The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

iTunes 5

iTunes 5 by Paul Watson

I have been using Windows Media Player as my main music player since it turned into a proper library driven app (version 8 or 9 I think). While it was never perfect it worked quite well with Winamp, Foobar and other players not coming close to my needs.

I tried iTunes when it first came out for Windows but something never quite clicked and I quickly went back to Windows Media Player 10.

iTunes 5 though seems like a keeper. My mate Jon describes iTunes' allure as K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) which while not completely true is a decent description. It does not have the tabbed interface of WMP but opts for a consistent list down the left-hand side; your library, playlists and other bits. It never disapears and it never scrolls horizontally like a WMP tree list can do. The menu bar is quite huge but it fits in the player controls and "LCD" info bar.

Couple things I am digging about iTunes:

  • Live search. Start typing and the main list filters down.

  • The browser is a three pane display. Genre, Artist and Album. Select an entry in one and the others update to reflect the now limited choices. Makes for drilling down into your library easy and a whole lot better than a tree.

  • Ctrl+L. It jumps the display to the current playing track. I had many times in WMP where I simply could not spot where in the list what was currently playing was. Helluva feature, yet so simple.

  • Reloads with the exact view you exited in. WMP10 is terrible at this and I got bloody frustrated with it.

Bits I am not digging though are:

  • Media keys on my keyboard don't work properly when iTunes is in system-tray mode. Pity.

  • About as slow as the WMP interface which was pretty slow.

  • Only displays the CD list-item once it has attempted to find the GRACENOTE entry. Bit of a pain when your net connection is slow.

  • Album-art panel is pretty useless unless you have a CD in. WMP10 displayed it correctly even with ripped music and single tracks.

  • No task-bar player like WMP10 has. I guess this is more because this is really Mac software where a taskbar does not exist.

  • It got a bit confused when importing my WMA collection. Created some duplicates, missed out a few folders and I eventually did a clean import.

The killer feature though is its consistent list on the left-hand side. Just makes things so much simpler and painless to use.

Now all I need is a nano.

UPDATE: I was bitching to my aforementioned mate Jon about how there is no option to hide the Music Store link the left-hand menu. I can't use the Music Store as I am in South Africa. He pointed out it can be disabled though through the Parental Control menu in Preferences. So can Podcasts, Radio and Party Shuffle though through the General tab in Preferences. Nice one Apple.


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Anonymous chelseagirl said...

yes yes, they certainly got the interface right, I agree. I resisted iTunes at first but have stuck with it for almost 2 years now.

BUT -- I had heard that this latest release was full of bugs especially for Windows users... but maybe their little updates have fixed those problems?

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