Sunday, November 20, 2011

iTunes, you still suck!

Dear iTunes,

I so want to love you.  Well, I do since you are the only product that will sync my music to any Apple "i" device that I own.  Short of that, you are a crappy product that has not shown any technology updates for years,  with the possible exception of Music Match, which might make you worse.

I am a very technically savvy person.  Have been for decades.  If I can't make your consumer product work, it fails.  I then have my wife try it.  She is very smart.  Works in a high tech field.  She gets frustrated by trying to do a basic feature.  Fail again.

Here is the set-up.  One that I don't think is very different from many other people.  We have 1 Mac in the house running iTunes with a very large (19,000+ song) music library kept on an external drive.  We then have an iMac and 2 MacBook Pros.  None of these machines have the drive space to hold the music library.

So, playing songs from any machine - works fine.  Home sharing works for this.  The problems come with every other thing we want to do.

Want to put songs on an "i" device?  Well, those devices are hooked up to either the iMac or one of the MacBook Pros, depending on the device, not the media server with all the music.  You can't copy songs to the i device without first copying them to the machine you have the i device hooked up to.  This is crap.  I now have 2 options.  Either copy every song I want from the Mac with the music to the Mac with the i device or mount the drive of the Mac with all the music and have iTunes use that drive as its music store.  The latter is the way I have been doing things.

Now, that sort of works.  Until you buy more music or rip a new CD.  I have to copy those songs manually to the drive where all the music is held.  That is step 1.  You would think a program like iTunes that has been around as long as it has would automatically scan a folder for new music.  Nope.  I now have to manually tell iTunes about each and every song I add to the drive.  Fail again.

Enter Home Sharing...  I thought this may solve all the issues.  It was touted as the savior for people in my situation.  I turn it on, plug in the iPod and drag a song from the shared Mac with all the music.  No go.  Can't drag music onto an i device via home sharing.  WTF?!?  It's my music on my devices on my network.  So, again, I make a second copy of every song I want to put on my iPod.

Then comes the magical cloud!  Clouds can fix anything, right?  I spend 4 days syncing my music to the cloud (can't wait for the Comcast bill to arrive for bandwidth use).  I can now see my cloud on all my iTunes.  Pop in the iPod, grab a song from the cloud and drag it to the iPod.  No go.  Now I am pissed.  It's still my music on my cloud trying to go to my iPod and I again have to download every song locally that I want to copy to the iPod.  That means at least 2 copies of my songs, one onto a drive in a MacBook Pro that does not have room for it which is why I moved them all off in the first place.

So, iTunes fails to grasp a simple concept with each new "feature" they add.  Let me keep my music in one place and one place only but put it on any i device that I own without having to make a second copy of that song on the computer my i device is plugged into.

Don't get me started with playlists, or movies.  I stopped using iTunes long ago for video and am very happy with Plex Media Server for all my video needs.  It scans folders and automatically adds new songs, shows, movies, etc.  What a concept.  It lets me watch movies on any device or any TV without making a second copy.  Now, if the very talented people at Plex could make an iTunes replacement app, I'd pay for that!

Apple, perhaps you can get this right in your next 5 versions.  If OS X is any indicator, you will only be taking away features to "simplify" my music experience even more.

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