Spanned iTunes movie artwork missing, even when spanned disk is mounted?

Clym S. Montgomery shared this problem 7 years ago
Solved

I have a pretty massive iTunes movie collection, and I have started spanning the older ones onto an external disk as I run out of internal space. The problem is, however, that the artwork of the spanned movies disappears.


I think is to be expected when I run iTunes without the external disk mounted, but even when I mount the spanned disk and restart iTunes, they still do not appear. Everything else works fine, I can open and play the movies, and all the other metadata survives, but they all have the default grey artwork icon.


I can recover the artwork manually by simply selecting one such movie at a time and opening the "Get Info" window (within which the artwork remains) and then closing it again, but with a library the size of which I'm dealing with, this is not an acceptable solution. This method does not work when selecting multiple items.


Any ideas, am I missing something?


P.S. This is iTunes 11 and TuneSpan 1.0.4

Comments (65)

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Thanks for getting in touch.


Spanning your media should keep your artwork intact, but iTunes may not load it properly in every situation. Such as, if iTunes is running before you mount your external drive with spanned media. If iTunes has already tried to load some artwork and failed (since the files weren't available at the time), iTunes doesn't seem to try again to get the artwork unless explicitly provoked when getting info on a track, or playing it.


I have found that simply relaunching iTunes after your external drive has been mounted is a good way to make sure iTunes can load all your artwork when it first tries.


But also, depending on the speed and connection of your external drive, loading artwork may be a bit slower overall, especially for larger files, like movies.


Have you found that artwork is still not loaded at all when launching iTunes after the drive is successfully mounted? Have you given the view a bit of time to load everything up? It may need a few moments if you're viewing a large page or movie covers.


Please let me know if that is the case, and if iTunes is consistently not loading the artwork.


Also, what kind of external drive are you using? Is it connected to your computer over USB (2 or 3?), FireWire (400 or 800?), or Thunderbolt?

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Also, it won't change this issue, but I would recommend updating TuneSpan to version 1.1 which is now available on the Mac App Store.

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I got the same problem.


But i got another point to that problem.


When i want to run a spanned movie from my Apple TV i get an error (not found).


When i go to that movie in iTunes (cmd-I, OK) it will restore the atrwork AND the movie is running on my Apple TV...

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I'm sorry I don't have a definite solution for this issue.


As I said above, I would make sure that iTunes is launched after your external drive with the spanned media on it is mounted in the Finder.


Is this still happening for you even if iTunes is launched after the drive is mounted?

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Normally my video dir ist mounted already on my NAS.


So it may happen that it is not when i lauch iTunes?


I read somewhere else that this is maby a bug in iTunes?


It would be great to have a script that does the CMD-I "Cover" OK thing for all marked movies until there is a other solution.

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Unfortunately restarting iTunes with the drive mounted (in my case a Time Capsule) will not recover the artwork. Only CMD+I on every single file will get it back which is really not acceptable!


This bug needs to get sorted out. Do you need any information which we can provide to help? I would really like to see this fixed since it makes the whole point of managing the library in itunes kind of useless :(

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Thanks for getting in touch. I'm sorry that I can't help you in more detail right now. I've got some other family/life stuff going on that needs my attention.


I'll get back to you when I have time to focus in this.

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Sorry, yesterday was insane.


The thing is, this is basically an "iTunes issue". Meaning that if you moved files to an external drive manually without using TuneSpan, one way or another, the same issue would occur. Basically anything that happens after TuneSpan has done it's job and run through the spanning process is out of TuneSpan's hand.


But, that doesn't mean that there aren't some options.


My main thought that could be a solution to this would be a special AppleScript that could be run in iTunes to refresh all the artwork for spanned tracks. Basically automating what you're doing now to Get Info on each track which refreshes the artwork.


I'll try to find time to work on this in the next couple weeks, but I can't give a guarantee on when it'll be done. Depending on how much is spanned and how much needs to be refreshed, I'm not sure how quick and efficient the AppleScript will be. It could be annoying if there is a noticeable lag after you execute the script in iTunes.


So, I'm just saying the script may take some tweaking and refining to get to a good usable state. But I can post some early versions on here once I get something working and we can see how it goes and I can refine things as needed, it possible.


I'll post back here when I have something.

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Hakuna Matata...


Great that you will develop the CMD-I Script for us.


Please post early Versions here so we can give you feedback.


Thanks a lot. That's my only "open issue" on TuneSpan...

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Hi Pico. Is there any progress on this script? The issue is pretty annoying and lets be honest, it looks like crap if the covers are gone :-)

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No progress yet. Been working on finishing up a minor TuneSpan update, and some work on NoteAway. But, randomly, I got inspired to make another new little app, so that has sucked up my time the past week or so.


I know that's not a good excuse, I should prioritize some time to work on this script. But, when I get inspired, I work. And sadly, my inspiration wasn't focused on this AppleScript.


Really, I don't think it should be all too hard to get a basic artwork refreshing script working. So, I just need to sit down a force myself to work on it.


I'll try to make that happen this week.

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Alright, I just started playing around with the AppleScript a bit.


Truth is, I'm not super knowledge about straight up AppleScript. The AppleScript I use in TuneSpan is wrapped in Cocoa and executed with Scripting Bridge. It doesn't really look or feel like AppleScript and I can do much faster pre processing in Cocoa before I execute specific commands.


Anyway, I'm saying that I quickly found that efficiency could be an issue with this kind of script. And I'm not exactly sure how to do the path analysis that would be necessary to make it a bit more efficient. Such as, I only want to refresh tracks whose files are not in the iTunes Media folder.


So, a thought is that I could add this as a menu item to TuneSpan itself. This would mean that I could do quick and efficient processing to isolate just your spanned tracks, and then refresh each one of them with AppleScript rather than having to do all the preprocessing in AppleScript and all that.


The main catch to this approach would be that when you want to refresh your album artwork, you'll need to load up TuneSpan and execute the menu item. Of course, there will be a menu item shortcut for it. An advantages would be efficiency, and the command would be available for all TuneSpan users out of the box... they wouldn't need to download an extra AppleScript and install it into iTunes to run it.


The advantage to a standalone AppleScript would be that it could live in iTunes and be accessible in the iTunes scripts menu without having to launch TuneSpan or anything. But, it seems like it may be hard to get to be very efficient and may freeze up iTunes while it runs.


So, I'm curious on your thoughts on this... should I make this a menu item in TuneSpan, or should I make it a stand alone AppleScript that can live in iTunes?

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Yeesh. It's harder than I thought it would be to get the artwork back with the "refresh" command. It works sometimes, but I'm getting really inconsistent results. I think there are some other things going on here that I need to figure out.

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But, here's a note to help deal with the issue:


The fastest way that I found to refresh all the artwork with the Get Info window is to go to the Movies "List" view and Get Info on the first track and then click the Next button a bunch to quickly go through all the Movies refreshing the artwork as you go.

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Hi Pico. This issue is present in Movies, TV Series and Home Movies. I have around 1500 Movie Files in my Library, so no, this is not an option for me to go through them manually and click the NextButton 1500 times.


http://bit.ly/18zxdnU


http://bit.ly/18A8h2V


This is what my iTunes Library looks like right now, pretty rubbish :-(


Why is it necessary to isolate only the spanned tracks? I would assume that refreshing local files should not take that long, why not just refresh ALL files as a first step and THEN improve on that solution by making it more efficient. For me personally, about 95% of the movie files are on an external drive.

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Also, i think it should be a menu item in itunes since i assume that you dont span files THAT often but might need to clean up artwork more often...

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I'll keep working at it.


First, I need to find a solution to refreshing the artwork that works consistently. As I said, the basic "refresh" command has not worked as well as I had hoped.


The refresh process can be quite slow. I don't see it as a reasonable option to refresh all tracks the in the library when all files in the iTunes Media folder don't need to be refreshed. I don't think anyone would use this script if it locked up iTunes for more that a couple seconds. And a couple seconds is already a long lock up.


If I can find a viable way of refreshing artwork, I'll have to do what I think is best. I'll try to make it work as a standalone script. But, if it turns out to be quite slow, integrating it into TuneSpan may be the better alternative as I would be able to use multithreading and fast preprocessing with native code.


Again, first I need to find a solution that works reliably.

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Maybe you find a solution here: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts...


Or ask Doug directly?

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Good call. I was looking into his scripts earlier to see if anything could work. I was playing around with the Re-Embed Artwork script which seemed to have good results but only worked when selecting a single file or a single album. Not very useful for our situation. Also, he has the script as read-only so I can't see how he did the work.


If I end up getting totally suck, I may indeed reach out to Doug to see if he has any thoughts.

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Any updates here?

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No updates yet. I'm sorry, I've been busy with lots of other stuff.


I'll be sure to post here when I have something to share. Sorry for this delay and hassle.

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I have this as well and would like to have the script within iTunes as that is the space I'm in all the time....


My 2 cents......


Thanks,


Dan

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Hello Pico,


i again have to ask if there is any progress on this here?


We dont only have the problem of not-showing artwork, which is purely aesthetical, but also we have a functional problem:


I use itunes and apple tv to access my content via my tv. when the time capsule, where my files are located, is not available, itunes will place an exclamation mark in front of the file to flag it as "not available" - from this point on i can not access the files via apple tv anymore before i go back to the computer and FIX the problem myself. this really is not acceptable :(

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I'm sorry to say I've not nothing new to share with the album artwork fix yet. But, I've got some new ideas about how to approach the problem that I'll be testing out over the next few weeks. But, I don't think I'll have anything to share until after the new year. You can rest assured that I will post here when I do have something to share.


But, the missing tracks issue is not actually the same problem, and you should be able to easily avoid it.


You just need to make sure everything is done in the right order...


FIRST, connect and mount your external drive and make sure it's available in Finder.


NEXT, launch (or quit and relaunch) iTunes. It's very important that iTunes is launched after the external drive is available.


THEN, connect your Apple TV and everything should be playable even if some artwork is not available.


If you run into any issue with that, or you're still seeing missing tracks after trying things in this order, please get in touch with me directly. http://contact.tunespan.com

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I'll try to explain the problem properly:


a) I have all my movies and tv shows spanned on the time capsule. When i am in my office, i dont have access to those files. If i TRY to run any of the movies in my office, itunes will recognise that the files are not available and flag them as missing (hence the exclamation mark).


From this point on, apple tv will not see those files. For example: http://bit.ly/19qRq5r


Apple TV will see all epiosdes EXCEPT the episode 2.


Apple TV will only see this episode again if i manually load up the episode WHILE connected to the time capsule and having it mounted. This will also make the exclamation mark go away.


b) also i am only able to watch ANY of the content from the apple tv when the time capsule is mounted. itunes on the mac is apparently able to mount the time capsule on demand when loading a movie or tv show. but apple tv is unable to do that so i have to mount the time capsule manually first and THEN i can access all the content. is that normal behaviour?

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I'm not experiencing exactly the same kind of thing on my Apple TV...


I am seeing that if I try to play something on the Apple TV that is not available in iTunes, it will not play and the listing will disappear from the Apple TV.


But, as I mentioned before, if you relaunch iTunes with the external mounted, it all shows up in the Apple TV when you reconnect after you've relaunched iTunes. Relaunching iTunes after you've connected to your Time Capsule is key.


About your (b) issue, that sounds totally normal. The Apple TV is simply streaming whatever is coming from the computer, so you'll need to make sure everything is set up properly on the computer before you can watch it on the Apple TV.


If you're still having issues, please contact me directly, or starts a new post in this support system since this stuff is a different issue that the Album Artwork loading issues.

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You have been correct, quit and restart itunes with time capsule mounted solves this problem. Now we only need to solve the missing artworks. This might be something that could be run on iTunes startup, isnt it?

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I don't think there's any simple way to have a script run automatically when iTunes launches.


But, it may be possible with some help from another app or something. No guarantees though. It looks like the solution may have to be through TuneSpan as well and may not be able to be a stand-alone script in iTunes.


It may not be the most ideal solution, but I'm just looking to implement something that works consistently.


I'll be sure to post here when I have something to share but it will definitely be sometime after the new year. Hopefully only a few weeks after the new year, but I have some other stuff to do with other project as well as other things to do in TuneSpan.


Please be patient with me, this is a priority, but it will take some time to find a solution that works consistently and is work releasing.

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I don't have anything to share yet, but I know you guys want this fix, so I thought I'd keep you up-to-date with where I'm at and how I'm planning on approaching this problem now.


Since my initial attempts at a pure AppleScript solution didn't work reliably, I've come up with a new approach that will have other benefits in TuneSpan.


When TuneSpan loads album artwork it retrieves it from the files via Quick Look, as well as getting artwork from iTunes via AppleScript when nothing came back from Quick Look. So far, TuneSpan has just loaded that data and saved it during each run which means it would be retrieved again in the same way on the next launch.


Now, I'm working on some changes so TuneSpan will retrieve the artwork once from Quick Look or AppleScript and than save its own file of the artwork. It will take up some extra MBs on a users computer, but it will mean that the artwork will load faster in TuneSpan after the initial load, and TuneSpan will be able to always load artwork that's been previously loaded even if iTunes isn't running and if your external drives are not mounted.


This will make for a much nicer browsing experience in TuneSpan in general, but especially when your external drives aren't available.


But, more importantly, this also affects how I'll be able to deal with refreshing album artwork in iTunes.


Since TuneSpan now has access to it's own cache of artwork, I should be able to reset the artwork in iTunes from TuneSpan cache of artwork. This should work more reliably since rather than trying to simply refresh the artwork in iTunes that didn't really work well, I'll be resetting the artwork in iTunes from an existing file.


This approach is more similar to Doug's Scripts "Re-Embed Album Artwork" (http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts...) which worked reliably for individual albums or shows or movies, but was not a viable script as you couldn't run it once for multiple shows, albums, or movies.


Where I'm at now is that I have TuneSpan saving artwork files and reloading them itself when they are available, but I haven't started on the code to refresh/reset artwork in iTunes yet.


I imagine the process may be a bit time consuming depending on how much needs to be done, but I hope that I can do some things to make it more efficient.


So, at first I am going to do with as a menu item in TuneSpan. So refreshing artwork will need to be done through TuneSpan rather than an iTunes Script.


But, after I get the TuneSpan code working and tested, I may be able to have an AppleScript helper than can be selected in iTunes that could launch TuneSpan, run this process, and then quit TuneSpan. But, I'm not gonna worry about that for now, just gotta get the code working in TuneSpan.


Once I have something working in TuneSpan, I can let you know and people can email me that are interested in helping to test out the new code.


Also, has anyone had issues with album artwork for Music not coming back, or is this just isolated to video files? I've only noticed it with video files myself, but I just wanted to check if anyone else had bigger issues.


If I know for sure the problem only affects video files, that will make it easier to make the process at least a bit more efficient as I will only refresh artwork for spanned videos.

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Thanks for updating us so extensively on the topic, good to see that there is progress.


I could not really test of music is also concerned - but i also have not spanned my music externally, maybe somebody else can try that...


On everything else: i would of course participate if you have anything to test out with the new code.

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Alright, I've got a basic working version to be able to refresh album artwork in iTunes for spanned tracks.


There may be a few kinks that still need to be worked out, and I plan on adding a bit more to the UI for refreshing tracks, but from my own testing, this seems to work pretty well and reliably.


Now, I think it's a good time to get some testers. I'm curious how long the process takes with how much you all have spanned and all that.


I found that it was possible to lose artwork for Music etc, not just videos, so this will refresh artwork for all spanned tracks. But, I may add checkboxes so you can choose which media types you want to refresh for. That may allow for faster refreshing in some cases, but I'm not sure if it's necessary just yet.


There are a few issues that I don't think will be major, but you should be aware of it you want to be a tester:


- Since TuneSpan caches artwork as it's loaded in the UI, not all artwork for spanned tracks may be cached by the time you do the first artwork refresh. But as you go through the first refresh, TuneSpan will retrieve cache artwork at that point for any tracks if necessary. But, the artwork may not yet be available before the process has moved on to the next tracks to refresh. So, I'm saying when you first refresh artwork, it may need to be run once or twice before all artwork is cached and ready to refresh in iTunes. Under normal circumstances I don't think this will be a very big deal as artwork will get cached as you browse and use TuneSpan.


- Of course, for TuneSpan to be able to get it's initial cache of artwork, your external drives will need to be mounted and available.


- Since TuneSpan gets artwork for Quick Look, some video thumbnails may not be identical to what were used before in iTunes. Keep an eye out for this. If some artwork is replaced with something that looks weird, please let me know.


- It may be helpful to quit and relaunch TuneSpan after the artwork has been refreshed. But, I haven't noticed that its totally necessary in my testing. If you find that artwork isn't showing up after you refresh it with TuneSpan, and quitting and relaunching iTunes helps to bring it back for real. I can have TuneSpan automatically quit and relaunch iTunes after the refreshing process. This wouldn't be too invasive as I can have iTunes pick back up where it left off if you were playing some music or something, but just not sure it's necessary at this point.


- Also, I've noticed that the artwork refresh hums along pretty well and doesn't seem to take too insanely long, but I haven't tested with tons of videos spanned yet. But, regardless of how long it takes, I've notice that iTunes can get pretty locked up while the process is running. So, I'd recommend leaving iTunes alone while the process runs, but please let me know if it totally freezes up or music stops playing or anything.


---


So, please email me (http://contact.tunespan.com) and I can send you testing build later on tonight, or maybe tomorrow.

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Sounds promising, ive mailed you via contact form.


Just one thing: It sounds like you could program your solution in a way so itunes WILL not loose the artwork of spanned media in the future after all, doesnt it? I mean, this would of course be the best solution...

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I had hoped that maybe after forcibly setting album artwork for videos in this way, that iTunes would not lose the artwork as easily after the files weren't available... but that doesn't seem to be the case. iTunes can still lose the artwork pretty easily after you launch iTunes when the external drive is not available.


That's just the nature of the iTunes, it seems. So, this solution may not be the most ideal... but at this point, I see it as better than nothing, and the best solution that I've been able to come up with so far. If things change in the future, I'll be sure to adapt as necessary.


PS. I'll get back to you tomorrow via email with the testing version. About to head to bed now...

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Alright, I've just set out emails to everyone that got in touch to help test TuneSpan, thanks for getting in touch :-)


The version that I just sent will not quit and relaunch iTunes at all when refreshing artwork... but I have noticed that it may be helpful to relaunch iTunes BEFORE refreshing artwork. This seems to apply more only if a video has been attempted to be played when the external drive was unavailable. And sometimes it may also be helpful to relaunch iTunes after the artwork has been refreshed. But, I just didn't want to relaunch iTunes excessively.


So, please let me know your experiences with this. If you're finding you need to relaunch iTunes before or after refreshing artwork to get it all to show back up in iTunes, please let me know and I can have TuneSpan automatically relaunch iTunes before and/or after refreshing artwork.


Also, I've found it may takes a couple of refreshes of artwork to have them all show up, but I'm not sure if I'm just not waiting long enough and relaunching iTunes without refreshing artwork again may do the trick.

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On second thought, it makes sense that the Refresh Artwork process should relaunch iTunes at least once, probably before the process, so that it will do the most it can to solve other possible annoyances after an external drive has been available for a while.


So, please play with this testing version that I just sent for a while, and I'll work on a minor update that I can send out in the next couple days.

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I have tested this now and unfortunately it did not recover a single artwork for movies or tv shows. i have restarted itune before and after.


1. What makes it very hard to check on particular files is that the order of the process seems random. would it be possible to do movies first then tv series and to order them alphabetically then? Then i could have itunes and tunespan both visible and keep an eye on what happens and follow every single movie/tv episode.


2. is it correct that the process will only check for the first episode of every series and not recover the artwork for the whole season?


3. i have 100 movies and around 25 tv shows with around 1400 episodes total. the whole process took about 5 minutes. is that what you expected? unfortunately itunes locks up pretty badly and seems to react only inbetween two files that are being recovered.


4. a setting to check and recover artwork (kind of in the background) after starting tunespan would be awesome! in that way i could just fire up tunespan and let it run whenever i find that artwork is missing. thats one wish for later :)

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, TuneSpan may not have retrieved and cached all artwork before the first time you attempted to refresh the artwork.


So, make sure you scroll through the stuff in TuneSpan and see all your artwork loaded before the next time you refresh the artwork.


1. The stuff is ordered in the same way that spanned media is order, so it's not exactly random, but it's not sorted nicely by media types, I can work on improving the order for this, as well as for spanning.


2. I did make it go that TuneSpan will only refresh the artwork for one item in each "group" whether that's an album, or show, or podcast. From my testing that seemed to work well, and made the process go MUCH faster. But, if it doesn't work well for you, I can have it refresh all artwork for each track. There may be some more improvement I can do in the AppleScript so that I can set artwork for a whole group at once rather than going track by track... it's something I'll look into.


3. Yea, I figured the process may take a while for that many videos. Refreshing artwork for music seems to go faster, but artwork for videos will take longer. Imagine if I was refreshing artwork for each episode, it would take even longer. I'll try to see if I can do some efficiency improvements, but this kind of thing will basically take as long as it takes for however much needs to be refreshed. The only way to not lock up iTunes so much that I can imagine would be to have a slight delay between each artwork refresh so that iTunes isn't bombarded with AppleScript commands, but this would make the process take even longer.


4. I agree, I'm already thinking about how I can have an AppleScript in iTunes that will launch TuneSpan, run the artwork refresh, and then quit TuneSpan. I think it's totally doable, but it will take a bit of work. I plan on looking into that tomorrow and if it doesn't seem too much of a task, it may make it into this next minor update. But, it may end up getting pushed back to a later update.


Thanks so much for the feedback, please let me know if the refreshing starts to work better after you see that TuneSpan has loaded artwork for all of your TV Shows and Movies. Once you've seen the artwork in TuneSpan, it should refresh properly. Chances are, all of the artwork was cached after your first artwork refresh but wasn't available right when the refresh was happening, so running it next time should work better.

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thanks for the hint, this helped for the movies. i had to scroll tunespan once in the movies category to have all the movies artworks loaded, after refreshing they were there. of course tunespan should still somehow manage this by itself without me having to that.


how about a menu item to just refresh artwork for "selected items" only ? testing would go much easier...


and is it possible to check if the item has artwork before refreshing it? wouldnt that bring some speed optimizations?


also scrolling itunes movies right after rebuilding artwork locks up itunes very often whenever an item is shown that had lost artwork before. is the lockup normal?

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edit: it seems that the process will refresh EVERY artwork, regardless if it was there before or not. this will have itunes reload the artwork the next time the item is shown and it will slow down itunes very much (i guess it builds a cache of the artwork at first display).


this seems not necessary so tunespan should only rebuild artwork if its not available.

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I hear ya, please keep in mind I'm letting you in on the very first working version. I mentioned all the issues, and this was one of them. I have plans to find ways to make sure the artwork is cached and re-refresh stuff that wasn't cached yet at the end of the refresh cycle if necessary. But, since that won't be an issue again after the first refresh and normal usage of TuneSpan, I decided to come back to that improvement later.


Having an option to only refresh selected items in TuneSpan is a good idea, I'll work on that next. But, please don't expect the ability to refresh artwork for what's selected in iTunes just yet, or probably not even after there is a way to start the refresh process from an AppleScript in iTunes. That's just an extra layer of complexity that I'm not going to worry about at this point. But refreshing what's selected in TuneSpan is a good call.


It wouldn't be anymore efficient to check for what has artwork because retrieving the artwork from iTunes is what TuneSpan already has to do, and really that's the part that makes the process take so long. Also, I can't check for what artwork is visible in iTunes, since really, that's a glitch. If I retrieve artwork for those tracks, they still technically have artwork associated with the tracks. I'm retrieving the artwork and resetting it as a way to provoke iTunes to forcibly update its UI.


Are you trying to scroll iTunes while some artwork is still refreshing? I didn't experience iTunes getting locked up much after the process had finished, but I'm not working with as many video files as you. This is something to keep an eye on, please keep me in the loop about how long that lagging lasts, etc.

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Yes, as I mentioned in the comment above, TuneSpan cannot tell what artwork is visible in iTunes. Technically, all of the videos still have artwork associated with them. That's why the artwork would come back up after you Get Info on the tracks.


So, we're battling a display issue in iTunes, not an issue of the files actually losing their artwork.


TuneSpan resets all artwork for all spanned files because we can't know what artwork is visible and what isn't, it's an all or nothing approach. But, adding the ability to refresh artwork for only selected tracks in TuneSpan would be a nice improvement since you as the user would know what artwork is visible and what isn't and would be able to refresh more efficiently.


Resetting artwork in this way has been the only approach I have found so far that reliably gets iTunes to refresh artwork in its UI. If the AppleScript "refresh" worked as I had hoped, TuneSpan wouldn't need to actually reset the artwork and iTunes would just redisplay what it already has more efficiently. But, that didn't end up working.


So, I'm doing this approach because it work. It may not be perfect, but I will keep trying new things as time goes on, and if a better solution presents itself, I will be sure to adopt it. But, right now I'm just trying to offer up a solution to a problem that is essentially out of my control.


We're both battling the way iTunes behaves here, and we've got to work within iTunes' restrictions and limitations. So, please understand that although I also see that there could be a other ways this solution could be better, and that this approach is not perfect, I can only execute on what works. So far, this is all I've found that works. But I'll keep at it, and maybe a better way will be found, but I wouldn't count on it getting all too much better than this just yet.

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Wait wait wait a minute!


I just found a much faster way. I actually don't need to reset the artwork in iTunes. Simply fetching the artwork from iTunes provokes iTunes to refresh it's UI and display the artwork.


This is a pretty huge improvement. I need to keep testing it, but from my first run, it was way way way faster and seemed to work reliably and display all artwork.


This may mean I can rethink this process. Maybe I would be able to make a standalone AppleScript after all, but that would still have other hurdles.


I'm gonna keep playing with this and I'll get back to you.


Thanks for the push! :-)

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I think that is something we also found out earlier. Somebody mentioned that CMD+I would bring back the artwork (as long as the drive is available) and i found out that revealing the file in finder will bring back artwork....


Great to hear that there might be some even better way! :))) This would also solve the lags in itunes so i am gonna wait for you to maybe build in this solution and then see whats next :)

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I used CMD-I to reload my missing artwork several times. Its simple an fast.


I also tried to program a applescript but it wasn't successful so far...


My solution until now is to have my mediathek on a Mac mini. (Better then on my MacBook)


Then i installed Drive Mounter (Mac AppStore).


This tiny app reconnects external drives (NAS) automatically.


This combination did a good job so far.


But i am happy to hear about the success stories going on here...

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I've got this updated version working well.


This approach doesn't have the same issues as before and should be much quicker.


Since TuneSpan is now basically just retrieving artwork from iTunes via AppleScript which provokes iTunes to update its UI, the issue of the TuneSpan artwork cache needing to be ready before the first attempt at a refresh is no longer a problem. All artwork should be refreshed on the first attempt no matter what.


Even though this approach is not reliant on TuneSpans artwork cache, I'm still going to keep TuneSpan caching artwork as it makes TuneSpans artwork load faster, and allows all artwork to be visible in TuneSpan even when drives aren't mounted.


In the updated version I have TuneSpan relaunching iTunes once before the artwork refresh as this helps reload artwork for tracks that may have been attempted to be played while the external wasn't available. If I don't relaunch iTunes first, artwork for those tracks would not be refresh.


But also, I'm relaunching iTunes again at the end of the process. This is necessary as the process does successfully refresh all the artwork, it doesn't appear in iTunes immediately. It would appear if you switched media types and then switched back, but quickly quitting and relaunching iTunes is a nice way to make sure all artwork will be visible without any user intervention.


As when TuneSpan quits and relaunches iTunes during a span, TuneSpan will automatically continue playing what was playing before so there shouldn't be much interruption in using iTunes.


Since its necessary to quit and relaunch iTunes before and after the span, I'm not sure that a stand-alone AppleScript approach would be viable still. And I think a pure AppleScript version would also take longer. But, I'll continue to look into it as well as look into a way to start this TuneSpan process from an AppleScript "launcher" within iTunes.


I'll be sending out emails with the updated testing version of TuneSpan shortly.

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I'm very pleased to say that I got the AppleScript component working.


I'm gonna keep playing with it, but I can send out a new build tomorrow or the next day.


The AppleScript from iTunes is working pretty nicely.


It will launch and load TuneSpan, and then run the artwork refresh which will bring TuneSpan to the foreground and then relaunch iTunes. TuneSpan will stay in the foreground during the refresh to show progress, when the refresh is done, TuneSpan will relaunch iTunes again as it normally does, but then TuneSpan will make iTunes active and any music that was playing will continue, then TuneSpan will quit itself. Feels fairly seamless other than the minor music breaks with iTunes is relaunched.


I made the "refresh all tracks", "refresh one per group", and "quit after" options in the AppleScript for fun. So that can all be adjusted in the script. But, the default AppleScript options will only refresh one track per group in spanned tracks and then quit after.

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I have now tried the new build. It brought back all covers and took 1.6 minutes total. Quittung and restarting itunes worked. Altough it would be nice if only one restart would be enough (iphone sync i.e.)


a) You should specify if rebuilding artwork applies to the whole media library or one particular selected section in itunes (thats not clear to me right now).


b) refreshing one file per group seems sufficient enough from me. unfortunately i somehow can not "force" itunes to lose covers so i can test again. is there any way i can do that?


c) regarding apple script: it would be great if the script could work as invisible as possible. meaning hiding the tunespan window in the background and quitting by itself...

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Glad to hear it! 1.6 mins sounds a whole lot better than the 5 mins it was before :-)


I totally agree about the relaunches, two relaunch is annoying. The first relaunch is more important, so that one has got to stay. The last relaunch I was hoping wouldn't be necessary, but it seemed to be to easily get everything redisplayed in iTunes. But, maybe I can find another way to solve that without having to relaunch. I'll keep digging.


a) As of now, the process does not refresh a selection from iTunes. It's either All Tracks or Spanned Tracks which is specified by the title in the sheet in TuneSpan. The only other option is whether it's doing every track or one per group which is not noted in the UI, but should be fairly obvious by how the progress moves. But, I do plan on adding an option to refresh a selection in iTunes with the AppleScript. I'll work on improving the UI for this sheet a bit to make it clear what's happening.


b) The only way I found to force iTunes to lose covers it to Get Info on the tracks while the drive is not mounted. And then sometimes you'll still need to relaunch iTunes for the artwork to disappear.


c) Yea, I agree. TuneSpan will automatically quit itself when the process is done, I mentioned that above. As of now, TuneSpan will stay in the front during the refresh process because it felt awkward for focus to switch back and forth at the end when relaunching iTunes. I think it feels pretty good at this point, but I could make it a bit better if I can figure out how to not need to relaunch iTunes at the end. Trust me we are on the same page on this, I don't think this process needs to be invasive and I want TuneSpan to get out of the way cleanly when its done.

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Just wanted to share with you all that the AppleScript layer of TuneSpan to Refresh Album Artwork is working very well!


In fact, if was so nice, it got me inspired and I've gone a bit nuts the past couple days. I decided to go all out and add more AppleScript support to TuneSpan.


Such as, being able to span and restore tracks from AppleScript with powerful querying options to choose sets of tracks to span in TuneSpan.


If any of you are into AppleScript and want to learn more about what I'm working on, I've posted more about it here in the Automatic Spanning thread: https://getsatisfaction.com/randomapp...

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Also, I got the artwork refresh working and redisplaying in iTunes without having to quit iTunes again at the end. So, one quit at the beginning to be safe if tracks had been attempted to be played and then it's all good. Also, this process can run without TuneSpan ever taking focus, only momentarily visible when iTunes is quit in the beginning.

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Thats great news! A setting in TuneSpan to refresh artwork on startup automatically AND/OR after spanning would be great!

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I'm not sure an option to run the Artwork Refresh when TuneSpan starts it totally necessary, it can be easily accessed with the shortcut Control+R when TuneSpan is loaded. But, I'll keep thinking about it.

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Its not that its absolutely "necessary" but while we are at the topic "automation"... :)

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I'm just thinking that if you want to launch TuneSpan just to refresh album artwork in iTunes, you'll be able to use the script from iTunes to do that.


Having TuneSpan refresh artwork on every launch seems kind of overzealous. I think it would also be awkward that iTunes is quit right when TuneSpan starts refreshing the artwork after launch. It seems to me that it would make for an awkward launch experience.


I was just trying some other stuff to see if there was a way that I could not have to relaunch iTunes at the beginning of the process, which would make it much more smooth, but I haven't found a solution to that yet. Still if the tracks had been tried to be played when the external wasn't available, their artwork won't get refreshed until after an iTunes relaunch.

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I just want to say that the testing TuneSpan App has worked awesome and I have not had my artwork disappear even at the office when disconnected from my NAS.

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That's great! Thanks for letting me know. And the next version will be even better as I mentioned :-)


I'm still working on AppleScript stuff, but I'll try to send out an updated build in the next few days.

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I also have not lost any artwork since my last artwork refresh. Have you implemented something that prevents itunes from loosing artwork again? Would be great if this applied to the files whenever you span something. That way, in the future we maybe wouldnt have to refresh artwork at all maybe?

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That's good to hear that the artwork is sticking around after the refresh process. I'm not doing anything special to make the artwork stay, it must just be a byproduct of getting the artwork via AppleScript.


It is definitely still possible to lose the artwork though if you try to play a track when the file isn't available, so I don't think I'll be able to avoid the issue entirely.


I'll consider maybe having TuneSpan get the album artwork right after a file is spanned which could help avoid the artwork getting lost easily in the future, but that may add some more time to the spanning process. I'll have to play around and keep thinking about it.

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i guess that 50% of the times that i start tunespan will be to refresh artwork. i would appreciate it if there was an option to refresh artwork on startup and/or before/after spanning...

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Sorry I haven't checked back in on this stuff in a while.


I had intended on sending out an updated testing build, but that hasn't happened yet.


But, my lack of content doesn't mean nothing has happened, quite the opposite :-)


I've been hard at work on TunesSpan this whole time, and I just keep going and haven't stopped to get to a good stopping point to send out a testing build.


But, I plan on trying to do that soon to share these new changes with one.


qwertzuiop777, you'll be happy to know that I'll be adding an option to refresh artwork during a span. This means that TuneSpan will refresh the artwork immediately after the location has been updated. This will cause a span to take slightly longer (I haven't really noticed it from my testing though), and the option will be off by default. But, I'll be interested to hear how that works for you when I get the updated version out to you.


The next version of TuneSpan I am going to release will now be 1.2 and I've started to feel like this is my big "integration" update. Along with all the iTunes/TuneSpan integration possibilities with the new AppleScript, I've also been working on having TuneSpan create Locations Playlists within iTunes. There will be an option to have these playlists automatically updated after each span or restore so they can always stay in sync. I'll be interested to hear what you all think about that as well when I send out a new testing version :-)

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Hi Pico! How is the progress, havent heard from you :)

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Finally getting to a nice stopping point. I've been working hard. The new testing version will have nice AppleScript support, be able to move files instead of copy when spanning to and from the same drive, option to make TuneSpan Locations playlists in iTunes, and... (basic) Automatic Spanning!


I'll try to get the build out to testers that have emailed me in the next few days.

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I've just sent out an updated version of TuneSpan that has all this new code, including AppleScript, Auto Spanning, Locations Playlists, and many other improvements.


If you want to test TuneSpan and I haven't send you a testing version yet, please get in touch :-)

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I sent out my latest testing version of TuneSpan yesterday to everyone whose emailed me so far.


Please let me know if any of you run into any issues, or find anything weird :-)

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I'm very pleased to say that TuneSpan 1.2 is now available on the Mac App Store and features the "Refresh Album Artwork" tool.


You can access this tool from the File menu within TuneSpan, set it up to be performed on launch in the Automation configuration, as well as initiate the process from within iTunes by installing the scripts available on http://script.tunespan.com


http://mas.tunespan.com