While I get that there’s a real usage-rights issue involved, I’m not too sure why there’s so much handwringing in the iPod user community about Apple shutting down iPod Download — do people know that there are literally dozens of other apps that allow users to do the exact same thing, and that have been available for quite a while? Here are the ones I was able to come up with links to in under five minutes’ worth of searching:

Oh, and if you know even the littlest bit about the command line, it’s trivial to discover that the “protection” against downloading from the iPod is implemented simply by hiding the folder that contains the tracks, so all you have to do is change into that directory and start copying.

So yeah, Apple’s behaving, well, like Apple always has… but it’s pretty easy to route around that, and it’s not that easy for Apple implement any longstanding way to prevent that.

my_bash_prompt% cd /Volumes/MyiPod/iPod_Control/Music

my_bash_prompt% ls -a

And voila. There it all is. Note that I rarely do this except when iTunes “can’t find” one of my songs, and so I just go dig it out of the iPod.

So is Terminal now a piece of hacking software?

• Posted by: Mike on Nov 4, 2004, 12:11 PM

Everybody knows that if your program add-on uses hooks to internals, it is likely to break when new versions come out. Everyone seems to know that EXCEPT one particularly prominent whiner who uses his popular web page to bash Apple at the least provocation. But what else would you expect from someone who wrote an article about the “sad Mac” tattoo he got when his PowerBook crashed? The really stupid bit is, this guy claims to have been a coder, but he obviously never wrote production code or he’d know that plugins often have to be updated for new app releases. In any case, a new version of iPod Download is already out, updated for the new iTunes release.

• Posted by: Charles on Nov 4, 2004, 8:02 PM

Charles, that’s not quite fair — while in general you’re right, using (undocumented) internal hooks isn’t always a great idea, that’s not what happened here. And the update to iTunes didn’t change those hooks, it specifically looked for a plugin named “iTunes Download” and denied it access to the system. It was a specific hack-job, not a functionality change.

• Posted by: Jason on Nov 4, 2004, 9:09 PM

Considering it abstractly, there is no practical difference between a plugin being disallowed by name, and an plugin that looks for a specific hook and finds it isn’t there anymore. In both cases, a program internal has changed and you need to adapt, which is easy to do. In any case, it’s not a reason for anyone to have a hissy fit, like the demented blogger I referred to.

• Posted by: Charles on Nov 4, 2004, 11:20 PM
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