The worm in the Apple

I would have linked to this post directly, except I couldn’t, so I made do with pasting a fair bit of it here. I came across it while doing some research for an upcoming column, and it highlights a) Neal Stephenson’s description of Apple: “so frail, yet so vicious” as well as b) why I don’t consider them a viable philosophical alternative to Microsoft. It’s from As the Apple Turns and contains some acidic thoughts with regards to how Apple’s new iTunes nukes the MusicMatch software that previously was used to interface with their iPod. Apparently, Apple feels that if you’re willing to let Microsoft control your computer, there’s no reason for you to object to them doing a bit of the same.

To re-enable iPod syncing in MusicMatch, just follow the following eleventy-seventy simple steps! (This is verbatim from the email, mind you.)

Disconnect the iPod from your computer if it is still connected.

Double click on ‘My Computer’

Double click on ‘Control Panel’

Open “Add or Remove Programs’

Select and uninstall ‘iTunes’

Select and uninstall the ‘iPod for Windows’ item

Select and uninstall the ‘Musicmatch iPod Plugin’ item

Select and uninstall the ‘iPod System Software Update’ or any other iPod related items that might be listed

Select and uninstall ‘Musicmatch Jukebox’

Close the “Add or Remove Programs” control panel

Restart your computer

Navigate to the ‘Program FilesiPod’ directory

Delete the contents of the iPod directory by dragging the files to the Recycle Bin and then emptying the Recycle Bin

Navigate to the ‘program filesMusicmatch Musicmatch Jukebox’ folder

Delete the files, but not the folder, in the Musicmatch Jukebox folder

Reinstall Musicmatch Jukebox from the installation CD that came with your iPod or download the iPod software from the following URL: ?Rn187230301,1872303,38861847,287230301

When finished, reboot your computer

When the computer finishes rebooting, connect the iPod to your system

Open Musicmatch Jukebox

Could it possibly be any easier? Where’s the challenge? Indeed, we’re a little disappointed there are only two restarts involved– surely it could have been at least four, with a little more effort thrown in. Which is, of course, why we love Windows so much in the first place.

So, yeah, it does seem a little slimy that installing iTunes de-iPodifies MusicMatch, doesn’t it? Especially if Apple’s installer doesn’t warn you about it beforehand, and we’ve seen no indication that it does. Granted, you’d have to be one seriously twisted iPod owner to try iTunes and then decide that MusicMatch is a better companion for your little white-‘n’-silver buddy, but who knows what goes through the minds of Wintellians? Maybe they’re always walking around in Bad Fish Shock. It would explain a lot.

And before you start lambasting Apple for pulling a stunt like this, c’mon… the people affected by this are Windows users– they’re used to this kind of treatment. Obviously they thrive on it, or they’d have ditched Microsoft years ago. Heck, crippling a competing product was probably the only way Apple could have gotten an ounce of respect from these folks in the first place. In fact, we think Apple probably missed a golden opportunity to win some serious admiration from the Windows community; instead of simply removing MusicMatch’s ability to sync with the iPod, iTunes should also have deleted MusicMatch entirely, installed spyware, inexplicably disabled a random piece of system hardware, reformatted any writable volumes not containing iTunes itself, and then emailed itself to everyone in the user’s Outlook address book. Oh, and it should have cost thirty bucks. More, with technical support.

Those last three sentences nearly caused me to wet my pants. Now that’s technical commentary!