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Monday, November 10, 2008

Steve Jobs is On Notice

I debated all weekend if what I was steaming to blog about fell under the editorial jurisdiction of this venue.

I fully realize it appears as though I never dedicate any thought to what I slap up here, but I never forget you interweb-savvy kids back home, who not only come here for scoops on what's shaking around your school and city, but for tech news and concerns, as well as ongoing opinion and commentary on the information age we live in.

With that in mind, I thought to myself that since most of you have iPods, and a growing number have iPhones, you might be interested.

You may recall last month I sang the praises of the iPod Touch Lady Trail purchased me for my birthday. I immediately dubbed it 'The Jesus Box' and am still consistently amazed by all it is capable of despite the flaws some quibble over.

That reminds me, wait here while I go check the blog email, since only my personal email is wired to the box.

.....

Cool, youngcrunk09 subscribed to the YouTube channel.

Anyway, one of the big selling points of the iPod Touch and iPhone is the way it integrates with the iTunes music store. By connecting over WiFi, you can browse everything the service has to offer, and if you decide to purchase a song, you tap a couple buttons and the song downloads straight to your iPod for your enjoyment. No ripping CDs, no dragging and dropping, just bam! Done.

It's a wonderful feature, and one I had used a few times for singles and one-hit wonders I was too lazy to track down via more illicit means. But I began to notice that songs I had purchased ended up going missing. They vanished from the iPod and were nowhere to be found. Quizzical.

The first time it happened, I assumed it was because I had tried to drag and drop it from the Pod onto the laptop for Lady Trail. The Digital Rights Management on the file asked me to authorize the transfer and informed me that I would only be able to put it on five laptops or iPods. No surprises there, I was familiar with DRM, I knew what it entailed. But as soon as I unplugged the iPod, the song was gone. But I put the blame on myself and bought it again, to my irritance.

But that's one thing. Having half a dozen songs I bought later vanish for no reason is another one entirely.

Now I have done some searching around, and have learned that many people have had the same issue, and that it to stem from the auto-backup the iPod conducts everytime it plugs in. I had been canceling the backup since use of the laptop is a favour in the first place and I don't want to take up space on the hard drive with multiple copies of the same files being unnecessarily backed up. I've started a correspondence with tech support, but it's still ongoing and hasn't reached aby definitive conclusion.

But even if I get all my songs restored and never have this issue again, I suspect I'll be angry about it every time I want to get a new song.

You've heard me rail against DRM in the past Windsor [dig around in the Kingston Year for some prime rants], and this is exactly the reason why. I paid for this music, I played by the rules and acted like a responsible adult, who supports the artists he enjoys, and I get shafted because of the 'helpful' features that Apple demands you use. If I had my way, I'd never plug the thing into the laptop, but it's the only way to charge the thing, since my wall charger isn't supported with it. Awesome.

And you know what? If I had stolen the music off of peer-to-peer service, I would have none of these headaches. And Windsor, I have said it before but I've never had a better example before: This is why DRM does not work. It punishes people who play by the rules, while people who don't have no problems. I'm not about to say I don't have any songs acquired illicitly, and you know they haven't gone anywhere.

And you know the worst part? In my search for answers, I was rooting around Apple's tech support FAQs, and found the listing for missing files, which had this helpful hint:

Another place to look for wayward music files is in your Recycle Bin (Windows) or the Trash (Mac). Don't ask. Sometimes things happen and files wind up there.

Excuse me? Don't ask?! Kiss my ass, Apple. I shouldn't even have to look around for wayward files in the first place, they should just stay where the hell I put them.

I know these features are meant to assist in functionality but for Chrissakes, it's like a friend volunteering to help you move and burning your house down on accident. Unacceptable.

So be wary, Windsor, and keep an eye on your files at all time. We'll see what tech support has for me later this week. And I guess I'm off to LimeWire to find some replacements that will stand where the hell I put them.

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