First of all, merry christmas!
Second of all, yay! I got an iPod Touch for christmas which was definitely a nice surprise. I take it as a sign that I’m probably past the “just-moved-away-from-home-must-give-kitchenware”-stage. While being nice and useful and all that, it’s really hard to get wound up over a frying pan.
Anyway, I’ve been toying around with the Touch since yesterday. It turns out that I have a 2nd generation machine, which means no jailbreak for it yet (as far as I could google… feel free to correct me). Now, I’ve always steered clear of apple, not out of spite og dislike for their products but mostly because of their price level. I’ve never ever touched iTunes but I’ve spent a fair amount of time and effort to organise my collection of music and make sure I can listen to anything when I want anywhere in my apartment or in the near vicinity. A combination of MPD, icecast, picard, flac and a handful of other nice tools made that possible. So I look forward to being able to integrate the iPod into that system, once it’s jailbroken.
Being a sucker for shiny stuff, I obviously won’t leave it idle until then so I dug out a windows installation, threw iTunes on it in order to sync my music to the little beast.
What a disaster!
I am certainly not at home using windows or an apple application so maybe it’s just me being stupid. But for the life of me, getting music on the iPod wasn’t a pleasant experience.
I used winscp to copy the music (in flac format) to the windows machine but wait, iTunes can’t handle flac… away to google I went only to see that iTunes + flac apparently required me to use mac osx. Not an option! So off I went, downloading the official flac tools and converted the flac music to wav, losing the tags in the process – sigh. But lo and behold: iTunes can read wav. In that case, problem solved. I should be able to just make iTunes convert the wav-files to their stinking aac-format, retag them and the nsync them onto the iPod… but no! You cannot convert wav files apparently, only mp3 and ogg. In that case, let’s convert the wav-files to ogg and then convert them to aac from within iTunes… it only takes about 4-5 minutes per track. iTunes is currently in the process of converting the second out of god knows how many albums. I guess I’ll go to bed soon and hope it’s done when I wake up. In the long run, I’m probably better off doing the flac->ogg conversion in linux, run windows xp in a virtual machine and iTunes in there. At least until I can jailbreak it and use either Amarok or gtkpod.
So much for actually getting music onto the iPod. But during these few hours, I’ve really grown to hate iTunes. I find it slow, buggy, unintuitive, annoying and difficult to navigate efficiently – and this is compared to Amarok, which is generally considered a serious ressource hog! I ran iTunes on a pentium 4 processor, running at 3.2 GHz. The system had 1gb memory and plenty of free diskspace. The windows installation was fully up to date (service pack 3 and all that crap), there’s a decent graphics card in the machine (decent enough to play Civ 4) and correct drivers and 3d-acceleration working. So I really, really can’t understand why iTunes made me feel like I was back in the glorious days of old and obsolete hardware. Some of the slowness seemed to be caused by lockups whenever iTunes interacted with the iPod.
In conclusion: I hate iTunes.
That being said, the iPod Touch itself is really nice, responsive, intuitive and a real pleasure to play with. Getting it set up to my basic preferences was way easier than I had expected, wifi just worked and finding free (as in free beer, mostly) apps that did what I needed (radiostreams and MPD controller among other things) turned out to be easy as well.
I guess apple’s stuff shines the brightest when you combine their hardware and software.
Oh, and did I mention how constrained I felt trying to do anything at all in windows?