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Friday, March 5, 2010 10:14 AM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Art (Not), Books (Not), Cartoons (Not), Comedy (Not), Gaming (Not), iPod (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Products (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Star Wars (Not), Tron Legacy (Not), TV (Not), Twitter (Not), Video (Not), Warren Ellis (Not), Wonderland (Not)
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:34 AM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Art (Not), Awards (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Dance (Not), Food (Not), Gadgets (Not), iPod (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), News (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Science (Not), Spider-Man (Not), Star Wars (Not), Technology (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not)
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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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Thursday, November 27, 2008 01:45 PM
Apple Wins Again
 by Fëanor

Recently, after complaining a great deal about Apple and how iTunes and iPods work, I mentioned that I was planning on buying another iPod anyway, having maxed out my old one. Well, with poppy's blessing, I went ahead and made the new 120GB iPod an early Christmas gift to myself. Seeing as how there was no longer any reason to go to the Apple Store, and since it was about 25 bucks cheaper online, I ordered it from Amazon. It arrived on the doorstep yesterday. I opened it up and fondled it a little, and was surprised to discover that it's quite a bit different from my year-and-a-half old 80GB model. It's slimmer and sleeker, with a matte finish, and the menu is more detailed and has a cool split-screen thing going on. There's also a search feature. Impressive! All I really needed was 40 more gigabytes, but I'll happily accept new features on top of that.

Anyway, I'm now busy loading the new iPod from my backup. It's a happy Thanksgiving indeed!
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), iTunes (Not)
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Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:21 PM
(Last updated on Sunday, November 23, 2008 09:34 AM)
This Apple Is Broken
 by Fëanor

So, as happened once before, I have come to the end of the space on my current iPod. (UPDATE: I had a 60GB and upgraded to an 80GB in April of last year. That means I've filled up that extra 20GB in about a year and a half. Now I'd be upgrading from 80GB to 120GB, giving me an extra 40GB of space. Assuming I fill it at the same rate, I should have a good three years worth of use out of the new iPod. Although that also assumes the new iPod will actually continue working for three years.) I had been filling it up slowly for quite some time, but I had become mostly complacent about it, believing that the end was still a ways off. Until a friend of mine at work shared his iTunes Library with me, and I saw a bunch of stuff I liked. He then brought in an entire external hard drive full of music and told me to take whatever I wanted. As I was merrily copying away, I suddenly got the dreaded message: there is not enough space to copy all the songs you've selected. Nooo!!!

Anyway, I did manage to clear off enough space to get on all the new stuff I wanted from Matt's collection, but since then poppy had me rip a bunch of CDs for her, and now I've already got a huge backlog of stuff that won't fit on my iPod. That means it's time to upgrade from 80GB to 120GB.

As I was thinking about going through this process, I felt certain that if I went into an Apple Store, they would have a way to copy all the data from my old iPod onto my new, blank one. I might have to pay a little extra, certainly, but I was willing to do it for the convenience, and for the feeling of security that would come from knowing it was being done by experts, and that none of my data would be lost in transit. But I called up the Apple Store this afternoon and spoke with a man there who told me this was not possible. Apple, the company that makes iPods, actually has no way of copying data directly from one iPod to another. Or, if they do have such a way, they're not going to let you use it. The guy at the Apple Store told me it's a privacy issue. But whose privacy are we talking about? They'd both be my iPods!!

This is absolutely flabbergasting to me. I have a device with data on it and all I want to do is purchase another version of the same device with more space and copy the data from the first device onto the second. This should not be difficult. It should be absolutely elementary. I'm certain that many people want to do this. And yet there is no good process in place. They actually expect you to have some mythical computer with iTunes installed that is exactly synched up with your 80GB iPod, so you can then simply drag all of that music onto your new iPod from iTunes. But who the hell keeps a computer sitting around with 80GB worth of music on it? That's insane! You'd have room for nothing else! I have an 80GB iPod so I can keep all the music on there and not on my computer.

I do back up my iPod occasionally, and the other night, after realizing I'd filled it up, I knew it was time to do that again. But that infuriates me, too. Apple doesn't really offer you any good way of doing this, either. I had to buy an unofficial application just so I could copy music back down off of my iPod and onto my computer. That is utterly ridiculous. The process of backing up the iPod, even with this software, is lengthy and painful and takes something on the order of 12 hours. Of course, most of that time I didn't have to sit there watching it, but still.

So yes, I do have a way of doing this. I have backed up my iPod (onto an external hard drive which I bought pretty much specifically for this purpose), and I can buy the new iPod and copy the music onto it. It's just incredibly frustrating to me that doing this is a very long, counter-intuitive, complex process that requires a computer acting as an intermediary between the devices, with third party software installed on it. That is totally unacceptable.
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), Music (Not)
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Thursday, May 15, 2008 04:01 PM
Woo hoo!
 by Fëanor

I'm back below 1000 unrated songs on my iPod again! 999, to be exact.

The track I rated to drop down to 999 was Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey." For reasons even I don't entirely understand, I'm actually not a huge fan of Coulton's work. It's probably connected to my general dislike of bands with similarly silly lyrics, such as They Might Be Giants. But "Code Monkey" hit me where I live. I gave it four stars.
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), Music (Not)
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008 05:05 PM
(Last updated on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 10:14 AM)
New Music
 by Fëanor

Well, that didn't take long. I'm back over 1000 unrated songs on the iPod again. This is thanks to the fact that we went down to Rehoboth Beach this past weekend, and when I'm there one of the things I enjoy doing is going across the street from our hotel to the CD store and picking my way slowly and carefully through their entire collection, purchasing any album that interests me and that costs $9.99 or less. (Since all I'm going to do with the CD is rip it and put it on my iPod, I figure it doesn't make any sense to pay more than I would at the iTunes Music Store.) This time I ended up buying 15 new* CDs for about $100, which is really a pretty sweet deal. (It was actually originally going to be 16, but as is traditional, despite the fact that I brought my iPod with me and was continually checking it to make sure I wasn't buying anything I already had, I still managed to mistakenly purchase a CD that poppy already owns [she thinks I may have even bought the same one last time I was there], so I returned it the next day.) I ended up concentrating mostly on metal, but still managed to impress the CD clerk with my eclectic tastes ("Wow, 3 Inches of Blood and U2!"). The complete list, with notes, is below.

Modest Mouse - Building Nothing out of Something

Disturbed - Believe

Bjork - Telegram

Dio - Metal Hits (Essentially a best of collection; the important part is, it includes "Holy Diver.")

Clutch - Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes & Undeniable Truths (Their first album. I believe I now own the complete Clutch collection.)

Judas Priest - Prisoners of Pain (There were actually a number of Priest CDs that fit my specifications, but I picked this album because it includes a couple of tracks I know I like.)

Seether - Karma and Effect (I know, I know, they're lame nu-metal, but what can I say? I really enjoy them.)

Phantom Planet - The Guest (I was surprised to discover, after purchasing this, that it's a double album - and even more surprised to discover that both CDs are apparently exactly the same. Or maybe they just tricked iTunes into thinking they were the same. I'll have to investigate further. UPDATE: After investigating further, it appears that iTunes was simply confused and they are in fact entirely different CDs. iTunes was so sure they were the same, I could only get it to copy three songs from the second CD, even after renaming it, so I guess I'll actually have to wipe the entire album from iTunes' memory before I try to load the second disc again. Very strange.)

Slayer - Reign in Blood

Supergrass - I Should Coco

U2 - The Joshua Tree (Believe it or not, neither poppy nor I owned this album until now.)

3 Inches of Blood - Fire up the Blades (Yay, screamy metal!)

The Sword - Gods of the Earth (How could I resist an album with track titles like "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" and "Fire Lances Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians"? I've only heard a couple of the songs on this so far, but they were both fantastic, so I'm pretty excited.)

Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine

Beastie Boys - To the Five Boroughs

Lit - A Place in the Sun (This is the CD I bought by mistake that poppy already owns; I copied it when I got back.)

*I should point out that most of the CDs were only "new" to me; many were actually used. Thus the cheap prices.
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), Music (Not), Rehoboth (Not)
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 05:31 PM
Music Milestone
 by Fëanor

In my slow but determined quest to rate every song on my iPod, I have finally managed to get down to fewer than 1000 songs left that are unrated. Considering the fact that I get new music pretty often, I may go back above and drop back below that line often in the next few days/weeks, but I'm hoping not; I'm hoping I can work my way steadily down to zero. I'm not sure what I'm going to do then. Maybe have a party! Or maybe sort them all and then generate various "best of" lists based on the ratings. But that may be unworkable. We'll see.
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), Music (Not)
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 08:06 AM
Your Recommendations Requested
 by Fëanor

-My iPod earbuds are dying. Can anyone recommend a good replacement? I don't mind spending a little money for something quality that will last; I just want decent, portable headphones.

-I read a lot of blogs, but no music blogs, and I'd really like a site that can keep me updated on which band is putting out a new album and when, and which band is breaking up, and so forth. Anybody know of a good one?
Tagged (?): iPod (Not), Music (Not), Please Comment (Not)
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