Monthly Archives: September 2010

iPad, Windows, Linux, and User-Friendliness

I purchased an iPad back in April.  I’ve never owned my own Mac, iPod, or iPhone, and until then had never used iTunes.  Upon unpacking the iPad there were three instructions, paraphrased:

1. Download and Install iTunes.

2. Connect the iPad.

3.  Follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes to set up iPad.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work as expected.  I installed iTunes, plugged in the iPad, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Windows XP apparently recognized the iPad (and still does) as various digital camera devices.  The iPad offered no help, just showing an illustration of the plug and an arrow pointing to iTunes on the screen.  Various combinations of reboots and flittering around in iTunes didn’t help.  I finally called Apple Support while simultaneously going into Device Manager in Windows Control Panel.  In Device Manager I found the ‘Digital Camera’ device, deleted it, and plugged in the iPad again.  Magic. Windows  recognized the iPad at the exact moment that the Apple Support person came on the phone.

Next was the struggle with iTunes to figure out how to get the iPad connected and working.  From someone who has a fair amount of experience with computers and with media conversion, I find iTunes to be absolutely horrible.  The interface is not just bad, it’s actually counter-intuitive.  I always thought that Apple was known for excellent usability but the iTunes interface (on Windows at least) is the opposite of usable.

I need to Authorize my computer?  Why?  And then why would “Authorize Computer” be underneath the ‘Store’ menu?  I selected the wrong folder for syncing the photos to the iPad.  How do I change it?  Well, you need to get to the iPad by clicking on it on the left and then find the Photos tab within the main window.  This should be under “Preferences” in a normal windows app.  If this isn’t a preference I don’t know what is.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be a function of this iPad device.

There seems to be a large assumption that users of iTunes have no little existing media to manage and/or have never used a computer before so have no pre-existing ideas of how to manage their media.

I’ve found the iPad to be a great device, with none of the wireless problems that other people have reported.  (I have a Linksys WRT54GL.)  I’ve found iTunes to be a horrible program though, incredibly counter-intuitive and difficult to use.

Your Call Is Very Important To Us

As I sit on hold with AT&T today (and sit and sit), every 30 seconds a recording keeps stating “Thank you for continuing to hold.  Your call is very important to us, a representative will be with you shortly.”  I can’t help but think that if my call was very important to them, they would have a representative actually answer it.