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Music for the Apple of Your Ear

October 17th, 2003

Apple is hitting its stride with its music initiative, and several new announcements today. First is the emergence of iTunes for Windows. I have yet to download this for my PC–I will very soon–but it promises to be a smash hit. It is a very high-quality program, incredibly easy to use, putting any other app for music to shame–and it’s free. Then there’s the Music Store, now available for the other 95%–and the two or three percent have bought 13 million songs up till now, making it the #1 music downloading service already.

And Apple is not wasting time doing its marketing right: together with Pepsi, they are offering 100 million free songs, codes randomly distributed in Pepsi containers. Very good move, IMO. Apple should be able to sell lots more where those came from. At 99 cents per song, the ability to buy singly at that cheap price or buy whole albums for $10–I’m buying my music there.

And I’m finally going to break down and get an iPod. Probably the 30 GB model. I’ve been teetering on the line, more on the not-buy side lately, but with the introduction of two new accessories, the microphone to make voice recordings, and the Flash memory adapter to store photos–well, that about did it. That’s my Christmas present for myself this year. Am getting it before I go to the U.S. so I can use the music and games on the flight over and back (watching DVDs on my Powerbook is limited to the battery life, not enough to stretch out for the 8- to 10-hour flight), and to hold all the photos I take on my digital camera without having to haul my laptop everywhere.

Oh, and Microsoft had an announcement today, too. They’ve discovered not one, but four more giant, gaping security holes in their operating system.


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  1. Ex Mac user
    October 17th, 2003 at 15:31 | #1

    “putting any other app for music to shame”??

    I guess you’ve tried them all, then, right?

    Sorry, Luis, but a music app that does not even do ogg or ape or flac formats cannot be the best.

  2. Luis
    October 17th, 2003 at 16:34 | #2

    Yeah, unless you don’t give a rat’s behind about ogg or ape or flac file formats. This app is designed to work with the iPod, which is also recognized as the best–and so AAC is all you need. You want to get a second-rate MP3 player, then get something that can encode flac, and make do with an app which is harder to use.

    And outside working with MP3 players, if you want an app that will simply be easy to use for all standard needs (ripping, searching, playlisting, burning, buying music, listening to Intenet radio, etc. etc.), this IS the best one. Unless you can recommend one I haven’t found yet which is as convenient, easy to use, and as fully-featured as this one.

    I know you like to trash anything Mac, but you can’t trash this app.

  3. Ex Mac user
    October 17th, 2003 at 16:58 | #3

    “Unless you can recommend one I haven’t found yet which is as convenient, easy to use, and as fully-featured as this one.”

    J-River MediaCenter 9.1

  4. Luis
    October 17th, 2003 at 20:46 | #4


    Yes, I?ve tried J. River. Not impressed. It comes across as an iTunes rip-off, trying to mimic the interface. As if they took the Jukebox and then tried to lay an iTunes clone over it. It makes me wonder if you?ve ever used iTunes before–in your comment in August, your post implied that you had not used a Mac since before OS X (you were not aware of OS X?s keyboard shortcuts), and it leads me to believe you?ve never used iTunes, or else you?d see where J. River got its look and feel. The way things are laid out, the search window and its functionality, the playlists, the main media listing–all are borrowed from iTunes, but not executed nearly as well. The interface feels rickety compared to iTunes.

    It does has video capability–but then again, as a music app, that doesn?t impress me too much. And the program is not at all easy to use–I had to consult the help center several times to figure some things out, and some things I never could get to work well.

    The Web Media section, for example, was completely confusing–after reading the help center, I was finally able to get one station to play, but it was never easy to manage; it would alternately play music I’d ripped or the previous station I’d been playing. It seemed to stick on the last item played.

    To get the whole thing working, it is clear I would have to train myself in its use–a distinct disadvantage compared to iTunes. With iTunes, I never once had to consult Help. It was so intuitive, I was able to figure it out almost immediately. And yes, it has Ogg and APE (I couldn?t find FLAC, unless you meant the WM Lossless), but not, as far as I could tell, AAC. So how does that make it better than iTunes?

    The only real advantage I can see as a music player is that J. River is able to sync with several different MP3 players, while iTunes just syncs with the iPod (as far as I am aware). Not a big deal if you want the best experience, which the iPod offers.

    The big disadvantage of J. River, especially if you just want to use it to manage your media on your computer, is the cost: $40, and possibly more for future upgrades. iTunes is free.

  5. Luis
    October 18th, 2003 at 23:31 | #5

    Ex: Comment deleted, IP banned.

    Sorry, I don’t like personal insults in public forums, and I will not abide them in my own blog. I suggest that when you post comments as a guest in other people’s blogs, you do not take such an offensive tone.

  6. BlogD Fan
    October 21st, 2003 at 08:41 | #6

    Well, I think iTunes rocks, but I don’t know if all our Windows brethren will think so. Not all of them will want to use iPod, after all. I’ve tried MusicMatch on the PC and find it to be a fairly good option.

    By the way, Luis, no offense, but aren’t you being a little thin-skinned about Ex’s comments? I saw the original before you deleted it, and it seemed quite mild compared to a lot of the stuff that gets said in the blogosphere. I like your blog and would hate to see you become like O’Reilly or Rush in the way they always stifle any dissent.

    Just a friendly hint from a fan!

  7. Luis
    October 21st, 2003 at 08:59 | #7

    Blogd Fan:

    Thanks for the comment, and I understand what you mean about iTunes. As for Ex Mac’s comments, I have absolutely no problem with dissent–after all, I did engage in debate with him in this and other posts, with his very clear disagreement. You want to tell me I’m wrong, by all means, I don’t mind.

    As for his comments being “mild,” I suppose they were in the sense that he did not use expletives, but at the same time they were strongly condescending and insulting. A person is welcome in my home as a guest, but if they begin to act like that I don’t usually invite them back. While conversation can become rather heated in a public forum, a blog is a more personal venue. I would never think to post denegrating comments in someone’s blog, and I hope that this is the norm; I wish only to keep up such standards. Far from Rush or O’Reilly, trust me.

  8. BlogD Fan
    October 21st, 2003 at 09:21 | #8


    I’m not sure I get you about the “guest in a home” comment. That doesn’t seem to be the norm for blogs in general, although you are within your rights to define your own space that way, I suppose.

    As for the condescending tone, I don’t recall it exactly, but wasn’t Ex just saying your message would have been more acceptable without the slams at Windows? That strikes me as a reasonable comment, not insulting. Apple needs to gain market share, needs to have iTunes succeed as a service. If we are going to push it, we need to do so by pointing out its advantages, without belittling Windows or its users.

    I know these Mac-versus-Windows discussions can easily become personal and emotional, but let’s at least start out with the right tone from the beginning, rather than inviting strong reactions with provocative statements. I hope you understand what I’m saying.


    Still a BlogD Fan!

  9. Jack
    February 10th, 2004 at 01:54 | #9

    Love Christian music, reading and making friends

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