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bye bye emusic.com

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

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…

 

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Categories: 2) Music & Film Tags: , , , , ,

emusic download manager blues and repurchasing

July 24, 2011 5 comments

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.

iCal and Power PC / 10.5 leopard, 5 days to the end to push notifications!


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.

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

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.
highlights include
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!


Intel iMac 27″ developing dirty, dark spots and patches on the screen : The zombie problem that just won’t die!

March 15, 2011 46 comments

Like one of those nightmare zombies that never stays dead, the dreaded screen dirty dark patch screen problem has recurred….

Started with this:

My Intel ‘Aluminium’ iMac 24″ roasting with dark spots on screen

Admittedly, it did come  back from repairs in record time.

But that was only the beginning, Since this battle for a replacment continued for over a year!!

Then, my new iMac 27″ started to develop dark patches on the screen too.

FFS Apple, fix it.. I just had a new screen for my replacement iMac  in November!

I’m running it in a cool, clean dry environment.

As usual, the discolouration appears to be behind the glass. Or even behind the pixels themselves, in the underlying lighting panel. So there’s no way it could be dirt from regular use.

This time, the discolouration looks somewhat like hand prints…

Or, forget trying to describe it. Let me show you some pics…

Photos taken with an old D70, so vignetting and sensor dirt is a little bit of a problem.

Please note, that these marks only appeared last week so I’ve upped the contrast of the pictures. But I can assure you that within a month they will be quite visible without tweakage.

Ignore the yellow piss-like tinge at the bottom of the screen, although it’s there, it’s hardly noticeable at honest contrasts.

Here is a closeup of the left hand side. Note that I had to intentionally blur the picture when taking it since the moire effect of the pixels made the final image unviewable. What a mess of dots and a fine patina of blobs! Yuck!

Now for the right hand side:

This looks a little bit like the heel of someone’s hand, perhaps…?!?

What more can I add?… This is my second iMac 27″ screen and my 7th (or 8th) iMac screen in total. Grrrr Arrgh! As the phrase goes.

Apple’s quality control has not improved over the last three years.

I’ll keep you posted.

Aluminium iMac 24″ screen displays patches, uneven brightness and dark spots saga recap

November 15, 2010 13 comments

My Aluminium iMac 24″ started to develop dark patches and black spots during the summer of 2008. It was well into it’s second year of Apple Care, so I was glad I’d purchased the extended cover.

—> For 27″ iMac story, click here.

Here is a picture of my disfigured screen, which I posted in the original blog entry.

picture of iMac screen showing mottled patches and uneven brightness

Dark patches are clearly visible on the left with the right hand obviously darker

My Intel ‘Aluminium’ iMac 24″ roasting with dark spots on screen

I first sent it in for repairs a couple of days after that, as detailed here.

My iMac 24″ comes back from repairs in record time.

My initial feeling of satisfaction remained for almost a year, and the screen performed flawlessly for most of it. But as time progressed, I couldn’t help noticing that the bottom left hand corner was

was subdued by the quality of the second screen which was much lower than the original it replaced. I contacted Apple again and sent the screenshot below.

iMac 24" screen showing darkened left hand region

The lower left region was less than half as bright as the centre of the screen.

A call back from a more senior engineer suggested a further replacement screen.

So, I zeroed my drive, reinstalled tiger and sent it back with screenshots and explanations saved to the desktop.

The machine came back a couple of days later and no sooner had I powered it up than a horrible feeling came over me.

Second New Screen

The second replacement was just ghastly. After leaving it to “warm up” for an hour, I took the above screenshot. I didn’t even reinstall. I just put it straight back in the box, contacted Apple again and had the bloody thing replaced forthwith.

iMac screenshot showing bandind down left hand side and darker central region

This screen clearly shows striping down the left hand side and a dark central region

This time, a more senior member of staff contacted me, since this was now the third time to “fix” the problem.

She explained that the next screen would be the final screen I would be able to receive, since a screen could be replaced a maximum of three times.

So I explained to her that in actual fact, the screen would be replaced as many times as was necessary to ensure that I could do my work on it again, as I had done when I first purchased it. She seemed a little surprised by the concept.

I explained that the new screens were clearly inferior in clarity, regularity and colour balance and were clearly a different make from the originals. She would neither confirm nor deny this.

Once more she asked me to realise that this would be the last free replacement they would give, and I was once more forced to explain that this was not a favour to a mate, this was in order to fulfill the legal requirement of “fit for purpose” and obey advertising standards as on their original advert: A built-in professional grade screen perfect for editing photos and videos, and serious graphical applications, the screen was far from professional or perfect.

I asked for the screen to be fully tested and have an engineer report the fact to me before returning the machine, a demand to which she acceded graciously.

The engineer called and said that the screen had been calibrated for both colour and brightness and was found to be well within specifications.

Great! Finally, we were getting somewhere… Surely this time, the machine would have a lovely, clear screen, like the one it first came with.

The computer came back the next day.

I fired it up.

Bong. Came the chime.  It was immediately and, by this point, unsurprisingly apparent that this screen was also substandard.

iMac screenshot showing a dark band along the centre of the screen.

This screen shows a terrible, dark band on the left hand side

I contacted Apple again and this time, they put me straight back though to the lady in charge. I showed her the picture above and asked her if this was typical Apple quality.

No she admitted…

I asked her who had tested the screen and who had assured me that it was within spec. She couldn’t release the information, she said, but she would speak with him before contacting me back.

An hour later the phone rang and with an apologetic tone, the lady asked me to send the machine back in and confirmed that “some irregularities in the testing procedures had been found.”

Off it went.

The next day, a call from the chief engineer confirmed that the screen was below standard. But since there were no more screens of the original standard, the next screen might well be of the same quality or even worse. But, if I was not satisfied with the next screen, I could have the whole machine replaced.

The machine was back in my hands the next day, with another substandard screen, with almost the same patterns of distortion as the second replacement I’d received.

Screen shot of iMac showing banding and colour shift

This photo clearly shows the nasty banding on the left, a dark central region and a severely pink-tinted right hand edge.

‘Since there are no more 24″ iMacs in stock, I’m afraid we are going to have to replace it with a different model. But we guarantee that it will be of at least the same spec or higher than your last model.”

“Whatever,” I said resignedly, as long as the screen is clear.

Two days later, the machine below arrived on my doorstep.

Intel iMac 27"

The new iMac 27" with LCD backlit screen.

Now we’re talking…

Thank you Apple. It was a long and winding road, but well worth it. A machine nearly 3 years newer than the one it replaced. Although they had some quality control issues, they were constantly polite, attentive and very forthcoming with “fixes”.

Here’s another satisfied Apple customer (albeit with caveats).

Firewire vs. USB

September 10, 2009 2 comments

The battle between Firewire (A.K.A. IEEE 1394, iLink) and USB rages on.

i switch

It’s well known that although USB 2.0 shows a higher speed on paper (480Mbps vs. 400Mbps) than Firewire, due to inefficiencies in USB protocol and the fact that USB requires the host to manage the transfer of data, Firewire is in actual fact faster on the whole.

The reason is cited as being not just the efficient, real-time, streaming oriented protocol but the Firewire controller itself, which manages much of the dirty work when it comes to data transfer, offloading the stress of controlling real-time, high speed data from the motherboard/CPU onto the device.

This offers two main benefits:

  1. The host CPU or controller has less work to do and can focus on other, more important stuff, meaning the attached host will feel more responsive and less stressed under heavy load.
  2. Because major data flow control is performed on the device itself, wasteful, detailed control data does not have to flow back and forth between the device and the host, leading to less wastage and latency.

…and two main drawbacks:

  1. The controller is relatively complex and thus expensive.
  2. The controller’s complexity can lead to difficult to diagnose compatibility issues.

Which leads to my main issue.

My Logitec MA-16FU2/WM external firewire and USB dvd burner regularly fails to mount disks on my Mac, while connected by Firewire but performs flawlessly with USB.

Basically, no disks inserted will mount at all under Snow Leopard.

Indeed “about this mac/more info…” shows no sign of any volume in this drive, whether it’s directly connected to the mini or via the firewire hub of the Princeton PHD-MM160IUH.

Moreover a second firewire / USB device will often fail to remount over firewire if I shut it down or disconnect it. Again, it works flawlessly over USB. Moreover, it even works with Firewire when connected to my Windows PC!

Go figure!

I’ve tried:

sudo kextunload
/System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

and:

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/IOFireWireFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleFWOHCI.kext/

but the external drives just shut down and restart, still without mounting the volumes.

No joy.

It’s really ironic that the Mac has worse support for firewire than Windows, especially since Apple were one of the founders of the specification.

basically, despite the ‘so-called’ superiority Firewire, I can only get my job done reliably with USB… sigh.