This is fabulous.

I am now, for the first time in my life, the owner of an Apple product; I got an iTouch for my birthday.

I love it.

It’s a beautiful piece of technology and it has met all of my expectations, both good and bad. I love the screen, the software is fluid and intuitive. The interface is elegant and efficient. The keyboard sucks and typing is a horrid chore. The lack of flash is irritating, but mitigated by the hordes of developers working to create iPhone replacements for web-based flash video.The apps are creative and clever and I’ve found a number of ways to while away hours playing with it. Storage space is severely limited, but with a handy little product called Orb, the limited storage isn’t an obstacle.

The biggest drawback, without a doubt, is iTunes. iTunes is simply an awful piece of crapware that I loathe more every time I launch it. It’s buggy, unresponsive, and installs hidden spyware and masked utility processes on your computer without notifying you. The interface is clunky, counter-intuitive, unresponsive, confusing, and uninformative. The product can’t be customized, support is non-existent and the user community is too stocked with fan-boys and clueless tweeners for user-based support to be of any practical use.

I’ve not found a way to completely ditch iTunes yet, but Songbird is my best bet right now, but I think I’ll always be in some ways tethered to iTunes, which stinks, stinks, stinks.

iTunes is now DRM free, which is nice, but the program still stinks. Don’t get me wrong, iTunes has great content, but it makes finding and accessing that content a major pain.


RIAA and Evil

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is now arguing that copying your CD onto your own computer is illegal. (No distribution required.) They’ve sued a young man for doing just that.

I doubt that they’ll succeed in their efforts. In fact, I’m a little surprised that they’d bring this suit in the first place, as a defeat would cost the RIAA far more than they’d gain in a win. The right to copy your CD is accepted practice, but it is not ~clearly~ legal. If the RIAA loses this suit, then that practice becomes further insulated from legal challenges. And I find it hard to imagine that the courts would hold that music on a CD is inherently different from broadcast music and video (the right to tape and time-shift broadcasts on VCRs and DVRs being clearly established).

However, it’s likely that the RIAA will use a slightly different tactic in this case than they have in the past. The RIAA has long held that copying and distributing music is a form of theft — theft because the RIAA members lose revenue on CDs that the parties involved would otherwise purchase. Copying music onto your own personal computer, however, is revenue neutral.

Or at least it was.

But now, with the advent of online music sales, copying a CD onto your own computer means that you don’t have to buy the song online. More lost revenue. Therefore copying =

So don’t just blame the RIAA and the record companies, blame Apple and iTunes. And the cell-phone companies too. If this trend continues, we’ll soon have to buy the song once to listen on our portable music player, again to listen in our car, again to play it on our home computer, and again to use it as ring-tone.