iTunes younger, cheaper, cooler cousin is no longer very young, very cheap nor very cool.
What with the creeping prices the leaking of indies and embracing of mainstream, eTunes… i mean emusic has just become a smaller, cheaper, crapper version of iTunes.
I’ve bailed after finding less and less of your catalogue appealing each month I was struggling to actually fill my (much diminished for the money) download quota.
What started out as a really cheap, risk free way of finding new bands became a much less cheap way of wading through mounds of crap, old music to discover the occasional gem.
Neither am I a diamond miner, nor am I a long-tail cool-aid drinker so I’m afraid I’ve had to say good bye after a fun (at first) five years…. I kept holding out on the hope that one day you would come to your senses. But you never did, so I guess it’s…
…Good Bye Emusic…
emusic is really starting to take the piss. Price hikes and monthly song quota cuts has already dented its once proud image as “iTunes’s younger, cooler brother.”
Now we have a site with buggy, sub standard download software and a policy which aims to make you repurchase tracks that have failed to download fully.
OK, so what happened?
I clicked on the download button, and the album started to download. (Much slower than it used to, I might add.) I then paused the download momentarily by accident (clicking the pause button).
When I clicked resume, it resumed from the next song! I now had two 30 second snippets. Nonplussed, I cancelled the download in the hope that I could restart it… Nope
Going back to the website, I found that there was no longer an option to complete your album… I’d have to pay the whole $6 to download the whole album again!
It’s a download site, for fuck’s sake and they’re charging me PER DOWNLOAD, when it’s THEIR SOFTWARE THAT’S BROKEN.
I really think that this time, I’m done with emusic.
For reference, here’s the mail I sent to their customer support… Not my most eloquent prose, I must admit.
"To whom it may concern" I paused the download.... when I resumed, it tried to download the next track... I now have four half downloaded tracks.... I thought if I cancelled the downloads, and reselected them manually I'd be ok... but IT SAYS I ALREADY DOWNLOADED THE TRACKS. With the OPTION OF REPURCHASING (WHAT THE F***?!) ARE YOU KIDDING! This is not good enough... You are not iTunes, the only thing you have going for you is that your prices are cheap... If you can't make a system as painless as iTunes you will go out of business. Please let me redownload the songs which I paid for but now don't have. The album is http://www.emusic.com/album/modwheelmood-Pearls-to-Pigs-MP3-Download/11475231.html It says I have 7 tracks but I don't. I'm getting sick of music's draconian "REPURCHASE" policies requiring me to justify my existence every time you have a bug in your software. Yours, Disgruntled, Craig Lloyd.
In the last week, I have come to feel that an end to an era is approaching: The Era of the mouse as the primary interface navigation tool for computing.
At least, it certainly is in my case.
I have used the Apple Magic Trackpad for less than a week and I am already in love with it. Far more so than the hybrid Apple Magic Mouse, which I found somewhat gimmicky and a little disappointing, so until this absolute gem came along, I was a devout fan of Wacom’s mouse and pen pad, the mighty Intuos 4: And I still am, to an extent. Insomuch as I use it now solely as a pen input device for my Photoshop/Illustrator work.
It just comes naturally
In terms of learning curve, if you own a MacBook or Power Book or indeed any form of capacitative touch screen device with multi-finger input (such as an iPhone, iPad or an Android) then you’ll be right at home the moment you use place your finger on its silky smooth surface.
For me, it came naturally within seconds, even though I rarely use a trackpad on a laptop. And I would not be lying to say that in terms of learning curve, nothing could be shallower!
In terms of being a trackpad, it is the finest example I have ever used. Every complaint I have had with other trackpads… (too small, too smooth, too rough, insensitive to dry fingers, sensitive to nearby gadgets, finicky, inaccurate, noticeable input lag, random response towards the edge)… And I mean every single one I can think of right now, has been addressed and overcome.
Here are some of the things I think make it stand out:
- Wireless – No more cables on your already cluttered desk.
- Quality – It’s not just a crappy, overstocked, last-year’s-model notebook trackpad shoehorned into a cheap plastic holder and resold. No, it is crafted as well as any Apple device I have used.
- Size – BIG! As I said above, it’s not a repackaged notebook device.
- Perfect frictional texture – You find your fingers don’t slide without tactile feedback and yet it’s not so rough that your finger is worn to a nubbin after 8 hours of constant use.
- Accuracy, stability and response speed – Seemingly instantaneous response with razor sharp accuracy. The mouse pointer may as well be tied to your finger!
- Attention to detail – For example, on other pads, if you overrun the edge of the pad, the cursor abruptly stops. However, on the Apple Magic Trackpad, the response gracefully degrades in such a way that you naturally return your finger to the centre of the pad. Very subtle, very Apple.
- System integration – The driver software and its integration with Apple’s Mac OS X is as close to perfect as one could ever wish for.
One word: Goodbye!
I just went to the App Store today and was amazed to see the new prices… I had contacted Apple Japan by email, feedback form and finally by phone in an effort to ascertain why prices were so fracking expensive.
For example, until the new pricing came into effect, Japanese customers (me included) were paying nearly 50% over the odds… Due to the really high yen.
The Yen, as it stands is currently at an unfathomably high ¥78 per US$1.
- $0.99 was ¥115 = $1.47 at current exchange rates.
- $4.99 was ¥580 = $7.34
- $9.99 was ¥1150 = $14.70
- $49 software was ¥5800 = $73.41
Now, thankfully things are far more reasonable.
- US$0.99 software is now ¥85 = $1.07
- US$4.99 software is now ¥450 = $5.69
- US$9.99 software is now ¥850 = $10.75
- $49 sofware is now ¥4500 = $56.90
I find myself setting up my home and office’s Macs perhaps a little more often than I would like and when I do, I find, more often than not that I install the following software.
In the first installment of this short series, I will mention a trio of window management utilities.
Note that this is not a list, just software that I am intimately familiar with and have used practically every day for over a year.
I’m running a 27″ iMac with the Awesome IBM T221 3840 x 2400 (yes, that’s right) monitor for photo editing. As such, I really need a bevy of good screen and window management software to keep the huge real estate in order.
$13 / OS X 10.5+
by Irradiated Software
Used on my smaller iMacs, this allows for a window to be sized automatically by user defined shortcuts into full-screen, top / bottom / left / right halves and quadrants. Has some fine tuning functions, too. For example, to adjust the balance between left and right and top and bottom, such as a 60:40 split or 70:30 split or to enable the screens to avoid edges and the dock, etc.
Simple to set up and effortless to use.
Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀
$7 / OS X 10.5+
by Irradiated Software
Made by the same company that made Sizeup. Best new UI feature stolen from Vista, drag a window to the top of the screen and watch it maximise. Drag it to the left or right edge and have it neatly resized to half the screen width! The only reason it doesn’t get a rating of five is that cinch doesn’t integrate with the custom left/right settings of Sizeup, and as such screens cinched to the sides tend to interfere with screens manipulated using Sizeup.
Takes 10 seconds to install and get working. Simplicity itself.
Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀
$14 / Mac OS X 10.5+
I consider this the king of window management software. You can divide your screen into a user defined grid and assign shortcut keys to resize windows to an arbitrary shape and size for the ultimate flexibility. Alternatively, if you need a custom size window, you can press a hotkey and rapidly assign a window to anywhere on the grid using the mouse!
As with most powerful utilities, the trade off is time required to set up the software in a personal and meaningful way. Still, if you’re willing to invest a little time in it, the payoff is increased productivity and more efficient screen use.
Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀
Free / Mac OS X 10.5+
A little different to the others here, Isolator allows you to focus on just one task or window and thus reducing distractions on the average, cluttered desktop by darkening or blurring the other windows out with a simple definable keystroke or a click of the mouse on the menubar.
Elegant and simple.
Useful rating: ☀☀☀
So long and thanks for all the fish! In Apple’s eternal quest for your money, they are continuing their disrespect for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard users less than two years after 10.6 came on to the market. forcing you to upgrade your OS at an increasing pressure rate that would make Microsoft blush.
In seven days, Mobile Me will no longer support iCal push to Leopard clients. F*** the What?
I run a shed load of Power PC macs which refuse to die…. And their OS was only superseded only in June 2009, less than two years ago… At which point all updates ceased abruptly, with only security patches from that point on.
I always remembered the adage…. “You don’t need a new PC because the old one will always continue to do what it always has done…”
Bah humbug. Not any more… With the cloud centred life that we are all starting to live, they can rescind anything they want at any time…. And with MobileMe, they’re doing just that… already…
Looks like I’m not the only one whose Intel iMac 27″ beautiful screen is discoloured and dirty, with dark patches, stripes and bands.
I think Steve’s video is worth transcribing because what he said certainly casts a shadow over Apple’s legendary customer service.
Hello everyone… Well, my name is Steven and I used to be a proud owner of an iMac 27″
A state of the art…. their flagship computer.
And basically after 90 days they invalidated my warranty and said that they’re not gonna fix it because it’s been used in a TOXIC ENVIRONMENT.
First of all, let me just take you on a journey… I’ll bring you over here…. to the environment that my iMac is used in.
Erm… let’s see, it’s almost like any normal person’s home office. maybe much smaller of course you know… but… well…
[Here he takes us on an impromptu tour of his humble, yet well kept, and might I say, well kitted... abode.
microwave, plasma TV... iPhone and docking station.... and.... heaven forbid, he even has a Cup Noodle in to cupoard!!!!
It is during this tour that he shows us his iMac.
My iMac... My iMac... let me show you my iMac. I think you can see fairly well on the right hand side of the screen: Marks running from top to bottom. That's actually... those seem to be getting worse. But even on a greyish background you can still see it fairly clearly. Bring it in....
Argh!... look at a that man! It's disgusting!
But, erm... Apple have turned around an' said I've been using the Mac in a TOXIC ENVIRONMENT.
YEAH. MY HOME OFFICE. YEAH. MY BLOODY HOME OFFICE!
Yeah, it might be attached to my kitchen...
[He continues the tour]
Look, my computer’s running absolutely bloody fine but…
The screen is a complete mess!
And Apple have said, “Go get stuffed, you’ve got a dirty house you’ve got a toxic bloody environment.”
And I will not accept that.
They want me to pay four hundred and seventeen frigging pounds for a new screen!
What? Because of this toxic environment? This toxic environment?
Jeezus! There’s millions upon millions of people around the world who have an office just like this…
Probably guys…. probably guys who have even small offices than this… Jeezus!
[Back on the tour]
Well. I’m afraid it’s over… You know like Apple… You know like…
Your firm… Steve Jobs….Your representative called my home a toxic environment!
And you need to get that sorted!
If you’re treating customers like this after 90 days… after 90 days… not even a year…
You are BREAKING THE LAW, sir… You are BREAKING THE LAW…
And you are breaking the covenant with he customer.
And I’ll not take…. I’ll not take it!
I sincerely hope they see their stupidity and you get your problem sorted out as rapidly as I did.
I think I’m going to send this to The Register. They always seem to know what to do with material like this!