Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Why is it I want a Mac?

I'm not really sure. Actually, the Mac would be for my wife's use, although it would help me in my effort to rid my local network of the scourge that is Windows. Ideally I would switch her over to Linux, but I'm not sure it could handle the games she always seems to want to play. In any case, I'm not sure why I'm leaning toward a Mac given the problems we have with iTunes and her iPod. Of course, the whole iPod stack is a poor choice in my opinion as you end up locked into Apple's file formats and proprietary DRM scheme. Yes, there are ways around it, but why bother (especially when you could do like I do, rip everything to .ogg format and use a normal mp3 player - a Samsung in my case - and not worry about losing your music to Apple's restrictions).

Anyway, I have always found iTunes to be an especially problematic application. Probably my biggest issue is that it seems like every time you want to do something with it, you have to install a new update. In the past I've had problems with iTunes not wanting to install and in one case, it caused the Windows PC to lock up and refuse to reboot. That was a lot of fun getting that fixed.

So we come to last night. My wife decided she wanted to buy a couple new songs to take with her to the beach. However, after purchasing them, she got an error message from iTunes indicating the files could not be downloaded because the files were corrupt. That really makes me wonder. Apple is trying to sell corrupted files? I kind of doubt that which tends to implicate the iTunes software in not recognizing the files are not really corrupt.

I decided to check for an update to iTunes - sure enough, one is available. I have downloaded it and I am trying to get it installed. Unfortunately, the install has bombed twice now with an error message indicating it could not install QuickTime and QuickTime is required to run iTunes. This despite the fact that QuickTime is installed - I even see the 'Q' icon in the task tray indicating it is running. My latest attempt involved me exiting QuickTime and trying the install. Now it looks like the installer has stalled at about the 85% point (looks like it is on a stage called "Validating Install" - hard to know how accurate that is since it is about the third time that has come up, including at least once prior to removing old files).

Back to finish this post and after a good fifteen minute ordeal to try to get everything shutdown, I managed to get Windows to restart.  What a pig of an OS!  Anyway, after that, I was able to get iTunes to install the new version (up to 7.3 now).  Unfortunately, that has not helped with the problem of it not downloading the songs that were purchased.  I've gone and posted a message over at the forums at the Apple site.  I was able to attach it to a post from someone else having the exact same problem.  Hopefully someone may come up with a solution.  I also found it amazing how many messages seeking assistance were over at the Apple forums.  And that was just in the forum for iTunes.

Which leads me back to my original question.  Given all the trouble I have and had have with iTunes and the iPod, why in the world would I want to have my wife switch over to a Mac?  I know it is considered a better solution than a Windows based PC, but my personal experience with other Apple products makes me somewhat skeptical.

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