Yet Another iTunes Suckage Report

The other day I got an IM from Jolene asking “is it normal for iTunes to wipe out my Library on an upgrade?” The best I could respond with was “it shouldn’t do that.”

Don’t you hate it when an application is so unpredictable that you can’t give a straight answer? Yes, I do hate that.

Why? Because it’s not supposed to but you never know when Apple is going to quietly change a feature in the dark, between upgrades. You see, my first thought was “Oh, it can’t find the itl file anymore” – there’s a solution to that… if you press and hold the Ctrl key while opening iTunes, it will prompt you to find a library to open a new Library. What, you didn’t know that? Yeah, neither did I, until I did a search for this a year ago… probably didn’t know that you can get into “Safe Mode” by pressing Ctrl+Shift while double clicking the iTunes icon…

Safe mode? Yeah, a media player suddenly needs a safe mode. No idea why. Any how “intuitive” is it to hold a modifier key when double-clicking an icon?

Doesn’t matter anyway… holding Ctrl while launching no longer allows you to select a Library file to open. That functionality is no longer in 8.2.1… will it return for future releases? Is it a bug? Is there another option for this feature? No one knows.

Next question is why the hell does iTunes need so many services and TSR’s running now a days? Why does it need its own scheduler for updating software? Why does it need a QT helper and iTunes helper and mobile device support service and Bonjour service and iPod service, just for a media player?!?! I only noticed this the other day but it seems that every full point release adds another service for Windows to run… someone needs to refactor that. If you have to have all of these running at the same time, why aren’t they required? Or better still, why aren’t they documented somewhere, calling out what you need and don’t need?

It’s not that I’m calling out Apple on this – any ISV gets called out on this… I’ve said it before, especially around custom scheduler apps, and I’ll say it in the future: if you can’t code a Windows application well, maybe you shouldn’t code for Windows.

I still don’t know what happened to Jolene’s Library… there was an itl file in place – it was just empty. What was interesting is that there were a whole bunch of TMP files in the same directory… it looks like a different Apple bug was causing temporary files to be orphaned off in the Library directory for a unknown reason. Since these appeared to be previous versions of the itl file, I was able to recover one and it was relatively recent… even so, there’s no reason why a maintenance release should be wiping out itl files…

Just another day in the software jungle.

Update: looks like I hit on an iTunes Rant along side someone else: Download Squad and a misguided AVG have some pet peeves of their own.

3 thoughts on “Yet Another iTunes Suckage Report”

  1. Thanks for the warning Randy. I’ll make sure to backup before the next upgrade. BTW love your sharpkeys.

    I had a similar but much less drastic experience with a firefox upgrade recently. I had gotten used to FF upgrades restoring the many tabs and windows I had open simultaneously when the browser restarted but on the last upgrade it lost everything. Oh well. I guess they still have about a 99% success rate. As I’m sure you know only too well it is really difficult to test all the possible permutations and combinations of upgrades. That’s no excuse for Apple though as they have huge resources and should be able to test really thoroughly.

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