Sunday, April 6, 2014

Misadventures in iTunes Land

Ok, I fess up.  I have iTunes on my laptop, but seldom make a purchase from the iTunes store.  Instead, I primarily use iTunes to rip my CDs into MP3 format so that I can play them on most digital devices.  I have converted my entire CD collection of about 100 or so CDs to MP3 format using iTunes.  It came as no surprise when I finally went to make a purchase to use up the $10 iTunes gift card that I've had for a couple of years that I was prompted to respond to security questions and had no idea what the answers would be.  (I don't believe I ever set security questions – yes, the account is that old).  Any who, the Apple prompts walked me to their help which had me enter my telephone number and I received a message that I would receive a call in 10 minutes.  Well apparently that message is not correct if you are calling on Sunday… no call back until Monday.  Being the impatient person that I am, I didn’t wait for a call back so I called the Apple help number and got through to a live person in a reasonable amount of time (honest, that is a compliment).  Without too much drama, my issue was resolved and I was on to purchasing my app (which was the paid version of my top (free) choice Craigslist app).

I’ve had the iPad 2 now for around 2 years or so.  I was feeling stagnant so I thought; why not load my music from iTunes onto it.  After all, the roots of the iPad was the iPod, a device notorious for music and my iPad is a 32 gig version with plenty of available space even for my 100 CDs.  I note that I had attempted to experiment with placing my collection out on the cloud to save space, but those attempts were less than satisfactory.  So drum roll, I attached the iPad to my old faithful laptop and it looked like something was happening… but false hopes.  As you might guess, I did not have the latest version of iTunes and in fact had ignored numerous messages for updates.  So I went to the “Check for Updates” link on the iTunes menu and sure enough, received a message that I could not connect to the iTunes server.  I don't doubt that either my version was so far out of date that things did not go well OR maybe even because I am one of the few people on the planet running Windows Vista.  (Why is that even more embarrassing than running XP… it’s sort of like you hear a chorus, saying, “sucker… you fell for Vista…”.

Nonetheless, a quick Google search did not identify a clear and simple remedy so I proceeded to download the full version of the current iTunes application for the PC.  There was more than a measure of trepidation.  I was not 100% comfy that it would get along well with Vista and second to that I was also concerned that a new install might wipe out my 100 CDs that I had ripped to MP3.  The latter was of lesser concern as I have copied my MP3s onto a jump drive so if need be, I could always copy them back (not a thrilling task, but much better than having to re-rip 100 CDs.  I’m happy to report that my MP3s were not wiped out and the updated version resolved the recognition of my iPad.

I’ll remark that iTunes has never been particularly intuitive in my opinion and I found the latest version even less so.  I managed to sync my music to the iPad then managed to inadvertently remove the entire collection so I had to sync a third time.

Back 2-3 years ago when I purchased an iPad for my wife, we went to the store with anticipation and the friendly Apple member proceeded to work with my wife on a quick tour and the first step was the infamous – do you have an iTunes account?  Well, let me tell you… start your kids and your wife on their own iTunes account if you can.  Silly me, I have 2 kids and a wife on “my” iTunes account.  (Is it really “mine” anymore?)  As part of my mission to use my $10 gift card, I thought why not add some fun to my music collection so I made a purchase of the I-95 Asshole song.  Guess what?  (You probably already know and are laughing at this old fart).  Yes, that’s right Apple allows up to 5 devices to share your purchases which immediately become available to those shared devices from the cloud…(well “thank you, Siri…was this your idea?).  Not only that, but it seems this “sharing” sometimes is whether you want it or not.  All of a sudden numerous songs and albums showed up on my iPad that I had absolutely no desire to hear… yup, the daughter’ music.  The crème de crème arrived when my son came down for dinner and related, “I turned on my iPod and got the notice that a new purchase was available…”  Well, I hope he enjoyed the I-95 Asshole song; he sure was smiling.  I haven’t been that embarrassed for at least a couple of weeks when that strong spring sun called me to get a jump on my tan by getting half naked in the recliner… Who knew school go out so early?  Yes, my child needs some after school activities… well now, back to the story.  Yes, purchases are immediately available to all the shared devices – yippee, I’m so excited.  Upon further investigation, I learned that the “trick” to not sharing is to “hide” the purchases.  So, while too late for damage control this time, I proceeded to “hide” all the purchases.  By doing this, all of my daughter’s tunes disappeared from my iPad and hopefully maybe my purchase will not be further discovered.  Who knows with this new knowledge maybe I’m now safe to buy the Rodeo Song