HP buys iTunes jailbreaker
Beefing up its mobile OS
HP has bought one of the more interesting music startups for an undisclosed sum. Melodio's nuTsie software looks up what's in your iTunes library, including the playlists, then matches it against a catalog of music on its own servers, from where the music is then streamed.
It creates recommendations based on machine algorithms - which isn't so interesting. But nuTsie offers a legally acceptable, if expensive (streamers must pay webcast royalty rates), way of migrating a user base away from iTunes.
The software runs on Apple, RIM and some other smartphones.
Free from its exclusive reliance on Windows after all these years, HP is seriously going after the mobile consumer electronics dollars. The company picked up Palm for $1.2bn in April, bringing it with it WebOS, the slickest and most capable competitor to Apple's iOS.
Palm too realised the importance of cracking open the iTunes library - but made a promise that was hard to keep. Palm vowed ongoing two-way sychronisation between its devices and an iTunes library by masquerading as an iPod. This resulted in a tedious cat-and-mouse game with Apple, and users were never sure whether it would work, or for how long.
Blackberry and Nokia, among others, have managed the less ambitious but perfectly acceptable feat of making a (partial or complete) mirror of the iTunes library on their devices. Which works well enough for most people. ®
Is it just me or does anyone else find that iTunes is the most annoyingly crap piece of software I've ever needed to suffer?
In the old days, I just used to connect my MP3 player to which ever computer I was working on at the time and just copy the files over to, hell you could even doing it in windows explorer, and the MP3 player would just play them. Easy
Why is all this sh1t needed?
I've always thought my wants from a Music Player are really really simple.
I have lots of CDs on my computers.
I want to easily choose which ones I want on my MP3 player today.
It doesn't sound like a lot to ask.
Drag & Drop
This is the main complaint I get from my sister. She got an iPod shuffle 1GB as a present from my dad a couple of years ago; I used it once and wondered why the playlist was so random. My sis told me that it was annoying, because iTunes would grab all her playlist and chuck it all into the iPod until no more space was left. It seems that checking/unchecking the boxes of a zillion mp3's isn't my sister's idea of "user-friendly". And I also concur.
She said that she would rather have one of those cheapo mp3 players all her friends had, as she would only need to drag & drop the mp3s on it, and it would also double as a USB pendrive.
I'd also like to note that my sister isn't that IT savvy at all. She just hates the iTunes sync option.
@ Dazed and Confused
> I have lots of CDs on my computers.
> I want to easily choose which ones I want on my MP3 player today.
And guess what, iTunes can do that for you. For a device, you can configure what will get synced to it. If you want specific playlists - you can have that. If you want the space filled with a random selection till it's full - you can have that. You can have "smart playlists" that select music based on some criteria (no don't ask me, it's not something I've used). And you can have it sync a set of playlists and then fill the device with random selections. I suspect some of those won't work with some devices - eg the Shuffle doesn't have a display so it doesn't make too much sense to actually keep playlists intact as you can't see to select them.
If you've got a small device and want the equivalent of "drag and drop files to it" then make a playlist, set the device to sync only that playlist, and then drag and drop the tracks you want into it. Want more - drop them in; want less, drag them out. iTunes will take care of syncing only what's needed to make the device match your playlist. In the meantime, you've got a list there of what's on your device that you can sort by track name, album name, artist, etc - can't do that in Windows Explorer !
OK, it will only sync with an Apple player - yes I think that sucks too. But it seems there is an interface so people get get access to the playlists etc and do their own sync software - that would have avoided Palm's sorry tale. So if you've a device that doesn't sync, perhaps the question should be why the device vendor couldn't sort themselves out and support what is probably now one of the most widely used packages for managing tracks.
I can't help wondering if some of those with the "i<anything> is only for idiots who don't even know to ask" attitude have actually even looked as what iTunes can do. No I don't mean looked at it when the original iPod came out (yes, that's what I'm still using), but at what the current version does. That's like looking at Windows 98 and proclaiming just how crap Windows 7 is - iTunes now is somewhat different to the original version.
Yes there is stuff in iTunes that I don't like, or would like to work differently, or that isn't there and I'd like it to be. That's the nature of packaged software - it's not likely to match everyone's requirements unless you write a package just for each of them.
iTunes, like most Apple products, isn't made for users who GIVE A SHIT about how the magic box works. People use iTunes because it's *there*. They don't care about "drag and drop" because *they don't even know what that means*. They don't look stuff up on Google before asking other people how to do anything either—why would they? "Google" is just some nerdy, techie thing that pops up when they double-click that weird-looking "e" picture.
Apple's products are DESIGNED for the kind of people who ask where the "any" key is. For the kind of people who, when told to move the mouse pointer across the screen will *physically pick up the mouse and move it _across the display_, instead of the desk's surface*. You know: those people you love to insult so much for not having spent ten years of their short lives studying IT.
But you are no better than they are. EVERYONE is a gibbering ignoramus! They're just ignorant about *different things*.
There are general practitioners who cannot believe anyone could be so dumb as to not know where the femoral artery is; they, in turn, will be laughed at by radiographers for not knowing how to use an MRI. And lawyers giggle whenever some ignorant twit posts on a game development website asking whether they can make a free, indie, MMORPG using characters from Nintendo's most popular games.
EVERY job has its specialist knowledge-base. The IT industry is not unique in this. It merely *thinks* it is.
And that's why it's so fucked-up.