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Apple 1, Laura 0 - Qualified Perceptions
Apple 1, Laura 0
In general I have a lot of respect for Apple. They aren't (in general) randomly junky the way Microsoft is, their hardware and software seems to have a lot of classy bells and whistles without being excessively gaudy about it (well, the Mac default look and feel for Java Swing is pesky, but that's a different rant entirely).

So (as mentioned in a previous entry) when they ported iTunes and the apple music store to Windows, I was psyched. Random singles for my ipod! Woo!

Well, it's a day and a half later and I've been in battle with the ipod for a good deal of that, and I am not particularly victorious.

  • Step 1: buy some songs, to test it out. They play on the laptop. Happy happy. Itunes points out that there's no going back to any other programs now. Really. That is, I can't use MusicMatch any more, I have to use Itunes. Fine, whatever, MusicMatch was always a little unintuitive, and anything by apple is nothing if not intuitive.

  • Step 2: Attempt to copy songs to ipod. There's a little circle and slash for all the boughten songs, no copying for them.

  • Step 3: Do some poking around, and ask Roderick (who lured me into this in the first place) about how his works. He thinks I need to actually sync the ipod to itunes first. Now, I don't normally keep it synced with MusicMatch, because the laptop (with the firewire connector) has a 6G hard drive, and the ipod has a 10G hard drive. You see the possible problem here. Anyway, I import all the folders (over on the desktop), which takes a while, but eventually itunes knows where all the mp3s are. (It belatedly dawns on me to wonder whether this was causing problems for tirinian on the desktop. I didn't hear any complaining about "why the heck is the machine being slow", though.)

  • Step 4: I try to sync the ipod to itunes. It starts. It goes a ways and then runs the ipod out of battery. Okay, we can fix that. A while later, I try to finish syncing. Oh, look, there's an error message: "Some songs, like Mr. Tanner, were not copied to the ipod, because they cannot be played on an ipod." Well, that's not promising. And, in fact, all the boughten songs still insist that they can't be copied. (Not that I'm done syncing yet, but that's another story).

  • Step 5: Web search for "cannot be played on an ipod." Google is the way and the light. Anyhow, yup, it's that the songs are AAC files, which ipod version 1.2 doesn't understand. Apple provides version 2.1 for Windows, which does understand AAC files, but only for newer versions of ipods. Or, it provides version 1.3, which provides AAC support, but only for Mac users. This seems oddly unfair, even for Apple.

  • Step 6: In a fit of unwarranted optimism, try to update the ipod to 1.3 anyway. Maybe the description was lying. Installation goes like so:

    • Download installer
    • Run setup
    • Setep starts install shield, claims to install something, but requires rebooting.
    • Reboot
    • Look, there's the install shield again. It says install shield is preparing to install, and then away the window goes.
    • Nothing. No more install shield, no error messages, no programs installed as far as I can find. No secret functionality upon connecting the ipod. I mean, I wasn't necessarily expecting it to help, but I was expecting some sort of actual upgrade to 1.3 somewhere in the process.

I suppose I don't feel particularly gypped. I have the music, even if I can't play it where I expected. And it was $5, which is hardly enough to bother over. And the information was there on the apple site, if you look hard enough for it, which I didn't really search for before becoming enthusiastic over the advertising copy of "download songs! play them on an infinite number of ipods!" It just isn't as cool as I was hoping it would be. And they won't be able to fritter money out of me as easily as they might have now.

On the bright side, I did get eight hours of Thief barks written. So that was productive, if nothing else.

Current Mood: cranky cranky
Current Music: Mr. Tanner, Harry Chapin. Not on the ipod, darn it.

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