How soon we forget
Despite my distrust in the value of anything branded Apple, we bought an iPod Shuffle for my step-daughters birthday. At least at the low price, I felt we submitting to the marketing hype for the overpriced products was not too painful.
I cleaned out our Music library, as iTunes indexed 10,000 items, 8,000 of which were irrlevant video game sound bites, etc. Unfortunately that also appears to have wiped out the three songs I did purchase long ago (I don’t remember what they are!). I assume I can recover those from the store. If I could access it. Any attempt to search for music in the store (which is still the most pathetically slow interface) results in the cheery message:
“We could not complete your iTunes Store request. An unknown error occured (-50).
There was an error in the iTunes Store. Please try again later.”
Now having wasted many hours on the phone with Apple in the past, only to discover that iTunes is a completely unsupported product, I’m not too keen on putting more effort in this. But I will this time, and I’m sure I’ll get her up and running eventually.
However, I will continue to advise folks to steer clear of anything Apple, unless they are confident that they are buying a supported product, and are aware of the bloated cost of the products. In certain focused application areas, I understand Apple is the way to go, but for the vast majority of the public, caveat emptor.
And yes Apple adds insult to injury by repeatedly spamming me, despite many attempts to request it to stop.
EDIT: so i recovered most of my purchased songs from my backup drive, and learned that in the iTunes store, if searched repeatedly, sometimes I didn’t get error -50. The painfully slow search engine occasionally functioned, enough for me to purchase some songs. Attempts to write to the device weren’t so successful. First pass worked fine, with a test set of songs. But after that all attempts to write a full slate of songs resulted in a “Cannot sync” error, after a long period of lock-up of the iTunes application. The device then disappeared from the window. Unplugging and plugging it back in resulted in a “Your iPod needs to be restored” message requiring reformatting. I did this several times.
To add a sense of fun to this, the write speed to the device was incredibly slow, taking many seconds to write each song. It would probably have taken 30 minutes to write 200 songs, if it actually ever got that for. It usually choked after 70 or so.
So it’s back to the store for an exchange, and a committment to ensure I don’t buy Apple again. I’m only exchanging it because of the monopoly iTunes has established for songs. If another site had a such a comprehensive list, I’d jump there in a sec. Let me know!
Another interesting learning bit: despite Apple’s offering of DRM-free capability (courageous and innoviate), very few artists are taking advantage of this. Ten years from now we’ll be laughing at the restrictions that hamper honest people, while having no effect on the universal no-cost availability of ripped DRM-free music.
UPDATE: 29-Jul-2007: I took the device back to Future Shop and they replaced it, and were willing to change the colour from blue to pink (girls are unpredictable, I guess). This one so far seems to work fine.
I also called AppleCare and they said the slow search speed and site access I experience is unusual. We used msconfig to turn off most everything, turned off firewalls, etc., but the problem persisted. No solution on that one.