iPod not ready for prime time

I bought Lisa an iPod for christmas, so she can listen to it while she runs. She loves it.

Unfortunately, the experience has not been so pleasant for the tech support crew. Which of course is me, myself and I.

I got her the windows version, since that’s what she uses. There is, of course, no linux version. Our entertainment box was running WinMe at the time, and since that was where our CD collection lived, I tried installing there. That was a big mistake.

There was a newer (registered) version of Musicmatch jukebox installed than came with the iPod. Welcome to DLL Hell. Even uninstalling didn’t work. I ended up reinstalling WinMe, which produced an almost usable installation. I only had to use the undocumented Vulcan Nerve Pinch on the iPod every other time I disconnected.

[The only bright side of this experience is that I bought The Missing Manual for the iPod, so I do know how to reset the little piece of junk.]

Next we discovered that iTunes doesn’t support WinMe at all. You must have XP. Frankly, had it been my iPod, it would have been back to Amazon. At least on WinMe, it is a piece of junk. Ok, another 90 bucks, another couple hours pissed away.

Surprisingly, the XP upgrade did solve a bunch of problems. The setup no longer just crashes randomly. As long as you do everything exactly right, never misclick, never forget to ‘eject’ the iPod before you pick it up, and give the little white piece of crap three times as long to do anything as it ought to take, the Windows interface and iTunes now actually work.

Note that that’s a review of ‘barely adequate’. And I don’t think it’s just because Apple skimped on the Windows support. When Lisa just leaves the beast plugged into the wall in the exercise room it crashes once a week, either locking up, or cycling through the playlist at about ten seconds a song, with no audio at all. And of course it takes 90 seconds to display a menu. It’s slower than a 512k Macintosh was in 1985.

In short, a wonderful idea, but a truly marginal implementation. Don’t get one unless you have much more tolerance for flaky equipment than I do.

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