Why iTunes Really Really Sucks, Part 2

It’s been a while since I happily flamed and subsequently ditched iTunes in favor of Floola for adding stuff to my otherwise beloved iPod Shuffle 2G. Alas, Floola—while able to add stuff to the iPod—is neither able to update it nor not crash intermittently. So I decided to try iTunes one last time. I shouldn’t have, because I was reminded how much iTunes on Windows absolutely fucking sucks.

The task seemed fairly simple at the time: add music to the Shuffle. One could argue (and I have, on numerous occasions) that adding files should be as simple as opening the iPod as a drive and dragging files to it. It’s not, so I installed iTunes, or rather, because iTunes is not available separately, I installed QuickTime as well. The suck-o-meter chirped there, but I dismissed that as being simply an inconvenience.

Installing iTunes + Quicktime, I was given the option to automatically update iTunes and Quicktime. This was checked by default, so I unchecked; I don’t need the bleeding edge versions for copying files, and I certainly don’t need another system service running all the 99% of the time when I don’t have iTunes open. Result: fiercely unchecked along with an option to take me to the iTunes Music Store every time iTunes opens.

The installer completes and asks me to reboot. Suck-o-meter is now at 1. Two if I couldn’t probably blame some of the reboot-need on Windows.

With the computer rebooted, I plug in the iPod and start iTunes. Upon program launch, iTunes kindly tells me it’s noticed my iPod is plugged in. It even sees that there are files on it that weren’t added to the Shuffle via iTunes (correct, because they were added using Floola). Unfortunately, iTunes doesn’t support adding music to the iPod from multiple computers. The (only) solution: Erase & Sync. With an insatiable urge to spew torrents of swear-words, this brings the suck-o-meter to 5. Seriously? Who the hell is iTunes to tell me what to put on my iPod, or from where?

Alright, so I erase everything that’s on my iPod in order to be able to update the firmware and add new music. Because unless I do that, the iPod doesn’t even show up in iTunes. Erase completed: okay, it shows up now. That, and a banner in the bottom called “iTunes Mini Store”. I thought I disabled that during the installer? Not so. I have to close that again. So I enter the preferences to see if I can’t disable it there, after all, I just want to update and add to my iPod. The preferences tell me dark secrets; despite my having unchecked (fiercely) the option to automatically update my software, a big checkmark remains in a box that says “Check for updates automatically”. That’s like an eighties TV-show cliché of having too many dates for the one evening; it’s bound to go wrong, hilariously so. Except when iTunes is doing it, it’s not hilarious. It’s 2 points on the suck-o-meter. We’re now at 7.

The suck-o-meter stops at 10. We still have a ways to go before everything implodes. The status is an erased and synced iPod, ready to be updated and recieve a few files. The update goes smoothly. As for the files, in this case, they are rather large audiobooks, so i simply open the folder containing the three files instead of have iTunes index my entire system to add them to my music library. Dragging them from the folder to the iPod icon in the iTunes sidebar seems logical right? Not possible. Oh right, my friend whom I had an almost heated iTunes discussion with, yesterday, told me that iTunes is all about playlists. Fine, I drag the file to the playlist area: success (albeit an unintuitive one)! Dragging that playlist to the iPod in the sidebar works. The iPod is syncing. While syncing I decide to rename the playlist “Audio Books”. Not knowing or trusting whether renaming in iTunes works like it does in Windows (select and wait or select and press F2), I right-click the playlist. No rename option. Can’t I rename? Even if the Windows standard way of renaming works, a context-menu option should be there as well to provide discoverability. Not so, but F2 works. The undiscoverable-in-the-name-of-optimizing-and-simplifying interface design still earns iTunes a total of 8 points on the suck-o-meter.

The iPod is updated and full of audiobooks now. The experience getting there has been an ugly, way-above-average 8 on the suck-o-meter. Comparing iTunes to most other media players excluding Real Player (that would just be unfair, or would it?), getting there was Adobe Photoshop CS3 Etch-a-Sketch slow, confusing and excrutiating. That’s another point on the suck-o-meter.

Now that everything is updated and added, I don’t expect to add files in a while; it takes time to listen through three audiobooks, after all, so simply closing iTunes should settle my woes and remind me that while the iTunes experience can be excrutiating, it is only brief.

I would like to tell you that story of the happy little elf who could simply close iTunes and be done with it. I really would. But this is not a happy story.

What does “closing an application” mean to you? To me it means that the entirety of that application is unloaded. Apparently Apple chose a more beatnik approach to this question, adding services that continue running long after the red X has been pressed. In fact, iTunes secretly installed three permanently memory resident programs: iPodHelper, AppleMobileDeviceService and iTunesHelper. For the computer un-initiated those might be all you’d discover running. But there’s more. Installed in the hidden service layer of Windows, we find Apples Bonjour network service. If we look for it, we even find installed a separate Apple Software Update application (despite us twice having told iTunes we don’t want to update anything, ever). Poor suck-o-meter that only goes to 10. This one goes to 11.

Let’s summarize. Wanting to update my iPod and add three audio book files, required me to reboot, uncheck update services I thought I had already unchecked and erase all my non-iTunes-added-music, all the while having to suffer through arrogantly unintuitive slow interfaces and Music Store ads until finally having to deal with unwanted memory resident applications. Be honest now: is that even remotely defensible coming from a company that’s supposed to be “big” on intuitive interfaces and easy to use hardware and software? I mean, think about it, and really get it in there. If you were not allowed to use the arguments “Get a mac”, or “App X also sucks”, could you even begin to explain why iTunes on Windows must reek like this? Because that’s what it does, reek!

I want you to imagine, for a second, a world wherein Apple did not require you to use iTunes with your iPod. I know it’s unrealistic, but for the sake of it, explore the what if. Do you see more iPods sold? I do. I see more iPods sold, and I see myself having an iPhone. And then I wake up and smell the coffee.

Update: Welcome Reddit’ers. Let’s hope the server can handle the traffic and please feel free to vent in the comments.

89 thoughts on “Why iTunes Really Really Sucks, Part 2”

  1. quxx says:

    hi,

    try this for your shuffle: http://shuffle-db.sourceforge.net/

    there is an older version somewhere on the site.. with it you can dragdrop your files to shuffle, click rebuild_db.exe one time and you’re ready to go! It’s much easier and faster than floola

  2. “I want you to imagine, for a second, a world wherein Apple did not require you to use iTunes with your iPod. I know it

  3. Tyler says:

    Yep, iTunes blows. I don’t know how anyone can stand to use it. Before I switched to GNU/Linux I used Winamp + ml_ipod.

  4. no says:

    Nice rant!

    but ‘abso-fucking-lutely sucks’ sounds better than ‘absolutely fucking sucks’ πŸ™‚

  5. Joe says:

    God, you are whiny. If you just used iTunes from the beginning, there would be no need to have to erase all your music to update the firm ware and add the audio books. Oh, and you have to go and change the preferences to your liking?!?!?! This is an outrage!!!! Apple should simply create iTunes so it is exactly how you want it using its iMind Reader they use to figure out what obscure songs they should put in their commercials, rather than giving a myriad of choices of what you can and can’t do and let you decide exactly how you want it to be. But no, you would like them to hand it to you on a silver platter just the way you want it. And if you stopped and double clicked on the name of the playlist, you might have found out that it could be just as intuitive as you claim it isnt. I have had iTunes on Windows XP for well over two years, using it to fill my 4 gig 1st gen Nano to my hearts content and have had zero problems. Zero! If you insist on finding problems and blowing them way out of proportion, you are overlooking how easy media management really is on iTunes. In conclusion, stop bitching about your shitty windows, and get a real computer.

  6. Sasquatch says:

    Yeah, just go get a Zune and sit in Hardees with the old people.

  7. Ian Rubber says:

    I have to agree with you. But then turn around and disagree.

    “Result: fiercely unchecked along with an option to take me to the iTunes Music Store every time iTunes opens.”

    SNIP

    “The installer completes and asks me to reboot. Suck-o-meter is now at 1. Two if I couldn’t probably blame some of the reboot-need on Windows.”

    Options are better than no options. Apple lets you decide what you want the SW to do. Thats a good thing. Reboot? Always sucks.

    “iTunes doesn’t support adding music to the iPod from multiple computers. The (only) solution: Erase (and – ampersands break posting preview) Sync. With an insatiable urge to spew torrents of swear-words, this brings the suck-o-meter to 5. Seriously? Who the hell is iTunes to tell me what to put on my iPod, or from where?”

    Yes, this is less than any good free SW would allow. That does suck. Apple apparently doesn’t want to deal with being sued by every major label and having all their distribution contracts severed for making it easier to share all your music using iTunes and your iPods. Still sucks though.

    “a big checkmark remains in a box that says

  8. Norm says:

    It’s always entertaining to hear a software critique from a dilettante … sort of like watching a monkey smoke a cigar.

  9. Tim says:

    Apple software tends to work best if you do things the way the people who wrote the software intdended. In the case of itunes, it works best if you:

    -Let itunes manage all your music and audio files for you. Never worry about filenames and file organisation again.

    -Use iTunes supported music filetypes ie. mp3 and aac.

    -Don’t worry about the extra stuff it installs like rendevu (this is used to share music between itunes btw)

    Personally I quite like this system (although I’m on a mac). I never have to worry about filenames, I can find and play all my music easily, and it syncs with my iphone very nicely.

    If you want to work like this then itunes is bloody good. If you don’t it’s painful.

    Obviously in your case you’d be better off using a simple file loader/manager for the ipod, which apple doesn’t make, so there’s only 3rd party software. It’s a shame apple don’t offer a utility like this.

  10. matthew says:

    The “only sync with one machine” is I believe mainly a requirement of the record labels and makes sense anyway.

    We all know how complex syncing is if we use .mac/mobileme – how should it know which is the correct track? Its all much simpler just to have one source.

    Also, if you sync rather than drag you get the play count/skip count data synced which means you can create some pretty damned useful smart playlists.

    Apple force you to use iTunes for the same reason they force you to have OS X on Apple hardware – consistency and control. They want to control the user experience and also not have to offer support for X-Joe Wingnut’s Media Managerz Appz which erased your iPod, blew up your PC and ran away with your life-partner – because of course, that’d be Apple’s fault! Oh, that and then they can sell music to you through iTunes.

    All those services running are also for your own good.

    Remember the iPod and iTune’s main market isn’t l33t PC users like yourself, it’s Joey Everyman and Marge Allwomen – they dont need or want to know all the complicated PC underbelly like yourself – they just want to plug it in and it work – which for the most part, I think it does.

    One of the most common complaints I hear about iTunes is from very experience PC users who hate that iTunes organises their music into folders and they cant have them set by Album/Artist/Year/Song type or whatever – Just let go, let iTunes do the heavy lifting of sorting the files, it is a music library organiser after all. Its not like I insist on knowing where on the hard drive the file system decides to place each file – why would I, I want to work on a higher level than that.

    Oh, and get a Mac ;-P or a Zune ;-PP

  11. Joe says:

    DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS

  12. mo says:

    i have an iPod Touch, and since it runs a miniature version of OSX (at about 2Gb) it sometimes crashes, well its done that twice so far – unfortunately there is no desktop drag & drop software for the Touch, or iPhone yet there is for the previous iPods. So i’m forced to use iTunes because it takes a backup of the system changes and offers me restores, which is nifty.

    When iTunes recognizes a device for the first time it syncs only one way, to prevent music sharing. My best guess is that apple is being greedy. Very greedy. If having the hardware market wasn’t enough they want to go all the way and control the music market as well.

    You must, You must buy from the apple music store.

    Otherwise why would they want to control the stuff we have on our iPod?

    The new 3G has application tunneling as well, that means all the applications you install or use have to go through an apple controlling system first. The irony.

    haha, i just looked, “automatic update” was also checked for me.

    Btw, someone fixed the one way sync problem

    Music Rescue

    http://kennettnet.co.uk/musicrescue/

    and also Drag & Drop

    http://redchairsoftware.com/anapod/featpw.php

  13. Matt Wilcox says:

    Agreed with everything there. I ranted about iTunes a few months back, there are some other points about it that suck hard: http://mattwilcox.net/archive/entry/id/961/

  14. matthew says:

    You must, You must buy from the apple music store.

    I assume youre being facetious as thats blatantly untrue – rip a CD, download a torrent or whatever – you dont HAVE to buy music from the iTunes store.

    Of course it IS very easy and convenient to buy music from the iTunes store and I have no problem with the DRM.

    DISREGARD THAT, I SUCK COCKS

    No, youre just misunderstand.

    I feel at this point in the discussion it might be worth reiterating that ITUNES IS FREE!

    Yes as in COSTS YOU NO MONEY.

    So its surely fair enough that they recoup some costs by encouraging you to buy stuff from their store. Its not like you cant turn it off. In fact having the mini-store active whilst browsing my existing music is a nice way of discovering new music – whether I decide to buy it from the iTunes store or not.

  15. rob says:

    Awesome post. I agree with iTunes sucking hard in most cases, but I really don’t mind it for the iPod since you can drag and drop songs onto it. I’ve had to set up my mom’s shuffle and the playlist-sync-only BS is horrendous. And as for the iPhone… I don’t even want to begin to explain what a bitch that is — think your playlist scenario, but multiply it by 5. I think my only real path to enlightenment is to jailbreak the phone and start using the filesystem as a mounted drive.

  16. JImm Jones says:

    Wow, nice article and to the point. I always knew Itunes Sucked now its confirmed! Yey!

    JT

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  17. cajaks2 says:

    Ah just pointing out, the microsoft zune isnt locked to one computer, one can take music off and put music on if you have the zune software installed, and you can do that on as many computers as you would like.

  18. Wanderer says:

    Thats what all you sheep get for thinking apple makes good products. For small mp3 players use creative and large use zune. Apple sucks, macs suck, ipods suck, it all being trendy and stupid sheep that you all by them. When macs first came out back in the day jobs was asked why his mouse he commented that two may confuse the user. Am I the only one that thinks that say something about Apple. Hopefully one day all Apple’s competitors will kill them.

  19. matthew says:

    Ah just pointing out, the microsoft zune isnt locked to one computer, one can take music off and put music on if you have the zune software installed, and you can do that on as many computers as you would like.

    Also pointing out that MS pay the record labels an amount of money per Zune as some sort of “pirate tax”.

  20. jeff says:

    Wanderer said

    “When macs first came out back in the day jobs was asked why his mouse he commented that two may confuse the user. Am I the only one that thinks that say something about Apple.”

    Umm. You do realize that Macs have 2-button mice or that they work with any USB mouse you choose to plugin? It’s been this way for a loooong time. Personally, I have a couple of Logitech Bluetooth mice that work great.

    iTunes isn’t great, but that doesn’t mean that everything Apple does it horrible. OSX is an incredible OS, especially if you like Unix, or do any serious cross platform work.

  21. G says:

    Get Media Monkey to manage your music and to sync. I’ve used it to sync 3 different iPod’s for over 3 years…never had a problem. Plus, it’s the best manager for music out there.

    http://www.mediamonkey.com/

  22. anon says:

    protip: Throw your Piece of Crap (PC) away

  23. Jon says:

    Want to be able to use your ipod fro multiple machines, it’s simple. Plug in your iPod, click the ipod icon in the sidebar of iTunes, and check the box “Manually manage music and videos”. Now you will have to drag any and all music you want on the iPod manually. But if and when you connect it to another computer with Itunes, you should be able to put more music on it. The only caveat is if your iPod is Mac formatted, it won’t work on a PC. But if your iPod is formatted for PC, then it will work on both Mac and PC.

    I used to use Winamp among other music players but in the end, iTunes does the best job because I don’t have to look through my file system for the file. I can easily do a search in iTunes in seconds. So custom naming of file names isn’t needed because I don’t need to find music by filename. Instead I am searching the data in the MP3′s.

    -Jon

  24. WhyPutUpWithIt says:

    How come people put up with this stuff? Are the iPod and iTunes that much easier to use? I’ve had an old 40GB non-Apple MP3 player forever, and it just mounts as a drive. Drag, drop, done. Sure, the player’s interface isn’t as slick, but how slick does it have to be to play music? And it has a radio!

  25. Joen says:

    Lots of good comments here. Lots of really stupid ones as well. Both types are welcome.

    Some nice recommendations for alternatives, I’ll certainly try out rebuild_db and Winamp + ml_ipod. Since I use Foobar2000 for music, I’ll definately also look into Foopod.

    Some comments urge me to get a Zune. No thanks. I criticise because I care. My iPod absolutely rocks, I just wish iTunes didn’t suck. It’s like beauty and the beast, except they create tear-jerking misery, not tear-jerking beautiful drama when they get together.

    Ian,

    To me it means the window closes. It seems that you have some really high expectations for the red X.

    That’s a good point. That’s what it means on the mac. File > Quit should unload everything on the mac, but the red X should only close the active window. True. But that’s not how it works on Windows, and whether that’s good or bad, a Windows app should ideally adhere to Windows UI standards.

    To be honest it sounds like every PC app installation anyone has ever gone through.

    Fair point. But just because every other PC app sucks (and I can certainly name a few), doesn’t mean Apple can’t break new ground in excellence, can it?

    Look, iTunes on the PC sucks. You don

  26. jhn says:

    I had many of the same complaints until I realized that doing things the iTunes way allowed me to have really sophisticated playlists and so on. The whole point of a jukebox application is that is swallows and manages all your music. It’s all still sorted in a regular library folder so that regular programs can access it, but you let iTunes do everything music related.

    I’ve used many of the competing jukebox programs for Windows, such as foobar2000, and even a few Linux ones such as rockbox and anarok. I much prefer the iTunes way of doing things. If you give it a fair shot, it makes a lot more sense.

  27. jhn says:

    To clarify what I hope was implicit in what I wrote, there are really, really good reasons for audio players to not just “mount as drives.” Players that do so do not allow you to keep track of playcounts and last played, for instance, or to sync metadata such as ratings from the device to the computer.

    I have more than 450 gigs of music. There is no way anything less than iTunes could handle this.

  28. Peach says:

    “To me it means the window closes. It seems that you have some really high expectations for the red X.”

    Of course I’d want to unload the ENTIRE APPLICATION when I click on the ‘X’. If I wanted to just get rid of the application window while leaving the application ‘on’ I’d minimize. When I open an application and it happens to start 4 other programs in the background so that it works smoothly, I don’t mind. But when I close that same program, I expect ALL of those background programs to close as well. If ‘X’ doesn’t do that job, then what does? Yeah really, what do YOU use to close an application?

  29. Adrian says:

    Regarding the one iTunes library per iPod comment:

    That is something Apple only imposes on iPod shuffles for some reason. All the “full-sized” iPods (with the possible exception of the touch) can be synced in “manual mode” that just lets you drag and drop tracks onto it using iTunes from several libraries on any computer.

    But I agree: Apple does seem to take a “good enough” approach with the Windows version of their apps.

  30. abe says:

    so , i was happy to jump on the “itunes sucks” bandwagon, as i agree with everything you’ve said more or less. so i go download floola right away. in the time it takes me to install it, play a song, and rename some albums, it crashes 3 times. It wasn’t even letting me delete songs (gave erorr then crashed). Looks like it would be a cool program if it wasn’t so damn buggy.

  31. Dr. Fuck You says:

    The range of idiots that choose to complain about this man’s complaints is exactly why to date I refuse to support apple product (fuckin sheep…) Jobs’ marketing chagrin has time and time again helped show the most ignorant side of the most intellectual people… You really think you’re x% cooler than anyone for owning apple product? Really? The point this article has made is that the frustratingly poor design of this crapware makes the interface experience for windows users crazy. I stand on the side of the debate that apple has done this intentionally just to lure more defections, those who actually listen to the loaded suggestion “Dude you should get a mac” Fuck off! I was introduced to the personal computer as a device that I could manipulate at will if i so wish and albeit Microsoft fails in some arenas they realize that there is a market for that and actually support that enthusiast openly I can go further point by point here but for me its embarrassing to see humans worship corporations the way apple heads do and i feel like im giving you power sentence by sentence… Great article dude it was a good laugh (cause thats what it was for dicks).

  32. Ned Graviling says:

    I agree with you 100 percent. I usually side with the Apple fanboys but iTunes is a suckfest. Yes some of the blame can be put on the RIAA but Steve seems to be able to get his way if he really wants it. Shouldn’t it be about making the USER happy? These people seem to like getting bent over by their software.

    I don’t use iTunes for the same reasons. I use winamp with the ml_ipod plugin from this website. http://www.mlipod.com

    You have to drag new files to your media library. Then drag them to your ipod. It doesn’t do RSS for podcasts so I always have to check and download. No Biggie. I’d much rather do that then deal with iTunes. I like the hardware but the software is going to push me over to Creative Zen mp3 players.

  33. matthew says:

    Thats what all you sheep get for thinking apple makes good products. blah blah blah … blah blah .. blah blah .. When macs first came out back in the day jobs was asked why his mouse he commented that two may confuse the user. ..blah … Am I the only one that thinks that say something about Apple. Hopefully one day all Apple

  34. neuromonkey says:

    I’d like to put in another recommendation for Anapod Explorer from Red Chair Software. It isn’t perfect, but it does add intuitive, drag & drop functionality to the Windows Explorer. You can’t noodle all the iPod settings from it, nor can you update the mushware. (Like firmware, but soft in the head.) I pay for very, very few pieces of software. I bought Anapod. Without it, I would have smashed my iPod to tiny little bits long ago.

  35. Andrew Mahon says:

    A) You bought a Shuffle?! I realized you were an idiot as soon as you shared that.

    B) If you can’t manage to use a program as simple as iTunes, God help you.

    Bitch, bitch, bitch

  36. Josh says:

    Anytime I see someone complaining about popular software these are usually folks that are stuck in wishing it was program x. Sometimes you have to let go of the idea that this is not Real Player. Real Player has its oddities too remember? You learned to accept them and enjoy the program after they became common.

    And if others hate it too there must be other (and better) options out there. So everybody wins.

    You might want to try out:

    http://getsongbird.com/

  37. Spillz says:

    Yeah, just go get a Zune and sit in Hardees with the old people.

    You’re a fucking idiot, aren’t you? Owning the same exact thing as everyone else has never been a sign of being cool, but it is a sign of ignorant youthful conformity. It’s just a matter of time before all the Apple-lovers in their black turtlenecks (thanks for that, Steve) understand this.

    My old Archos Gmini looked cooler than the iPod, and my new Zune 2 beats it into submission.

    Yours truly,

    a seventeen year-old.

  38. Michael Mike says:

    After installing Ubuntu Linux for the first time recently I did not expect my iPod Shuffle to work. I was shocked to find it not only worked, it was easy to update files. I’ve since gone back to Windows, but now need to update my Shuffle again. Time to boot that Linux machine! Actually, installing Ubuntu from scratch would be easier and less frustrating than what you describe. Thanks for reminding me because I was thinking about downloading iTunes. The horror, the horror.

  39. Chris Miller says:

    The other thing that you can add to your “suck-o-meter” is that Apple wants to install Safari when your install or update iTunes. Sorry Apple, but I don’t need Safari and it’s insistance on handling fonts the Mac way on a Windows box.

    Have you looked at MediaMonkey? It has free and paid versions and can handle iPods with any problems.

  40. Tsen says:

    I have to agree with every word. I have an iPod 80 GB (I have a large music collection and it seemed the obvious solution) and I’ve regretted the purchase ever since as it’s tied me to iTunes in Windows. Now I have MobileMe and Safari suddenly installed without my permission on my computer, and no less than six Apple processes wasting away my CPU cycles because, hey, they thought it was a good idea at the time.

  41. matthew says:

    You

  42. Milliner says:

    This is why I don’t own an iPod or iPhone or iAnything, because it isn’t what I want. I want a direct neural link to the internet and an universal library of all media, that operates on thought alone. I want to be able to think-write as I go about my day, and overlay reality with “rose-tinted” CGI.

  43. Mustapha says:

    So Apple secretly installed several processes that are running in the back ground without your knowledge? Isn’t that exactly typical of a Windows?

    How many processes does Winblows have running in the background that you don’t realize are running or even know what the hell they’re for?

    Apple made iTunes for Winblows just good enough, like most other Winblows programs. You should be happy as a clam since it fits in so well with everything else from Microsoft.

  44. Dean says:

    Get a Mac, dumbass.

  45. Snack says:

    I ditched iTunes after it tried installing Safari onto my system as an update.

    Songbird: http://getsongbird.com/

  46. kirk says:

    You kids need to get off my lawn!

    On my first iPod (firewire, 10gb, monochrome display) I was a 100% windows boy and the way Windows users could use the iPod was to use MusicMatch and a cludgy other thing since back then iPods were only formatted in HFS back then. That solution sucked.

    I agree iTunes for Windows isn’t as good as its Mac counterpart. But I switched to Mac before the Windows version came out and never looked back. I use the Windows version on my work machine but not to manage iPods/iPhones but to stream coworkers music. Of all of the stability issues with my windows machine, iTunes is at about the bottom. The best iPod/iPhone experience is if you use a Mac. Like Mustapha said, Apple’s Windows clients are just good enough (and getting better, they haven’t been making Windows apps long). They are sure a lot better than Microsoft’s support for Macs or Linux.

    Buying an iPod or iPhone means getting into the Apple ecosystem. If you want open standards and whatnot, get a player from someone other than Apple of Microsoft.

  47. Lancelot says:

    I’m amazed how easily people are brainwashed by big business. Just because Apple says you have to accept something doesn’t make it right. I totally agree with you regarding all the hidden processes Apple forces onto my systems. Not only should I be notified of such actions but I should have the right to decline.. In fact, out of principle, I now log all new program installs as more people than you’d believe like to have my pc phone home to their servers or add services

    that I don’t need or want running on my system..

    

    The idiots above probably think the continued loss of our privacy acceptable just because “CNN” or “McCain” says so..

  48. Hannah says:

    I remember always having that problem of transferring music from my Ipod back to my computer. It kept trying to do the whole “Sync and Erase” thing on me too. Which wasn’t good, because I didn’t have my music backed up on my computer. So, the easiest way is just to download some third party software, like SharePod, which did the trick for me.

  49. anon says:

    learn2mediamonkey

  50. Mark says:

    Rockbox allows you to drag stuff on pretty easily It’s a bit slow indexing the songs once the files are on the iPod, but you don’t have to use iTunes or any other software.

    I’m surprised no one has commented about that…http://www.rockbox.org/

  51. Tony says:

    Don’t you think you need some cheese with that whine, girl?

    Yah, things made for Unix-flavored OSes generally suck while running on a Windows kernel. I wouldn’t recommend my own worst enemy getting Safari for Windows. It’s that bad. And now I can add Quicktime and iTunes to that list, I guess.

    I use a Mac but am not a rabid cult-follower. However, it’s strange to see programs built for Windows (like Office) running so beautifully and smoothly on my box and hear about the agony of Mac programs on a Windows box. Maybe you just need to run another kernel. Besides Darwin, there are all kinds of Linux versions or Sun V or any other number of alternatives.

  52. brad fulk says:

    apple has an iron fist because jobs wants to control music sales. for that he must control the hardware and hence software to the extent he can. apple is the master of cool and couldn’t care less about quality of experience. he knows we are addicted to cutting edge and he’s not afraid to use both sides of the razor.

  53. Itunes is the only reason I don’t own an Ipod, even though I would like to as it is a great piece of hardware.

  54. Alex says:

    _”Likewise not using something because lots of people like it and you consider their motive is

  55. sdlvx says:

    It’ all part of Apple’s marketing. By making the windows version suck, and the mac version better, it makes some people want to get a mac.

    By deliberately making the windows version worse, people then get on the mac version, find that it doesn’t have so many problems, and instantly think that the mac is way better and they’re glad windows is gone. You don’t have to look very far to see it, look at these comments.

    It’s really pathetic that people cling to companies like that. I mean, come on. You guys love OSX so much, and it’s just a BSD distro. Grow up. Apple never codes their own shit, and that’s probably why the whole iTunes thing is a giant clusterfuck. Because it’s a bunch of crap code copy pasted into one program.

    But, I have a Cowon A3, and all I have to do is copy audio and video files onto the device. It shows up just as an external HD, and that’s it. I don’t need anything besides konquerer, dolphin, explorer, or whatever file browser you like.

    Ditch your iPod, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever did. It was a piece of shit, played hardly any formats, had horrible sound quality, no features (EQ beyond presets anyone?), and the few features it had were a bunch of gimmicky retarded shit (who the fuck uses the notes, anyways?) that I never used.

    I’ll be enjoying my insane codec support, high res screen, 10 band EQ, BBE, and not having to convert or use shit programs to use my PMP. Cowon fucking rocks, and iPods are shit.

  56. dep says:

    I’m loving my Sansa e270 more than ever. Cross-OS friendly, simple drag and drop (removable drive-like functionality) — DRM-free, and, best of all, no iTunes to be seen πŸ™‚

  57. matthew says:

    “We are all individuals”

    “Im not”

    @Alex good point.

  58. a smart pc user says:

    I ditched iTunes after it tried installing Safari onto my system as an update.

    Songbird: http://getsongbird.com/

    cry me a river!

    When you ran the apple software update, safari was listed under recommended software. All you had to do was uncheck it and it wouldn’t have been installed.

  59. JT says:

    If you thought updating an ipod would be as easy as opening it and dragging files onto it, then you obviously didn’t research it before buying it, which leads me to believe you simply bought it because it was ‘the thing to have’.

    You bought into the hype, and made a poor, uninformed purchase instead of researching beforehand and buying something with the features you wanted. Don’t blame apple for your problems. They are of your own creation.

    Meanwhile, I bought an X5 by iAudio, which was cheaper, has way more features, and mounts as a usb drive for easy updating of files. And it works on every OS with no software installed. I’ve never had a problem, because i took the time to research.

    Maybe you can walk away from this fiasco learning a valuable lesson about being one of the mindless conformist herd. We live in an information age, and people need to learn to research the things they are going to buy.

    And you bought an ipod. No sympathy. Time to start educating yourself.

  60. XT says:

    Poor thing, you had to click buttons and open task manager and computer management! God forbid that you had to be investigative and educate yourself about what you installed on your own computer. You are so unnecessarily melodramatic about this that I could barely make it through your post. Look into some fact-checking as well; check for iPod software updates automatically is not the same thing as checking for iTunes and Quicktime updates. The mini-store is not the same thing as “Take me to the iTunes Music Store Now.” Again, unnecessary drama.

    And I love how you end with the tired old remonstration about how Apple would sell more iPods if only blah blah blah. YOU ALREADY OWN ONE. Talk about a hypocrite!

  61. immrlizard says:

    http://www.anythingbutipod.com/

    It allows you to sort through all of the different mp3 players and compare the features.

    There is a link that can help you in the future. It is a shame that software that works so well on a mac, works so poorly on a pc. I refuse to buy any mp3 player that cannot just connect to a computer and you can copy music to. I have simple needs. I just want to listen to my music. I don’t need anything fancy.

    I ended up getting a sandisk sansa e200 (4 GB, I don’t need any more) It has a user replaceable battery and a card slot, so that if i wanted to add more storage, I can.

    Good luck.

  62. Skywalker says:

    Well it is not like the Zune Software is any better! Though the latest update has fixed a few problems, there are still tons. It take forever to install and if you have an old Zune it could or could not locate it. There are a lot of problems with the Zune software. But on the bright side, at least Mirosoft has allowed people with first gen zunes to update the firmware.

    I do with that companies would fire what ever codemonkeys they are using and find someone who wants to sit down and create a product that works for everyone. I understand that they need job security, but damn, at the very least a program that somewhat works..

  63. David says:

    Get ready to add some more points.

    If you, as I do, have your music on a NAS, iTunes really sucks. iTunes assigns a default music folder. If you change it to a network folder, the change doesn’t always stick. If, for whatever reason, iTunes can’t find your network music folder, it goes back to using the default. Then, when you change it back, it tries to resync everything all over again. And, the first time I used it, I didn’t realize it was going to start renaming and reorganizing all my crap if I didn’t change the default settings. What a mess…

    I hate iTunes. Hate it.

  64. Matt says:

    not sure if it supports the Shuffle, but I have Rockbox installed on my 2GB Nano. You can copy files using drag n drop, it can play video`s and games (even Doom), has fully customisable themes and so many other useful features that It makes an Ipod worth owning.

  65. Joe says:

    If you have to resort to stealing my alias and making a homophobic slur to get your point across, you really are a sad person. The fact that you cant use a program as simple and intuitive as iTunes really says something about your intelligence. Americans really need to stop bitching about everything that doesnt perfectly do everything they want it to do and buy a real computer that actually works well.

  66. Ellusive says:

    HONESTLY, switch to a Zune. the last thing i care about is some child throwing a hissy fit about a FREE program made for a windows computer. What did you expect, it’s made for the mac market and you are on a PC.

    That said i’d never run a Zune on my mac nor would i never consider using something windows on my mac. I’m apple all the way.

    How much spywear do you currently have running on your computer? thats the real problem, some are even made to operate around your firewall. Get over the 3 programs that were installed, arnt there more important things to worry about(there is a war going on, poverty, people starving and moral corruption in the highest ranks of government)?

  67. StopWhining says:

    Waaaaaa – I want everything to do EXACTLY what I want, when I want, how I want.

    If you don’t like the software available, use your indignation to write your own. Do more research and get a player that has the software support you want. Those are your choices: choose, get over yourself and stop whining.

    Want something to be upset about? Go live in Iraq, or Darfur.

  68. Michael Terry says:

    You rated the whole application based on a use pattern for someone who avowedly doesn’t want to use the features that are the whole point of iTunes. iTunes came out long before iPods, moron.

  69. art says:

    That’s funny, iTunes is one of the reasons I like using iPods.

    It is actually an excellent way to store and manage very large music collections. I’ve been using it since before it was even called iTunes, back in the Soundjam MP days, and it has never failed me. I’ve accumulated about 100 GB of music, and the smart playlists, etc really help manage it all and get what I want on my various iPods. I think the problem most people have, is not actually using it for what it’s good for. If you don’t actually want to organize a large music collection, and just dragging folders back and forth is what you want, why did you get an iPod? There are hundreds of players that allow you to do that (none of which sell anywhere near iPod numbers by the way). It sounds to me that your biggest problem is with Windows. Windows always needs to be restarted, Windows encourages ridiculous numbers of background processes, etc, etc. iTunes is certainly way better on the mac, but it’s still the best free music library management app on Windows. Seems to me that you set out wanting to hate the experience and never really gave it a chance to shine, whatever though, good luck.

  70. BooHoo says:

    Now Windows users will know what it’s felt like lo these many years running Office (or any MS product – Outlook anyone?) on a Mac. What, MS doesn’t offer the same experience on Mac that it does on Windows? Surely you jest!

  71. David Preece says:

    You’re having, like, an impedance mismatch.

    Macs are becoming, pretty much as far as possible, dissociated from the concept of files. So, iTunes holds your music – that it does it with files is an implementation issue. iPhoto holds your pictures – same thing applies. Macs are also all about things just working for with the reason why they are just working also being an implementation issue. Hence the bonjour service – needed to discover other iTunes instances. The iPod helper – needed to start iTunes when you plug the iPod in.

    The problem is you have to buy into it. If you keep thinking in terms of files and (shudder) actually being in control of the box in front of you, you’re going to hate it. But if you realise that the whole of Apple is based around a ‘consumer device, that does this thing’ then it all starts to make sense.

    It’s not for everybody, sure, but it’s how it is. You might have been better served by a more file centric MP3 player. There’s certainly no shortage of suppliers πŸ™‚

  72. Liam Clarke says:

    Ugh, I thoroughly share your distaste for iTune’s arrogance. I find it horrendous on any operating system, even its native OS X. I used to use vPod to move files onto my iPod, but then Apple updated their firmware, added a checksum to iTunesDB and the maintainer of vPod hasn’t kept up.

    I use Amarok on Linux these days, but seeing as how my iPod’s battery has died and iPod’s don’t support DIY battery replacement (although it is possible), it’s now nothing more than a glorified USB hard-drive.

  73. ssflanders says:

    Come on, you didn’t know how iTunes and iPods worked before you bought yours? I have no patience for people who complain about features they knew perfectly well they were buying into.

  74. go says:

    I bought a Zune because i disliked iTunes so much… imagine my “glee” when i discovered that the Zune software was almost as awful.

    (from now on it’ll be Creatives and their drag-n-drop awesomeness for me.)

  75. Ben says:

    Have you thought about synching your ipod using mediamonkey.

    this might seem like spam but i promise i hav no affiliation with mediamonkey (except that i absolutely love it).

    Not only is mediamonkey a stellar, feature-rich media player and organiser, its fully skinnable (it looks good) (very good) and syncs to ipods!

    I used it for a while while i was forced into using an ipod nano (3rd gen) which wasn’t the most pleasant experience admittedly but using mediamoney made it sooo much better.

  76. owen says:

    what you need to do with shuffles is make space for data. so that you can copy files into the data space to add when you get home

  77. Dan says:

    Fuck iTunes.

    I used to use ephPod to add/remove files from my 1G iPod (still have it), but when I got a Nano, suddenly I was forced to use iBufoons.

    To me the worst part is the whole “syncing” crap…. who the fuck needs fucking “sync” for fuck’s sake?!?!?

    If I drag a motherfucking file onto the player, it should add the motherfucking file to the player. Also I should be able to drag motherfucking files the fuck off of the player onto my computer.

    Fuck sync. Fuck playlists. Fuck Safari, fuck QuickTime, fuck this Apple backchannel phone-home bullshit. Those fucking black turtleneck-wearing shitbags force you to install iTunes for an iPhone, or just to browse the cocksucking “App Store”, the holy grail of shit.

    People rag on Gates/MSoft about being a monopoly. Fucking Jobs wants to own your soul.

    Fuck Apple and the gurgling babbling zealots who worship at the altar of Jobs.

    (Other than that — yay Apple!!!)

  78. Jambies says:

    I dumped iTunes and iPod’s sometime back. Apple anything makes my skin crawl.

    Sansa Clip + Winamp appears to work for me on Win.

  79. Thom says:

    Admit it, this was a ploy to stir up some business for your poster shop. Although I can’t blame you. Pointing out the obvious flaws with anything Apple is always good for a sudden spike in traffic thanks to all of the fanboys – not to mention the humor in reading their responses.

    While I haven’t tried out the iPod connectivity, I’d definitely suggest giving Songbird a try as they’ve been working heavily on that lately (of course remember that the software is still only v0.6). Personally I’m still searching for the best solution for a music player on Ubuntu now that I’ve grown so accustomed to foobar2000 on Windows.

  80. matthew says:

    Why are pro-Apple people derisively called ‘fanboys’ and vehemently anti-Apple ‘…’ not held in the same contempt? I thought about my hardware/software and chose appropriately.

    I didnt go with what I think could fairly be called the plain-vanilla or default route of Windows just because “I used it at school”, “we use it at work”, or whatever.

    Reading through these comments I do find some people’s strong and extremely bizzare aversion to Apple and hatred of Apple products and their customers very very strange. Even in the darkest depths of Apple’s black days when most of these people (if they were even born) wouldnt have even heard of Apple and when Apple users disliked Microsoft with an almost pseudo-religion zeal I heard nothing like that coming these days against Apple from people whose only experience is maybe the iPod or maybe even a really balance site like anythingbutipod.com (sarcasm).

    Strange, strange, strange. My advise (for what its worth) find something more constructive to do with your time.

  81. Joen says:

    Thom,

    Admit it, this was a ploy to stir up some business for your poster shop.

    If you think a controversial Apple rant will gather me any new poster customers, you’re as bad (or even worse) at marketing as me! So that would be a clean and honest no. In fact, I believe I might have scared away a few.

    While I haven

  82. Joen says:

    Out of curiosity, how is your foobar themed? I love the very popular FOOAvA, but thought you might have spent the time to give it your own personal touch. Laziness has claimed my desires to be my own designer

  83. Ed says:

    Are you serious? You are obviously as you put it “computer initiated” enough to find the files on the hidden services in windows. But are not tech savy enough to realize that by buying an iPod you are going to have to, for better or worse, use iTunes. If you are not willing to use iTunes then buy a Creative. You can drag and drop files in Explorer to your heart’s content.

    You are wonderful writer! You took a process that takes minutes and made it sound like you spend two days to get these three audiobooks on your Shuffle. Such drama!

    I have six computers in my house(4 windows & 2 Macs) and have no trouble with iTunes on any of them. But I enjoy iPods and use iTunes as my media library so everything works. You can not try to use windows mindset with Apple products. You are bitching about the software because it doesn’t work like Windows. Duh, it is Apple software. That’s like buying a Playstation and bitching cause it doesn’t play XBOX games.

    If you want open players then buy an open player. There are plenty of them out there. If you don’t like iTunes then why did you buy an iPod? I do believe it say right on the box that iTunes is required.

  84. Evan says:

    Right now I’m busy hating iTunes so much that I want to kill some apple engineers who knowingly allowed this product to hit the market.

  85. Flinlk says:

    I just want to say that iTunes SUCKS big time and quicktime is the stupidiest program. I use vlc player, its lighter and has much more codecs for watching videos… anyway, my solution is WINAMP with the ml ipod plug-in.. i synch videos, album arts and mp3s

    LIVELONG WINAMP AND FU%$/ ITUNES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  86. kookimebux says:

    Hello. And Bye. πŸ™‚

  87. LunnispBise says:

    Was ist das?

  88. Fallasteeni says:

    I am really shocked at some of the idiotic responses here.

    First, to the fellow that claimed that Windows loads a bunch of unnecessary services, Really? How much do YOU know about how the Windows OS and the way it was architectured? Are you claiming to be an expert on how the OS is built? Any idiot with the slightest clue of how “good” Operating Systems are built will tell you things should be modularized, and services do a great job with that concept.

    That being said, REGARDLESS of whether or not Apple has some “Evil” plan to lure us over into Macs by making their Windows version crappy is simply unfounded and stupid. I refuse to pay a 75% premium and support a company who doesn’t even have the decency to write an application that IT forces me to use properly.

    Oh and on a final note,. It is NOT acceptable to cram Quicktime down our throats. I am perfectly happy with Quicktime Alternative. Why the hell does Apple assume the right to install Bonjour + Quicktime + Services on my Windows machine? I also did not like the sneaky “checked by default” box next to Safari.

    No thank you.

    Apple cannot hope to turn us all into fanboys and zombies just because iTunes works (err cratch that: DOESN’T WORK) so terribly on Windows.

    You know there is a REASON the Windows platform owns a good 80% of the market. Its called not nhaving to pay 75% more for a total pile of crap and get something that actually works without handcuffs!

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