The Ridiculousness of it All

Its no secret iTunes is getting more ridiculous with each version, but as I try to claw back some level of interest in listening to music on the go and on my Mac. I'm finding the prospect of wanting to use it even more maddening and suspect. The irony in the user interfaces for both iTunes and the Music app for iOS and the Mac respectively is the rising complexity alongside the dilution of character in both apps and what made the individual parts stand out. For example the ever growing presence of the iTunes Store in my music library. They used to be separate experiences.

My first headache after a long spell with not wanting to transfer or listen to music on either of my devices was after I put my Beatles Digital boxed set on my iPhone. And I only wanted the Beatles on my iPhone because I figured having less music would make the app simpler to operate. I was wrong and I didn't get a chance to find out because when the music app loaded, I still found all my music cluttering up the app, because of the streaming feature available. Coincidentally the Beatles boxed set can't be streamed even though I actually paid for it.

If I did kill the Internet connection on my iPhone, I of course succeeded in nullifying access to the streaming option, but that's inconvenient because of obvious reasons like having no internet. I signed out of my music app thinking that would fix the issue. It does, but then Apple helpfully logs you out of all other Apple services in the other different Apple Store apps.

It's a losing fight I find myself in. I'm pining for the simplicity and experience of a dumb iPod again because of Apple's insistence on us using its services at the expense of the quality of the experience offered. I thought Apple sweated the details, or maybe they are sweating them, but just not in the user's favour.

I don't even have Apple Music, iTunes Match or use Apple Connect and it feels my music collection isn't mine, it did on the iPod and it did on the Mac before the software started bloating and turning against itself.

This whole music service and content delivery system is so needlessly complicated and stubborn and I don't even need to talk about the bugs. I don't even talk about music amongst friends and I've stopped buying music because I'm not listening to any. It's been all podcasts and the occasional SoundCloud track.

This isn't new information and if I'm having this epiphany, I'm positive the folks in Cupertino are aware of what they are doing. So while I want Apple to re-imagine iTunes (how long have we been waiting, only for Apple to go the opposite direction?) like they have done with Photos, can I find the simplicity of the service that I desire elsewhere? Something that just reads MP3 files.

I'll update soon.

Podcasting in April

April, I hardly knew you.

JPG Podcast - Subscribe Here

32 - I Love Me Stannis. The only Game of Thrones Episode this month. Here we discuss episodes 5 and 6 of the fourth series.

33 - Talking about... 'Contact' (in two parts). A new segment in the show where I sit down with a new co-host called Chris and together we discuss a movie of worth. Our first is Jodie Foster's 'Contact'.

Prick Me - Subscribe Here (New Sound Cloud home here)

17 - Dating with... Matty. Only one episode this month due to time considerations. Probably the same for the next month until Hong Kong People Podcast reaches 50 episodes. At the same time, because of unnecessary credit card charges and my shoe string budget, I'm moving 'Prick Me' to Sound Cloud under their free tier. Episode 17 onwards will be being uploaded there for the foreseeable future.

Hong Kong People Podcast - Subscribe Here

Technically 5 episodes for the month of April, one of them being a duplicate as it's an extended version. In April I have four people sit down with me and discuss Hong Kong's past, present and future. I speak to a chemical engineer, an accountant and mother, a business sustainability consultant and an expat who has been living in Hong Kong since the 1970s.

Other Podcasts - The newest ones I'm listening to is Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. What a voice Carlin has, what a way of presenting information and providing context to important events in human history. Then there is the length of these episodes, many of them go into the three hour territory and it never suffers for it. Once you listen you're gripped. Proof podcasts can be listenable beyond the one hour mark.

Dan Carlin also does a second podcast called Dan Carlin's Common Sense. An american centric podcast discussing the contemporary events happening in the US. Dan Carlin takes a truer, level-headed, critical approach with whatever Dan decides to comment on.

I recently realised I must get the majority of my news from podcasts these days and I feel happier for it. The news podcasts I listen to tend to be more positive in their presentation than big news networks. Yes they are less up to the minute compared the 24 hour news cycle, but really, I don't believe we've benefitted from that as a society. Podcasts go into greater detail, they accept their position as a delayed source of information because they don't need to be first, creating a different experience as priorities shift to story telling, episode arcs and getting into greater detail. Don't forget the whole passivity of the medium.