Thursday, April 5, 2007

iPod observations

All I wanted to do was be able to toss files onto my iPod both from the iMac at home and occasionally from my Windows XP computer at the office. Sometimes I stumble onto a podcast that I'd like to listen to on the drive home (especially useful when GA 400 is so slow that I listen to all the content on the morning commute). In those cases I want to drop the podcast onto the iPod Shuffle from my work computer.

Sounds simple, right? Wrong. I stop by the Apple store here in Alpharetta and ask the nice lady if they have another docking station. Sure, no problem. She inquires what I'm doing and informs me that it can't be done. Yes, I should be able to synch with two computers by clicking "Cancel" to the question to delete the content and synch with the new computer. (It seems that any time you drop the iPod into another computer, or user account on the iMac, it wants to delete all the content to synchronize with the new computer. Dumb.) But, she informs me that the software on the iPod Shuffle will only be compatible with the Mac, or with Windows since each loads a specific version that only works with that operating system. I protest that it doesn't sound right, she assures me that she's right and I'm dumb - at least that's how it came out to me.

Turns out, she was wrong on both counts (doh!). You can not simply click 'Cancel' and manually copy files to the iPod from another Mac account/computer. If you click cancel the device simply is not present. Strike 1. Also turns out (however) that if you go ahead and delete files the device appears correctly and you can copy files to it just fine - after it's deleted all your current content.

For my little Shuffle that simply holds transient content for my commute this is fine. But what if I had a bazillion gig video iPod with built in microwave oven? I'd have to zap all my millions of files to use the other computer. Dumbx2.

I've been wanting to step up to a larger device - I seriously doubt it will be an iPod. I'm not gonna do Zune, but will look at the other Media Player-style players. Come on folks, this is 2007. We have multiple computers. Desktops, laptops, work computers and we travel. Sometimes we may want to drop files onto our players from different places. Screw your DRM and your control. I'd like a little control over the expensive devices that I buy. Stop limiting where I can jack in and download content and I'll stop bitching about your "features" and start buying more of your product.

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