maanantai 15. kesäkuuta 2009

iTunes Is Broken: Apple Fix It!

Untypically I'm writing in English. This is solely because I sincerely hope that someone in Apple Inc. reads this and then helps add momentum to fix the horrendous flaws that are generally referred to as iTunes.

First and foremost on my list of nuisances is the almost unusable randomization parameter activated by the little crossed in the bottom:

This bugger claims to play songs randomly, BUT DOES NOTHING OF THE SORT! iTunes seems to love picking up songs and then playing the hell out of them, just like Finnish commercial radio (this I guess goes for other folks as well). Seriously, I have a good bit of experience on how the damned "top of the pops filter" goes on overkill and starts pumping the same songs over and over and over...

When I have a modest collection of 8000 (and then some) songs, most of which are carefully selected for my pleasure, and when I have taken the time to evaluate most of these on the players five star chart (one of the more useful features), I would really appreciate that when I play the playlist of all the really good (5 stars) songs (currently 668 songs) all those songs get a chance. Instead the damn thing goes on a rut all the time and starts repeating certain songs. Why?

I guess this works for teenybobbers or diletants, but it sure doesn't work for me. It would be really helpful if I could go on and adjust the randomization parameters. Steve J. could keep his moronic repeater and I could play a really random set of songs.

Secondly I wanna talk about collection management. I recently swapped to a more effecient MBPro. No not one of those new unibodied slabs, but a late run of an earlier model as this had the features I really dig (2 firewire ports for both the external drives and the pro audio I/Os and a matte display, a must for a traveling man such as myself). With my old MBP I really had to store most of my music collection on a peripheral FW drive as I wasn't about to use 50 Gbs of a total of 120 for music.

Guess what? Whenever I used iTunes without the drive and did something stupid like program updates, attaching an iPod, playing the wrong list of songs, the information for certain songs would corrupt bringing forth an ugly little exclamation mark next to the song the app couldn't locate. Brilliant!

Now I know Adobe is a market leader for reasons, but how difficult it is to include some kind of drive management protocol for iTunes and similar programs that knows when a certain drive isn't attached and just shows this, and most importantly goes away when it sees the drive again? This works just fine in Photoshop Lightroom. Evidently you guys weren't thinking of users who have a lot of music, or what?

Thirdly a minor gripe. Earlier I could adjust the width of information columns on iTunes as I saw fit. Then came along v. 8, and lo, the column showing times played (in Finnish Soittokerrat) Couldn't be minimized anymore:

In the picture above you might notice this new feature? Now as I have a lot of music, I don't gather up repeats for any songs, but even if I did, four numbers would probably suffice more than well. Infact three might do it, I mean 999 times played? But no, I can't possibly optimize the field to any such width as iTunes won't allow anything that would compromize the full title bar of Soittokerrat to be shown.

Again minimizing these fields so that the titles become trunkaded might have perplexed some folks. I don't know, but for me it was paramount. As a former library worker (I'm not a librarian), I'm accustomed to having a lot of information on the screen. I can set up the order, so I know what's where. I never use the fancy Cover flows as they limit the amount of available information that I can use to order and filter things as I see fit. Now I could do this before, can I please do it again, Apple?

For all the nice stuff I can do with my MBP and the down right amazing quality of progs like Logic Pro 8 that I constantly use, iTunes is a pain in the &##. Cheers!

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