iTunes is crap

I have a massively boring entry all about iPods. I considered not even posting it, or double posting it along with a more respectable entry (I wrote both Thursday and Friday last week, but was up late playing iPod each night and just forwent posting). Well, you’ve been warned… tech-babble ahead.

“The Timetable,” or, “Looking that horse in its mouth”: Sharaun wins iPod in radio call-in contest, tells me it’s a gift to me. She picks it up the same day, and it’s awesome, black and 30 gigs. I’m up late loading songs on it, it’s filled to capacity by 1am. The next day, I put it on Ebay, where it sells in under 5hrs for $275. Next afternoon, I use the leveraged Ebay cash to pickup a 60GB instead. Sharaun’s OK with it, after I explain. I stay up late loading songs on it, and am satisfied with the canon at around 50GB and 2am. That brings us up to date.

Saturday morning (not too early, we slept late) I set about installing my new Alpine-to-iPod interface thing (Alpine’s KCA-420i) in the Ford. Turns out the deck came out with zero effort, and the proprietary Alpine AiNet interface was just plug-and-go. I cleaned out the glove box, mounted the unit inside with velcro and ran the wires from behind the deck. Under 15min of work and the thing was discretely installed and I was browsing my iPod with the Alpine deck’s analog wheel, scrolling through artists like I was on the iPod (albeit slower than running through the list on the iPod itself). Sound is line-quality and the unit charges the iPod while it’s plugged in. I was initially impressed, and happy.

However, one trip downtown in the evening for dinner, and the unit’s drawbacks became pretty apparent: All the iPod’s controls are disabled when it’s plugged into the deck, forcing you to control it through the deck. It’s frustrating to have to learn the Alpine deck’s way of emulating the iPod’s controls (and, it’s dog-slow refreshing the on-screen text). What’s worse, the interface only supports a maximum of 255 albums or songs per playlist. Wanna listen to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy? Press ‘3’, ‘FUNC’, ‘3’ and then use the rotary wheel to scroll to ‘L’ (allow ~3min scrolling time, no joke). Then you advance song by song until you get to song #1 on the album you’re after. The process is slow, ridiculous, and conducive to running off the road for staring at the deck. Anyway, who doesn’t have more than 255 albums on a dang 60GB iPod?

So, I took back the KCA-420i and returned it for a AiNet-to-RCA adapter and 3mm-to-RCA cable. This way, I can control the iPod from its brilliantly simple click wheel, with awesome speed and ease, and I still get line sound. The drawbacks?: No ID3 info displayed on the head unit – something I can live without. Also, no charging while plugged in – also not a huge deal since there plenty of cheap cigarette lighter iPod chargers. So, it’s not as neat of a wiring scheme, but it’s overall better since you can use the iPod’s user-friendly interface and controls manage tunes. And, don’t forget the whole thing is less than half the price of the 420i.

In other iPod news, also on Saturday night the thing decided to completely flake out. Under every video sub-menu, (movies/music videos/etc.) my entire song list would show up – with the videos mixed right in. And, if I scrolled to and tried to play an actual video (all of which played fine previously) I’d get nothing but audio, just as if it were a song.

To preface the following, I need to mention that I’ve been using the 3rd-party iPod management software, EphPod, to load songs. I like the interface better than iTunes, and it seemed more “PC” and less “Mac” to me… so I felt more at home using it. However, as it stands now, you can only use iTunes to load video content – so I was switching back and forth between the two apps to load songs and videos. OK, read on.

The whole “video” part of the iPod and, especially, iTunes is kinda buggy to me. I had noticed, when first trying to get some test videos on, that iTunes seemed to add them as songs instead of videos. For that matter, adding videos is completely unintuitive. How the eff are you supposed to figure out how to get them on? I settled for dragging them to the iPod icon and dropping, seemed to work, although iTunes still said “updating songs” as the video copied over. Unplugging the iPod, the videos were under “movies,” and seemed to play OK – but the whole deal was flaky; sometimes the videos were there, sometimes they weren’t. I don’t know if this is EphPod’s doing, but I suspected as much.

Plugging it into iTunes, I got the message: iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPod. Use the iPod software updater application to restore the iPod to factory settings. Great; WTF? Running the iPod Updater would, of course, wipe all ~50GBs of music I painstakingly added just one evening prior, and it takes a damn-long time to comb through my >60GB library on disk picking-and-choosing which ones get to go on the ‘Pod. Close iTunes, fire up EphPod – all my music is there and checks out fine. Being new to this, I’m freaking out; I don’t want to lose all my music. I try a few things in EphPod: verifying the database (removed some songs whose “file size didn’t match,” whatever that means) and deleting the existing videos that had added as songs. Still getting the “cannot read” error from iTunes. Fire up EphPod again, and for some random reason decide to try and “delete all playlists,” done. I also followed some instructions on the net and renamed my active iTunesDB file to iTunesDB.old and made the .backup file the active one. Just to be safe, I also hard-reset the thing several times.

Back to iTunes, I can now see my iPod again… so one of the tricks above must’ve worked. Great! However, all the “play counts” are now set to insanely high values (most of them at 16794634, some even higher). WTF? So, I select all my songs and right-click “reset play count.” This seems to work, but every song’s “last played” value is still set to some random date in 1970… crazy; at least I can access the iPod at all using iTunes. After fiddling around some more, I narrowed the error down to a repeatable situation: if I’d added videos using iTunes, then loaded my database into EphPod and messed around before saving, the video list would get all screwy and full of songs – and iTunes would complain it couldn’t read the iPod. The solution was also always the same: load the thing in EphPod and “delete all playlists.” This enabled iTunes to again access the iPod, and loading a single video through iTunes would fix the video-showing-songs problem. Crazy.

Interestingly enough, I’d seen an article on Digg the other day entitled iPod Update Causing Major Headache for Some Video Owners, which mentioned that the v1.1 firmware was hosing some video iPods (60GB models in particular). In the Digg comments, someone posted a link to a utility that can be used to “downgrade the iPod firmware to the previous v1.0 – without losing your data. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go that route – as the palylist trick above fixed everything for me.

Still, video functionality seems flaky, and I’ve decided that I hate iTunes as a application in general. It’s bloated, loaded with BS like QuickTime, and is completely convoluted and hard to use.

And, in my last iPod-related topic, since getting the iPod and obsessing over loading it with tunes (oh, the joys of tag-cleanup), I’ve been sharply re-focused on finishing my Great Digital Migration project. I finally went through and cleaned up my master project spreadsheet, making a concise list of what discs still need to be archived. Doing so was a bit of a surprise, as I realized I’m actually farther along than I’d been thinking – basically having only live, various artists, and bootlegs left to rip (all the nasty items that won’t auto-tag and require manual work). In addition to finishing up the ripping, I’ve been trawling the music scene for new and exciting items. One of the new techniques I’ve developed is searching on the keyword “remaster,” which turns up all the newest “deluxe,” “expanded,” and “remastered” editions of classic albums. Usually, you can stumble across some great albums that’ve received the expanded treatment, and grab better sounding copies of stuff you may have or maybe even score some previously unreleased tracks.

That’s it folks, one big iPod entry. I have some more “charismatic” stuff canned from last week – y’know, the baby bit and all that – which I’ll be rolling out Tuesday and Wednesday.

Until then, love ya.

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55 Replies to “iTunes is crap”

  1. Dear Sir:

    Apple Corporation wishes to take exception to your slanderous and libelous opinion of our iTunes application. iTunes is used and enjoyed by millions of satisfied Apple customers around the world.

    The comments on your web blog are subjective opinion and we must insist that you cease and desist all such activity at once. We also must insist that you remove all reference of your opinion from today’s entry and refrain from making other such statements that leave you open to litigation and possible punitive damages. Failure to comply will result in swift action on our part.

    Dewey Cheatum
    Apple Corporate Law Division

  2. I agree with “I’m always right” Pat.

    At first, I hated iTunes when I got my iPod a while back. I tried to use third-party programs only to find out they sometimes screw with the database on the iPod itself and cause iTunes to go crazy. Just stick with iTunes… you’ll eventually get used to it. It’s not as bad as you think.

  3. I still hate iTunes. I agree with Dave on every front. iTunes is horrid.

    EphPod still rules – but someone seriously needs to update that software. It’s still got alot of bugs (but is still superior to iTunes).

  4. I think a mix of Ephpod & ITunes is good – each has positives & negatives (although ITunes has more negatives than positives). Still, Ephpod is incredibly buggy. I dunno.

    It seems odd to me that an Apple representative would comment on a blog, rather than following the normal litigious procedure of sending you a certified letter, an email, etc. But whatever…

  5. Dewey Cheatum
    Apple Corporate Law Division
    Go to your own web site and read how many pissed off people bought your crap software and feel totally robbed.
    It just doesnt fkn work!!! Which part of this does Apple not understand. I will spread this to every forum i can find untill Apple fixes it and lives up to the advertising ” you can easily create movies for iPod,” BULLSHIT IT DOESNT WORK.

  6. I have recently installed itunes and after careful consideration I have come to conclude that Itunes is festering stinking boil on the face of computers everywhere Apple should spend less time jerking off in their design department trying to come up with their petty albino crap and more time on the software, unintuitive, uninspired, lazy pox carrying pile of style over content shit.

  7. Yes, ITunes with Quicktime is crap!
    It acts almost like a virus when you try to download media. Autoplays media no matter the settings.

  8. There’s a simple soloution to all these problems… ditch ephpod and windows; get a mac, and live happily and virus free ever after.

  9. Dear Apple. Please define ‘enjoyed’ as used by you in your description of millions of peoples experience using an iPod? Although many people may be using iPod and iTunes, it doesn’t mean they’re good stuff. iTunes is bloated, slow, and you cant run it without quicktime. You assume I want quicktimes fast loader (or whatever you call it) in memory and on my taskbar. You assume I want quicktime at all for that matter! I don’t – I have never like it. So I uninstall it and gues what??? iTunes wont start up – hmmm hmmm, but that sounds like someones else domain doesn’t it? Oh yeah, whatever happened to drag and drop by the way? Also, whats with renaming songs on the iPod? Stuck with 2 bit names maybe? Sorry but it may be fine for the everage user who gives their car to the mechanic to to fill the washer resevoir but it is not good enough for someone who likes to change his own oil.

    I’ve got a suggestion for swift action, make something decent! Oh yeah, those adds where a hip looking dude representing Apple and the suit representing MS, lame and desperate. Wrap it, pack it send it too the tip.

  10. I have to agree – Itunes is crap, the scourge of the computer universe. It indeed acts as a virus and slows everything down. I have a Packard bell laptop and itunes has now disabled my cd/dvd writing and now I can only write music to cds on itunes. It comes up with numbered error messages with no way of finding out what these errors refer to. Good software? I think not…

  11. I must add that the only reason I have not installed the software is because it is the only programme which will play ALL my music, especially AAC/M4A format which media player rejects. And because of my ipod. Get a grip Apple.

  12. Never had been so angry about a product (or brand) since I bought an Ibook G4 and a 30g video Ipod.
    Never been a morow around computers since I starded trying to load video into my Ipod.
    Quick time sucks…everyone knows that, and when they obligate you to mix it with this shitty Itunes all got worse.

    Everything you have to do int these things must be payed. WTF is that…
    I am feeling ripped off.

    Fuck you Apple mother fuckers.

    You will never see more of my money again.

    And we thinking that Microsoft was a mercenary company.
    Hope Apple goes broke again. Piece of shit mother fuckers…

  13. I just got my 2000t and all of my songs are skipping in iTunes, and I cant figure out why. If someone could help me out and tell me how to fix this I would really appreciate it because its driving me crazy. Thanks for the replys.

  14. ITunes i’m feelin robbed..i’m havin dis prblem if sum1 can help me plz…like i connected my ipod to my pc(windows) n it says “iTunes can read the content of ur ipod,please restore it 2 factory settings’WTF..? i’l hv 2 put my whole 22GB of my music again and spend 1 more evening on it!!
    This has happened twice man!! WAT 2 DO..?

  15. I’m not entirely pleased with the iTunes GUI, and had some major difficulties installing the XP version of iTunes (which I don’t believe were my fault). Since my 4G Nano is my first object-of-the-sort (“personal MP3 player,” is that the proper term of art?), I’m not in a position to make any comparisions.

    But my sense is that the hardware and the built-in microcode for the Nano are great. For one thing, I’m impressed by the fact that I can apparently plug any 3.5mm jack into the Nano – including one that goes into a standard amplifier (you need a 3.5mm-to-0.25inch jack adapter), as well as typical headphones that might go along with a “personal CD” (and all devices descended from the Walkman). Not only that, but I can take standard (WinTel) PC speakers, and plug them right into the iPod. At least with regards to hardware compatibility, my Nano is a generic device, and appears to provide tremendous fidelity for its size. I’m actually at a loss when it comes to understanding why so many folks want to buy accessories from Apple, when what you get with the Nano is basically a personal CD/MP3 player *along with* a “disc case” … all in a very small and elegant package. I even like my $5 arm patch thing (I forget what you call them) that I got from a generic store (Big Lots, I think).

    That said, the iTunes/QuickTime software (at least the Wintel versions) appear to be slow, balky, unintuitive, and generally smack of being written by small rodents. (That’s a matter of opinion, of course, so even a troll who claims to be from Apple’s legal dep’t can’t sensibly threaten suit 🙂

    Bottom line – the device itself strikes me as *superb*, I just wish the interfacing software were a bit more professionally-written.

    Oh and Dave … don’t be scared. You can’t be sued for expressing your opinion. You can only be sued for making *false statements of fact*. If you genuinely had a particular experience, or possess an opinion (such as “kind of buggy”), you have a *First Ammendment* right to express it!!

  16. Thanks all.
    I think I will now tune my fruits to some other brand.. Just does not seem worth to take the risk of having this much kind of faecis.

  17. itunes pros: looks nice.

    itunes cons: Its slow, bulky, cumbersome, clumsy, controlling and so un-user friendly it is infuriating. I am genuinely amazed that a company that sells poorly developed products can perform in any market place so well.

    as for the ipod, I understand why apple only want people using their software, but its a little childish in my opinion to control people in that way. Those that do buy an ipod are doing apple a favour, and so apple return the favour by totally controlling how the buyer uses its hardware. other mp3 players can be used as a mass storage device without any software, apple insist you use itunes.

    As for other comments about the itunes software, i could not agree more with them. The product is a disgrace, it was designed by people who think they are reinventing the wheel and feel that it gives them license to programme what they like. itunes is such a piece of sh!t that it loads programmes in the background that hog your system resources.

    Not an apple fan and i never will be.

    but having said that, i dont know if there is any point in people complaining about it, because they are simply not interested in listening to the public

  18. itunes is a horrible piece of bloatware, foobar pisses all
    over iTunes and all other audio players.

    thank you.

  19. You people are crazy. First of all, get a mac, then you will not be having these so called problems with itunes, or for that matter you will not have many problems at all. Its funny now the tables are turned and all you windblows people don’t understand how to use good software. Get rid of your viruses and everything else that corrupts your system, learn to use the software (which isn’t hard by the way) and you should not have any problems.Quicktime is great for video editing, but all you microcrap people wouldn’t know anything about that. You don’t need to use itunes to use it for a hard drive, just set it up to manually manage music, then add some or all of your music by simply dragging it to the ipod, and viola! plug it in and windblows assigns it a drive letter.

  20. …. itunes. utter unbelievable crap. just terrible. i am a computer engineer and hold no loyalty to either apple or microsoft. i use all three major OSes for different purposes. i’d like to think i have balanced opinion. the bottom line is that itunes is GARBAGE.

  21. true. another reason why i agrre and hate itunes is that when i rip cd’s it splits them up for no apparent reason, why cant it just keep cds as one item? and at the moment i am realy angry as i finaly managed to group mt cds together itunes has splitt up every single song individualy and wont let me re group them and my library is big! so your “slanderous behavior” is not anctualy slanderous but true and a good expression of oppinion be cause i tunes is 100% sh1t

  22. Ok, we all hate itunes, but what gets me is the cheek of there “Corporate Law Division” were all allowed our own opinion, what ever happened to free speech?!

    Good luck all you poor people using itunes, because your gonna need it.

    I fix pc’s etc. in my spare time and so many people have huge problems with itunes, id quite like to start a campaign to get it classed as a virus or at least a PUP!

  23. Dewey, if that is your real name…god help you if it is!

    …and if you are part of “Apple Corporate Law Division”, what a f**king idiot you are, diving in, first post on this blog! Can’t apple take a little criticisms?

    All the best,

    Ben xx

    p.s. itunes is sh*t

  24. I have never been very found of Apple ‘snobbism’ but this night I tried to upload some tracks to the iPod of our kid… I came across ITunes.
    After struggeling with it’s horrid/sluggish/bu^gged interface. I did the following google searches:
    “alternatives to itunes”
    “itunes is crap”
    Just in case someone from papple is listening…

  25. Ah, so Apple have enough time to warn on alleged slanderous language about their crap product but cant user the time to fix up their crap product. I am so sorry I bought an IPOD and its iTunes that has caused me to feel this way. It always freezes and their is no way to fix it. BTW, don’t contact Apple themselves for help either.

  26. Have to agree on almost everything here, apple really does suck. Had an ipod for ages now and consistantly have trouble. At the moment itunes just keeps freezing my pc as soon as the ipod is connected, but this is just simply yet another problem in an already way too long line of problems.

    I agree the program may be easy to use with time spent learning it, but when ipod is advertised, no-one ever says that it will require hours and hours of wasted time to learn the system, or wait endlessly for the program to apparently do whatever its doing while it blocks me out!

    And to anyone who says “well buy a mac”. NO! Again, the adverts for the damn music player doesnt tell you a mac is required!! If apple cant just get it right and produce something that ANYONE can use EASILY, then they shouldnt be in business.

  27. iTunes is a total piece of crap. I keep my library on a network drive and heaven forbid I start iTunes before the drive is connected. Everything get’s FUBARed. My library get’s all messed up and to boot iTunes asks to REBOOT MY MACHINE. iTunes YOU SUCK. From a company with a lot of cool products you are a total piece of garbage. I hope I can find a replacement. I’ve had enough. iTunes v8

  28. Heya.

    “What is iTunes? A store. A player. Your iPod or iPhone’s best friend. See how iTunes changes the way you enjoy music and video.”
    It’s true, it has changed the way I enjoy music and video – I used to enjoy my media until I tried iTunes; not anymore. Now I’m typing this while waiting for iTunes to “install”.. for the 5th (?) time (different versions).
    Compare Foobar2000 + VLC to iTunes + Quicktime.. the size, speed, system requirements, codec/file format support, background processes..
    Hey, from what I’ve noticed the iPhone hardware is actually neat. Problem is with the Apple software. Using 3rd party stuff (including boot programs) it’s nice.
    No, I don’t own crApple stuff and I never will. Repairing their junk is part of my job.

    Hugs and kisses. :]

  29. iTunes. I wanted to register. I wanted to download album/song information. I wanted to use the iStore.

    It took almost two years for iTunes to settle down and decide on it’s own that it would work on my computer and let me use the internet whilst the iPod was plugged in for charging. Just a week ago it decided I could use th internet at the same time. No warning, nothing.

    TWO YEARS! Two years of patiently, angrily, f’ing annoyingly waiting for the PoS to charge and add songs in the most difficult of fashions, as it used so much of the resources you were lucky to add one song, let alone even try to play a song or register your iShit via the internet. Even opening the program required a decade.

    Could not update iTunes, could not find album/song information. It told me it could not connect with the internet.. I wonder why? the iShitTunes was iBlocking the pipelines. & the PoS had the nerve to allow me online while plugged on only days ago. WTF? Lucky it was a gift, or else I would be forcing the store to take it back.

    The iPod itself works ok, easy and fun to use. iTunes however, is a piece of constipated shit that I want off my PC and out of my life. What an embarassment to Apple!

    Is there another way?!?

  30. i found that videos i purchased using itunes wont actualy play in itunes , and before some mac convert smart ass trys saying oooooo buy a mac ,, i have in the past ,,, it was so slow and crap i smashed it . as for windows , well it works perfectly fine with all other programs apart from itunes. its just badly writen hippy program shite that is so ram hungry its a joke. itunes is no easier to use than mediaplayer. or anything else for that matter . if your finding this whilst looking around for ideas about buying a mac or any ipod device ? well just dont ok , be it on your head. there all smiles and shit to get your money then no help no support nothing. if you really must have an ipod ,,,, well run linux , , probably ubuntu for the inexperienced . it will run ipods and everything you can ask it or plug into it , faster than windozzzz too. and it doesnt crash or bitch all the time about anti virus antispyware or need it nappys changing and updating . it just works

  31. have you ever noticed that when you buy stuff on itunes now it offers the chance to re buy it again drm free? why isnt it all drm free in the bloody first place ? its our music were paying for it , if were stupid enough to buy it and then give it around like some idiot then its our own fault if it gets traced back to us. its about time ipods itouch and whatever else gets invented as far as mp3 or video playback devices are concerned they should all be able to be accesed just like any other plug in drive , they should appear and allow you to just drag and drop new music and files or whatever you wish to store on them. who gave bloody apple the rights to say how we can use them once we OWN them ? wouldnt it be wonderful if someone like say sony released a new device identical to the itouch or ipod , worked exactly the same way etc apart from you could use it in mediaplayer and all normal program and not be tied down to satans bloody itunes. if ever a manufacturer did have the balls to make one it would outsell apple 10 to 1

  32. Yes. iTunes iS a fermenting crap, designed by stupid idiod robotic minded iBrains. iPod is crap too. Sounds shit and all it matters. Good only for high capacity HD. ANYONE OUT THERE can please design something WE can control and not APPLE ?

  33. What I get really angry about, with ITunes, that it installs not only itunes, it installs also Quicktime, Apple Software Update (even if you select that it shouldn’t update automatically), the ipodservice, bonjour and applemobiledevice helper. I think that’s definetly too much for a simple music player/ipod synchronizer.

  34. You people just remember the mac apple name your young and you have the rest of your life to boycott these company’s that have shit service and faulty software…Stick to your guns and deface there logo

  35. Itunes is ridiculous! Lack of support, installs all over the system, installs a host of unwanted, unnecessary, and problematic software and even after following clean uninstall instructions from the apple website, i can still see itunes integration entries in my registry. It would be great if I could set up my AV software to catch and block this plague by default.

    Apparently there is a clean uninstall program is available and people are BUYING it. Apparently its so they can reinstall it properly… Maybe if people resort to going that far to remove it, maybe its worth removing for good.

    I use WMP11 with the CCCP, and I’m pretty much able to play whatever media i come across on the net. It’s may be less compatible with ipods or the like, but plugins like SyncAudio or better yet MGTEK dopisp should take care of that if I ever cave and get one. 🙂

  36. As a PC user, iTunes is the first Apple application I have used. It is a totally unresponsive, clumsy, slow, unintuitive piece of garbage.

    Its latest epic fail in a string of epic fails is that it can no longer connect to my iPhone. That would be bonafide Apple software not talking to a bonafide Apple device. Note that other (freeware) can see the iPhone…

    You needed to get this right guys…it was your big chance to break into the PC market and you blew it. I am now researching alternatives with a view to banning Apple stuff from my box.

    Bottom line: re-write iTunes as a proper Windows app without the fancy bells and whistles (that don’t work anyway) and save your reputation. Oh…and fix the updater so it doesn’t lose the library every time you update!!!

  37. Itunes can eat my shit. Any mp3 player made by Apple can eat my shit. And anyone who has a snappy comeback for my comment can eat my shit. Thank you.

  38. Stop complainning and get zune software the players are better and the software is easier to use I’ve never had a problem with it and i found the software good looking and highly intuitive. Plus I have yet to find a format it can’t play. But then again i am a little bias…as I Hate itunes with a passion!!!!

  39. iTunes default of reorganizing and renaming your music folders is the worst feature of the software. I am looking at someones computer that doesn’t really know about file structure and they have three copies of the same music library on thier computer eating up all of their hard drive space. There is a setting to not modify the file structure, but it isn’t the default, so people who don’t know any better will always have this nasty file structure with multiple spellings of the same band and multiple library folders. I will always use zune products due to this fact. It is a more file structure oriented interface and doesn’t totally mess up and make unnecessary copies of my music files and folders. Apple messed up on this one if you ask me.

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