Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fun with iTunes

I haven't done anything with iTunes since my credit card details were nicked so imagine my surprise when I started it up and it told me I had no music in my catalogue. Say what? I pointed it at My Music/iTunes and it happily chortled away adding everything back.

Fair enough, but now I'd lost my Purchased playlist under iTunes Store and my Car CD playlist; it's as if it was a brand new installation.

A quick search to find where my Purchased list had gone and support tells me I can add songs to it my right clicking and Add to Playlist|Purchased, except there is no such playlist. In the end I create a new playlist under the Playlists column by Purchased = True; fine except they're still not in the right place.

I check my wish list, update my details, and purchase them. Hey look it's returned, but only for these recent additions. I go to my created list grab them all and move them back where they should be. What a palaver.

Here's where it gets fun. Those songs I've just purchased show up in the iTunes store as being purchased; and incidentally gives me a option to complete the album. Of those I'd already bought some show up, and some don't.

Another question unanswered is how do I re-download said purchases? Remember in the iTunes store it shows up as "Purchased" rather than the drop down cost box. So if the file vanishes how do I 'buy' it again?

Ah "If your hard disk becomes damaged or you lose any of the content you've purchased, you'll have to buy any purchased items again to rebuild your library" except if it shows up as purchased how do I do that?

Well I've asked them so I'll see if I get a useful response.


Orphi said...

One more reason why I dislike DRM music.

If you buy a CD and it doesn't work, you take it back to the shop and demand that they replace or refund it. And they are legally obliged to do so.

But buy stuff from iTunes, and if it gets damaged due to a technical fault, you're supposed to pay for it all over again? I don't think so!

This is why I don't trust iTunes or any similar service. If I've paid for something, I damned well want to have the use of it, thank you very much.

Still, having just said all that, I use Steam… I guess that makes me a retard. o_O

FlipC said...

To be fair you can report a problem if it hasn't downloaded correctly or got messed up. IOW exactly the same as any other transaction.

The bit about buying it again is really the same as if you'd scratched the CD, you can't expect them to replace it.

Except in the case of iTunes it's as if you have scratched the disc gone back to the shop and you find you can't buy another because the shop records show you've already got it.

Orphi said...

As far as I can tell, in your case iTunes has just randomly decided to delete the files for you. If you had deleted the data by mistake, I could sort of understand them charging you for it. But if they delete it for you…

If you buy a CD, the shop can't randomly take it away from you for no reason. But a computer glitch can do that to a computer file.

Mercifully, I've yet to have anything that stupid happen to Steam.

FlipC said...

TO be precise it decided to delete my catalogue, but left the files intact for which I'm grateful. However it did ask me after download if I wanted to back up my purchases so it least it is trying.

As for a glitch, yeah but that's not Apple's fault it's a Microsoft/Third-party/hardware problem; nuffin' to do wiv us mate.

I thought Steam allowed you to download more than once. I know PSN keeps a track of purchases and will allow you to authorise and sign in another PS3 to download and use them and I'm reasonably sure that was based on the Steam mechanic?

Orphi said...

To be clear: Steam allows you to download unlimited times, to unlimited computers. You can even install a game, play it, uninstall it, and later download and install it again. And if you wipe your whole computer, you can of course download everything you had before again.

Not, you understand, that this will preserve your hiscore table, game process, video settings or anything else. Just the actual game. (For games made by Valve themselves, you might also get online statistics, which survive.)

Of course, downloading and redownloading multiple gigabytes of data takes a while…

Steam also automatically installs updates for any games you have installed. (It actually won't allow you to play until all such updates are installed.) This occasionally results in a game being broken, but honestly it's usually the game servers that break on update day, not the clients.

Additionally, you can often prepurchase games. They download in encrypted format, and on relate day you get the decryption key, the game decrypts, and you can play immediately without having to wait 6 hours for it to download on release day when all the servers are getting nailed. (Of course, takes about 6 minutes to decrypt 8GB.)

FlipC said...

Ah the PS3 is similar, you can't play a game online if there's an update for it. Better yet you can't access the PSN network at all if there's a system update available.

So you haven't synched your trophies for a while and oh look a system update. Suppose I'd better sync my trophies first in case something goes wrong, just log in to PSN... oh!

I like the pre-purchase method someone had a bright idea there.

Orphi said...

If there's an update for Steam itself, it will ask you to restart Steam. Doesn't force you to, just asks.

If there's an update for one specific game, you can't play that game until the update is installed. The instant you log into Steam, it's updating anything that's out of date.

Steam updates rarely cause problems for the client. However, if the server you want to connect to hasn't been updated, you'll get a version mismatch error and you can't play on that server. Some servers are better run than others.

Of course, if you put Steam into “offline mode”, it doesn't connect to the Internet, and will happily let you play anything you have installed locally without trying to update it.

It's just a pity that if you fire up Steam when you don't have an Internet connection, it locks up for 8 minutes before it decides it can't connect and asks if you want offline mode…