iTunes Match

Urgh… the downside of a new iPad is that I now have to put up with the horrible process of getting my music onto it. In the so-called bad old days, I’d sync it to iTunes. It’d take an hour or two and then it’d be done. But that’s not how we do things in the Brave New Cloud World.

No, instead we have to go into the iTunes Music Store, download all purchases – at least that’s only a couple of clicks so far, relatively easy. But that doesn’t really engage iTunes Match. It also doesn’t work properly since it helpfully reports that “some” items couldn’t be downloaded as they’re no longer available, not even telling me which of my paid for items is not being downloaded. And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that 75% of my music did not originate from the iTunes Music Store.

So, then you have to go into the Music app and download every other song individually. It’s hard to emphasise how incredibly stupid that is. It’s also hard to convey to the second-hand how tedious and frustrating that is even for what it is, since once you start downloading something, not only can you not really interact with the app (so it’s not really plausible to queue up more than half a dozen songs for download at time) but the app stops playing music at all. A “Music” app that won’t play music. #%@!

I think if Steve Jobs were still at the helm and fighting fit, he’d have a “MobileMe” moment with the iTunes team. Hopefully there’d be very clear threats. Hopefully things would then get better. As it stands – and it has stood this way for some time now – it appears the relevant teams have either no awareness of reality in general, or are content to release such atrocious apps. And nobody higher up appears to be taking issue with this. It’s rather sad, on all counts.

P.S. Some might question why I wouldn’t just let iTunes Match “stream” my music like magic as I play it. To which I would chuckle heartily, tussle their hair and look down with big nostalgic brown eyes on their child-like innocence. No, my dear boy, I would say, a lovely thought – truly that it were so, I would be overjoyed – it’s clear then that you’ve never actually tried to do that. While I’ll admit that it is actually getting closer to plausible with the introduction of LTE – provided you’re in the relatively rare coverage bubbles – it still entails a large portion of your “listening” being devoted to silence while it sits there downloading in-between songs. Kind of pointless, really – you’ll find yourself finding other things to do instead, to fill the time.

iTunes Match for TV Shows is horribly broken

I was quite excited, after install iTunes 10.6, to see that a fair few of my TV shows show up as being available for “re-download”.  Silly me for assuming that meant they were available in 1080p as promised.  Some are.  Most aren’t.  iTunes happily downloads them again, with no way for me to tell ahead of time if they are duplicates or not.  So I’ve burned at least 20 GiB so far today on duplicates, which I then have to manually find and clean up in a very tedious process.  Awesome.

To add insult to injury, this new version of iTunes no longer groups most of my TV shows together properly – now most episodes are shown as being in their own season.  And there’s no apparent way for me to fix that.

On the face of this, you would logically conclude that this new functionality was never actually tested.  Of course, that seems unlikely to say the least, which leads to the even worse conclusion that it was tested, and the designers, implementers, QAers and senior management – whom were no doubt paying close attention to such a high-level feature – all ignored the fact that it’s shit.

I don’t subscribe to the “oh noes! apple’s quality is all gone!” notion that people have been throwing around since Steve Jobs’ death – but only because, honestly, stupid shit like this has been happening for a lot longer than that.  iTunes is a magnet for it, as is iPhoto and Xcode.

Incidentally, I’m somewhat perplexed that the one app that many people whinge about most incessantly, Mail, is actually one I would hold up as an example of one that actually works properly the vast majority of the time.  Except with Gmail.  Because Gmail’s IMAP support is absolutely awful.  I wonder if blame is being misattributed to Mail.

WordPress doesn’t get time zones

WordPress apparently has no understanding of time zones, at least in the sense that makes sense – it displays all times in the local time of the viewer (at least, I hope it does… the alternative is that it displays all times as PST, which would be highly suspect). So all my old, imported posts, written way back when I lived in Australia, show up as having been posted about 17 hours ahead of reality.

So no, I didn’t write all my journal entries between midnight and eight in the morning. Just ignore WordPress – try not to make eye contact as you back away, slowly…