests is that I wiped the ipod clean, created a new windows account with it's own itunes and music and conducted a series of increasingly complex tests by first writing out what I would do and what I would expect to happen, and then verifying that the behaviour was in fact as expected.

It was.

I don't doubt that you're correct in that there may be differences between the various Ipod Generations as to how smart playlists are handled.

However at the same time I have read folks with 2ndGen minis (just like mine) state that smart playlists don't work if they're based on other smart playlists, and I've conclusively proven to myself that THAT is indeed not true.

"As for your reference to your "4G Mini", I was unaware that the Mini had gone through 4 generations. When I say 4G Ipod, I mean just that. I do not consider the Mini Ipod to be a 4G Ipod. It is a Mini Ipod, not a 4G Ipod."

Keep in mind that there ARE 2 generations of mini.


by whitemiata on Jul 07, 05 | 9:22 am

"However at the same time I have read folks with 2ndGen minis (just like mine) state that smart playlists don't work if they're based on other smart playlists, and I've conclusively proven to myself that THAT is indeed not true."


Can you give me an example of one that works for you? I just haven't had any success using Smart Playlists based on other playlists.

On a side note, is the previous version of the iPod Updater software available somewhere? I would like to revert to that since I am not using iTunes 4.9 for my podcasts.


by Kerry Sanders on Jul 07, 05 | 4:48 pm

Kerry,

if you're talking about smart playlists that work WITH the 4.9 update, then you're out of luck... if you mean with the previous version of the system software, then I have all sorts of smart playlists working just fine.

The key seems to be that the ipod has to have full access to the playlists you're referencing.


by whitemiata on Jul 08, 05 | 11:45 am

whitemiata,

I am going to revert back to the older iPod Updater from 3/23/05 this weekend and see if I can get it to working. I may post a question or two here. :)

Thanks.


by Kerry Sanders on Jul 08, 05 | 1:11 pm

I have reverted to the 3-23-05 iPod Updater for my iPod Mini and now when I sync the iPod, the podcasts that I downloaded with iTunes do not show up anywhere.


by Kerry Sanders on Jul 08, 05 | 9:53 pm

Kerry, that seems to be the trade off. Either you keep the smart playlist dynamic updating on the iPod with the earlier updater OR you get full podcast support with the later updater.

I don't know about the mini, but on my iPod Photo i am able to get PARTIAL podcast functionality with that previous updater - they appear on the iPod in a playlist called podcasts. They also are included in any smart playlist that has genre = podcast as a basis. (Note: in iTunes 4.9 these smart playlists that have genre = podcast do not have the podcasts in them but on the iPod (due to dynamic smart playlists?) the podcasts are listed in these smart playlists.

You might try that, but if it doesn't work on the mini, I'm afraid waiting on Apple to fix this (if they do) is the only choice.


by Ms. Ryen on Jul 09, 05 | 2:58 pm

Along a similar note, I found a problem with updating Play Counts and Last Played Dates getting lost. After some testing, I have discovered the cause is that anytime an Ipod is rebooted or reset (2G, 3G and 4G) the last played dates and play counts on the Ipod are lost. So when if you re-sync to Itunes, any songs you played before the Ipod reboot won't update play count or last played date. Some folks previously reported this behavior on any 4G Ipod after it goes into Deep Sleep mode, and the real reason, is that it always does a reboot when recovering from deep sleep. If you reboot a 2G Ipod you get the same behavior, so it appears the rebooting action is what wipes the last played and playcount data on the Ipod.


by FredH on Jul 12, 05 | 3:14 pm

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