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The new iTunes is out. While it's, let's just say different looking, we took a good hard look at the latest update to the hardest working app on our Macs and came up with some tips, tricks and features you might find helpful. From Ping to Album Art List View, we check out the good, the bad and the gray.
Ping is opt in, so you have to turn it on in order for it to work. If you're concerned that Apple is going to pull a Facebook on you, put the aluminum foil down--Apple seems to have learned from the bad press surrounding Facebook's tendency to automatically opt-in its users to new features. You have to turn Ping on in order to start judging your friend's musical taste.
Unless you actually know the person and you're fine giving them the email account you use for iTunes, we suggest you steer clear of adding people with restricted accounts. And really, what are these people hiding? We all know you love Milli Vanilli. Blame it on the rain...
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, there is no "post" what you ate for lunch option on Ping. Everything is based around music and friends.
You can also "Like" an album then comment on that.
Or you can just buy the album and tell the world why it's important for everyone else to buy the album.
Finally, you can comment and "Like" items in Recent Activity.
If it was up to Apple, we'd all be fans of Lady Gaga. The top of Recent Activity defaults to showing you people and artists you should follow. You can get rid of that and make the Recent Activity page actually useful by highlighting, well, recent activity.
To hide people to follow, artists to follow and search from Ping: Just navigate to the top left corner and click on the X. Don't worry, they're in the right-hand column.
If you're looking for Bad Brains, Morrissey, The Arcade Fire, Britney Spears, or really anyone that doesn't show up in Apple's Featured Artist list, you're going to be disappointed. So far, only a few artists have jumped on the Ping bandwagon. Hopefully more artists will join the party soon.
Seriously, it's in the Source bar on the left, it's in the menu bar of the iTunes store. Everywhere you look, Ping. If you haven't seen it by now, it's probably because of the new bland gray color scheme of iTunes.
If you have a "colorful" vocabulary, Ping is going to automatically tone it down for the kiddies. We tried some of our favorite PG-13 words and ended up with the * replacement. What the F**k?
No one we've met has agreed with the automatically populated top 10 songs Ping picked for you. The Music I Like option says that they will, "Automatically display all music I like, rate, review, or purchase." We're pretty sure purchase trumps the rest of that list. While we listen to certain albums over and over again, it chose an album we purchased and then never listened to because it sucked.
To fix this, navigate to My Profile > Edit profile, and scroll down to Music I like. Check Manually pick the Music to Display. Use the Search for Music box to search for songs you actually like.
If you think you're going to be able to pick songs not in the iTunes store, you would be mistaken. It's a huge mistake on Apple's part to not allow you to populate your top songs with music not available in iTunes. Oh well, fingers crossed for an update.
When you click on your Music I Like, instead of just playing the song. If you like it, you probably own it. It pops up with the preview of the album the song is on.
If someone posts an album that interests you, you can click on Show Songs right below the album art to preview the album.
You can invite friends to Ping via email or with Facebook Connect. As of writing this, Facebook Connect is wonky disabled and invite via email isn't tied to your address book. You have to type in every email address.
Instead of dealing with broken default ways of sharing your Ping profile, just navigate to Your Profile. Right-click on your name and select Copy Link from the contextual menu.
You can paste that into Facebook, Twitter, or any other way you can think of. It's faster and easier.
Remember when Steve said you could get your Ping on with your iPhone? Well, Plug your iPhone into your Mac after you update to iTunes 10 and it pushes Ping onto your iPhone.
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