iTune out!

I really like NT Wright audio teachings. He stimulates and provokes and challenges and bridges many a theological gap. I found on the NT Wright page ( recently a link to some lectures he did at Duke University’s 2010 Convocation and Pastor’s School. I happily went to download the free audio teachings and I couldn’t get past a page that said that iTunes was not found on my computer. Well duh! Of course it’s not found on my computer. I wish it could stay that way!

I detest iTunes and I detest Apple’s practice of creating “monopolistic” and “invasive” software. I’m duly convinced that much of what Apple creates in terms of hardware is really good and from a design standpoint is laudable (if stupidly expensive!). However, their handful of offerings that make it to the Windows world are hugely annoying! They’re probably just trying to stick to Microsoft for their clunky Mac offerings. Of course the losers in this war are the end-users, not the big corporations.

Having had experience in getting other streaming protocols to finally cough up a standard URL of a standard media file via circuitous editing of a series of downloaded files, I did various “view sources” and tried playing my results in different capable, non-invasive media players and tried changing the protocol from itms to http, etc. None of this worked. So I started out looking for specific freeware players capable of playing/downloading itms files. I failed…

Apple has started this thing (I hesitate to use the word “service” as it does us only a dis-service!) called iTunes U. iTunes U is a corner of the iTunes Music Store universe dedicated to more educational media files. They must make it pretty attractive to participate in. Personally, I find it reprehensible that Duke University would, in essence, force people to download Apple software to play a free academic mp3 lecture. I can’t imagine that the bandwidth hit or storage space is any kind of real problem for the university that they just couldn’t put their mp3 files up on their own servers somewhere where anyone could easily download them.

Anyway, I didn’t succeed in circumventing iTunes completely, but I did find this tutorial on how to install iTunes in a less invasive way: The unofficial guide to installing iTunes 10 without bloatware on the zdnet site. I highly recommend doing things this way if you simply need iTunes for some unique capability it offers and you don’t want it to be so invasive or huge. I would add however, this final step: Fire up autoruns after doing the install steps and do a search on Apple. Then you can delete autostarted tasks/services that you don’t want.

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  1. Pingback: Mind the gap! The difficult path to “both and”

  2. Ooh, and here we must part ways. I guess the huge convenience of iTunes becomes a huge annoyance in the wrong context, and vice versa!

  3. I suppose that a good deal of it has to do with Apple’s view of computing where the hardware and the software come from one vendor. The two are tightly and elegantly integrated. But when you take one of those elements (iTunes for example) and port it to another computing context, the same philosophy of the purpose of the tool can’t necessarily hold in all cases.

    Ironically, the file in question is a simple, ubiquitous-in-format mp3 file. If either iTunes U. facilitated access by other tools or Duke had simply placed the file elsewhere, I’d have nothing to holler about with respect to iTunes because I would simply not install it because I have no use for it. However, BECAUSE I want that mp3 (perhaps there’s the problem!) and because it’s behind “closed doors” and because iTunes is the only key, I have to acquire the “key.”

    Even that wouldn’t bug me TOO much if the key itself wasn’t out to ACQUIRE ME! Apple software on Mac platform SHOULD be invasive because the two are tightly integrated. Unfortunately it’s also invasive on Windows platform. It installs any number of background services, etc. It’s really out of control.

    Does the story stop there, Noooo….

    As an IT guy, I have to trouble-shoot other Windows machines where iTunes is installed. Typically these people are complaining of performance issues. They typically also are not technically savvy. Do they need “Bonjour” (Apple’s networking protocol) running on their machine? Probably not, but it’s there sucking CPU cycles anyway.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say Apple is deliberately seeking to gum up Windows machines so that that the technically unsavvy will simply dump their computing tool and pick a shinier one with a glowing fruit on it. I actually have no problems with that strategy and think that the bulk of the less technically savvy people SHOULD be on Macs because they ARE more friendly. Unfortunately, that means that in order to continue to save the copious amounts of money that I don’t have to shell over for a Mac, I’m left wading through their mud to download a simple, free mp3 file.

    Voilà le rant du jour! 😉

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