iTunes?

How much am I gonna hate the new iTunes? From what I've read so far, I have The Fear.

(Please keep in mind that I don't have an iPhone or iPod or use the Apple store, so anything that causes those to be more in-my-face than before counts as a minus.)

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82 Responses:

  1. jorm says:

    Whatever you do, don't turn on "genius mode" as that is a quick route to "lockup" followed by "crashiness."

    • I have approximately 50,000 songs acquired through whatever. I turned on "genius"
      mode and it took almost 18 hours to gather up all the incriminating evidence and
      send it ("anonymously" ha ha right) to apple. A period in which during my machine was
      mostly all but unusable.

      However, "genius" is really great. Pick a song and ask for a playlist of 25 other songs
      just like it and sure enough, that's what you get. Since almost all I've got is stuff I
      don't know, this is turning out to be a very good way to work my way through it.

      In order for it to work. you need an applestore id, which means you need to have given
      them a credit card number which means they know exactly who is obtaining exactly
      what. So it might not be for everyone. But this seems to be the only reason to "update".

      • christ on a fucking crlf.

      • jered says:

        This is really weird; all the reviews of Genius that I've seen so far have been "awesome" or "useless". (I'm in the "awesome" camp, btw.) Are we using two different products?

        • karlshea says:

          I have to say, it took awhile to gather the information, but I'm solidly in the "awesome" camp.

          Really, how hard is it? Turn it on before you go to bed, and it will most likely be done in the morning. Also, you can stop it partway through.

          • soleklypse says:

            I ended up downloading iTunes 8 by mistake (just hit "OK" when the software updates thing came up). I saw a hack to get rid of the Apple Store links which I haven't bothered to try yet. Genius has not worked for me yet and I'm wondering if I should be grateful or not. But I was also wondering if it's really any better than iLike (which I already have installed).

  2. theealex says:

    Genius mode is 'pure shit' (as they say in Scotland). Other than that it's not that much different from 7.whatever was.

  3. cdamian says:

    In iTunes 8 you can change the download settings different for each podcast. I waited for this feature for ages, as I have:

    - news podcasts, which come twice a day but I just want to keep the most recent
    - normal podcasts, which I want to remove after I listened to them
    - music podcasts, which I want to keep forever.

  4. rly says:

    The new visualizers are pertty decent. You know, for iTunes.

  5. ret4rd says:

    Stipulate that I am probably stupid.

    I can no longer turn off the ever-so-helpful "Click here for more of whatever this artist/song/album is from your friendly neighborhood ITUNES STORE". There used to be a preference to turn off the store links, right? Fuck that button cluttering up whatever I happen to select.

    Plus they broke list view. Can't choose which columns are listed in the top pane, so the ever-useless "Genre" window is always taking up space.

    As usual, upgrading software is a mistake.

    • if you are on a mac:
      Go to Terminal and type:

      defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE

      That will hide the links. To kill 'em forever, type:

      defaults delete com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links

  6. duskwuff says:

    The main changes I've noticed are:

    • Genius Mode, which doesn't work very well for music that isn't in the Music Store. It does a decent job of disappearing when you turn it off, at least.
    • New visualizer added that sucks a lot less.
    • The "Album View" which nobody used has been absorbed into List View, and a new "Grid View" has been added (which nobody will use either).
    • The Genre Browse column is now forced on. There used to be a preferences option that disabled it, but it's been removed in a general prefs reorganization.

    Overall, it hardly seems to deserve a major release, but eh.

  7. greyface says:

    My biggest gripe about the new itunes is what I get for using a PC. It's basically my fault that I used and liked, Quicktime Alternative more than Quicktime itself. iTunes8 doesn't play nice with QTA anymore, and that makes me unhappy.

    • lovingboth says:

      What makes me think that change is deliberate? Hmmm...

      • greyface says:

        First thing I thought when I got the "you don't have quicktime installed" message was, "Crap, the bastards at Apple realized that people are sneaking around Quicktime and are making it less convenient to do so!"

        It was not, "Oh, QTA has fallen behind and is missing some component that iTunes needs.

    • lafinjack says:

      This is the first I've heard of QTA. While I Giggle for the website, what's your opinion of it?

      • greyface says:

        It's what it claims to be. Lighter and Operational.

        I also like Media Player Classic quite a bit more than playing all videos in itunes, or god-forbid WMP.

  8. hatter says:

    Only wah for me was it flipping to cover browser rather than list view when if first loaded. If I wanted to browse covers to see what I wanted, I could just go flick through my CDs. Genius takes a while to slurp all the data, seems most unintrusive after that. I suspect I'd have needed the upgrade regardless, as Steve's finally given me a 16gb nano - the only tricky bit is figuring out if I can pick one up in london before I leave for the US, or if I'll pick one up while I'm over for the flight back.

    the hatter

  9. intoner says:

    you will hate it. just try to disable as many of their 'features' as possible (if you can find where they have hidden all of the new preferences).

    if you don't use the itunes store, I'd suggest disabling it in the parental controls, as that will eliminate those stupid arrows next to your tracks. That also saves you from having to do the whole command line bit.

  10. jsbowden says:

    I only use iTunes as a media player as well. A couple things got moved around in the Preferences, and as others have noted, don't bother with the genius mode, but otherwise it can be to look and behave just like its predecessors, on both the Mac and the PC.

    • ultranurd says:

      Ditto here. I had a brief panic when it defaulted to the new Grid view, thinking it had replaced my preferred genre-artist-album column view, but am otherwise unaffected.

      And High School Me, who used to sit in front of the old GForce SoundJam MP visualizer for minutes at a time, is entertained by the new default visualizer.

  11. boutell says:

    If you don't use the iTunes store OR an iPod, why the heck do you use iTunes? It's nice, but surely some other MP3 player software is good enough by now?

    • relaxing says:

      Yeah not really, no. Pretty much everything sucks for very large libraries.

      Can anyone explain why it wants me to put in a credit card to turn on genius mode?

      • boutell says:

        That's bizarre. It's just not that hard a problem. Is this Mac or PC we're talking about?

        • relaxing says:

          It kind of is. I'm doing work on a similar issue right now -- dealing with tens of thousands of anything and displaying them to a user tends to become a problem.

          • Ah ... "tens of thousands"? ... and my machine has how much memory and how many MIPS? I can hear every CS teacher in the world weeping quietly from here. It sounds like an iTunes visualizer.

            Genius mode is great. For popular artists it tells me I should buy the other stuff by that artist. For obscurer artists (and I don't listen to terribly obscure stuff) it says, gee, I don't know that band, why don't you buy some nice Coldplay or Pink?

        • pvck says:

          I've done some research here...

          On a mac, if you want a library-based media player, you've basically got iTunes, Songbird, and Amarok. Amarok doesn't have a native binary yet (you can get it with fink, which I've done, and it works alright except when it crashes for seemingly no reason every few hours). Songbird is very very nice, and a complete memory hog, making it not-quite unusable.

          For a while I was running parallels just so I could use winamp. That's how bad it is.

      • discogravy says:

        because it has to query against the itunes music store; which in turn requires an IMS login and therefore a credit card.

  12. ferrouswheel says:

    If you don't have an Apple device and don't use the store, what's the point in using iTunes at all?

    (I'm actually genuinely curious, but maybe there is just nothing better on a Mac?)

    • jered says:

      Oooh, can I question jwz's judgment too, while ignoring the original question?

      Let me try. jwz, you look kinda funny.... unprofessional. Have you considered getting a haircut?

      I'll hazard a guess -- iTunes is free, doesn't really suck that much, plays well with others, and is easily scriptable.

    • karlshea says:

      The actual answer to your question is that there's nothing better on the Mac. This is mostly because the Mac version doesn't suck like the Windows version does.

      • This frustrates me to no end. I wish there was Winamp for Mac.

        • karlshea says:

          I used to wish that, too, but then I got used to iTunes on the Mac and now all is well.

          You have to remember that it's not 2000 and we're not using Winamp 2.6. The new versions of Winamp are just as bloated and shitty as one would expect from AOL.

          Now, if you really want "just a player" there is a version of VLC for the Mac: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

          • Winamp 2.6 indeed. I was running some 2.x version (found at oldversion.com) on my old PC. It did everything I wanted.

            I have VLC. I like how simple it is, and I love the fact that I can skin it with my desktop themes. But iTunes is still easier to work with, especially with streaming audio. Or maybe I just need to learn to use VLC better?

            • After a brief retry, it's still not obvious to me. How do I play streaming audio on VLC?

              • jwz says:

                VLC is complete ass. The only reason to ever use it is if you've stumbled across a file in some codec that Quicktime Player won't play (which almost never happens to me these days).

                For teh lolz, try to make VLC convert a file from one format to another. It's like they had a contest to come up with the stupidest of all possible interfaces to do such a thing.

  13. wisn says:

    It's okay.

    Genius mode is better than shuffle, whether the iTunes store recognizes your music or not. It's not necessarily better than smart playlists.

    I've only unleashed the Genius cataloger on my portable music library, not the thousand+ albums in the real collection. If there was a way to let it grind through that on an idle machine and copy the dataset, I might be interested in trying.

    Crashing problems seem to be endemic to Windows machines, not Macs.

    New visualizer is pretty. Now that I saw it I'll probably never use it again.

    The interface prioritizes browsing by album cover, which would be nice if the iTunes store recognized more than 20% of my collection. The file browser defaults to sorting by Genre, Artist, Album. The only way to turn off the utterly useless Genre field is by editing a plist file ( defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-genre-when-browsing -bool FALSE ). Similarly, iTunes displays purchase links for tracks you already own unless you edit the same plist file ( defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE ).

    • lloydwood says:

      I turned off the Genre field by control-clicking the column headings and turning off the tickmark next to 'Genre'.

      You can also click and drag column titles to swap columns around.

      Hope this helps.

      • wisn says:

        That too. I'm thankful Apple hasn't changed how the columns behave in this release.

        The file browser I'm referring to is the Artist->Album (or Genre->Artist->Album in iTunes 8) cascading menus that appear when you enable View -> Show Browser. See the screenshots of somebody else's playlists.

  14. iota says:

    The new iTunes version is fine; just disable the Genius sidebar and run this from the Terminal to get rid of the "recommendation arrows" that encourage you to buy more shit:

    defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE
    • lloydwood says:

      I'd never noticed those subtle arrows, and hadn't clicked on one until you mentioned it. Only on the highlighted playing track; unobtrusive.

      Turning off iTunes Store in the Parental controls section is a lot easier way to hide the arrows. That hides the Store menu too.

      • iota says:

        In prior versions of iTunes you could get rid of the arrows without getting rid of iTunes all together -- iTunes 8 got rid of that option so you have to set the pref to do so.

        • elusis says:

          Damn, I wasn't just imagining that! I updated and immediately went "WTF? Didn't I turn that OFF?"

          Argh, Apple! Please don't do sucky things.

    • roach2600 says:

      Thanks for that tip. I noticed they got rid of the option to turn those damn things off and decided I wanted them on anyway.

  15. rev_matt_y says:

    Once I got over the initial "it's different! Oh noes!" it's not really much different. Grid view is actually useful in that you only have one icon for a given artist so you can traverse your collection much quicker by artist instead of scrolling past 113 Frank Zappa albums in order to get to 50 Foot Wave (because numbers come after letters, grrrr). I haven't turned Genius on yet, so it hasn't bothered me. If you're not using the store or iPod/iPhone the only differences you'll notice are slightly more polished UI and the grid view.

  16. pvck says:

    I was stupidly excited about the new visualizer (because I kind of know the guy who wrote it and have been tracking it's development since it was a processing sketch), and it's pretty awesome, but I'd still rather put up with Amarok randomly crashing every few hours than have to deal with all the bullshit of the new iTunes. And I'm not even as curmudgeonly about this kind of thing as you.

    • I saw that visualizer and thought..... "This doesn't suck, it must have been written by an old schooler,"

      this was unfortunately followed by, I can't CMD-T after CMD-F? wtf?...

      ~anyhow, props to Scream Tracker times and all that.

  17. taffer says:

    On my systems (XP box at work, XP box at home for gaming, ancient weak iBook that I use for everything else) it's working fine, much like how I used iTunes 7.

    My iBook is my main system, and my music is stored on a FreeBSD box in my basement and accessed via AFS. It's not amazingly fast, but it's much easier to drop a bunch of disks into a spare desktop than my laptop, obviously.

    "Updating" my iTunes Library took maybe half an hour or so (approx. 18,000 songs); turning on the Genius feature took about three hours (I access the server over wireless, 1-2Mbps usually).

    Windows was full of fail as usual, turning on the Genius with a much faster CPU, more RAM, and local SATA disks took about as long with only about 15,000 files to deal with.

    I turned off the useless Genius Sidebar (well, useless to me; I might turn it on if I ever run out of suggestions for new music and iTunes ever gets "interesting" artists) immediately on all machines.

    Genius playlists have been completely awesome though; pick a song I feel like hearing, hit the Genius, 25 songs that go good together.

  18. badc0ffee says:

    Album View is called Grid View now, and I kinda like it. I never used album view anyway.

    The first time you run iTunes 8, it will start in grid view (probably to make you aware of it).

    Other than that, it's pretty much the same. The new visualization is nice, and I turned off Genius.

  19. Sweet Jesus! A new Quodlibet release? Thank god I have something to run towards after the horribleness of iTunes 8.

    Seriously though, iTunes....... excellent way to get a credit card on the table.

  20. joel says:

    I was more "traumatized" when they changed the iTunes icon.

  21. sephirot says:

    I freaking hate it cuz I wasn't able to use my old library file (after reloading the OS) using either of the methods I had always used previously, which were to either just copy the file to the right place or (if I want to preserve library data) to use the "import" menu option, which is now gone. The "add to library" menu item did not work for me. I wanted to import all my smart playlists so I wouldn't have to recreate them all, but I'll have to find a new workaround. annoying.

    • sephirot says:

      ok well nevermind then.... it worked this time, after a couple hours. Figures, since I posted this comment to a stranger's journal. ah well, carry on.

  22. davidmccabe says:

    Command-option-F now behaves differently than every other Mac app. It's supposed to focus the Search field and select the text therein, but now it just focuses it.

    The Grid view is pretty nice, but lacks keyboard control. If you're viewing an album, you can no longer go back to your whole library without clicking a small button with the mouse.