Friday, May 25, 2007

Curse you, Sprint M1, iTunes, and all consumer electronics

My old cell phone got rained on and died, the poor delicate flower, so I decided it was time to upgrade to a fancy one with a camera and a music player. I got this phone, the Sprint M1, which I think is kind of retro-cute like something out of the movie Tron, and which has the aforementioned camera and music player.

All good, except I WANT TO KILL THE DESIGNERS OF THIS PHONE, AND WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF ITUNES WHILE I'M AT IT. In the last 23 hours, I have discovered the following things:

1. The only way to put music purchased from iTunes onto a non-Apple device, like my fancy new phone, is to burn the music to a CD in mp3 format and then re-load it onto iTunes, or else download some kind of illegal-seeming software (note to The Man: I did not download any such software). This is because the files you buy from iTunes are in m4p format, or something, rather than mp3, ostensibly to prevent piracy or improve sound quality, but really so that you can only listen to them on an iPod or other Apple product.

2. You can load music you bought on CD onto the phone, but if you put it in the Music folder, which seems the logical place for it, you don't access it by going to "Music" or "Media Player," but through Tools --> File Manager --> Music. Then you can't play a whole album, just one song at a time, and you can't use the cute little "Play" button that's on the outside of the phone, you have to go in through these menus to pick a new song after each song is done playing.

IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS COMPLICATED TO USE A PHONE. I refuse to accept any blame for my problems using this thing, because I know I'm not an idiot. The problem is that somewhere along the line our society decided that Computers Are Hard And Complicated, and thus we have come to accept that you may need to spend hours reading a 300-page manual in order to use a phone, and also that there is any rational reason why you cannot play music you have purchased on a music-playing device manufactured by another company.

It's as if you bought a shirt, but it had 47 holes in it, so before you could put it on you'd have to read a treatise on which one is for your head and which ones are for your arms, and then also the shirt would self-destruct if you tried to wear it with pants you bought from a different store.

The problem is, what am I going to do about it? Do I return the phone to Sprint out of spite, which would hurt Sprint hardly at all but leave me, again, music-less and phone-less? And which might possibly just lead me to buy an iPhone when they come out because I know it will work with iTunes, thus perpetuating the iTunes copyright monopoly? Or should I just grit my teeth and figure out how to use it?


Tim said...

You should be able to convert your Itunes files to MP3s by selecting the song and then the "Advanced" menu tab. There should be an option to "convert selection to MP3." This might not resolve the other annoying phone problems, but it might free you up from CD burning long enough to give your phone a proper burial.

Anonymous said...

The SLVR phone (at least the one offered by Cingular/ATT) has iTunes on it. So it plays just like an ipod would. It's neet-o.

T&A Lady said...

Tim, doesn't work. In iTunes help it goes through how to convert files, but it says you can't do it to ones you bought from iTunes because they're "Purchased songs are encoded using a protected AAC format that prevents them from being converted."

Tim said...

Dang, just tried it and you're right -- it doesn't work. I now want to punch Mac a little bit more.

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