Sunday, October 19 2003

I use iTunes

on my Mac mostly to listen to Internet radio. I know there are programs that do the same thing, but I’ve never taken the time to get into them, so iTunes filled the need perfectly. I’m aware of the Music Store and all of it’s MP3 organizational powers too, but haven’t got into them.

I wanted to listen to Internet radio at work, where I use a PC, and was pretty happy when Apple released iTunes for Windows. I’m amazed at how badly the install went, and couldn’t be more displeased with Apple for it. Apple didn’t help things by claiming that it’s “The best Windows app ever”. My already high expectations set iTunes up for some serious chances for things to go wrong.

For one, the install crashed twice when I tried to install it. I had made sure all other applications were closed, giving it the best chances possible to install. Eventually, I rebooted my machine thinking that maybe the memory was a bit dirty from having been used for possibly a week without a reboot.

After the reboot, the install worked. Fair enough – it might have been a problem with my computer, but I won’t let Apple off the hook for that. There are plenty of software packages that I’ve installed that have had no problems, ever. Small, one man shops using free installers often have easier times making it onto my computer than iTunes did. Apple should produce much more robust software.

I fired up iTunes, went straight to the Radio tab, and was quickly prompted with an error message. Couldn’t connect to the Internet. It should have actually told me that it couldn’t detect my proxy settings, which is what the real problem was. You see, it does a kooky thing. It looks for Internet Explorer’s current proxy/connection settings, rather than store them in the application itself, and if it finds anything amiss, it just tells you that the Internet is broken, even as you’re searching Apple’s website looking for an answer to the problem. I think this is a poor shortcut to take - I want control over how iTunes connects to the Internet. I don’t want it piggybacking some other application that I rarely use anyhow. In anycase, it doesn’t even work.

I use an automatic proxy settings script, and for whatever reason, iTunes could use it, so it gave up. The only way to make iTunes work behind my proxy was to hard code the values into Internet Explorer, bypassing any automatic proxy settings scripts. Obviously, if the entity that handles the proxy server changes something, I will have to go back and “fix” it for iTunes to work.

Once all this has been sorted out, iTunes works exactly the same as the OS X version. The thing is, I’m feeling very much let down by Apple. Here they are, parading “The best Windows app ever”, and they’re blowing it by having a crappy install. I find it highly unacceptable.