One of my friends just recently picked up an IPod shuffle. This is the matchbook sized Music player which comes speech enabled. There is no screen on this device; just a 4 position circular button and a 3 position switch on the side. She had heard that it was very easy to put audio files on it. I always marvel at people's definition of easy. Just like how people say that ITunes is accessible. Okay, I'll grant you, it's accessible, but is it an efficient use of your time? Is tabbing 20 times to get to a point where you can do something useful efficient, while all the mice users simply click on an area? I think that, for accessibility, to be useful, it needs also to be quick and "easy to use.
I could go on, but that's not why you're here today.
Let's proceed into putting music on your IDevice.
If you already haven't done so, install ITunes. You can do so by going to www.ninite.com and creating your installer there. Find out more about Ninite by reading my entry on this very cool service.,
Configuring A New PC Is A Drag: http://goo.gl/HQNZA
When installing ITunes, it will search your computer for any music files and create a library for you. It's amazing what it can find. You can also manually add files or folders to the library via the file menu. I would suggest adding a folder if the library ends up being blank.
Let's do that right now.
Press ALT+F to get to the file menu,
Press the letter D to go to the Add Folder option,
At this point, you can either type in the full path of where the folder you want resides, or SHIFT+TAB once for Windows XP or twice for Windows Vista/7 to get to the folder list. You can then move through that list with the UP and DOWN ARROWS, press enter to expand a folder, or press the BACKSPACE to move up a level on the folder tree. Once you've found the folder which you would like to add to the library, TAB until you find the "Select Folder" button and press ENTER.
It will take a few seconds for the folder to be added to the library. You can then go find your handy work under the Recently Added playlist.
I will be addressing playlists in the next blog entry, so stay tuned. But for now, let's start configuring.
The first thing you land on when opening the program is the ITunes Tree View.
Before starting to explore however, let's cancel the registration nag screen. We'll address this in a future blog entry if there's interest. TAB until you find "cancel", and press ENTER. Find the Tree view again and we'll start playing.
A quick way of getting to the tree view is by pressing the function key F6. It toggles between various ITunes views.
You can navigate it by using the UP and DOWN ARROWS. You can also expand or close lists with the RIGHT and LEFT ARROW keys. The first entry is the music option. TAB once from here and you're in your alphabetically arranged songs list area. You can play any song by pressing the SPACEBAR for Play/Pause and move between songs with the LEFT and RIGHT ARROWS while playing, or UP and DOWN ARROWS while viewing. I'll let you investigate that on your own.
SHIFT+TAB back to the tree view once you're done.
If you have your device plugged in, which you should at this point, you should see it in the list.
From the Tree View, press the letter D. It will bring you to the device list. Press the RIGHT ARROW to expand the device list.
Press the DOWN ARROW to get to the device. Now, it this point, you'll see the device name, it's charging level and the fact that the tree view for it is closed. Leave it closed for now. From here, we will TAB through the various options. The options list is represented by radio buttons. You check the one that you would like to navigate. For example, if you press the SPACEBAR on the summary radio button, you can then TAB through a screen of IDevice statistics; such as how much memory is available, the IDevice name, serial number and other sundry tidbits.
For now however, let's TAB to the music radio button and press the SPACEBAR.
TAB until you find the "Sync Music" button and check it. By default, it seems to be unchecked.
Once checked, TAB again and it will bring you to a read only informational box. This particular box lists the amount of songs that are waiting to be loaded onto your IDevice.
TAB once more and you'll find yourself on the "Sync Entire library". You can do this if you want, but this is only feasible if your library can fit on your IDevice. Mine can't.
TAB one more time and this is the one I utilize. "Sync selected playlists, artists and genres". You can check it with the SPACEBAR. Tabbing through the next 2, you find "Include music videos" and "include Voice Memos. They are self-explanatory. The final settings checkbox is the "Automatically fill free space with songs". I have that one unchecked. I'd rather have control on what goes on my device.
Okay, still with me? We're done with the settings. These will be kept for future use and you can change at your little heart's desire. We're now at the point where you can select the music. Say it ain't so.
TAB once more and you get to the playlists list. You can move through them using the UP and DOWN ARROWS. CHECK the ones that you want to copy over. Remember that folder we copied a few minutes ago? Well, you could copy it onto your IDevice by checking the "Recently Added" playlist.
Don't want to copy playlists, but want to do artists instead? TAB once more and you get to the artists list. SAME arrow keys will move you through the list and SPACEBAR will check and uncheck the ones you want.
Just want to do songs? TAB again and you'll get to the songs list. Same procedure applies as per above.
Unfortunately, my screen reader doesn't like this column, so I'm stuck with playlists or albums.
Finally, tab to the last column which is album names.
Select the ones that you want and we're in business.
SHIFT+TAB back a bunch of times until you get to the read only information dialog to see how much stuff is prepared to be transmitted.
Our last step is to copy the files onto the device. Press ALT+F and then the letter Y to sync the IDevice. Wait a few minutes and you're done. Go to the device and check out your newly downloaded music.
So that's it. Pretty nifty eh? Okay, so it's not that straightforward, but it gets the job done.