Technology blog::Life hacks::Linux::Hardware::Gaming

iTunes - Still the Worst Software Ever Made!

How can someone make software so terrible?

By , 30th October 2013 in Windows

A new stereo in my Defender for music and running out of options to make the thing work, I contemplate dusting off my iPod and installing iTunes for Windows again. Let's see how things compare to my last experience with it and if anything has changed.

I've got a new Pioneer DEH-8400BT stereo in my Defender for listening to music whilst driving. This new stereo claims to have support for USB Memory Sticks, SD Cards, Android, USB Mass Storage Devices, Bluetooth, and iPod/iPhone. Well, all I can say is that their claims of support are only valid for very limited circumstances.

Assorted collection memory cards
Assorted collection memory cards

USB Memory Sticks
I could only get a USB stick formatted as FAT16 and maximum of 2GB to be recognised. Using anything over 2GB the device would be unknown, as would anything formatted as FAT32 or exFAT. Now have 32GB USB Stick going spare.

SD Cards
Again, similar problems with size and formatting. I could, however, get a 4GB SD card working formatted with FAT16, despite the manual stating that SDHC cards up to 32GB are supported. Also, there is no sequence to the tracks, even putting a number in the file name and adding the "sequence" meta tag have no effect. It seems to be permanently stuck on "random". It's a common problem people have encountered with various devices - it takes the files in the order they were written to the device. Is it really not that difficult to sort a list is it?

Android
One of the reasons I got this unit was to use my phone as a media device, however as it turns out Android is only supported when using a special cable, retailing at circa £200. Why is it that iPod/iPhone support is bundled as standard, while Android support is overlooked or at a premium?

USB Mass Storage
Removable hard drives and so on. Older Android smartphones have the option to enable USB Mass Storage for quick file transfer, but Google decided to remove this feature in favour of some horrible slow and convoluted Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) which does not work. At all. Various apps and hacks to re-enable this option do not work and my phone simply reports "unrecognised device". Why, why, why? Please, Google let us have USB Mass Storage back!

Bluetooth
The only method I was reliably able to get any music from, but the interface for the media players on the Android App Market are pretty useless making even pausing a track difficult when driving. Rather annoyingly, if running a media player and satnav at the same time, each time the satnav voice pipes in the music player stops, forcing you to relaunch the application, load up the playlist and carry on, at which point the next set of instructions are spoken and the phone nearly gets thrown out the window.

iPod

iPod Nano 3G
iPod Nano 3G

I thought I'd brush the dust off my old iPod Nano and see if the "Worst software ever written" has improved in the past 5 years since I last used it. Surprise surprise....

iTunes is still the worst pile of c*** ever made

Starting with the download page on the iTunes site... When I click the download now button - nothing happens! I can tell that things haven't changed much. After reloading the page and trying again a few times I eventually get the 96.3MB installer downloaded.

Ran the install through to the end, but no desktop shortcuts or start menu items were created. Odd, so I re-ran the installer and only had the option to uninstall as iTunes is already installed. Fine, I'll create the shortcut myself, now where have you hidden...

After I have tracked down the executable and accepted countless T&C's I've got to the main page which asks me to go to the iStore or scan for media, so I click on scan for media expecting to have to tell it where I store my music. Nope, the button does absolutely nothing. OK, I'll try the good old Drag'n'Drop technique. Guess what? Nothing again. Seriously?

I eventually track down the setting for the location of media files (press Alt Key, then click on the Edit menu, followed by Preferences, now click on the Advanced tab). I update the value for my media server, then try scanning again. Now we're cooking with gas!

Now I've imported my music, connected my iPod and done a factory reset, it's time to copy my music to it. Clicking on Sync does sweet diddly-squat. Drag N drop, nope. Common Apple, don't make me think about this, it should be intuitive. I'm sure the old version I could select the files and drag them to the item on the left that says My iPod. After a few minutes of aimless clicking buttons with no effect, I take a break to get a drink, but when I return it's started syncing.

Leaving it for a bit to do its thing, I notice that the free space on my iPod is down to 2.56GB, then up to 2.7GB, then down to 2.6, then 5.53 then back up to 2.7. What is it doing? Best leave it alone. Eventually, it finishes syncing and I can disconnect my iPod and can start decontaminating my PC and uninstall all the Apple rubbish (Bonjour, MDNSResponder, Quicktime to name a few...)

Conclusion... Overall iTunes it's better than it used to be, but it's still pretty awful.

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