How’s your iPod work? OK? Any major problems? Can’t figure it out? Even technical folks in the media have difficulty with Apple’s iPod and iTunes. Some just can’t figure it out. Really!
One of the concerns that many in media have these days is that media is much different than it was 20 years ago. 40 years ago. Now, everyone has an opinion and a way to share it.
I grew up with cable TV. 12 channels. AM and FM radio. Six AM stations and two FM stations. The home town newspaper was published twice a week. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was the daily paper of choice. There were three network newscasts. ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Back in the day, if you had an opinion of anything, you kept it to yourself or shared with family or friends. There were not many soap boxes available for the common folks, let alone idiots.
Not today. The advent of the web, expansion of cable TV, podcasting, DVDs and CDs, 20,000 US radio stations, and more print publications than you can count, mean there are plenty of opinions to share and ways to share them.
No where is that more true than with web pages on the Internet. Case in point: Editor in chief of Embedded Systems Programming, Jim Turley.
In Electronic Engineering Times, Jim says, the “iPod: Just A Hard Disk With A ‘Play’ Button.
Succinct? Yes. Accurate? Mostly. Wait! There’s more.
Jim says, “Like zillions of others, I’ve got an iPod. But, unlike every other mammal on the planet, I don’t think it’s all that great.”
True, it’s just a music player. It plays music. So did records. So did the Walkman with cassettes. So did CD players. The iPod is just a newer version of a machine that ‘plays music.’
Jim says, “Frankly, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? I’ve had MP3 players before and I think they’re terrific, but the iPod, frankly, is inferior to all of them.”
Uh oh. Them’s fightin’ words. Of course, Jim’s a technical kinda guy who writes for a technical publication so maybe he’s actually tried “ALL” of them. I haven’t. And won’t. Maybe he knows something I don’t (I’m kinda technical, too).
The iPod is, after all, just a hard disk with a Play button, right?
Jim says, “I’m reliably informed that that’s part of iPod’s charm: With no controls, you can’t screw it up. Or so I thought. The much-vaunted iTunes software that comes with every iPod handles all the content, for the simple reason that you can’t manage it any other way.”
“But iTunes is terrible. It’s absolutely appalling, in my humble opinion. In no time at all, I’d erased all the content I’d laboriously downloaded onto my iPod. Twice.”
Uh oh. Without saying much about the “why” of iTunes being terrible, Jim tosses flame bait in the sky, stands back and smiles, while gazillions of iPod users, iTunes users, and readers with brains cry out, “Huh!”
Jim, the technical guy, “laboriously downloaded” music to his iPod? Most of us just plug the iPod in to our Windows PCs or Macs and do something else. iTunes handles it automatically.
“It’s a sad day for people with articulate opinions. But its’ a great day for clowns. Now they have someone to look up to.”Apple is selling about five to six-million iPods a quarter now, mostly to PC users. Some of them are probably not as technically inclined as poor Jimbo.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read the instructions to either iTunes or the iPod. I put in a CD, click import and iTunes takes care of the rest. I plug in the iPod. iTunes takes care of the rest.
What’s Jim say?
“The software’s operation is utterly counterintuitive, but with no other user interface it’s the only way to get your $300 hard drive to do anything at all.”
Jim’s publisher needs to put a Help Wanted sign in the window because Jim’s not all there. He can’t figure out an iPod or an iTunes. He can criticize but only in general terms, NO specifics. Yep. Jim’s a techie alright. From Elbonia or Lower Slobovia.
Jim says, “these and other glaring mistakes-which afflict no other manufacturer’s products-seem to trouble the general public not at all. They’re all enamored of iPod’s sleek white exterior. Yes, my friends, we have entered the age where high-tech electronics are sold based on the color of the plastic.”
Hello! Jim implies that other manufacturer’s products actually do more, but that people don’t buy them. As to high-tech electronics being sold based on the color of the plastic, Jim obviously doesn’t have a cell phone.
I’m convinced that Jim doesn’t really have an opinion about iPods. Certainly, there’s no opinion worth reading, let alone worth writing about. But he wrote something anyway. He wrote what is known as “flame bait” and that makes Jim a “media clown.”
A Media Clown is someone in the mainstream media who says things for the sake of the response, hoping your hair will catch on fire, you’ll visit his web site, tell your friends (tell them he’s an idiot), and spark up interest in Electronic Engineering Times.
Tera has asked us to consider a weekly Clown, or Idiot, or Jackass award. That works for me. At least there’s plenty of material available.
He failed. If this is the best that Electronic Engineering Times can do, it’s a sad day for people with articulate opinions. But its’ a great day for clowns. Now they have someone to look up to.