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iTunes 8

It all started innocently enough.

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It all started innocently enough. Apple announced a cross platform upgrade to the iTunes media player. And of course millions of fans running either Windows or OS X rushed to get their free copy.

Then a number of people noticed a slight deterioration in user friendliness. Not a lot - but enough to annoy.

It turns out those wee arrow buttons that whisk you away to the iTunes store are no longer configurable. At least not from within the program per se.

And as those wee buttons have an 'alternate' function - if you hold down the right shift key - and as that bit was previously reversible but in iTunes 8 is 'just there' another issue arises.

So along comes Rob Griffiths of Mac OS X Hints. He reckons somebody would have come along sooner or later and published the requisite 'tip' but he saw no reason to wait.


Griffiths gets a bit long winded but the gist is as follows.

In iTunes 7 there was a preference to disable the links to the iTunes Store - these are the small arrows that appear when you select a song in your library. In iTunes 8 however that preference is gone. A bit of digging in the iTunes binary found the solution thankfully.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE

Actually that can be more economical still. Something a lot of punters aren't aware of.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool NO

[NeXT historically preferred 'YES' and 'NO' over the Windows obsequious 'TRUE' and 'FALSE'. Whatever.]

Then a commenter on the Mac OS X Hints thread points out there's another cat to skin just as easily - published over four years ago.


Yesterday's iTunes update [28 April 2004 - a day and a year before the release of OS X 10.4 Tiger - that's a long time] brought a new feature: a small arrow next to the song, artist, and album entries in the library and playlists. When clicked this arrow takes you to the iTunes Music Store and displays the relevant matching information. While this is potentially quite useful it's also odd - I know I wasn't expecting to jump to the iTMS when I clicked the arrow!

defaults write com.apple.iTunes invertStoreLinks -bool YES

So we have two straightforward defaults commands to reverse the functionality of those wee arrow buttons and to remove them altogether. Couldn't be better, what?

You wouldn't think so. Griffiths' tip was picked up all over the place in the kiddie pool.


And it got to the point 'charliehate' at TUAW reacted.

I not going to ten different websites to get my mac info. So if TUAW tells me something that some other jack asses wrote yesterday I could care less

But at any rate the story's out there - all over the place - no matter what 'charliehate' feels about it. Time to pop a top, kick back, and relax - right?

Right. Except for the more ambitious of our world. Whilst we go on cavorting and partying they stay up all night and work on the inventions of tomorrow.

Our unsung heroes: it's time now to praise them.

A couple of very inventive and supremely ambitious programmers in France have come up with the ideal solution for dealing with at least the one of these two specific iTunes anomalies.

iTunes Store Link Deleter (v.1.0) is described as follows.

Utility witch can delete the ugly and unconfortable iTunes Store arrow links. (iTunes 8 Only)

Sounds fair enough - and who amongst us can claim to write better French than they write English? So let's not get picky here. Let's download instead.

[But whilst we're downloading - and on a country line this can take a while - let's stop and ask ourselves exactly why we're doing this? We just used both those defaults commands from Mac OS X Hints - didn't we? And those aren't the kinds of things we have hanging about all the time - are they?]

[And if we really wanted to play with settings like these day in and day out then we'd already have a FREE tool like this to make it real user friendly - wouldn't we? Of course we would.]

And by now the download should be complete. All 3,464,982 bytes of it.

And it's a 'zip' so it gets even bigger. Suddenly one's mind is awash with visions of Dan Aykroyd and Rod Serling, of aliens breaking out of Roswell and abducting and eating people, and worse. Something's going on and no one seems to know what caused it.

Saul Bellow said it's the pollution; others say it's the drinking water; who knows?

Time to peek inside iTunes Store Link Deleter (v.1.0).

The good news is there aren't a lot of files. The bad news is these are files you just don't want within striking distance of your computer - not for anything. Not for an atomic bomb simulation, not for anything.

18 items, 12037344 bytes, 23584 blocks, 242 bytes in extended attributes.

iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic MacOSX Plugin.rbx_16.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic MacOSX Plugin.rbx_19.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic MacOSX Plugin.rbx_32.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic MacOSX Plugin.rbx_35.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic Main Plugin.rbx_14.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic Main Plugin.rbx_2.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/MBS REALbasic Picture Plugin.rbx_0.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Frameworks/RBShell.rbx_0.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Info.plist
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/MacOS
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/MacOS/iTunes Store Link Deleter
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/MacOS/rbframework.dylib
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/PkgInfo
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Resources
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Resources/iTunes Store Link Deleter.icns
iTunes Store Link Deleter.app/Contents/Resources/iTunes Store Link Deleter.rsrc

Your eyes glaze over. You look at that top line again. You rub your eyes. You must be seeing it wrong.

You're not.

12,037,344 bytes on disk in file storage for a program that's going to run the first (and only the first) of those defaults commands for you. Not both of them - that feature may be slated for version 2.0.

Do you need to wait for version 2.0 to attain the full functionality of the two defaults commands? No way. Someone else has already done it for you - and this time the download is a mere 703323 bytes!

But don't ask for the location of this gem. You won't get it here.

Good Morning Steve

But how about the mother ship - how about iTunes 8 itself?

'AlphaMack' has the word.

Slightly derailing the discussion here - since we're on the topic of bloat - I'd gladly nominate iTunes 8 itself as the runner-up.

It's a music player. It's a radio tuner. It's a ripper. It's an encoder. It's a burning utility. It's a music store. It aggregates podcasts. It's a movie player. It manages your iPhone. It manages your AppleTV. It manages your iPod. It manages your cover art. It manages your games. It has more useless ways to view your collection. And now it's a fucking Pandora clone.

Hell, it probably has new and improved DRM to keep the certain DRM-stripping and m4p-playing projects busy.

On top of all that you have to download the entire fucking thing every time they burp out a x.y.(z+1) release. And then there's the EULA. It shows up in your software update. It shows up again when you try to run the app after updating. And it shows up for all of the other accounts on your box... every time you update the software.

Holy shit.

But wait, it gets better (or worse):

Windows Hardware

* A PC with a 1GHz Intel or AMD processor
* Playing videos purchased on the iTunes Store requires an Intel Pentium D or faster processor
* Playing HD-quality videos purchased on the iTunes Store requires a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
* 512MB of RAM; 1GB is required to play HD-quality videos
* A DirectX 9.0-compatible video card with 32MB of video RAM; 64MB recommended * A QuickTime-compatible audio card
* A broadband Internet connection to use the iTunes Store
* An iTunes-compatible CD or DVD recorder to create audio CDs, MP3 CDs, or back-up CDs or DVDs

512 MB of RAM? 1 GB? That is more than XP itself.

Windows Software

* Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or 32-bit editions of Windows Vista
* 64-bit editions of Windows Vista require the iTunes 8 64-bit installer
* QuickTime 7.5.5 or later is required (included)
* 200MB of available disk space
* Screen reader support requires Window-Eyes 7.0 or later; for information about accessibility in iTunes, visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility

200 MB of HDD space!!!???

Let's have a look at Winamp, since I hear a lot of crap about it being all nice and bloated these days:

What are Winamp's minimum system requirements?

Minimum system requirements:

* 500MHz Pentium III or comparable
* 64MB RAM
* 15MB Hard Disk Space
* 16bit Sound Card
* Windows 2000
* Internet Explorer 5.01 or higher (for Online Services)
* 1x speed or greater CD Burner (Required for Burning)
* 2x speed or greater CDROM (Required for Ripping)

Recommended system requirements:

* 1.5 GHz Pentium IV or comparable
* 128MB RAM
* 30MB Hard Disk Space
* 24bit Sound Card
* Windows 2000 sp4, Windows XP sp2, or higher
* Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher (for all Online Services features)
* 8x speed or greater CD Burner (Required for Burning)
* 16x speed or greater CDROM (Required for Ripping)

Sure, 15 MB HDD space is still bloat, but it has nothing on Bloopertino's latest kitchen sink.

Let's not forget that the contraption called iTunes also installs its QuickTime bloatware, which is just about impossible to get rid of on a Windows box. And you thought Norton was bad...

But let's take a look at the collateral damage on OS X:

Macintosh Hardware

* Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, G4, or G3 processor
* Playing videos purchased on the iTunes Store requires a Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5 or 1.0GHz PowerPC G4 or faster processor
* Playing HD-quality videos purchased on the iTunes Store requires a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
* 512MB of RAM; 1GB is required to play HD-quality videos
* Playing videos also requires at least 16MB of video RAM
* A broadband Internet connection is required to use the iTunes Store
* An Apple combo drive or SuperDrive to create audio, MP3, or back-up CDs; some non-Apple CD-RW recorders may also work.
* An Apple SuperDrive to back up your library to DVDs; some non-Apple DVD-RW drives may also work.

Macintosh Software

* Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later
* QuickTime 7.5.5 or later
* 200MB of available disk space

Why even have G3s listed? I recall that my G3 notebooks had <20 GB HDDs (6 GB and 15 GB to be exact). Would you really want to sacrifice 200 MB of precious space for a fucking media player? Not to mention, when did G3s ship with 512 MB RAM OOTB? I remember 128 MB for both of my G3s. In fact, the G3 iceBook topped out at 640 MB. You're going to tell me that you can comfortably run OS X having only 128 MB left to play with after having that fucking monster open and running?

G4s? Don't even think about watching videos from iTunes. Funny, because VLC can do the job with a lot less overhead.

Hell, why stop there. G5s? Intel? Who cares. 512 MB RAM to run this shit or 1 GB at the most? With the rest of OS X in the background? What if I wanted to run Photoshop while listening to my music? I'm going to have to max out my RAM because of a media player?

I need to stop typing and grab a flight bag. Excuse me. Better yet, I need two.

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