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apple: I like itunes, but you're starting to break my mp3 player...

NPR began distributing 'This American Life' as a podcast. TAL is one of the best radio shows out there, and it kicks ass that NPR is being forward thinking enough to jump on the podcasting bandwagon.

This American Life is available for download only for the week it is aired. After that, you can buy it from Audible for a buck. As people can turn on their radios and listen to the show for free, podcasting it loses them no money, and increases their exposure/word of mouth.

Apple took this great plan and screwed it up just because they can...

For some reason Apple assumes that an iTunes library is a single, personal thing, and it would never be shared between multiple people. For that to work, everyone with an ipod MUST have a computer.. As you can't (to my knowledge) configure iTunes to support 2 libraries simultaneously on a single system.

My wife has an ipod. I have an ipod, we share a library. I like her music, she likes some of mine, and we coexist within the same copy of iTunes. She has no interest in managing a massive iTunes library. Therefore, that responsibility defaults to me.

This is generally a workable situation. iTunes allowed me to authorize songs purchased on my account. (the only one we use) on both ipods.

Where this setup falls flat is podcasts. Podcasts are like news, 'read' stuff falls off your ipod, 'unread' stuff syncs to your ipod. When I listen to a podcast... it falls off my wife's ipod. :/

So. Back to how Apple screwed up This American Life... I listened to both of the first 2 episodes of this american life. I synced my ipod, and APPLE DELETED BOTH EPISODES.

My wife hadn't had a chance to listen to either episode, but they are well and truly gone. When I go to the apple store, there is no 'download' link for those episodes (not even the current week's episode which is freely available!) You just can't get it again.

I sure am glad Apple's DRM has provided me with so many wonderful choices about what I put on my ipod! Thank you Apple!

(Since I started typing this rant I came up with a solution. Don't use Apple's podcast directory. You can subscribe to This American Life's Feed at: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast.xml ) and Apple will have no say about removing it from your computer. You get a nice, shiny DRM free mp3 that you can listen to as many times as you want.

Hey, apple, good luck with that whole... foot shooting.. thing.

Comments

The multiple libraries thing is a weird one, because I'd wager that MOST iPods in the world are owned by people who share their library with family. The way I handle the regular library thing is I have iTunes give me everything (now that I upgraded my HDD), and just some playlists to my wife (I just have to make sure that every time she buys a CD--or, to be precise, every time I buy her a CD--it gets put into a playlist that goes on her iPod, but yeah, that would go out the window the moment you're listening to podcasts.

There is that "share library" function... I originally thought about doing that and sticking the library on the server and letting both our computers access it... Then your wife could manage her own podcasts AND have access to the common library, and you could too. I think.

Or you could do just what you did. It seems that all the podcasts I've looked at are available both at iTMS and at their real home pages. Generally speaking, I avoid iTMS like the plague. I love my iPod; I love iTunes; and generally speaking, I really like Apple. But that iTMS is frickin' evil, and I think I'm with Cory Doctorow on who is to blame--and it's not just or even mostly the record companies.

DRM is bad and pointless tech.

good point.. i could give her the real feed and i could subscribe to the itms feed. double the downloads and it'd make a mess of my already lengthy podcast list, but it'd work.

As for the shared library thing, i'm not sure how well that works. when you connect to a shared library your use is severely limited.. (like.. you can't put shared music into party shuffle..)

the sharing thing seemed kinda like a BS afterthought.

Or maybe you could just turn off that option that keeps your library consolidated and keep shared portions of it on a server? Solve the problem with Window network drive mapping and cut iTunes out of the loop entirely?

maintaining one library file is bad enough.. i certainly don't want to dick around with doing everything in itunes twice..

(as would be the case.. yes? you import a cd, you hafta import it in one version of itunes, then drag those mp3s into the other version?)

i thought of such a solution, but it seems worse than what i've got.

No no no.

You just share your iTunes library and Celeste adds it to hers. No copying. iTunes works (all-too-) well with files all over the place. It's led to some major confusion on my part.

The best part of this blog was finding out that TAL is now in podcast form. Yay! It's long been one of my faves.

Auto-deletion of Podcasts is an optional setting in iTunes. Just turn that off, and your problems are solved, no?

Plus, even if you directly subscribe from some other URL than iTunes' own copy of the feed, it will still auto delete when played if that's your setting in iTunes.

What iTunes REALLY needs is per-feed settings for deletion and maintenance. And sharing. Jeezus would it be nice to be able to share an iTunes library and an iPhoto library.

it ignores the autodeletion setting. (i turned it off on all podcasts.. every other one stacks up in a big pile and never removes em.. TAL gets deleted the second you look at it funny)

what's even more strange, is that i subscribed to the direct link, and the itunes link... celeste gets one, i get the other..

when i listen to both of mine.. hers will show up on my ipod, despite the fact that i never subscribed to hers... it's all fuct.

and yeah.. they need to realize that sometimes.. 2 ipods means 2 friggin people.