Taking a Bite out of Apple

For some unexplained reason, the Apple iPod has emerged as the most popular portable music device in use today. In the process it has dethroned the venurable Sony Walkman and somehow managed to overtake other devices that would be equally capable and would cost only a fraction as much.
iPodNot only is the iPod extremely popular but it is also extremely difficult to use. Sure things are rosy when you are able to run everything using the iTunes service, but what if you have a massive collection of CD’s or video that you want to convert to your iPod?

Here is a rather simple scenario. I’m getting on a long flight tomorrow and expect to be trapped in an airplane or airport for the better part of the next 24 hours. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could bring one of my favorite movies with me on my iPod?

Not so fast! Unless the iTunes service sells the movie, you won’t be able to get this onto your iPod in a single-click fashion. The first thing you’re going to need is Videora, this converts your videos into a format that the iPod can display. Be careful when you download this, each kind of iPod needs a different kind of video conversion for it to work. Depending on where you video is coming from, your next hurdle might in fact be how to get your hands on a copy. For video on a DVD, the data on the disc is encrypted so a utility like DVD Decypter is needed to read the VOB off the disc. Of course, since there are legal ramifications you can’t expect to find this utility on the website and you will need to grog the Internet until you find a copy somewhere.

How inconvenient does this need to be? Legal owners of DVD discs should be able to copy these to portable devices and watch them anywhere.

Unless the iTunes service sells the movie, you won�t be able to get this onto your iPod in a single-click fashion.

If Apple was smart, the iTunes interface would enable you to store movies on your computer as easily as you can store audio files. It isn’t any more illegal to copy the newest Bruce Springsteen CD onto your iPod as it is to load your copy of The Simpsons Movie for viewing on-the-go.

The icing on the cake here is that you need to use the snazzy iTunes interface to converse with your iPod. Wouldn’t it be nice if the iPod popped up on your PC as another disk drive? Most of the other popular digital walkmans support this kind of communication, and it means you can easily load content on your MP3 player from just about any computer.

If iTunes can’t do everything you need to do with your iPod, then Apple should either make it work or give up and let the user deal with converting content for the device.