Apple Music vs iCloud Photos


“iCloud Photos gets right everything that Apple Music gets wrong.”

via Daring Fireball, discussing a post by Marco Arment.

Amen.  It’s hard to believe the same company that makes Photos and iMovie also makes iTunes and its bolted-on appendage, Apple Music.

One of the reasons Photos is so, so much better than Apple Music is because iPhoto, for all its issues, was a pretty awesome app to begin with.  Yes, Photos is a “new” app, but my point is that Apple already had photos figured out.  Apple has never had music figured out, beyond, you know, the selling it part.  Steve Jobs wrangled the music industry, but the corral is still a hot mess.

And there’s the fact that gazillions of people are buying gazillions of songs and movies and whatnot, making Apple gazillions of dollars, and they are doing it with iTunes.  Changing out the storage room is one thing.  Remodeling the storefront is another thing altogether, sadly.

Is It Time to Dump Netflix?


I love me some Netflix.  Well, at least I used to.  But lately I’ve been thinking it might be time to cancel my subscription.  Here’s why.

First and foremost, there’s nothing I want to watch.  I have had the same three DVDs sitting on a shelf in my office for months: The Hangover (I think I’d like it, if I ever get around to watching it), Yellowstone: Battle for Life (I have no idea what I was thinking), and The Hills Run Red (I don’t even recognize that name, but I generally like B-movie horror films).  I’d either watch these or send them back for something better, if I could find something better.  And there lies the issue.

It has been literally months since I have seen anything on the Netflix new releases list that I really want to watch.

Here’s the list of new releases for this week.














For one, there’s the consumer-be-damned 28 day delay for new releases.  I’m not going to buy a DVD to watch it once, and I’m sure as hell not going to drive to a brick and mortar video store (do people even do that anymore?).  So all this does is irritate me, and hurt Netflix.  Because the result is that I spend a lot more time browsing iTunes looking for something I can watch, you know, immediately.

It’s crazy that what used to seem so fast (2-day shipping) now seems so incredibly slow.  Anything I’m really excited about gets watched via iTunes, before I would otherwise get it via Netflix.

At this point, only inertia and the low monthly cost is keeping me from abandoning ship.

Clearly, the future of movie rentals is online, via downloads and streaming.  Now that Blockbuster is giving Toni Braxton and Hollywood Video a run for their money in the bankruptcy filer department, maybe Netflix will hang on long enough to become the other primary source of online video (behind Apple, of course).  Progress is clearly being made, but there is much work to be done.

Netflix better hurry, because new release lists like this won’t keep me around for long.

Is iTunes an Unreliable Alternative TV Show Provider?

It looks like my plan to dump satellite and cable TV and give Apple all of my money has hit a snag. For that to happen,  iTunes would have to be very reliable in getting TV shows up and into the iTunes Store.

Based on my experience so far, that ain’t the case.  I bought a season pass to Big Brother 12.   The double elimination episode (Episode #22) aired on Thursday night.  It’s Sunday afternoon, and it’s nowhere to be found on iTunes.



There’s another episode on tonight.

I’m not the only person who’s noticed this.


My thoughts exactly.

iTunes: Apple’s Fly in the Ointment

itunessuxI’ve been excited about the approach of iPaday since I ordered my iPad the first minute Apple started taking orders.  I’ll find good uses for it either way, but until today I wondered if my iPad would be the evolved replacement for an iPod Touch and a Kindle, or something more revolutionary.

I hoped it would be something revolutionary, and based on the videos Apple released today, it looks like it will.  I think there’s a lot of controlled hype going on right now (for example, I think some of the unit figures being tossed around are beyond absurd), but I also think these videos demonstrate that the iPad is going to be big.

Really big.

The primary goal of the iPad is undoubtedly to expand Apple’s growing stranglehold on the content distribution pipeline beyond music, and further into video and, in a bold and perhaps killing first strike, books.  I also think there is hope in Cupertino that the iPad will serve as a roadmap to Macs.  After watching the iPad videos, I considered, for probably the twentieth time, whether I should overpay for hardware and accept a crappy OS in the name of convergence, under the Apple banner.

image There is no denying that all of the Apple hysteria makes even the most logical eyes prone to view the world in shades of green.

I could learn to live with OS X, even though I find it utterly unintuitive and far harder to use than Windows 7.  Plus, I’m convinced that Apple will eventually merge the iPhone OS and the Mac OS, in a final offensive in the three party war for tech domination being waged by Apple, Microsoft and Google.  At that point, Macs may actually become as elegant as some wrongly insist they are now.

But I can’t yet take the plunge.  Not because of the overpriced hardware.  Not even because the deficiencies in OS X.

Because Apple insists that iTunes serve as the control panel, storefront and traffic cop for all hardware and associated content.  For anyone other than the casual music fan, iTunes sucks.

Trying to manage a big music library via iTunes is like trying to build a house out of sand.  A little bit looks good, but it all falls apart when you try to scale.  It’s bloated, slow, feature deficient and just plain ugly.

itunessucks In fact, iTunes needs to be completely scrapped and rewritten from the ground up.  I realize that many of the limitations that burden iTunes are intentional limitations designed to maintain and expand Apple’s stranglehold on the content distribution channel.  I don’t like this one little bit, but I’m not naive enough to think it will change.

But there are a hundred much needed improvements that could and should be made, without giving up control of the content pipeline.

I wish someone would email Steve Jobs and tell him to get on it.  Then maybe I’d go all in.

For Tunes the Bell Tolls?

The other day, after generally praising both and, I closed with a hope that both could stay in business, notwithstanding the RIAA’s assault on streaming music sites.  As it turns out, my concerns may have been even more immediate than I realized.

Marshall Kirkpatrick reports today that Seeqpod, the search engine used by and other sites, will soon start charging developers for access to its data.  This does not bode well for music discovery sites, some of which are really fun to use.  In fact, after looking further at, I had decided to do mix tape posts as a semi-regular feature at Newsome.Org.  If the loss of free access to Seeqpod’s data puts these sites out of business, I won’t get that chance.

Which is bad for listeners, and bad for the musicians whose music would have featured.  Both and have Amazon associate links beside each song, which is probably the best business plan in Web 2.0.  Rather than toss random ads for stuff we don’t want on the page and cross their fingers, these sites present the immediate opportunity to buy something that, by definition, the user is interested it.  This is targeted advertising done the right way, as opposed to the intrusive approach favored by Google.

And let’s be serious for a moment.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to use these song mixes as an alternative to a fully accessible music library- that can be taken with them on CD-Rs, iPods, etc.  And anyone who is going to go to epic trouble to record these streams could do the same thing at any number of “approved” music sites.  Or they could do it old school off the radio.

It hurts the artists.

When friends come to my house, it is very common for me to play a few of my favorite songs for them.  Often, one or more of them will then buy the record for themselves.  Heck, I bet I’ve sold 20 copies of Avett Brothers records this way.  Any right thinking musician would be happy that people are playing his or her music for friends, generating a buzz and record sales.  I see very little industry downside here, and no downside for the artists.

But in typical fashion, the empty bag obsessed RIAA is going to continue to lob bombs at these sites, in the hope that one day the cat will miraculously jump back into the bag.  It ain’t going to happen.

Rather that try to turn the music off, the music industry should issue a list of best (e.g., required) practices, to encourage these sites to hide the song location to prevent downloads, etc., and let the music play.

In honor of that, and because who knows if I’ll have another chance, I wanted to make a little mix for your listening pleasure, but it was very hard to access, and when I got there, few of the songs I found were available.  I wonder if that’s a beta problem or a bigger problem?

In any event, enjoy.

The Non-iTuners Manifesto


We have previously rejected iPods, because we refuse to capitulate to iTunes, both the application and the format, as the toll road to our musical destinations.

We hereby reject iTunes movie rentals because we refuse to capitulate to idiotic viewing limitations:

[T]he convenience of downloading and watching a movie immediately isn’t that great that you should lose the former rental flexibility, and so harshly.

Amen. Just because you can download something, doesn’t mean you should.

Long live Netflix.

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