As of Version 8 iTunes still sucks in the following ways:
1) No network file buffering:
I, and I’m sure a lot of other people, have files that are on networked storage. I have a file server, and an obscenely flaky wireless connection thanks to the POS I bought and had replaced 4 times from Linksys. Now, when listening to music via iTunes, if my connection drops, so does my audio. It buffers about 2 seconds of audio before it drops. Now I realize my shitty network is not the most common of problems, however I also know that not many people have wireless networks that are capable of streaming entire episodes of TV shows and the like without dropping a bit of information and buffering the file if there’s not a significant amount of data buffered already. 2 seconds of audio data is nothing in video data. Watching video over wireless in iTunes I can only imagine to be an exercise in frustration.
2) It does too much crap without me asking it to.
When I add an album, it scans every song for gapless playback information, when I install it, it makes me configure my iTunes store account, installs bonjour, installs Quicktime, installs a bunch of other shit. I don’t want Quicktime, need Quicktime, or have any desire to have Quicktime installed on my computer, but I’m not given the option. Yes, I need it if I want to watch videos on my iPod, but I don’t, so why am I forced to install another bloated piece of shit? Even with crossfading turned off, it still determines gapless playback info on song additions, and as far as I can see, there’s no other reason that it would need that information.
Workaround: Disable services, leave iTunes on over-night and let it do its tasks when I don’t notice, suffer.
3) iTunes is a fucking pig.
Right now, I’ve got iTunes open in the background and it’s not doing anything. It’s not connected to the iTunes store, not updating my iPod, scanning songs gapless playback, downloading album artwork, anything. It is sitting there, open and totally idle. CPU usage: 8%, RAM usage: ~150MB. Why? Who knows. When I actually make it do some work CPU spikes up to anywhere between 25 and 50%. That means that it’s using either 1 or 2 of my 4 cores completely. I don’t rip with iTunes because it sucks, so the most processor intense thing I can really see it doing is scanning files for either volume or gapless playback info, but this isn’t even when it’s doing that. This is when it’s updating my iPod, or downloading album artwork. Honestly how either of those tasks is very intense I don’t know. The updating of my iPod is so fucking slow I don’t understand how it can max out a single core doing DB queries to check to see if it should remove or place a song on the device. And honestly, how processor intensive is submitting a bunch of queries to the iTunes store?
In the ~an hour it took to write this entire post, iTunes went from 100MB of RAM, to now over 300MB. God help you if you’ve got under a TB of RAM and use this program for more than just updating your iGadget.
Workaround: Leave iTunes running while I’m not using my computer to do all of its crap.
4) No seriously, iTunes is a pig.
Trying to do anything with it is obscenely slow. I have ~30,000 songs in my library, which is a large amount, but it should not take 3-5 seconds to do a simple search. It should not take 20 seconds to add a 15 track local directory. It should be capable of scanning volume information for songs at rates faster than double real time. It should not need to store two different copies of its database, in two different formats, in the same directory. It should not lag when doing no other tasks, switching from library or playlist view to looking at my iPod’s settings. I could understand all of the above issues if I was using a slow machine, but I’m using a quad core 2.4GHZ machine with 4GB of physical memory. I’m using a machine that can fucking play Crysis on high settings, and the software that I begrudgingly use to manage my iPod is laggy?
Workaround: suffer through it.
5) Sound Check does not work.
Soundcheck ostensibly scans and normalizes playback volumes of audio files. Soundcheck really just adds non-standard ID3 frames, and does nothing else. MP3 playback volumes are still all over the fucking place, prompting constant volume adjustments on my iPod.
6) It doesn’t monitor library folders.
Every single other media player does this. iTunes has no option to rescan library for new entries, scan for ID3 changes, scan for missing entries, remove dead entries, find moved entries, anything. When I move a file from dir1 to dir2, I see a nice little ! beside the song, but I also see that when iTunes loads up at the start for no apparent reason. Why iTunes doesn’t have functionality that Winamp has had since the godawful V3 came out, that Foobar2000 has had since I started using it, and that WMP has had for at least three versions, I have no idea.
Why do I not have the option to scan for, and remove dead entries? It really can’t be that complex. Clearly iTunes has the ability to look for a song in the library. Why it can’t also monitor folders for new songs is also beyond me. It’s annoying to have to add new stuff to by hand, especially after I’ve already said that I need it to add a folder to the library.
While I’m complaining about it, why can’t iTunes monitor folders for files that may have simply been moved or renamed, but already exist in the library? iTunes doesn’t care about adding non-standard information to ID3 tags, so why not add a library number to each song? That way, when I move a file, I don’t have to import it and add it to all of my playlists again. Adding a specific identifier to my files to identify it as belonging to my library, and giving it its own ID would prevent so many headaches for me, and probably for a lot of other people.
This is such a common complaint that there has been at least two Windows programs written to address the issue. Sadly, iTunes Library Updater does not work with iTunes 8; at least not with any kind of reliability. The other alternative I’ve found, iTunes Folder Watch, is feature limited unless I want to pay 7.50 Euros. Without the registered version I have to manually approve file adds, so it’s pretty much useless.
Workaround: whinge about it.