iWant for iTunes: More Font Size Options

I got a new Apple 27″ Cinema Display today. It’s a beautiful screen, and I especially like the ability to make my iTunes window bigger. I can display more columns than before, seeing much more information about my music. However, given the higher pixel density of the screen (there are more pixels per inch than the 24″ I was using before), everything looks smaller. iTunes lets you make some changes in the preferences, choosing between “Small” and “Large” for font sizes in the source list (the sidebar) and in list view.

iTunes needs to offer more font sizes. Small and large aren’t enough; there should be the same types of options as with other programs. Even if iTunes doesn’t allow you to choose different fonts, there should be more font sizes for new displays with smaller pixels.

And while I’m at it, there should be a preference for the font size in Finder window sidebars. As pixel densities increase, users just see these things get smaller and smaller with no way to adjust them.

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Why Do I Have To Create a Google Account to Get Support for Third-Party Software?

I’m an avid user of RSS to follow the news, and I use NetNewsWire to manage my RSS feeds and read the news that interests me. I’ve been having a problem with the program occasionally (that is, often enough that it’s annoying) retrieving RSS items on some feeds that are a year old. This happens for a couple of feeds every week or so; for others once a month. (It doesn’t happen for all feeds.)

Now, since I paid for this program, I went to the developers web site this morning to find out how to contact support. I was surprised – stunned, to be honest – to find that the only way they provide support is through Google Groups. There is no support e-mail, no support form on the website; you have to post your problem on Google Groups, publicly, in order to get support.

Since I don’t use Google any more, I don’t have a Google account, and don’t plan to create one to post to a group to get support. (And, frankly, the whole question of providing support via a public forum is one reason why I stopped using Google. I don’t want my discussions with this company’s technical support being public.)

So while I purchased the program, I can’t get support for it in any way that I approve of. I feel very disappointed that the developer has chosen this route as the only avenue for support, and this confirms my feelings about his not being in touch with his users. (There are other issues with the software, which, while not problems, suggest that he’s not very flexible, notable the use of Google Reader to sync the program from one computer to another.)

I’ll use NetNewsWire for a while, but I’m now, once again, in search of a new RSS reader. Companies who don’t want to provide support correctly don’t deserve to get my money. I feel disappointed that I paid for this software.

Note: I have nothing against forums on web sites for users to ask questions, and I do use them regularly. But they are not Google Groups, they are forums the developers have built, and there is always an e-mail address or a form to request support.

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Today’s Rant: Liner Notes

I’ve written about the possibility of providing digital liner notes with music purchased from the iTunes Music Store, but today I’m going to talk about analog liner notes – the ones printed on paper.I buy music through iTunes, because of its price and the simplicity of purchasing music online, but not everything I want is avaliable. I recently wanted to buy an album by Brad Mehldau, Elegiac Cycle, and saw that it was only available on iTunes as a “partial album”, that is, only a few tracks were available. (Why this is the case, I don’t know…) So, I ordered it online with a couple of books. I still buy CDs in addition to digital music, often for box sets, operas or other recordings where I want booklets and liner notes. But in this case, I was more interested in the music.

After I opened the CD, as I was ripping the music into iTunes, I pulled out the liner notes – Mehldau has extensive notes about the album and the different pieces it contains. However, these liner notes are written in 3-point sans serif type, totally unreadable for my 45-year old eyes (and probably for many younger eyes as well). I literally needed a magnifying glass to read them.

So, rant mode on… Who the hell are they kidding! What goes through the mind of a designer who tries to put text on the head of a pin? Is he/she proud of creating liner notes that are unreadable? I was actually tempted to return the disc for this reason alone. As record companies are trying to prove to users that they should buy CDs rather than simply download music illegally, they need to provide added value, but these unreadable liner notes are a way of saying that the record company doesn’t really care about the consumer.

I have ranted about tiny liner notes in other fora; unfortunately, with classical recordings, this is common, since there is a lot of information to be provided on very small pages. But for jazz, rock or popular music, there is no excuse. Sure, you can say that the demographic for such music has better eyesight, but it’s still a lack of respect for the consumer.

Now none of this detracts from the music; while this is not my favorite Brad Mehldau album, I don’t regret having bought it. If I had been able to buy it from the iTunes Music Store I wouldn’t have even known about the liner notes. But record companies should make a greater effort to differentiate their CDs if they want to keep people buying their product.

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