18 February, 2012 Leave a comment
I hate iTunes. It seems an odd thing to say about a piece of software. But I do. My iPhone cost me a fortune. As far as I’m concerned, it should be an appliance. It should be as simple to operate as a stereo. On the whole, the phone is. But using iTunes is a painful experience, every time.
Now, I’ll accept that some of this is a Windows-bias. I object to having a Mac-styled app thrust upon me. But here are two concrete, and indefensible, examples of the garbage that it iTunes.
For no reason that I am aware of, iTunes ‘lost’ its configuration. There was no error message: one day, it was downloading podcasts and the next it wasn’t. This has happened before. I tried, in vain, to copy the podcast definitions from the iPhone to iTunes but I couldn’t see how. So, I started to set them up again. Now, I tend to listen to podcasts in batches. Some of the ones on my phone weren’t still downloadable. So, I had to listen to all of the old podcasts before I could re-sync because iTunes overwrites everything in this situation. Grrrrr!
That week, I downloaded a couple more apps. I’d downloaded a few and they’d just overflowed the existing layout and appeared on a new pane, as they do. So I went to iTunes to organise them. It had lost the layouts as well. When I clicked the Sync button on the apps page the old layouts which had been visible in iTunes (but sort-of greyed-out) were replaced with apps spread over twelve panes and random folders, sometimes two or three to a pane. It took me over an hour to copy the existing layouts from the phone to iTunes, just so i could re-sync them back and add the new apps to the old folders. Grrrrr!
Anyway, on to the first example. I realised later that iTunes had also lost all of my music. And books. And films. In fact, everything. So I tried to work out how to get them back. I knew the music would be in folders so I had a browse round, found a likely candidate and tried File > Add Folder to Library… etc.
It started asking me this:
It asked me it a lot. In fact, 238 times, one for each app. Actually, I’m guessing: I didn’t count. I just clicked. For a long time. Who thinks this is the right way to do this?
But this isn’t really the problem. Read the dialog again. ‘Replace’ or ‘Don’t Replace’. Which should I pick? What are the consequences of picking either? Why doesn’t it tell me? There is a similar dialog which warns be I’m about to replace a newer version which suggests that in this case the versions are the same or the replacement is newer. But it doesn’t tell me which of those. I picked Don’t Replace. I still don’t know if I did the right thing.
I don’t really understand why the dialogs appeared at all. But I don’t want to: it’s an appliance. Except that it’s not.
Here’s the second example. At the end of the process described above, I clicked on TV Programmes in Library. This appeared:
Again, what are the consequences of clicking either? If I click Don’t Apply, will I lose everything I’ve just done or will there be an opportunity to apply it later?
I clicked Apply. It’s still syncing. [I actually typed sinking there, which is how I feel now!]
And a dialog box appeared mid-sentence; clearly, I typed a relevant letter and it’s closed so I have no idea what I’ve done there. Mind you, I can’t blame iTunes for that: responsiblility for windows being able to take the keyboard focus sits with MS – they have a lot for which to answer with that design decision.