Why the iPod Classic remains one of the best ways to listen to digital music

While it sounds like its hard drive may soon give up the ghost and it can't run for more than an hour without being plugged into power, I still use my iPod Classic around the house on a daily basis. I love it and even though I've moved on to using a Fiio M7 as my daily musical driver, I'll definitely spend the time and money to keep it running.

This video from Pitchfork deftly explains what made the original iPod and its clickwheel descendants such great products, and why using a smartphone to listen to tunes, despite the convenience they afford, doesn't hold a candle to the listening experience a dedicated music player can provide. Read the rest

Remove the DRM from iTunes movies with TunesKit

More and more people watch movies and TV shows at home, exclusively through the use of streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, but I'm not one of them. I'm not against streaming: the problem is that my partner and I live, full-time, in a 40 foot long motorhome, puttering around North and Central America. A lot of times, our rambles take us to places where the Internet connectivity is lousy. The upload/download speeds we get from RV parks or in the parking lots we surf are good enough for me to do my work online, but make for a buffering-filled nightmare if I even think about streaming anything. And if we decide to camp for a few weeks in a national park, I have to travel back towards civilization and a cellphone signal, just to check my email. We read a lot of books, but we both love movies. To keep us entertained, I've collected a hard drive full of just over 500 movies, and close to 300 hours of TV shows. Some are ripped from DVDs that I bought over the years, but most of them were purchased and downloaded from Apple.

For the last several years, I've had a real hate on for iTunes. So far as software goes, it's twitchy, slow and far from user friendly. I can't count how many times that iTunes has lost the artwork for the movies that I own. It makes me a little nuts. I also absolutely loathe iOS 11's TV app. Read the rest

Apple's long-awaited podcast data-transparency reveals an ad-listening audience with no clear format-preferences

Apple's podcast feature in Itunes is probably the most successful podcatcher extant, and it's long been understood that the app gathers extensive data on listeners' habits: what they listen to, when and where, and how they listen (skipping ads, increasing playback speed, etc). Read the rest

How big is the market for DRM-Free?

It's the Day Against DRM, and EFF is celebrating by publishing the first public look at How Much Do Consumers Value Interoperability? Evidence from the Price of DVD Players, a scholarly economics paper that uses clever techniques to reveal some eye-popping number on the strangled market for DRM-free gadgets. Read the rest

Save iTunes: how the W3C's argument for web-wide DRM would have killed iTunes

The World Wide Web Consortium's plan to standardize web-wide digital rights management is based on the idea that if an entertainment company doesn't like a new technology, it should have the right to prevent that technology from coming into being. Read the rest

Stop the Belieber Invasion!

Justin Beiber, one-time YouTube star, then chart-topping heart throb, then TMZ regular. Justin Beiber, recently roasted by the cool kids of Comedy Central. And now Justin Beiber, blasted out of space, over and over and over. Read the rest

Libraries can't afford to ignore Itunes' awful licensing terms

Jessamyn writes, "Itunes-only music is licensed for personal use. This does not include libraries' ability to offer it for lending. Kevin Smith, Duke University's Scholarly Communications Officer, outlines the real problems libraries encounter when trying to obtain legal access to digital-only files that have restrictive licensing." Read the rest

TuneUp music library clean-up app releaunches

A few years ago, I posted about TuneUp, software from my pal Gabe Adiv's company that did a bang-up job cleaning up the metadata mess of my 150+ GB music archive by identifying dupes, fixing track names, and grabbing cover art. About a year ago, Adiv parted ways with the company he started, TuneUp Media. Since then, the company released an update that really bummed out serious users and last month announced they were shutting down. Well, Gabe just managed to buy back the TuneUp assets and reunite the original development team to relaunch TuneUp. Interestingly, their first "new" product is an old version of the TuneUp software. Congrats, Gabe! Above, a classic TuneUp commercial starring the great Biz Markie!

"Founder Gabe Adiv Resurrects TuneUp To Continue Tidying Up Your Music Library" (TechCrunch) Read the rest

New Apple iTunes 11 interface revealed

Vintage ad scanned and Flickr'd by James Vaughan.

Wouldn't it be nifty if the newest iteration of iTunes, which in my opinion is one of a great company's poorest products, looked like this? The Ping-less iTunes 11 is set to launch this month, likely today, according to hints dropped in this Wall Street Journal profile of Apple exec Eddy Cue. It's not that big a secret, anyways; the Apple.com iTunes splash page says it's "coming in November," and there aren't many days left in November.

Below, *actual* screenshots of the new interface. Come to think of it, the new UI resembles the vintage ad more than iTunes 10 does! But I don't like it. I wish iTunes were a skinnable, interpret-able service with an API, like Twitter is (for now, anyway)—imagine if you could use any third-party client you wanted to access the service, as cleanly and free of cruft as you please. Read the rest

Report: iTunes targeted in mystery hack

At Macworld, Lex Friedman looks at recent reports of hacked iTunes accounts, where hundreds of users say gift card credit was wiped out by purchases made without their permission. Apple is issuing refunds, but is otherwise mostly silent on the matter.

This is a mystery story, but it’s not a great one. A great mystery generally involves a detective who gathers the evidence, performs an investigation, and finally issues the spectacular reveal: the motive, the guilty party, and—if all goes well—the punishment. In the mystery of the Towson Hack, unfortunately, we’ve got a crime, evidence, and a motive, but no justice, and no real resolution. Consider yourself warned.

The Towson Hack: The mystery of vanishing iTunes credit Read the rest