the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

AppleTV and the Mysterious iTunesDB.tmp Files

So after I upgraded to iTunes 10 and did the necessary bits of extra hackery to make the UI reasonable again, iTunes decided to lose track of my AppleTV (probably as a result of my fiddling with plists to try to fix this annoying regression), which forced me to do a full re-sync of my entire library.

Three days later (I pushed around 165GB over my wireless network), the sync was complete, but I noticed a giant 282GB blob of "Other" stuff on the disk allocation graph in iTunes. When I logged into the AppleTV to see what was going on, I discovered that during the sync process, something was causing my AppleTV to drop 78MB iTunesDB.tmp files in my /mnt/Media directory.

A lot of them.

Just north of 3600, in fact.

So... yeah, there's my 280+ GB of "Other". Ouch! So much for that nice new 500GB external drive! My initial testing didn't seem to indicate that their presence or absence mattered at all for normal use, so I nuked them and freed up a ton of disk space. I have observed that I get one to three more of them every time iTunes syncs to the AppleTV, though, so eventually they'll be a problem again.

Does anyone know what these files are or why they're written to disk during syncs? Or more importantly, do you know what should be--but clearly isn't--cleaning them up?

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Apple TV Harmony

I was pleasantly surprised tonight to discover that the Harmony folks have a pretty decent pre-set profile for Apple TV, so instead of an evening full of tedious Googling and button-learning, I had everything working in a few brief minutes, and I'm back to one-remote bliss--it even manages to put the Apple TV to sleep correctly! The only notable omission is that while the fast forward and rewind buttons get hooked up automatically, the next and previous track buttons don't. Luckily, fixing that is pretty simple.

Life, at least on the technological front, is good. (The rest is pretty good too, but not tremendously noteworthy.)

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Potter-Related Setbacks; 24 Hours With Apple TV; Shutterfly Freebies

I'm really excited by the amount of progress I've made over the last couple of weekends, hacking away at what for now is known as Shindig, a group management blog/calendar app written against TurboGears. Its primary purpose is to be something easier and faster for me to maintain than ClePy's current Plone site. I'm sure much of what it solves has already been done, but I want something exactly tuned to giving me the most streamlined workflow possible, and, let's face it, it's just plain fun to write code.

So ordinarily, I'd be psyched about how much I'd be able to get done this weekend... Except that the stupid Harry Potter book is showing up in the mail tomorrow, and that basically means that it will consume every waking, lighted hour until it's done. I love the books, I really do, but it's really putting a crimp on my Python geek-out sessions. But I have to be done reading by Monday, that's for sure, or else I will have to gouge my eyes out to avoid spoilers. My predictions: Snape dies (he's obviously been set up for a hard-core double-agent redemption arc, so he'll probably save the day somehow), Harry lives (and will be the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher ever), and Ron and Hermione will finally succumb to the powerful call of teenage hormones and romantic comedy conventions and hook up in a major way.

Oh, yes, and I'm going to see Howard Shore conducting the Cleveland Orchestra in performance of his Lord of the Rings Symphony tomorrow night, so that knocks out a couple more hours of potential coding time. Which I guess I can live with; enjoying some of my favorite music, conducted by its composer, performed by one of the world's foremost orchestras, under the night sky, with a picnic and a nice glass of wine... Should be a real treat.


Tonight marks 24 hours since the arrival of the Apple TV. So far, I'm very, very impressed. I have modest needs, primarily to replace an aging SlimP3 that's prone to chronic buffer under-runs ever since I replaced my dying firewall, and it solves all of my most common use cases with total aplomb. I've been delightfully impressed by its streaming performance, which, even with an 802.11b/g setup, is nothing short of freaking amazing. I'm also very satisfied with the image quality out of the component video cables (chosen since our altar to the television gods predates HDMI by a generation or so). My advice so far, to any prospective owners, boils down to two points:

  1. Don't do your initial sync over wireless if you don't have 802.11n hardware. Wired ethernet is your friend by orders of magnitude.
  2. Its case serves as its heat sink, which is to say it gets hot like you wouldn't believe. Don't set it on top of your DVD player or other hardware (unless you want to cook your gear), and make sure that it gets plenty of airflow. Honestly, I used oven mitts to bring it upstairs to wire it into my switch to finish the initial sync. Yikes!

Beware of the YouTube integration; Liz and I must have spent an hour tonight watching videos of cats doing stupidly cute things. It is a powerful and addictive time-sink.


Finally, I'm happy to report that the first of two freebie poster-size prints from Shutterfly arrived today and it looks great. I picked up a 50mm prime lens for my Canon (Digital Rebel XT) recently, and the folks at Amazon threw in a coupon for one free 11x14 and 16x20 print. The 16x20 (which I expect sometime Saturday or Monday) will probably end up framed and in our dining room, next to some other wine-related art, and the 11x14 (which showed up today) will probably find a home in our living room. I'm really quite tickled--I've never printed any of my work larger than 5x7 before--but I fear that I could start going poor making prints of my better photos. Oh well; Liz said I should find a hobby.... ;-)

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