This (iPod) Red is quite nice. iTunes Sucks.

Santa was very kind to me this Christmas; a spiffy new iPod nano (PRODUCT RED)TM Special Edition. I’m amazed at how small and functional it is, and was again impressed at Apple’s attention to detail in package design and overall thought in the little details; the USB cable cover had a little clip extension that held the USB cable wires in nice and tight.

Now, iTunes on the other hand is a bit of a bear. I’ve got a few hundred MP3’s that I’ve ripped from CD’s over the years, stored on my household server. All nicely arranged by folder, artist, album, song, etc. I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to to get iTunes to understand that that structure actually means something, and that it should really read that (as well as the embedded MP3 tag information) into it’s database structure when displaying the music selections to me.

And why does iTunes need to ‘Determine Gapless Playback Information’ on every tune it scans on my system. It’s rather slow (~30 sec per tune).

And why can I not view the album information from the iTunes store if I don’t have an account, which requires a credit card?

Meh, there has to be a better way. For XP or Ubuntu. Either will do.

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10 Replies to “This (iPod) Red is quite nice. iTunes Sucks.”

  1. Congrats on the new toy!

    I think iTunes *6* is awesome. I don’t use it with an iPod; I just use it to play MP3s on the PC and on my stereo. The last part is brilliant – I have a SoundBridge gizmo that connects to iTunes on my PC using WiFi, and plays my playlists through the stereo. Wonderful, and it does internet radio too, bypassing the PC completely.

    However, iTunes *7* broke all connectivity with the SoundBridge, even though the SoundBridge folks had an agreement with Apple for using the technology. Apple seems to have no interest in fixing that, and the SoundBridge folks are scrambling for a fix to what I think is their best selling point.

    I am SO glad I didn’t upgrade to iTunes 7, and that I warned my friend about it before he wrecked his SoundBridge connection too. (He was about to “upgrade” that evening; good thing I pointed out the problem.)

  2. Cool! Looks like you have a handy utility there. After I googled Soundbridge, I see what you mean!

    I have similar functionality with my modded xboxen, and a dlink media centre unit. Both can use the existing server’s file structure and understand the mp3 tag information properly.

    iTunes could learn from them, it’s not overly complex.

  3. excellent ipod, brad. i’m jealous!

    i guess your take on itunes is valid, but not everyone likes micromanaging their computer files to that extent. i’ve tried it with music files in the past and it always ends up becoming a nightmare. i’m much much happier letting itunes do all the work for me so if, for example, i need to find a specific track, i can start typing in the search window and watch the library whittle down in real-time until i see the one i’m looking for, instead of rummaging through folders. i’d much rather leave all of that stuff to a one-window program. maybe that makes me your stereotypical mac user 😉

    as for the soundbridge issue – in the past that’s usually been a sign that apple is about to unleash something in the same general marketplace…google ‘apple’ and ‘itv’ and think wireless high-def video, music, photos etc. to your big screen tv…

  4. Hey Chris, yeah, I’m liking this ‘pod.

    I think my big beef with iTunes is that I don’t find it intuitive (unlike the iPod! Go figure). Maybe I’m just too old-school with my file organizing 🙂

    I have found one solution that seems to be working for me, for now…there’s an iPod plugin for Winamp that will do music management, artwork import..etc. Very cool. I need to play around with it some more to really understand it, but it seems to work the way I ‘expect’ a music manager to work.

    re: soundbridge et al…cool. One issue I have with current wireless technology is that it *won’t* stream hi-def video…not enough bandwidth. That’s the issue we have with our dlink unit….wi-fi is not usable for video. Audio is fine, but I ended up running a cat5 cable through our ductwork to get 100mbps to it. It’d be nice to have wireless video, that’s for sure!

  5. Hey Brad, speaking of iTunes… Do you know of anything that works as well as it does (or reasonably close) on Ubuntu?

    My old PC is starting to die, and I think its replacement will have Linux next to the metal, with Windows only inside a sandbox…


  6. Yep Brad – you hit the nail on the head.

    I learned many years ago (when I attended my first ‘de-brainwashing’ at Mac U) that organized file systems and folder categorization are for DOS-Fiends.

    Once I let iTunes and iPhoto do their thing – the world got better. On windows though – you really are a little under the rule of DOS though. Hope you figure something out. iTunes (when not used for ‘paid’ content) is quite good at managing and playing music… you just gotta let go…..


  7. Hey Scratch,

    Yeah, I kinda get the feeling that iTunes really wants to run the show. If I had my music library on a stand-alone computer, no problem. But since I’ve got it on a networked server accessed by Xbox Media Centres, D-link media centre, wireless palms…etc, I really need it in an accessible location…hence the SMB share on my Ubuntu server 😉

    Call me old school, but I like having a CD to kick around too…

  8. Just received an Ipod 30gb. Yes, iTunes is awful particularly if, like me, you use a PC and a laptop as iTunes will only allow one desktop – one sync. I’m using Floola which is a drag ‘n drop Explorer style program for the iPod. Simple & effective, give it a go

  9. Nice! I have my ipod syncing with my laptop, but it would be easier if it really didn’t care where it was syncing. Thanks for the pointer, I’ll check out Floola!

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