Rob Smyth

Sunday, 23 December 2007

iTunes Could Do With A Bit Of Tuning

Having recently got a new IPod Nano (3rd gen) I've been using iTunes 7.5 software for the first time. The iPod is great, and while the iTunes software is 'adequate' I'm surprised with then number of rough edges it has. I'm disappointed that it does not have the quality I did expect from Apple. Mind you, I still like it and will continue using it.

I'm running Windows XP Pro.

The rough edges I've hit are:

  • Register iPod feature does not work

  • When you first install iTunes it auto starts when the iPod is connected and presents a register iPod page. It just does not work. It seems that everybody is having this problem. The software locks up for a minute or two and then continues without any error message. Next time you will see the same register page. The only solution seems to be to click the 'Never Register' button. Such an obvious fault that hits users on first use and first screen it is hard to understand how Apple let it though.

  • Rating settings made while ripping are lost

  • While transferring a CD to iTunes (Ripping) iTunes plays the tracks automatically. So I figured this would be a good time to listen to them and rate them. I right mouse clicked on the column header area and selected the 'Rating' column. I then set the rating of each track as it was ripped. But when all were done and I went to the 'Music' page I found that my rating settings were lost. Darn.

  • Column widths are not persisted

  • The default columns widths are less than ideal. If I manually adjust column widths these widths are lost when I return to that page. Rather ordinary for a Windows app.

  • iTunes crashes

  • I cannot explain why but it has locked-up on me a few times now. I guess about every several times I use it. Each time I've had to use task manager to shut it down.

  • iPod detection can get 'confused'

  • Once when I had iTunes up and then connected my iPod, two iPods appeared in iTunes. iTunes started an auto-sync and after some time reported that my iPod was possibly corrupted. When I pulled the USB cable out both iPod icons disappeared and when I reconnected all was well.

    Not a confidence builder.

  • Contacts sync from Windows Address Book does not work

  • I have contacts held in Windows Address Book using a local WAB file (not using Outlook). iTunes only imports the first one or two contacts correctly and then misses most others and those others it does import are missing the name, the email address is used in place of the name. I've tried clearing the WAB file and importing all again from a CSV file, which I checked, but the results are the same. Looks fine in the address book but not on the iPod.

    The work around is to export each contact separately as a vCard file directly to the iPod's Contacts folder. That works fine but the Windows Address Book software cannot export all contacts at once.

  • Ratings column changes dodgy

  • Setting a rating, in the music view, by clicking on the rating column often requires you to move the mouse over another control before it works.

    Click on 'Music' in the left pane, then right mouse click on the column headers and select 'Ratings'. The Ratings column is now shown. If you have not set a rating you will see five dots. You can click on one of these five dots to set the rating from one to five. But ... double click the track and then immediately move your mouse over a rating dot (as if you are listening to rate it). Typically I find I can click all I like but the rating is not set until I move my mouse from one dot to another and then back to the one I want. After this move it works immediately.

Still, I really like my iPod and find iTunes 'OK', but I no longer think of Apple software as being high quality. A shame.

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