Tag Archives: iTunes

iTunes 8: RIP

When trying to access the iTunes store today with iTunes 8, it simply presented me with a single page, offering to upgrade to iTunes 10. Previously to this, usage of iTunes 8 on the iTunes store was a bit glitchy, but functional, overall. It allowed searches, browsing, purchasing. Even the old shopping cart still worked, which was the primary reason for staying with iTunes 8. The only catch was, you couldn’t get into the store simply by clicking on the iTunes Store link in the iTunes sidebar, you had to “sneak” in through one of the many little search arrows that show up throughout an iTunes library. As this was only slightly inconvenient, I never bothered to complain about it.

But now, there is nothing. Apple, in its typical, Nazi-like fashion, has decided that users are required to upgrade, or we’re shit out of luck.

(As a side effect of this, my old post about nuking iTunes 9 in favor of iTunes 8, a decidedly non-trivial process, is now totally obsolete. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it worked with iTunes 10 anyway, since I never bothered to upgrade.)

Apple is in dire need of new leadership. And, as of today, I am in need of somewhere else to obtain music online.

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It worked! Nuking iTunes 9 in favor of iTunes 8

It worked! :D

First, huge kudos to Apple Support Forums user GanstaPenguin for posting steps to accomplish this rollback.

What I’m going to do here is note some particulars I ran into during the rollback, then post a detailed step-by-step guide of how to do this, integrating GanstaPenguin’s steps with what I ran into during the rollback.

Stuff I encountered:  I had purchased four songs from the iTunes online store after the upgrade.  Based on other comments on Apple Support Forums, I was careful to make backup copies of these tracks before attempting the rollback.  I also made sure that Time Machine had made a backup of my hard drive, and that I had done nothing of significance since that backup.  My rationale was that if something went wrong with the rollback, the easiest “undo” would be to simply restore the whole drive with Time Machine.  After the rollback, I reimported the four new songs, and ended up with duplicate files in their corresponding folders in the “iTunes Music” folder.  Fixing this proved to be trivial, and in the steps below, I’ll design things to avoid this duplication.  In terms of iTunes configuration:  In iTunes preferences, under the Advanced tab, I have “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library” both checked.  I learned that this is really the best option if you think you’re ever going to be messing around with the guts of iTunes. If you do not have those options checked, then some of what I list below is not going to work as I describe.

Playcounts, ratings and other customizations of items purchased after the upgrade were gone after the rollback.  Playcounts can be fixed with a script that allows changing of playcounts.  The other stuff is done manually.  (If I remember where to find that playcount-changer script, I’ll post a link here.  At the moment I don’t know where I got that, though—sorry.)

So, based on GanstaPenguin’s insight and my own experience with the rollback, here are extra-detailed steps on how to nuke iTunes 9 and get iTunes 8 back:

1) Make sure you have a valid backup.  NEVER mess around with iTunes without a valid backup.  I AM NOT KIDDING. Time Machine is the recommended backup method.  You also need to make a note of the time of this backup, in case you get through all of this and want to undo it for some reason.

2) Go to <http://support.apple.com/downloads/iTunes_8_2_1> and download iTunes 8.2.1. Open the disk image and review the “read me” file until you are satisfied that this version of the program will, in fact, run on a G4, G5 or Intel Mac in spite of what the webpage says. :)

3) Identify which songs or other items you have purchased since you upgraded.  If you care about play counts, ratings, etc., you’ll need to make a note of these somewhere.  I used TextEdit. :)

4) Quit iTunes.

5) You’re going to move your recently purchased items to a different location, but to do that you need to actually find the files.  You can use Spotlight to find them, or else hunt them down in the Finder (I do it that way because I hate Spotlight).  For manual finding, look in the “iTunes Music” folder.  Songs are mostly sorted by artist, then by album name.  One song I bought was from a movie soundtrack—I found it in the “Compilations” folder.  I don’t know how videos are organized—sorry.  I’d recommend Spotlight for those, I guess.

6) Now the files need to be moved.  What I did was to simply copy the .m4a files to another drive.  Copying to another drive will leave the originals in their original locations, which is not what you want!  If this happens, you’ll have to delete the originals yourself, after copying them.  Another way would be to simply drag the files to the desktop or another folder on the same drive as your iTunes library, instead of copying to another drive.  Whichever way you do it, the song files need to be gone from their locations in the iTunes Music folder, so that when you reimport them, you won’t end up with dupes.  (Whether or not dupes would be a problem somewhere down the road is unknown.  I prefer not to take the chance.)

7) Now you can delete iTunes from your Applications folder.  You don’t have to empty the trash, although it won’t hurt if you do.

8) Go to your ~/Music/iTunes folder. Delete or rename the “iTunes Library” file.

9) Open the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder and look for the backup of your old pre-9 library; it should be dated at about the time you first ran iTunes 9. Move it back out to the ~/Music/iTunes folder, and rename it to “iTunes Library”.

10) Go back to the disk image you’ve downloaded and run the installer application.  Agree to whatever it says and wait for the installation to complete.

11) Start up iTunes.  You can immediately satisfy yourself that the rollback has worked by accessing the iTunes store.  When I did this, there was some delay—I am not sure if this was because it was confused over my rollback, or it was simply internet slowness.  You can also check your “Purchased” list and verify that items you bought since the v9 upgrade have, in fact, disappeared.

12) Use the Finder to locate your saved copies of your recently purchased songs.  The easiest way to get them back into iTunes is to select them all and do command-O (that’s the letter “O”, not a zero!).  This will cause iTunes to reimport them.   I suggest having your music sorted by “date added” when you do this, because the next step is manually dragging these tracks over to the “Purchased” list, so they show up there again.

13) Final step for me was restoring the play counts.

Out of curiosity, I also ran Software Update, and sure enough, it’s now recommending I upgrade to iTunes 9.0.3 again.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to uncheck that option every single time I run Software Update, from now until I get a new computer that comes preloaded with a newer version.  (Does a Snow Leopard upgrade force an upgrade to iTunes 9?  I hope not.)

Final note—What to do if something goes wrong and you want to undo all of this:

Close all applications. Open a Finder window and navigate to the top level of your internal hard drive.  Open Time Machine.  Click the backwards-pointing arrow until you are at the backup dated right before you started the rollback procedure.  Click the “restore” button.  It shouldn’t take all that long to run the restore, since you won’t have made all that many changes.  Disclaimer:  I haven’t done this, since the rollback worked fine for me.  However, this is what I would have done if I had not been satisfied.

So that’s that.

You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve been pissed off by an iTunes upgrade.  The last time was a few years ago—I forget what the issue was at the time.  I suppose it must have been less significant, because I eventually got used to it.  However, after two irritating upgrades, I have learned my lesson.  Never again will I blindly accept an iTunes upgrade without first researching it to see people’s reactions.  The difficulty, though, is how to do that research.  When I googled “iTunes 9 shopping cart” I got some pretty informative results, but if I hadn’t known to include “shopping cart” in my search, would I have found anything about it?  What’s needed are really good, critical reviews of these upgrades.

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More Apple iTunes sneakiness

I am really starting to get offended over this.

In my quest to roll things back to iTunes 8, I started out with some poking around in Time Machine.  One of the first things I noticed was that, even after upgrading to iTunes 9, if I look in the Applications folder, the actual application says “Version 8.2.1.”  What the fuck?

I went into Time Machine to check backed up versions, and sure enough, the version number of the application did not change when I upgraded.  Just to be sure I wasn’t completely losing my mind, I started iTunes again, double-clicking directly from the version 8.2.1 icon in the Finder, and checked the version number from within the program.  It was 9.0.3.

What the hell is Apple trying to pull with this shit?

I’ve also been doing some searching and discovered that I am far from the only person who’s wanted to downgrade back to version 8 of this software.  Various methods have been postulated as to how to actually accomplish the downgrade.  I’m not sure which one to try.

One idea I had was to simply restore my entire user folder to its pre-upgrade state.  I would have to “save” a few files from there that have changed in the last few days, and I would undoubtedly forget some, meaning lost data.  I am guessing I’d also have to restore the main Library folder in order for this to work.    Hmmm.

I may be on the right track with this.   However, there might be easier ways, too.  One suggested method I found goes like this:

1) Quit iTunes.

2) Delete iTunes from your Applications folder.

3) Go to your ~/Music/iTunes folder. Delete or rename the “iTunes Library” file.

4) Open the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder and look for the backup of your old pre-9 library; it should be dated at about the time you first ran iTunes 9. Copy it back out to the ~/Music/iTunes folder, and rename it to “iTunes Library”.

6) Go to <http://support.apple.com/downloads/iTunes_8_2_1> and download iTunes 8.2.1. The page says it’s for G3, but the Read Me file says it’ll run on G4, G5, and Intel too. Open the diskimage and run the installer.

Sounds simple enough, right?

I’m just a bit wary because the last time I tried messing around with the guts of iTunes, I ended up having to restore stuff from backup.  I was trying to split my iTunes library into two separate libraries, so I could keep spoken word stuff apart from actual music.  Something went wrong during that process, and I had to restore it all.  However, I did have a good idea of what went wrong, so when I tried it again, and it worked.  I learned a a valuable lesson, though: iTunes is not designed to be tinkered with.

This lack of tinkerability, frankly, is one of the primary beefs I have with Apple software.  It seems like it’s all designed for noobs who never need or want to do anything that isn’t explicitly supported in the design and documentation of the application.  The reason this is bullshit is simple:  software is a tool, and people always use tools for stuff they weren’t originally designed for.  Always.  Furthermore, properly trained programmers know that this is true, and construct their applications with it in mind.  This is how I was taught to write code, by people who actually knew what they were talking about (I’m referring to the computer science department at a major university).  The problem, of course, is that designing software with that degree of robustness is tougher than designing crap software, and people are lazy.  They are especially lazy (with respect to programming) when they form groups called “corporations,” because being part of a corporation forces them to re-prioritize and put profit above all other considerations.

Refer back to that link I posted above, and read further on in that discussion.  People who have contacted Apple with the question of how to roll back iTunes to version 8 have been informed that it is “not possible.”  Yet there are clearly people out there who have done it successfully, so why is Apple refusing to admit that it’s possible?  Why are they not doing their damn jobs and helping people get their computers to work the way they want them to work?  The answer goes back to design.  This version of iTunes wasn’t intended to be rolled back, because some idiot decided that was the way it was going to be, so damn anyone who wants it different, even if they have a legitimate need (and based on what I have found, there are a lot of people who have a far more legitimate need to roll back the software than I have—people who face the dreaded beachball whenever they plug in their iPods, for instance, or people who find their speakers no longer work right after upgrading, etc.).

Well, enough complaining, I need to get back to the task.  I admit, I am dreading this.  I am seriously worried that something is going to get messed up and I’ll end up wasting what little is left of the weekend getting it fixed.

[edit] Almost forgot!  Credit for the steps listed above goes to an Apple Support Forums user called GanstaPenguin.

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iTunes 9: it gets worse

Continuing  on from the previous post:

Yesterday I complained that the change from “shopping cart” to “wishlist” was pointless and did nothing but confuse.

It’s actually worse than that.

I logged on to the iTunes store tonight, looking for a song or two to load into my shopping cart, when I noticed that the old “add to cart” button found next to each song has been replaced by a “buy” button.  In the old version, this indicated that 1-click ordering was activated, and could be turned off (thereby reactivating the shopping cart) in iTunes preferences.

iTunes 9 no longer allows a person to do this.  1-click is now your default, whether you like it nor not. The only way to add something to the “wish list” now is to click on a miniscule, unlabeled little triangle on the side of the “buy” button, which brings up a menu of other options.  “Add to wishlist” is the second option.

I suddenly feel very lucky that I have a computer with an actual mouse attached to it.  I would hate to have to maneuver the cursor over that teensy little menu and down to the second item using a trackpad!

But what really irritates the living shit out of me is that this is just a cheesy, lame, underhanded, fucking sneaky way to increase sales.

I’ve sent some comments to iTunes application feedback, essentially telling them to piss up a rope (I did use more polite language, though, because I’m hoping they will actually listen).  I’m going to try to use Time Machine to downgrade back to the old version, but if I can’t figure out how to do that, then I’m going to be getting my music somewhere else.

Here’s the link for iTunes feedback, if you feel like complaining too:  http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html.  You can also just choose the “Provide iTunes Feedback” item in the main iTunes menu, right underneath “Preferences” (this is on Apple systems–I’m not sure how it works on Windows, sorry).  If you are at all irritated about this, complain!  Seriously, the world would be a much better place if more people complained about lame, stupid, unnecessary stuff.

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iTunes 9 = Massive Fail

I finally gave in to Software Update’s incessant pestering that I should upgrade to iTunes 9.

I wish I hadn’t.  The iTunes store has been completely redesigned, and not in a good way.  It looks like an iPad application, which I don’t find inherently objectionable.  What bugs me about is that they have implemented an entirely cosmetic change, one radical enough to have significant effect on the functionality of the site, and then tried to pass it off as an improvement from a usability standpoint, when it’s actually the opposite.  There’s less information available on screen at a time, it’s harder to find stuff, and I can’t even find my fucking cart. Seriously, what the fuck happened to my cart?!??!??

Sometimes I sincerely wonder if Apple Computer is being run by morons.


Part 2:

They changed the name of the shopping cart to “wish list.”

Dumb.  Annoying.  A completely pointless change that does nothing but confuse.

My recommendation?  If you haven’t upgraded to iTunes 9 already, then DON’T.  It sucks.

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