iTunes 9.1.1 reportedly improves overall stability and performance while addressing a number of unspecified stability and usability issues regarding VoiceOver and Genius Mixes. The update also fixes a problem related to syncing while simultaneously converting songs to the 128 Kbps AAC format. Apple appears to have done some additional quiet releases, so if you're having any trouble with iTunes 9.1.1, download a fresh copy and reinstall to make sure you have the latest version. (Free, 93 MB)
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I installed the .12 version of iTunes and launched it. It took about a minute to update/upgrade my library and then I started syncing my iPhone. More than 200 songs have synced in 10 minutes - about 10X the speed using the .11 version.
I strongly recommend that everyone download the .12 version if they are having any problems with .11. If not, well, don't fix what ain't broke.
Thanks to everyone here (and in other forums) for their help in figuring this out.
In the past, resetting the played/unplayed status was as quick and easy as selecting all podcasts, Then marking them played. With iTunes 9, each podcast needs to be selected indivully and marked unplayed.
Many had hoped that Apple would return this functionality to iTunes. This helps me get podcasts on my MacBook Pro, listen to some partialy, then drag the rest to my iPhone and mark them all as played so I'll see the next batch by the litthe blue dot just to the left in the iTunes menu.
Let's hope Apple get's around to including this small but usefull menu item in the next iTunes update.