2004 09 23

Base | People


Maarten Engels

A colleague at my current job, who has studied 'Technology and Society' at the same university I briefly attended. He works in the sales division of our company, but his blog shows a wholly unexpected side of him.

2004 09 09

Base | Lab | iTunes


Avoid very large playlists

A while ago, I had intermittent but persistent problems with iTunes (on WinXP) maxing out the CPU to the point where the music would start skipping playback.

At first (as I recorded here) I thought the issue was with a USB vs FireWire connection to the external drive on which the music files are stored. Using USB instead of the FireWire surely made the problem worse, as did the fact that the file system was severely fragmented.

So, I defragmented the drive and things were better--but not over just yet.

Really by coincidence, I found out what the actual culprit must have been: automatic playlists that have around 8000 songs each (largely overlapping, off course).

I had about a dozen of those lists and they used the 'Last played' data as a criterium. In effect, after every song, each of those lists would have to be updated. The process of updating involves (from what I can tell from file movements and memory usage) building a catalog of songs in memory, wich then get written to temporary files, which then, in turn, get written out to the XML file in the iTunes directory.

Open that file (or a copy thereof) in your favourite text editor some time. You will find that not just the 'recipe' for your automatic playlists is listed, but also a list of the the actual songs that make up the list. Not very elegant, I agree.

I removed the playlists (they were a mere byproduct of playing around with iTunes anyway) and my CPU maxing problems disappeared.

2004 09 02

Base | Career


Starting a new job

After much searching (some of which for soul), I have stumbled upon a position that might suit me. After a very quickly arranged interview, some weeks later I was offered the position.

I will start a traineeship to become (over a period of six months) a management consultant, assisting clients with applying for subsidies provided by the Dutch government.

The job sounds like it will fit my profile very well: it requires a broad, yet deep insight in all matters IT, combined with strong analytical skills to pick the eligible projects out of a clients entire operation and rounded off with an ability to write convincing (technical) documentation to argue the eligibility with the appropriate organisation.

If nothing else, it very easily beats sitting at home wondering how the mortgage is going to get paid 5 months from now. At best, this is the turn in the road that my career has desperately needed for much longer than the latest spell of not working.