Apple In My Eye

So your Author would be a terrible blogger if he didn’t point out that iTunes is now available for Windows. It was immediately installed, requiring a reboot (the box had not been rebooted for 32 days), and preceded to crash consistently on a seemingly random set of files. It works swimmingly with about 95% of the files, but certain albums, when played or imported, crash iTunes every single time. Winamp, Windows Media Player, and every other media player installed works fine with said files. That said, one is very impressed with many of the features and how consistent it seems with the Mac version. Except the feature where it moves files out of their meticulously chosen folder hierarchy and renames them, losing track information in the process. Every feature but that one. Yes, it is an option, however the option does not communicate the weight it carries.

Ironically, today is also the day one decided to never by a Mac because one’s PCs were significantly cheaper and of comprable quality, the Windows OS is sufficently stable, and because of the beautiful things Michael Heilemann was able to do with Windows. (Not to mention the wonderful things he does with WordPress.) Something similar will be attempted here as soon as time permits. One program, Windows FX, was bought months ago as a result of its attractive functionality.

Update: I just saw this quote and thought it was worth including:

“We’re going to fight illegal downloading by competing with it,” said Jobs. “We’re not going to sue it. We’re not going to ignore it. We’re going to compete with it.”

—Steve Jobs. No wonder people love this guy. Hat tip: Wired.

Update: Something similar, but much worse happened to Adam.

23 replies on “Apple In My Eye”

  1. Ohkay, maybe the Windows OS is sufficiently stable, with those monthly viruses being produced for it, but Mac OS X is infinitely more stable. I have seen an iMac that has been running day in and day out with no problems for about a year. Have fun waiting until 2006 for your next big upgrade, while we are only waiting 8 days
    And the thing with the moving of the files is (1) that is an option (2) it would only mess up track information if your music does not have the standard ID3 tags on them.

    What are you talking comparable quality? Macintoshes last longer and cost a bit more, instead of having to buy a new PC in half of a Mac’s life time, adding up to more monét…

    Have you ever going to an Apple Store and used and seen and tried a Mac?

  2. My decision to not “switch” is not because of unfamiliarity or ignorance of Apple’s offerings, but rather a function of economics and utility. The cost of switching would not just be another two or three grand of hardware, but also hundreds if not thousands in software. And there are still programs such as Topstyle which, as far as I know, have to ready equivalent on the OS X platform.

    Ohkay, maybe the Windows OS is sufficiently stable, with those monthly viruses being produced for it, but Mac OS X is infinitely more stable.

    Viruses coming out all the time don’t make my systems any less stable. I have protections in place in way of firewalls, anti-virus software, and common sense and have never been infected. Like spam, viruses are a problem that effect people without the proper software to prevent them.

    I have seen an iMac that has been running day in and day out with no problems for about a year.

    I have seen Windows boxes run just as long, and Linux and FreeBSD boxes running for several times that. I’ve also seen Powerbooks with terrible hardware problems and requiring reboots daily if not more. Does that mean it’s an unstable platform? I’m not going to hold possibly buggy software against it, but at the same time don’t try to sell me a rose colored picture of an OS that never crashes. It does. I’ve seen it.

    Have fun waiting until 2006 for your next big upgrade, while we are only waiting 8 days

    Thanks, I will.

    (2) it would only mess up track information if your music does not have the standard ID3 tags on them.

    About 30 gigabytes of MP3 files ripped any time between last week and 5 years ago. Some of them have older versions of ID3 that don’t have track information. Some of them have wrong information. I’m the first to admit that.

    What are you talking comparable quality? Macintoshes last longer and cost a bit more, instead of having to buy a new PC in half of a Mac’s life time, adding up to more money.

    Or do people keep them longer because they cost more? I don’t buy this argument one bit. One of my friends (Kel) kept his Mac forever but quite honestly it was simply that he couldn’t afford a full upgrade and he was prepared to accept lower levels of user experience than I would. I upgrade frequently because I can, not because I have to. Just like you upgrade your OS frequently, right? OS X, for all its merits, is not by far the speediest operating system I’ve used, and that was on a relatively recent machine. I wouldn’t want it on a 3-year-old iMac and I wouldn’t want to run OS 9 under any circumstances.

    Have you ever going to an Apple Store and used and seen and tried a Mac?

    Of course, I don’t live under a rock. Apple stores are beautiful, as are their products. Just because I made a decision concerning something that you disagree with please don’t assume it’s because I’m ignorant. That’s the worst kind of evangelism your platform needs.

  3. Matt, there’s something I need to know from you. I noticed in one of your photos in your album that you use the SB Extigy. One of its niftiest features is the ability to scramble stereo sound into surround sound.

    Sadly, this does not work with a standard distribution of Winamp. I use WMP because it works well with the CMSS technology that comes with the SBE. (As for tagging my mp3s I just use Musicmatch.)

    Anyway, does iTunes work with the CMSS feature? I’m not going to use that if not.

  4. Jay, yes it does! I was happy about that. As does Winamp 3, Winamp 5, and WMP.

    No luck getting the remote to work with it though, though my multimedia keyboard worked great.

  5. OS zealots I’m afraid are the worst 😐

    Anyway, thank you for the kind words πŸ™‚ — Weird thing about those tracks that crash iTunes, I have a few things that I’m personally not too happy about, but overall I think it’s a cool product. I think I’ll be posting a review of sorts later today.

  6. Could you find nothing in common in any files that seemed to crash iTunes? I was having a crashing problem with WinAmp3 a while back (actually with a plugin, as it turned out), which had me scratching my head for the longest time. Until I finally noticed that the files which crashed it all had periods at the end of the song name. It turned out that filenames like “Particle_Man..mp3” were the culprit. Fortunately, I only had one album and a handful of other songs that had this problem.

  7. Matt, it could have been worse. Far worse.

    Being the genius that I am, I set my existing directory of mp3s as iTunes’ music directory (in the preferences), and then imported it. It decided to ‘clean up’ the music directory according to the existing metadata in the files, and basically fubar’ed the existing organizational scheme without asking. I have spent the last 24 hours fighting with the metadata gods to try to put my collection back into some semblance of order. I’m afraid that I’m just going to have to purge several thousand files and rip them again.

    Oh, and as far as the OS wars go, I finally ditched the MacOS on my old Wallstreet Powerbook about two months ago. OS X was too slow, but Yellow Dog Linux ran just fine. I guess it’s all about what works for best for the individual user.

  8. Adam, that’s actually almost exactly what happened. It would have been much worse had it not crashed. Apparently imports are atomic so when it crashed in the middle it didn’t import anything. I tried importing one of my genre subfolders and that’s when it took liberties with my file organization. It could have been much worse though. I’m sorry to hear things went so badly for you, I can recommend a great utility though, Dr. Tag. It’s one of maybe a dozen software I’ve paid for in my life. You might also want to look into something like MusicBrainz, which I’ve heard good things about but can’t vouch for personally.

  9. I’ve been using MusicBrainz to patch together albums from the stuff that was completely untagged. I have a pretty good tagger in Helium 2.0, and iTunes’ tagging capabilities are pretty good (except for entering track numbers, which can only be done through the info panel, and one track at a time).

  10. I respect the points you made and they are valid. Some software titles that aren’t available for Macs have good software titles that do the same functions. It is too bad that companies (like Adobe, Macromedia, and other big name ones) don’t offer programs to upgrade cross-platform for a small fee for the same version, right? Also, some specialized, and some not so, take time to get ported to Mac OS X, like Photoshop and Office, which are two really good programs on every platform now… I think that OS’es (ones that have been patched and free of bugs) of any type can run well without reboots, as long as no Hacks are applied, but when there is more out there for one platform to be broken down with (mainly virus’s for the avg. user) then I would have to say that OS is not as stable.

  11. Speaking of organizing music folders, Matt, how DO you organize your music? Artist Folders, genre folders (like you mentioned), artist – album, genre-artist-album?

    Right now I have everything that isn’t from a ripped album (or individual tracks for that matter) in one folder, and it gets really bulky.

    Tips, please? πŸ˜‰ Oh. That evangelist is still here?

  12. First of all, iTunes does NOT ‘decide’ to organize your music for you. You opted in on it during installation. It clearly asked your “Do you want iTunes to organize your music. Warning: This can’t not be undone”.

    Anyway, what a strange coincidence that you (Jay) asked about organizing music. I’ve just posted an entry about it!

  13. yea i love my apple it is more stable than my pc. plus there arn’t any virus on my mac. in the long run i will have a nice good system. oh yea os 10.3 is out so i will be haveing more fun than ever.

  14. I run a powerbook and a PC desktop combo. I’ll second the wish that the major software manufacturers allow a cross-platform version for already paying customers for little or no fee. I must admit that the Apple definitely gave me a greater sense of satisfaction (their packaging is sooooo lovely!) when I first open the box.

    NBA Live 1996 might be coming out for the Mac sometime soon, so that’s another plus to get the Mac.

  15. Yes, how could I forget about the games? πŸ˜‰ I could totally go for one of the new Powerbooks, their specs are quite nice. My music organization is pretty simple, but with a quirk. I’ll write a post about it.

  16. NBA Live 1996 might be coming out for the Mac sometime soon, so that’s another plus to get the Mac.

    AWESOME! I laughed heavily on that one!

    3 days, 19 hours, 33 minutes, 17 seconds until Panther. Yum.

  17. OK, over the years I’ve had extensive experience with both platforms. It wasn’t until about NT 4.0 that Windows became anywhere’s near as stable as the Mac platform. Of course, that’s water under the bridge now. I really don’t think stability is the issue any more.

    What I can tell you is this. Think of how much time you spend tweaking your Windows machine–futzing with the registry, re-formatting/resizing partitions, re-installing the OS, installing and reinstalling drivers to keep up with the latest releases. Divide that by 10 and that’s how much time you will spend performing the equivalent tasks on a Mac.

    Then figure out how long your PC lasts, even assuming that you keep upgrade until the technology is totally obsolete. Typically you’re talking 3-4 years, 5 tops. Multiply that by 2 and that’s how long your Mac will last. I’m still using a Mac that I purchased in ’96 and there’s no end in sight for how long it will be functional.

    In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a big Mac fan (as opposed to a Big Mac fan).

    Having said that, guess what–I spend most of my time on Windows. And not just because of the excessive hours required to keep it running smoothly. For me it’s all about compatibility and the availability of software I need to do my job. Like it or not, my corner of the universe is 99% Windows and I finally got tired of bucking the trend and trying defend being “better, but different”.

    I understand there are other worlds where the Mac is king. Graphics and multi-media come to mind. But if you really enjoy living on the edge, you might give Linux a try. You’re still on an Intel box, must of your software will port over.

  18. I too have run into problems using iTunes, though not as severe as it say crashing my system, or eating my MP3s (Thankfully I had none at the time). So much so that, I am gonna dump iTunes, lose the money I put into the ITMS, and be done with it.

    My problem is bizarre, and I can’t find any information on it. Even on a brand new install of XP, it does this. What it does is randomly not start right away. I can click the icon, it can be running in task manager, but take 10 minutes to bring a window up. Sometimes it pops up right away.

    I can’t trace it to software of any sort…cause it does it all the time, no matter what’s running. I think I will just stick with using MediaCenter for managing the iPod, actually playing the music and ripping, and Anapod for dealing with the iPod in the main GUI of windows..

  19. I’m about this close to moving my daughters to an eMac and buying a Powerbook. Why? Because while I can wrestle Windows into submission terribly fast I don’t want to have to any more. Will Panther and boutique hardware deliver me? The answer depends on the very pronoun “me.”

    Like Matt, I don’t have problems with Windows: it does what I say and nothing I don’t. That takes a level of vigilance that I’ve proudly embedded but lately feels masturbatory. Most of this world turns on things that PCs can produce, on end products and daily systems — that’s what the overwhelming majority is concerned with. We have today’s systems and networks because of demand for end products, not to satisfy the tech ego.

    There’s an old Devo song that claims “Freedom of choice is what you’ve got; freedom from choice is what you want.” OS X with FreeBSD under the hood seems to deliver a straightforward, productive environment for most folks and endless horizons for me. And there’s always VirtualPC.

    Hey, I’ll always have a Windows box, yet I think a smart guy also has a Mac. This guy will soon, and I’ll probably start recommending that my friends and relatives budget an extra 300 bucks on their next PC purchase and just get a Mac. For what they want, they’ll be happier. It seems that every significant Windows usability enhancement comes with a privacy sacrifice. Maybe Apple would behave similarly in Microsoft’s position, but that doesn’t matter because it’s not the case and won’t be any time soon. Right now, Apple’s better tuned to the frequencies that matter to the folks I need to help.

    LQ

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