In today’s disposable culture, you’ve all had the experience of a product or service that doesn’t live up to expectations (especially of you’ve ever flown United). It may be because the economy is bad and they’re forced to run on a shoestring budget with a skeleton crew. Or maybe their parents never told them that you should be nice to people when you’re asking them to give you money. Or maybe this guy was in line right before you.
Regardless of the reasons, is there any reason why the signature software from one of the richest companies in the world is a steaming pile of camel dung?
I will preface this by saying that I am using iTunes for Windows, because I like to play games on PC, and I can’t afford two computers. I used to listen to music on a Walkman that meant I had to carry around a bunch of cassette tapes and extra batteries. I frakking love my iPod. I wrote this post on an iPad. Apple in all its forms makes excellent products. Which only adds to the conundrum of why is it so hard to write a decent program to interact with them.
My frustration begins when I click on the icon and wait only to have the program crash before I even get started. Repeat two more times. (Don’t tell me to reinstall. I have had the same problem on three different computers using multiple versions. It’s not me, it’s them.) When it finally does get going, it is still one of the worst interfaces that I have ever seen. It is almost entirely monochromatic, with tiny buttons and small print that is often grayed out making it hard to maneuver and read, especially if you are over fifty. You can’t select multiple items with the mouse. And no matter what I try, the window always opens slightly larger than my screen resolution, so I have to drag the window to one side, shrink it, and then maximize it just to use the scroll bars on the side of the screen. Not cool.
The library keeps “losing” songs and podcasts. They aren’t going anywhere. If you open the folder, you can see the files are still there, but iTunes can’t see them. The only way to fix this is to manually locate each file and reconnect it to its entry in the database. The problem is I have hundreds of “missing” files. If you just reload the files there will be duplicate entries in the library record. Now when these files go missing, they don’t sync to the device, and I have entire albums that have “disappeared”.
Speaking of syncing, iTunes continuously reloads several files that are already on the device. The exact files changes over time, but there are always a few that, for some reason, need to be reloaded every freaking time I sync. I wouldn’t care except I have to sync at least twice every time I update to keep the all the podcasts I listen to up to date. (Once to update the number of plays, refresh to auto-delete old podcasts and get new ones, then sync again to update the playlists and load the newest shows.)
Plus I have to transfer over the apps that update on a daily basis. I have to update each device separately, because I changed my AppleID when I stopped using that email account, but iTunes won’t let me transfer the purchases to the new account. For reasons, I’m sure. Now while the devices have no problem updating two accounts, iTunes insists that I log out and then log in again with the old account. So, that’s two more arbitrary annoyances if you’re keeping score at home.
Now before you say that there are other third-party apps of you just want to sync your iPod, those apps only prove my point. If iTunes was any good at all, theses programs would not exist. It seems to me that Apple still suffers from the cult of personality that is Steve Jobs’s legacy. They have a “daddy knows best” attitude which will ultimately lead to a generation gap between what they are willing to give and what their customers expect. Right now, iTunes is the one bad apple. Don’t let it spoil the bunch.