July 22, 2008

Resistance is painful

Apple's niche of world domination can be frustrating.

When shopping for a MP3 player, I chose not to get an Ipod. The main reason was the inability to replace the battery. When I was shopping, Apple was having a brief publicity problem. The first wave of Ipods were having battery problems as they have a expected life of about 18 months. When people contacted Apple to get the batteries replaced, they found out that there was no way to replace the battery, and that they should just buy a new Ipod. This guy actually sent his Ipod addressed to Steve Jobs and found that "Buy a new one" was the company policy. They later changed their policy to charge $99 to replace the battery (now $67)

As I am not a fan of disposable products, I bought a Creative Zen Micro. It has a replaceable battery, and the package actually came with a spare. I have been happy with its performance, and the battery is still taking charges. As it is not an Ipod, 99% of the supporting products out there don't work with the player.

The real problem has been buying songs online. Until recently, Itunes was about the only game in town where you could buy a single song without paying a monthly fee. As my player was not an Ipod, Itunes vast library was no help as the file type is proprietary and not compatible with other players. Thankfully Amazon.com has entered the market and I can now buy MP3 files online.

Except...there are artists that are exclusive with Itunes. I went looking for a U2 song last night and I could only find it on Itunes. In order to get the song, I would need to add the Itunes program to my computer, buy the song, burn the song to a CD, then rip it back off onto the computer as a MP3. My laptop has a nearly full hard drive and is already moving very slowly, so I had no interest in adding another program to gum up the works.

But I really wanted the song. My desktop computer has a new, relatively clean hard drive so I decided to load Itunes there. Unfortunately it is not connected to the internet as the phone jack is dead in that room. So I downloaded the program on the laptop, transferred it to the desktop, and installed Itunes. Since I couldn't get online, I had the wife buy the song on her laptop (she has an Ipod Shuffle, but no cd burner) and I copied it to the desktop. After jumping through all the hoops I was ready to start the burn to CD/rip it back off process.

Except...the song is right-protected. The wife bought it on her laptop and it needs to be authorized for the desktop. I typed in the password and waited for it to unlock, but it needed internet access to complete the authorization. So I dragged the desktop out to the living room to plug it into the wireless router.

Clearly it is time to upgrade from DSL to fiber optic and get the desktop back online. Plus I recently received a free Ipod Shuffle, so now Itunes is set to partially absorb me. The Shuffle is still in the box for now. It is best if we step away from each other for a bit.

Song price 99 cents - but it was no where near that cheap.