Friday, November 28, 2008 08:19 AM
More iPod/iTunes Grievances
 by Fëanor

To copy songs onto your iPod, you go to the Music section of your iTunes library and click and drag them onto the icon for your iPod. To copy playlists onto your iPod, you click and drag them onto the icon for your iPod. To copy videos onto your iPod, you go to the Movies or TV Shows section of your iTunes library and click and drag them onto the icon for your iPod. So, to copy games onto your iPod, surely you go to the Games section of your iTunes library (now replaced by the more generic Applications section in the latest version of iTunes) and click and drag them onto the icon for your iPod, right? WRONG!

I hadn't messed around with iPod games for quite some time, so when it came time to put my two games onto my new iPod, I couldn't remember how to do it. But I naturally assumed that I'd have to use the same method you use to put anything else on your iPod. So I'm clicking and dragging and clicking and dragging, and it's just not working. I don't get any kind of error message, iTunes just won't let me do it. Maybe they're not compatible with my new iPod? The one game says it's compatible with only Fifth Generation iPods (is that what my iPod is? I wasn't sure, and it wasn't easy to tell), but the other says it's compatible with a whole long list of iPods, so surely it must work with mine. So why can't I copy them on? Finally, after poking around the Apple website for a while, I discover (or rather, re-discover, as I did know this at some point in the past) that in order to copy games onto your iPod, you have to click the icon for your iPod, find the Games tab along the top of the screen, click that, and then choose to Sync games with your iPod. Because that makes sense.

Why Apple decided that the perfectly intuitive process it had designed for putting everything else onto the iPod wouldn't do for games, and should instead be replaced with a totally counterintuitive process that requires you to initiate the copy from the target device (the iPod) instead of the source (iTunes) is a complete mystery to me.

And I hate doing anything in iTunes that involves the word "sync." I don't want to sync my iPod. I hate that the default setting is for iTunes to manage the music on your iPod automatically so that whenever you plug it into a computer with iTunes, it syncs with that iTunes library, destroying any tracks not in the library, and adding any new ones. That's a terrible idea!! I mean, what the hell?? Why would I want you to automatically delete things off my iPod? It's just insane.

Oh, but I wasn't done with my complaints about the games. Once I finally figured out the ridiculous process for getting games on my iPod, and synced my iPod with my iTunes games library, I discovered that only one game had actually copied onto the iPod (although I didn't realize this until I'd actually unconnected the iPod from the computer, because it's not clear from simply looking at the Games section of your iPod in Tunes what games you actually have on the device); the other game, the one I actually play the most, did not copy, because it is not compatible with the iPod Classic (which, I finally realized, is what they call the model of iPod I have now). There's a button in the Applications section that says "Check for Updates," and I naturally assumed that clicking this would take me somewhere where I could download a new version of the game that was compatible with my iPod. Instead, this button does literally nothing. Seriously, you click it, and nothing happens. No message, nothing. There is also no note in any obvious place on the Apple website or in the iTunes Music Store explaining what you should do if you have an old game that is not compatible with your new iPod. Finally, frustrated, I simply purchased the game again, and it was replaced in my iTunes library with a new version that was listed as being compatible with my iPod. But WTF? Shouldn't I at least get a discount, since all I'm doing is upgrading the thing to work with my new iPod? Shouldn't there be an update button or something, to make this easier?

Another thing that frustrates me about iTunes is how incredibly slow it is as an application. As I've been writing this, I was occasionally switching over to iTunes and clicking on the icon for my iPod, so I could see the iPod main menu, and hopefully finally sync my new game onto my iPod. I clicked on it four or five times, but nothing happened; no response. Later, I was just trying to switch applications in Windows, from my browser to iTunes. I'd use Alt+Tab to switch over, but after waiting a good minute, nothing would happen. iTunes wouldn't even appear on the screen. Does this application really have to be this incredibly slow and resource intensive?

So much about iTunes and iPods just seems to be needlessly complicated. The iPod is a box that can play various file types. All iTunes has to do is organize those files and help transfer them onto the iPod. This should not be so very hard. I've read that there are various programs that can act as an alternative to iTunes, and even though they can't do everything iTunes can do, and I'd probably still have to come crawling back to Apple's giant, lumbering behemoth of an application to do certain things, I'm still seriously thinking about trying one or two of them.
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), iTunes (Not), Technology (Not)

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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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