Anyone else find iTunes infuriating?!

I'd avoided using this proprietary control freak of a program until a few days ago. I had used XPlay to manage my iPods, but both my wife's player and mine stopped reading all their music shortly after working with the program, so...

I installed iTunes and got hers working. She likes automatic, so I let all the management features stand.

But after turning off all the automatic update, conversion, re-filing, re-naming, credit-card downloading, identity stealing, soul-sucking, unknowable cost-to-humanity features, I can't figure out how to get this beast to actually load music. Or make playlists on the iPod. Its like if I won't give it full control it won't let me do anything. The help files are useless (they actually refer me to the help files; criminy), and because they have named things so obscurely (update vs. synchronize vs. import vs. load) I can only keep hitting buttons until the mushroom cloud appears.

Mostly a rant, but if anyone knows a better management software, I'm all ears. Or a tutorial for the iTunes adversarially challenged, let me know.

eh...Itunes is pretty basic.. I would hardly call it complicated. Just create a new playlist name it what you want.. and drag and drop songs onto it.

I love my Creative Zen touch. Drag and drop music through Windows Explorer.

Guru,
I think its only complicated if you want it to do specific things, without letting the software run amok. Its very simple for my wife, who just lets the software update everything. For me to try to get everything done by hand, its very unwieldly. I think I've got most of the syntax down now, but its not as easy as Xplay (which simply used the Windows Explorer interface witha new Playlist feature).
And Dr. J, I don't think anything's as easy as the Creative line. Unfortunately not as many useful peripherals.

Music managers are the DEVIL!

EDIT - Sorry that doesn't really help you in this specific instance but it's all I got.

Jakobedlam wrote:

Guru,
I think its only complicated if you want it to do specific things, without letting the software run amok. Its very simple for my wife, who just lets the software update everything. For me to try to get everything done by hand, its very unwieldly. I think I've got most of the syntax down now, but its not as easy as Xplay (which simply used the Windows Explorer interface witha new Playlist feature).
And Dr. J, I don't think anything's as easy as the Creative line. Unfortunately not as many useful peripherals.

understood...yes I imagine that doing it the manual (aka non Apple) way would be a tad difficult.. Apple really seems to focus more on the plug it in and forget about it crowd than someone who wants more control over their music library.

I fall into the dump all my music and let Itunes sort it out..

Dr._J wrote:

I love my Creative Zen touch. Drag and drop music through Windows Explorer.

Seconded.

iTunes is easy.

I can't figure out how to get this beast to actually load music

File -> Add Folder to Library (to load a full folder)
File -> Add File to Library (individual files)

Pretty unambiguous if you ask me.

I do turn off iTunes's automatic file renaming/refiling because I store my MP3s on a remote share. But if you just have a small collection on a local PC drive, it's a nice feature.

Its like if I won't give it full control it won't let me do anything.

Sounds like you're trying to use an iPod without Disk Mode on. Turning on Disk Mode will probably solve your problems. Then you can create playlists directly instead of picking iTunes playlists to sync.

Disk Mode allows you to manually manipulate what goes onto the iPod through iTunes.
Without Disk Mode, the iPod is treated as a sync device. You choose playlists in the iPod menu to sync onto the iPod. It's useful if you want a simple way to sync changing playlists on the device, but if you want more control, Disk Mode is what you want.

I love my Creative Zen touch. Drag and drop music through Windows Explorer.

Does it build a metadata database, or just throw things into a directory structure you create? Because I've had MP3 players that were just glorified USB hard drives, which let you create the directory structure that you then browse on the device. I never want to go back to that again. A database driven device allows FAR more flexibility in browsing thanks to the metadata.

As my library is far larger than my iPod, I've opted to use the 'Playlist Sync' option. My largest complaint is that I can only "authorize" my iPod to one PC. Given that my music is on a remote share for convenience, I hate that I can't add music through a secondary PC.

http://www.ephpod.com

For all of your iPoding needs.

Create playlist in iTunes. Drag music to playlist.
Drag playlist to iPod. Observe copying in the upper window.
Enjoy!

Nice find! It even picks up my Motorola L7. *uninstalls iTunes*

/spit

L7 weenie.

Windows Media Player 11 beta is getting "rave reviews".

*Legion* wrote:

Does it build a metadata database, or just throw things into a directory structure you create? Because I've had MP3 players that were just glorified USB hard drives, which let you create the directory structure that you then browse on the device. I never want to go back to that again. A database driven device allows FAR more flexibility in browsing thanks to the metadata.

Wha? You and I must have had radically different experiences with Media Players!
Let me share MY view!
Does it leave things in the directory structures you so meticulously created, or just throw things into a seemingly random metadata database? Because I've had MP3 players that were just glorified metafile regurgitators, which refused to accept that there was a perfectly sane directory structure present and forced you to browse by some potentially uninforming Meta-tag and treated all your files the same despite genre. I never want to go back to that again. A device that treats the space I paid for as storage space but intelligently deals with the media I load it with allows FAR more flexibility than a mere MP3 Player.

I <3 my iRiver iHP120.

Now to be fair... I listen mostly to Electronica mixes that tend to flow from one song to the next, and may have 30 artists collaborating on various tracks throughout the album. So metadata usually creates either 30 artists, despite there being one unifying artists, or the 'various' heading which will eventually contain 5000 tracks.

I use a clear directory structure and Winamp to create custom playlists to save to my lil' buddy.

So to answer the original question. Yes. I find iTunes amazingly infuriating.

Rezzy wrote:

Now to be fair... I listen mostly to Electronica mixes that tend to flow from one song to the next, and may have 30 artists collaborating on various tracks throughout the album. So metadata usually creates either 30 artists, despite there being one unifying artists, or the 'various' heading which will eventually contain 5000 tracks. :(

Please consult the "Compilations" tag in iTunes and the iPod, kthxbai

Reasons why metadata owns:

a) Smart playlists - constantly updating playlist mixes that don't require ME manually mixing things up and dragging over individual files
b) Because a file structure is what it is, and if it's not exactly how you want to browse at the time, tough shizzy.
c) A song can be in 15 different "places" without requiring 15 different copies of the song on the device - anything less is a space waster

You talk about a potentially uninforming metatag. What kind of person creates a "meticulous" directory structure and then leaves their ID3 tags as damaged crap??

*Legion* wrote:

You talk about a potentially uninforming metatag. What kind of person creates a "meticulous" directory structure and then leaves their ID3 tags as damaged crap??

Someone who ripped 90% of his music back when MP3 was still a codec and not a lifestyle! Also, who wants to sit and fill in hours and hours of info when all I want to do is listen to some music?
rebuttals:
a) smarter than me? No thanks! I don't need my media player suggesting to me what I might want to listen to based on my previous moods. Choosing appropriate group folders when transfering albums or tracks allows me a level of flexibility and control that metadate cannot provide without forcing me to update metatags whenever my moods change.
b) Gosh, consistency and standardization is a bad thing? INFORM THE LIBRARIES!
c) Teehee! You're worried about space? I have 20 gigs of space. If I need room I just delete a folder. If I want that folder back, I go to my archive and copy the folder back. No fuss, no muss, no hunting through dozens of playlists to figure out what songs I haven't listened to in 5 months or figuring out what I can do without so that I can fit my latest aquisition on my player. Easy backups. Easy retrieval. Screw iTunes.

Seriously though, we could probably go back and forth all day with pro's and con's and little tricks and functions. For me? I know my music. I know how I classify it. I know how to find it quickly and efficiently on my player. My system works no matter how the metadata structures are or will be implemented in my player of choice. It cannot be broken by bad coding. It cannot be broken by data corruption unless my hard disk fails.

For my needs, a file system approach is more appropriate and efficient.
I am not alone. But I understand that I am in the minority here. Otherwise iTunes would have been rewritten to support my methodology long ago. The market rules. So you are arguing from the side that has already won. Luckily I feel superior because iTunes cannot break my system by releasing a tainted upgrade!
"wha? My tags got wiped? Oh NOes!!!" Utter chaos.
Copy. Paste. Play.

I ended up ditching both iTunes and Media Monkey in favor of foobar2000 with foo_pod addon.

Rezzy wrote:

Copy. Paste. Play.

Agreed. I love my glorified storage device.

Rezzy wrote:

a) smarter than me? No thanks! I don't need my media player suggesting to me what I might want to listen to based on my previous moods

Uhmm... I don't think you understand what "smart playlists" are. Poke around iTunes's smart playlist creation and see. It's about creating playlists that choose songs based on very flexible criteria you choose. And they're dynamic, not static. It allows you to create, say, a "personal radio" playlist, which chooses songs based on a myriad of criteria, and when you listen to a given song, it's removed from the playlist and new songs are added to the playlist based on that criteria. It has NOTHING to do with whatever you're talking about.

c) Teehee! You're worried about space? I have 20 gigs of space.

My digital music collection is > 300 GB and growing fast. My 60 GB iPod fills up quickly. Space efficiency matters.

Luckily I feel superior because iTunes cannot break my system by releasing a tainted upgrade!
"wha? My tags got wiped? Oh NOes!!!" Utter chaos.

And this little scenario is based on..... what? Something some random person claimed may have happened once? Come on now.

Easy backups. Easy retrieval. Screw iTunes.

.......

Honestly, I don't think you could fit more iTunes misconceptions into a post if you tried. I'm glad you enjoy your setup, but you appear to be in la-la land when it comes to being aware of how iTunes actually works (and how it can be made to work).

*Legion* wrote:

Honestly, I don't think you could fit more iTunes misconceptions into a post if you tried. I'm glad you enjoy your setup, but you appear to be in la-la land when it comes to being aware of how iTunes actually works (and how it can be made to work).

That's exactly what they said about Communism! Why do you hate America? ( )

This is like an argument about Stick vs Automatic. Or Linux vs Microsoft. In the end it comes down to personal preference. I prefer my way, Comrade.

Edwin wrote:

I ended up ditching both iTunes and Media Monkey in favor of foobar2000 with foo_pod addon.

What? There is a foobar addon for ipods? *scurries off to download*