Just bought an 80GB Video iPod! Awesome gadget and a nice way to get into the whole podcast/vidcast mindset. Unfortunately, I have to deal with Apple’s iTunes software to manage it.
I’m currently on an IBM T42p laptop (waiting for Apple to wake up and upgrade the MacBook Pros to Core 2 Duo), so this applies to the Windows version of iTunes.
1. Photos? What Photos?
I downloaded iTunes (yes, it’s not included in the package), installed it and plugged in my new iPod. iTunes began looking for media on my computer and converting it to Apple’s format. A dialog box appeared telling me iTunes was “optimizing my photos,” whatever that means. Meanwhile, iTunes becomes unusable, locked by the weird dialog. And to make matters worse, although iTunes tells me it transferred a couple thousand photos to my iPod, I can’t see them or find them anywhere.
UPDATE: I went to the local Apple Store and requested help with this at the Genius Bar. Though very polite, the dudes at the Genius Bar were unable to solve my problem, claiming to be unfamiliar with the Windows version of iTunes and having never heard of a similar problem. They suggested I call Apple Support. I decided to reinstall iTunes from scratch, but the problem was still there. The Apple Support website shows no mention of this particular problem, even though a simple Google search shows this has been around since at least February of 2006, if not earlier. Further troubleshooting with my system yielded the following answer:
There was apparently a photo file that was giving iTunes/iPod trouble, so I looked at how many photos were transferring to the iPod and manually selected folders until the total shown was higher than the number of photos on the iPod. I then deselected that last folder (which turned out to be my Picasa Exported Pictures folder) and the problem went away. I’ll eventually look through that folder to see which picture in particular was causing the error, but for the time being I’m fine.
2. Movies? What Movies?
I downloaded some video podcasts from Revision3 which turned out to be in a format too large for the iPod too handle. iTunes shows the movies in the Movie section but fails to inform you that they will not play on the iPod. You can take a guess and right-click on a movie and select “Convert Selection for iPod” if you want (the option will show for both iPod compatible and non-compatible videos). While you’re converting a video (takes ages), you can’t click on another video and add it to the conversion queue.
UPDATE: Even some video podcasts downloaded directly from iTunes appear to be incompatible with my iPod.
3. Artwork? What Artwork?
iTunes is supposedly capable of downloading album covers to display while a song is playing. Good Luck. iTunes was unable to find any artwork for most of my records, even though they are available in the iTunes store. Microsoft’s Windows Media Player lets you select the album you’re looking for and also let’s you cut-and-paste artwork.
UPDATE: I found a hack for this: Go to Amazon.com, search for your album, right-click and copy the album artwork image, go back to iTunes, select all the album files, right-click and Get Info, click on the Artwork box and paste the image.
4. Library? What Library?
iTunes will not monitor a folder for newly added files. Instead, they must be added manually via Add Folder or Import. iTunes also can’t tell when it has already added a song, resulting in multiple copies of each file. Attempting to ctrl-click these files to select and delete them caused iTunes to become unresponsive around the third ctrl-click.
5. Speed? What Speed?
iTunes feels mostly sluggish (so does Windows Media Player) and everything takes a few more milliseconds that it should. It just feels like it’s on slow motion.
So, what do you think? Does iTunes run better on a Mac? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know via the comments.