iTunes update

screenshot of iTunes pageMy iTunes has updated twice in as many recent weeks. Unfortunately, as far as I’m concerned neither update has improved my listening experience.

I currently have 254 Albums and over the years I have come to know where to find each one in ‘album’ view – I have never liked the ‘song’ or ‘artist’ view.

Furthermore, I tend to have my MacBook Pro screen resolution set at 1152×720 because that has less strain on my eyes.  By default therefore, the iTunes album-icons are huge but until the recent updates, there was a tiny slider (bottom right of the iTunes screen) that I could adjust to reduce the icon size – which made scrolling through my collection quite a breeze.

However, the slider has now gone and there is no way to change the icon size in Tunes. Why?

It’s a question I asked at the Apple Store in the Trafford Centre the other day and no one there could answer.

The update seems to have been to introduce ‘Up Next’ which as far as I can see is something that basically Guilds the Lily. I’ve yet to see a reason for me to use ‘Up Next’ (I already have plenty of Playlists) so, had the icon-size slider still been there, the update wouldn’t have irritated me this much. Another change for change’s sake perhaps.

So Apple. Why?



I know it’s an old saw (sore?), but how odd would it be (in fact how downright unsafe, unprofessional, irritating and gridlocking would it be?) if car manufacturers sold vehicles that needed updating all the time, especially if they ‘needed’ updating whilst on the move, or when an inexperienced driver was behind the wheel. I’m not talking about ‘whoops we’ve got it wrong despite thousands of hours of testing recalls, but cars that are released knowing they are so not ready for market and that the updating needs to happen on a weekly basis?

We wouldn’t be happy would we? We wouldn’t buy such rubbish would we?

Then why do we put up with computer software (both paid for and free) that needs constant, often daily, updating?

I have my Mac set to update OSX 10.6(.7) on a Sunday afternoon and if it ever happens, I am rarely bothered by it. My Windows computer however, seems to need updating every time I turn it on (which admittedly isn’t usually more than once a week) – so to be fair, Microsoft Windows may be victim of my ‘I don’t like Microsoft Windows any more’ attitude to computing. But they cannot be blamed for Adobe’s sheer incompetence at getting anything right first time. I’m not entirely sure why I use Adobe Reader because it updates so often you’d think it was an exclusive piece of software (which of course it isn’t: there are so many other .pdf readers out there they should be very careful) but I do – sadly on both Mac (with Windows 2003 available via Parallels) and PC (so I have thrice the weekly pain!). It’s not just the updating, it’s the fact that it doesn’t happen in the background, the fact that it often wants to restart my machine and the fact that it couldn’t give a damn whether I’m working on a document, giving a demonstration to hundreds of people or just sitting mumbling in the corner.

And while I’m ranting about Adobe – let’s not forget the Flash player updates, the Shockwave updates and the updates to updates. These are doubly irritating in educational institutions because the ‘update now’ capability will have been disallowed by the innovation prevention department – leading to all round fear and disillusionment of and for teaching via technology.

Come on guys – get it right, test it, get it right again and THEN release it!

It’s getting a little bit the same with iPhone/Pad Apps. i sort of ‘get’ them updating as the iOS settles down but I’m constantly having to turn off 3G, open up my WiFi, enter my iTunes password and leave the device to update. I know I can still work on the device, but some Apps make me click a button to say I’m 18! [e.g. CaskMarque Pubs] What’s that all about – if I was 12, I’d still click the button, surely age-aware Apps should be dealt with via the iTunes registration?

Rant over.

Twitter Stuff

I ‘unfollowed’ a few people on Twitter the other week.

It’s not something I’m proud of as they are well respected professionals for whom I have the greatest admiration. What’s more they have not acted in any unprofessional way and usually I enjoy reading their varied and various posts.

However, some of their posts at that time were beginning to drive me mad.

I believe that social media is whatever we make it. Actually, I believe that we are still evolving social media and the ways in which it can be used.  We are still making the rules, although ‘rules’ is probably not the right word for where we are right now.  I enjoy Twitter for all of the reasons I’ve discussed before; varied communities of practice, water-cooler discussions, information, communication, fun etc, (yet I dislike Facebook intensely).

Twitter being limited to 140 characters, is an ideal way of giving and receiving information: no fluff – just comment and links. Managing the links can be difficult and many go by without being looked at as there is often just too much information to log or absorb. Nevertheless, I feel comforted by the information flow as I know that when necessary, there is always someone there to help. I like to feel that I help others too, when I can.

However, I have no wish to be treated to minute by minute, blow by blow updates of T.V. programmes I’ve no intention of watching.

I don’t watch much T.V. (well I do, but not the ‘big bruvver come dancing on a dessert island for xyz-factor vote for me UK’ type of T.V.) so I don’t really want my Twitter stream filling up with accounts of some crap that is probably being watched by millions anyway. If I was bothered about the T.V. programme in question, I’d watch it!

Fair enough, if it’s something like the Eurovision Final, because I can see the fun in exchanging comments about the song, the dress, the announcer etc. (not that I do it). Also fair enough if you’re Tweeting to say that you’re looking forward to ‘xyz’ or that last week’s episode was ‘blah blah blah’ but not a running commentary. Please not. Generally if it’s on T.V. and it’s on any one of the five main channels (and probably any of ten fairly universal others) I can watch it if I want. I promise that if I do watch it, I will not comment on everything that happens.

If you want to talk to someone while the T.V. is on – get a family, or a telephone – but please don’t Tweet me!

Another problem at the time was with all of the daily ‘this that or other’ Daily Papers that began to flourish over summer. Some mornings my Twitter Stream would fill up with just TOO MANY updates. So culprits had to go. I still receive and read the ACLJohn Daily – it’s OK; it’s enough!

So, what I need now is a special Twitter plug-in/procedure that allows me to filter Tweets with certain words or #hash tags. Anyone have one of those?