Ping Pong

3 09 2010

I hate working diligently to catch up, only to discover that I am still behind.

Last weekend, while in the throes of upgrading from iPhone 1 to iPhone 4, I had to upgrade my aging iMac from iTunes 9.1.1 to 9.2.1. Of course, 9.2.1 would not work with my Tiger OS10.4x version, so I had to install Snow Leopard (10.6.3). Then 9 more updates. Eight hours and three Apple tech people later, my new phone was working.

And I was ready to kill anyone who said one cross word.

So excuse me for not being terribly excited a couple of days ago when Apple announced with great fanfare the debut of iTunes 10 and its Ping music social network. I yawned. No, make that YAWNED. Turned my back in disgust. Vowed to ignore it as long as I could.

Especially the Ping part. What do you mean you have a music social network? Don’t I already have enough social networking accounts? “Ping is like Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes,” Apple’s Steve Jobs so eloquently put it.

Except that I am perfectly happy sharing my ever-so-refined musical tastes with my FB and Twitter fans. God knows I don’t need yet another friend list to cultivate. And never you mind that Ping sounds an awful lot like Bing, the search engine owned by “that other company” headquartered in Redmond WA.

To be honest, I am just a little bit mad at Apple. That’s saying a lot, because I own 5 Mac computers and at least one of everything else they make (aside from Apple TV…but give me time). You see, late last year Apple purchased LaLa.com, a music listening site that allowed users to upload their entire iTunes library, and be able to access it from the cloud. For a whopping 10 cents, users could purchase unlimited listening rights to songs they did not own. And, if they so desired, they could leverage LaLa as a music social network. While I never went for the social aspect, I loved having my music library available wherever. Like from work. Or my parents’ home in Florida.

Apple shut down LaLa last May. The rumor mill was rife with hints that Apple was going to roll the entire LaLa operation into iTunes, basically morphing it into a subscription listening service.

The new iTunes 10 is not a new and improved LaLa, though. If anything, iTunes is now a media server not limited to just music (which is not a bad thing, mind you), because now TV shows and movies can be managed alongside music and apps.

But I fail to be excited by Ping’s effort to be a Facebook for music lovers. I already entertain (or bore…take your pick) my FB friends by posting YouTube videos of songs and artists I dig. I am equally entertained (or bored…I’ll pick) by their music. And it all works just fine.

Within FB.

Furthermore, I see this as just another lame attempt by a company who missed the social network craze to try to jump on the last car of the train. Kind of like Google with their failed Wave and Buzz services. Facebook could add a new music feature at any time and put the kibosh on Ping, just like the new Facebook Places will likely kill geolocation networks Gowalla and Four Square.

All I really wanted was my LaLa back. Oh, and maybe a few more days before I am told my software is obsolete. That’s my song, and I’m sticking to it.

Dr “Listen To The Music” Gerlich

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One response

5 09 2010
kellypodz

Apple has a history of forcing you to upgrade almost everything in your gadget line-up just to enjoy their latest innovation. It’s kind of a miracle I managed to use my blue + white G3 up until just last year. Gets pretty annoying.

I’m afraid Apple is more concerned with selling music through Ping than giving us a way to be social. I’ve not dove into it yet, but I’m sure Ping will be littered with options to by the music your friends are listening to. Your profile will likely be one big ad for music sold on iTunes.

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