Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Rant About How I’m Not Happy with the Ipod

            I’m a low tech guy.  I don’t have an ipad or an iphone, and I waited several years before getting around to buying an ipod.

            A couple years ago I finally did break down and buy an ipod because I thought it would be a good way to listen to audio books.  But I’ve not been happy with it.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I don’t consider this thing user friendly at all.

            My first complaint goes back to when I first bought the thing, and it came with absolutely no directions at all.  I thought all I had to do was transfer audio files into it, but instead I first had to download itunes, and then spend hours online researching how to sync itunes with the ipod.
            So right away I’m not happy with how unfriendly the whole company has been to new users.

            Then, after loading several audio books into my ipod, I delete them off my computer to save space.  Only to discover that each time my ipod syncs up with itunes, it deletes everything not presently on itunes.  Another thing I had to learn the hard way.  After spending several hours loading up audio books on my ipod, I discovered they became deleted from my ipod once I deleted them from my computer.  Why does this have to happen?
            So, in order to keep all my audio books on my ipod, I also have to keep them stored simultaneously on my computer.  Only my computer doesn’t have enough space to keep all my audio books at once.  So then I spend some more hours researching online, and find out how to get around this problem—by telling the ipod not to sync up with itunes, I can transfer files from itune manually to the ipod.  Although it’s still not user friendly, because once the ipod’s space fills up, I can’t seem to create any extra room by deleting files.  Presumably I just have to sync up with itunes again to get that storage space back. 

            Also, in order to stop itunes from deleting everything on my ipod every time it starts up, I really have to be quick on the button telling it not to sync up.

            The reason I’m writing this rant is because just today, while trying to use my computer speakers to play some audio books off of the ipod, I accidentally allowed itunes to sync up with my ipod and all my audio books got deleted.  (Some of them I had transferred from the library at a town I no longer live in, so I will not be able to replace them in the immediate future.  Some of the audio books I hadn’t even gotten around to listening to yet.)  There wasn’t even a safeguard on the program to alert me that all my old audio books were about to be deleted, and to confirm that this was what I wanted.

            I guess the lesson here is never put anything on your ipod you don’t have backed up somewhere else, but it’s still been a frustrating experience.

            Also, while I’m complaining, I hate it that the ipod doesn’t even come with an electrical cord I can plug into my wall to recharge it.  (I understand that for an extra cost such a cord can be purchased, but I’ve never seen it on sale at a reasonable price.)  So some days I have to turn on my whole computer just to recharge the ipod.  And when I go on vacation without my computer, then there’s no way to re-charge it.

            All this is just to say I’ve not been very happy with the ipod.  I’ve never been an Apple customer, and based on this experience I’m not going to be buying any more of their products.  And considering how unuser friend the ipod is, I’m very surprised it’s been as successful as it has.

Link of the Day
Talking With Noam Chomsky


Daniel J. Luke said...

I wouldn't fault the iPod here as much as your expectations on what it is and how it should work. There's obviously a mismatch with how you want to use it and how it is set up to operate - if you do it the 'Apple' way, everything will 'just work', but if you fight the way it's intended to operate, then you will end up unhappy.

For some specifics:
1. Unfortunately, nothing really ships with real manuals anymore. There is plenty of information online (even videos if you would rather watch than read) with info on how to use the iPod.
2. Hard drives are relatively cheap, you really should be able to have everything on your computer and on your iPod. (Then the sync just works and you don't even have to think about it, your iPod just keeps a copy of what is in iTunes and it's always available on your computer or your iPod). If you think of it as a mirror of your computer's iTunes music, it might make it easier to understand why it goes through so much effort to sync.
3. iTunes should remember that you've chosen to manually manage your music ( There's something else going on here if you changed that setting and it's still trying to sync 'normally' (and deleting stuff you don't want deleted).
4. Apple sells plugin adaptors (for $19), but since the cable end is a 'normal' USB plug, you can also make use of any cheap wall power -> usb adaptor (there are Chinese knockoffs that even look like the Apple adaptor for ~$3). I think I paid ~ $10 for a car charger that has a USB port that I use to charge my phone...

Joel said...

Fair enough. My expectations were pretty much to use the thing as a portable MP3 player, and have been pretty frustrated that I can't just add stuff to it freely from whatever computer.
As for number 3, yeah I don't know what happened. It was keeping that setting for a couple years, and then I must have just pressed the wrong button or something.

Darrell Reimer said...

I like my iPod, but there are plenty of mp3 players that keep it simpler than Apple does -- and they're much, much cheaper. I have a SanDisk that I use for podcasts and audio-books. You just transfer files to it (or delete them) like you would to a thumb-drive. It's great for Linux users. But the iPod is purty, and keeps track of all sorts of stats that I like to geek out on, so that's what I use the most (even though Apple has it in for Linux users).

Joel said...

Given that there apparently are plenty of mp3 players out there that probably would do exactly what I want them to do, I guess I have no one but myself to blame for going with Apple. It's just that I don't keep up on this stuff at all, and if you're low-tech like me, ipod is pretty much the only brand you hear about. I wouldn't even know where to start with the other brands. Guess I should have done my research.

Darrell Reimer said...

Here's a good place to start.

Joel said...

beautiful. Thanks.

Dean said...

I'd also suggest buying an External Hard Drive. This is a great way to keep stuff off the computer and saved for periodic use only. It's like a filing system for your books. :)

Joel said...

Another thing I'll have to look into. Is it difficult then to sync itunes with external hard drives?

Dean said...

Having an external Harddrive is like having more space on your computer's harddrive. (A thumb drive would work too) First plug in the harddrive via the USB port, sync to the Itunes Program on COmputer, then move files around whereever you want. Then you can remove them from your computer again once you disconnect the hard drive and your other device (iPod), leaving the backup copies on the harddrive and your computer freed-up. I hope this helps!

Joel said...

Yes it does actually. thanks.