Archive for October, 2006

New iPod, Old Gripes

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

I had been anticipating the arrival of the 80GB iPod for some time. My 20GB from the previous generation had been pretty quickly obsolesced by my library of music. It was a drag to have to pick and choose so much to get as broad a selection of music as I wanted in a portable device. It’s not about running out of stuff to listen to (that would be nearly impossible) but it is about having as large a pool of music to draw from as possible. Anyway, that problem is currently more than solved by the 300% increase in size with this new iPod. I can’t believe how much music I can fit on this thing. It’s turning into one rockin’ collection of stuff to carry around! Bonus for the much nicer display on these newer video models (could be the same as the previous videos, actually). It’s definitely easier on the eyes. The size seems about the same as my old 20. And kudos for letting the older gen’s sync cables work with this one.
I do have a number of gripes though. These have probably already been beaten to death elsewhere.

  1. iTunes keeps crashing when I’m adding tracks/adding music from my samba share. It’s not a networking issue b/c I have a full 100Mbp/s LAN at my disposal and this is about the only traffic on that LAN. I think it might be choking on some of the .nfo, or .txt, or .m3u, or .sfv, or .jpg, or .gif files that have found their way into my collection. Either way it’s as annoying as shit b/c there are huge collections of music I want to move en masse and the friggin’ thing keeps dying on me, which causes me to have to start over. And yes, I have the newest version of iTunes 7, which is supposed to have fixed all the initial problems with iTunes 7 and Windows XP.
  2. The sync is incredibly slow. Is it still USB 1.0? It feels like it. Syncing ~65GB of music looks like it will take several hours. I’ll let you know when I’m done. I’ve already added another ~10GB of music since I started syncing (thankfully I can still add while syncing, otherwise I’d be pissed).
  3. You still can’t sync an iPod full of music to a clean computer (one that doesn’t already have those files on it). I know they did that to avoid DRM issues. But it’s total bullshit. Luckily you can do it by going through Windows explorer or if you sync up with Linux/Rhythmbox, but you have to rely on really good tagging to re-organize things. I’m not lucky enough to have very good tagging across all my digital music, so it’s pretty useless to me. Wouldn’t it also be nice if the unit asked you about songs that had changed either on the iPod or in your repository and gave you a choice of what to do? For instance, sync iPod’s changed files to the repository or vice versa.
  4. The limited filetype support. Why no FLAC? I think OGG is now supported, but I’ve not verified. But all those shitty WMA, M4A formats still aren’t supported without conversion. Just support the file types where you can, or allow us to download separate codecs to support them. Fer crissake you can listen to all of them on Linux, why not in iTunes?
  5. It would be nice if 80GB meant 81920MB instead of 80,000MB. I think Apple would be a lot cooler if they would not play silly marketing games like hiding behind the whole “it’s legal to call 80000MB 80GB” thing. It sucks to get stiffed out of well over 2GB of storage. Actually, after formatting it’s more like well over 6GB short of the supposed 80GB of the device.
  6. It’s getting increasingly harder to navigate a single screen with 8000+ songs on it. I manage fairly well, but I often feel like I’m fighting against the interface (occasional slow loading that locks up the scroll bar, etc.). It could be time to improve the layout.
  7. It’s not easy to determine where songs have changed on your source repository when scrolling through the iTunes screen. You should be able to sort by items no longer found. Also, you should be able to “get info” and find out where the track was originally, so that you’ll be better able to find it if you renamed the folder (or just changed the id3 tags). Currently I’m pretty sure there’s no stored data about a track once it’s been changed or moved, only if it’s still accessible in its original location.
  8. Why no visible status/progress bar for syncing? It would be nice to know if a sync will take 10 seconds or 2 hours.

Despite these gripes, it’s a pretty bitchen little unit. I got an iSkin cover for it which is also pretty nice (except the lock/hold button is kinda’ hard to manipulate from under the rubber). I upgraded to some cheapish Sennheiser earbuds (hope they’re better –and more comfortable– than the stock jobbies). I also paid for an extra year of warranty with Apple care. This could be a ripoff, but I wanted to be covered in case this thing failed in a major way within the next 2 years, instead of just being covered for a single year. I’m pretty psyched to have a vast catalog of music to carry around with me wherever I go. Now if I can get a good docking app for my car stereo I think I’d be in hog heaven.

Update 12/2007:

A couple of my above gripes have been improved some, I will try to amend the original text with comments.

New ones are:

  • sorting duplicates,why can’t it be done by CRC, then by file size, then by similarity in length in order to make it easier to determine between things like remixes and live versions (that are typically longer than the studio version). Also, sorting jazz/fusion music by filename alone is silly since many people play standards, so according to iTunes every version is a dupe, which is seldom the case
  • Syncing over a 100Mbp/s LAN is still hurtin!
  • iTunes is the only thing that locks up pretty hard on my newly built quad-core system with 4GB of RAM. That’s utter bullshit! Giving it a higher priority in the process table doesn’t seem to help it process files any faster, apparently. Thus adding that 80gb of music (pardon me, 74 after formatting) is still an all day affair. BS!