Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

31Dec/06Off

Keeping My Spot Reserved Way Behind The Curve

So, I finally crumbled and bought one. And when I say that I mean that I finally dropped the change to procure what has become ubiquitous technology for some of the most incompetent and technophobic people in the world. This seems even more appropriate given how soon the year will flip over and grant me even more relative obsolescence. I bought a refurbished 60 gig video iPod because I just can't stand the people on the bus anymore. I already have a 4GB player that I managed to get quite a bit of use out of but since then I bought this machine and realized that I'd converted most of my music to AAC which sort of ruled out transferring anything newly acquired to the old player. I was also looking forward to being able to actually watch video when in transit because a good majority of the time my bus is filled with morons and what better to drown out morons than stolen television?

After a week of use, despite continual blizzards keeping my work week minimal, I've really enjoyed using it and I am generally blown away by how well the thing is generally implemented. I'm still awaiting the arrival of my replacement ear buds which keeps my use outside of public transportation less frequent because the included bright white buds are 'mug me'-rific. They sound great but are just a little too obvious for the routes I walk daily especially with all of the kids being on Christmas vacation at the moment.

The most obvious realization that I've had since buying in is that iTunes is great as a player on the desktop but is godawful as a management front end for a player. The rage that many express when the application is casually mentioned in conversation now makes a whole lot of sense to me. There have been more WTF moments during the use of iTunes and my iPod in conjunction where I consider trying to migrate to something entirely different and cast off this family dysfunction albatross before something gets smashed out of pure frustration.

The synchronization options were the most obvious initial point of hand waving and shouting. I'm somewhat new to the idea of having a single application ruin my life and more accustomed to mounting players as external devices and simply copying the desired files to the desired location. That procedure isn't exactly convenient but doing that does exactly what you want and finishes with much less surprise than I've come to expect from the dynamic duo of i's. This may also explain why I'm fucking this up -- I haven't spent the time to script a replacement for the synchronization that iTunes offers which is probably the better approach for me. Anyway, the source of frustration is the binary option of either letting iTunes manage all media or manually managing media. This sounds like a decent option either way until you realize what iTunes actually does when it finds a difference between the two. It just clobbers all present content on the device and replaces it with the content in iTunes. This totally sucks and in order to get any sort of control over it you're either stuck with the consumer approach (disable auto-synch in iTunes and do more clicking of checkboxes than any one human should ever have to) or take the geek route (install Senuti or iPodDisk in order to dodge the stupidity bullet. I've pretty much decided just to give iTunes the fuck off order and manage things manually via the copy and delete manually route. This feels circular and although it was pretty easy to work around with a little bit of searching and a little more reading I can't imagine most people who are firmly in the 'computers work by magic' line of thought garner anything but anguish and hatred by the experience. Fortunately there are workarounds that don't involve me hacking up any horrible solution that would break my computer, my iPod, and the space-time continuum. There is some small relief in that.

I've also yet to come to an understanding of why my iPod blinks the continual 'Do not disconnect' message from when it is plugged in until it either manually ejected or goes to sleep from inactivity. This doesn't happen now that I've disconnected the player from the iTunes matrix and didn't before I did the software update but it's still pretty fucking annoying because it becomes apparently immediately that one machine is lying to me. Translated into emotional human language that could be interpreted as a request for smashing but I'm not sure which machine to blame at this point so the smashing debt remains unpaid. My money is on iTunes though.

I also fired up 'party shuffle' for the first time in iTunes and was a little astonished. The selection of music was mainly from Floor, Grief, The Melvins, and Explosions in the Sky. I don't know what kind of fucking parties the iTunes developers are having but apparently the 21 bpm, anguished vocals, and eight plus minutes song length is what they're looking for.

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