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Tech: How do I use media libraries?

Dave the Gnome 03 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Apr 13 - 04:38 PM
Bill D 03 Apr 13 - 04:59 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Apr 13 - 05:10 PM
Bill D 03 Apr 13 - 06:21 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Apr 13 - 06:46 PM
Crowhugger 04 Apr 13 - 01:55 AM
JohnInKansas 04 Apr 13 - 04:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Apr 13 - 06:38 AM
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Subject: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM

OK - I have the general principle. But how do I get the best use from them? Can I select all the music in all the libraries, for instance, and use them as a random play list for a party? Can I use then to index my photos?

I am pretty technical, but more used to good old folders and, believe it or not, CLI on Unix! So, don't spare the technical advice or the rod to tell me what a numpty I am.

Any advice, anecdotes or required reading lists gratefully accepted.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 04:38 PM

Others who use one or another of the various "libraries" gimmicks may be quicker than I am about "knowing" which "media libraries" you're refering to.

If you're refering to the "libraries" fantasy incorporated into recent Windows versions, and "invoked" automatically whether you want to use them or not since Win7, all I can say is that they don't work very well for me, for any purpose. I've left them to do their own thing thus far, but they're just wasted space on the hard drive for me. I use, and work from, files and folders I make.

I haven't bothered as yet, but you can remove the Windows libraries completely and put your stuff in folders where you can decide where you want things. You "lose" the Microsoft ability to automatically decide what they think you should do instead of what you want do without asking you, and especially for large numbers of media files that facility might be of some use since Microsoft is smarter than you are (according to Microsoft).

The "removal" is reportedly reversible if you save the log files, so the libraries can be put back in if you change your mind, but of course if you restore them they'll have to be completely updated (by the computer) and everything put back where Microsoft thinks they should be. The rebuilding may take days - or weeks - if you've got lots of files. As a friend trained in cookery in Paris said about iceberg lettuce, "the best thing that you can say about it is that you don't have to use it."

Some media distributors also have, according to reports, their own "library managers" that work a little differently, but they're mostly used only for media and I don't do much of that so I haven't looked at any of them.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 04:59 PM

If 'media libraries' is a term for a specific thing already available in Windows, I wouldn't know, as I never heard of it.

But I have several programs like Mediamonkey that can indeed be used as a jukebox.

Even simpler is something like 1 by 1 directory player.

Indexing photos is another issue, and there are many programs which will do that.

For indexing of EVERYTHING or any subset of everything, the best (free) thing on the planet is http://indexyourfiles.com/


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 05:10 PM

Aaaaah - I just sort of assumed I was missing a trick but maybe I am just missing Mr Gates' trickery!

So, aside from libraries being able to store locations (which also seem to be folders or directories with sub-directories) maybe they are just an extra level of complication we don't need. Like buttons on underpants. (Sorry - just a personal gripe :-) )

Anyone got any use for them that I am missing?

Cheers

D.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 06:21 PM

As a Win XP user, I wonder if this is some new thing in Win 8?


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 06:46 PM

My local "she of enormous complexity" has discovered the Windows Libraries in Win7 and everything on her computer ends up in the Libraries. It can be incredibly difficult to NOT DISCOVER that all your stuff is going into "libraries" whether you've intended them to be there or not, since Windows creates and maintains them by default.

The main difficulty arises when I try to back up her files for her, since everything that's in a "library" may also be in a folder that she created elsewhere, and the "duplicate copies" in backups almost outnumber the good files.

"Moving" a file to a library doesn't necessarily physically change the location of the information on the drive, but puts a "pointer to the physical location" with the same file name in the library, so the same physically stored file can be on the drive with pointers to it from more (sometimes many more) locations in the "folder structure" - or multiple copies of the same physical file can be physically recorded on the drive, consuming (sometimes large amounts of) unnecessary drive space.

With sufficient effort one can (according to Microsoft) figure out when deleting a "file" from a library only deletes the pointer to where the file is in another folder or when deleting in the library deletes the file itself from all places, but it does require some study. "She" loses lots of files because of the vagaries of that kind. (Of course it's my fault because I'm supposed to have them all backed up.)

Having the libraries automatically in a "user space" under the username of one operator also complicates accessing the files from a different computer being run by a different user in order to put them on an external drive temporarily attached to another one of the three computers it's otherwise convenient to use.

The Windows Libraries can be used by some people usefully. My impression from the instructions and pseudo-explanations provided by Microsoft is that the way I use my computers they're potentially hazardous for me. The dangers could be mitigated with some study of what they are and with detailed understanding of the nuances of how they work, but for my use they're unnecessary so I just ignore them. "Normal" users might actually like them, but I'm underwhelmed with the whole idea.

Microsoft has instructions for "completely" removing the libraries. The recommended procedure more or less just "turns them off" and they can be restored. Full "turn off" requires changing large numbers of Registry entries, so use of a "script" (call it a program) to make the changes is recommended. The removal programs are available from many places on the web, and appear to be the same everywhere; but so far as I've seen they're not available directly from Microsoft.

Since some people do find them useful(?) it probably is a good idea for most people to look at whether they find value in them before deleting, and that means you should try to figure out how they work before just blasting them away. Having them on the computer doesn't prevent you from putting files in a folder/file tree elsewhere.

You can make folders in a library and create/delete separate "Libraries" beyond the defaults, so for a single-user having all your folders as subfolders of "Libraries" isn't a lot different in actual use than having all your folders as subfolders of a drive, other than the possibility of having Microsoft "helpfully" rearranging your stuff "in certain ways."

To the original question, if you can select multiple folders to include in a play list, I see no obvious reason why you shouldn't be able to select multiple libraries into the list for the same kind of random playlist, since "library" (in this case) is just another filename that happens to be a folder with a lot of "stuff" in it (but perhaps a folder with slightly nefarious intentions about manipulating your files without asking for your permission?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 01:55 AM

As best I can gather, they're a sort of toy for people who don't know how to create and use folders. Such people will be able to browse the libraries. But wait, they can also browse folder and file lists...so I'm with JiK: underwhelmed.

I don't keep most of my media files where MS wants to put them, in "my music" or "my videos". I have switched off all the automatic file transfers as I find it confusing at best and totally senseless most of the time. Many of my media files are home audio or video recordings of rehearsals or learning tracks so I prefer to file them according to the ensemble and which song. A particular type of recording I file by rehearsal date, and these tend to become obsolete within 3 months or less so I don't want them in a library. Those ones go in folders named by ensemble and date so it's easy to know when to delete them.

If I were a kid buying trendy music, maybe MS automated media filing would make sense. Maybe.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 04:47 AM

The "Libraries" in recent Windows are essentially an extension of the "User" idea that appeared quite a few versions ago, with "My Documents" etc folders. An immediate problem was that when you accessed your own "My Documents" you saw your files, but if you accessed someone else's "My Documents" the folder name was something else, and often the one to whom that "My Documents" belonged never knew what name to tell others to use when they wanted to find a file in "My" folders for a different "My/Me/whoever."

The idea there was that if each user kept all their own files in one folder, and other users had their own different folder, "sharing" or restricting access would be easier. It quite probably did make things easier for those producing the programs, but was little help to most users - and besides the names of the folders were "too cute" to be acceptable for most when they first appeared. In my case, I have two users and all files "owned" by either of us need to be fully shared so that we can each access all our files. Any slight security hit is only of concern if someone might want to steal her lists of dead ancestors, but otherwise I doubt either of us knows much of anything worthwhile for anyone else to want to look at on our computers.

The "Libraries" idea seems to be based on the "new Search" that appeared in recent versions that's based on the hallucination that the computer will automatically "index" all your files (working in background) so that "indexed searches" can be used for more rapid results. (This is the same system used for the main search at mudcat, but with the indexes being constantly updated.)

Unfortunately Microsoft isn't particularly good at deciding which word it finds determines what a file is about, so although I've tried very hard to use it the "new search" has NEVER found anything I asked it to search for. It appears likely that it might work if you had fewer than a hundred or so files on your computer, but I have 444,491 Files in 58,001 folders on my main drive where I keep my "personal" stuff (i.e. what "she's not interested in) and another 75,500 Files on a separate drive where I keep "outside source material" like news reports I might want to talk about here.

Since "search" can't find ANY USEFUL INFORMATION for me and the same "logic" appears to be what Microsoft uses to decide where to put things in Libraries, I'm not confident I'd ever be able to find anything if I tried to set up a logical structure within Libraries and rely on Mickey to know where to lose things. Those with fewer files might be more successful.

I think Microsloth says that I should "tag" the files I might want to find, and that might help if I believed it would make the search work any better and if I could find any information on a logical tagging system; but opening, reading, tagging, and saving each of my 591,991 files (that's today, more tomorrow) hardly seems worth it when I've already sorted them by folders and can find anything by the descriptive filenames I assigned when I first saved them, without talking to the OS. Win7 search can't even find a file when I copy the file name out of Explorer and paste it into the search box in Explorer and search only in the same folder where from which I copied the filename. (But it may find several thousand others it thinks I should want instead.)

I really want to let this system decide where to put my stuff? ? ? ?

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do I use media libraries?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 06:38 AM

I'm sold on not using them! :-)

Be taking a look at some of teh other products mentioned.

Thanks one and all

DtG


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