I'm sad to say, but I have begun that long, distressing entry into that state known as the Friendly Happy People. Living in the Reality Distortion Field. Where everything is fine and dandy, we do everything with a single button, and the pablum is force fed to us through a tube.
In this case, I finally got around to getting an iPod.
Do I want an iPod? I'm still not entirely sure. My first problem - I'm a control freak. Occupational hazard, I guess. I don't want computers to be made 'easy' for me, I want things to be predictable. I want to be able to determine what the problems are, should one occur. "Easy" masks the control I want.
I distrust the "so simple you plug it in and go right away" mentality. Computers are complicated beasts filled with pitfalls and compromises. I want to make sure that the compromises I make fit my particular requirements. I'd rather be secure than easy. I'd rather have control than have someone guess what I want. Your choices will certainly be different from my own.
So I plug in the iPod, download and install iTunes, put in my iCD (err.. I can tell I'm already getting carried away) and it starts ripping it into my library right away. Only problem - I'm a bit of an audiophile. I'm not going to tolerate my music ripped at crappy rates and have to hear a hissy "S" for the lifetime of my iPod. It never once asked me how I wanted to rip the disc.
So the first thing I do is try to figure out just how the damned interface is supposed to work. Not intuitive for me, sorry Mr. Jobs. Perhaps I'm just dumb, or perhaps I'm a control freak, but the layout just doesn't work the way I want to use it.
In the case of an mp3 player, I want to rip my mp3's (or preferably, oggs) and be able to drag and drop them across to the device. I mean, really, isn't that the very scheme that Apple popularized in the first place? Now it's no longer good enough?
Of course, I want a simple way to rip an mp3 (or preferably ogg) at a variable rate, and don't even look at anything less than 256 bits. I can't really compare an AAC, so for now I'm going to stick with what I know and trust.
Three pages into a help file and I'm told go to iTunes --> Preferences, click Advanced, and then click Importing.
Colour me stupid, but I'm not seeing it.
Close iTunes. Open iTunes. Look for ANYTHING that says iTunes --> Preferences, with an Advanced option. Nope, nope, nope.
The only thing that's really helping me out at all here is my background. "Okay," methinks to meself, "This is Apple now. Based on BSD, I better put myself into a UNIX frame of mind." In Windows, you're looking for your options settings under a Tools menu or some such. In UNIX, you've typically got a "Preference" selection under the "Edit" menu. Well, sure enough, there it is, right at the bottom in Edit.
It's one of my big fears about going to a Mac. I don't want to get sucked into someone else's choices about how I'm supposed to do what I want to do. I'm not afraid to "Think different" - after all, there is a certain logic in having Preferences under Edit to me, remember? I'm afraid of the Apple mentality (TM) that "Thou shalt have only one mouse button because that is all thou shalt require."
Well, for what it's worth, I've decided the iPod is the best of a bad lot of mp3 players that don't meet what I want, so I'll try to fill 80 Gigs with music and see where it takes me...