Critters Media

Tinhat time

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I spent the morning taking my cat into the vet. Poor baby has a thyroid gone awack and will either need pills, radioactive iodine, or surgery. At the vet’s she tried to burrow into my arms, hiding her head inside my coat and shaking. Right now she knows I feel guilty, so she’s asking for yet another treat.

This afternoon, since my internet connection was funky, and the day was nice, I decided to visit the Butterfly House. I’ll write on this later, with photos, but will say now that the trip was enchanting, and I hope my camera’s delicate electronics have survived the humidity.

Catching up on reading tonight, Scott Reynen mentions a flooflah about iTunes and a new mini-store feature. I was reminded to check for software updates, and there it was, in among updates for Quicktime, the OS, and so on. I immediately downloaded the update so I could see for myself Apple’s dastardly doings.

Once updated, since I’m still on a Jelly Roll, urh, roll, I double clicked one of his songs. In the bottom of the song list page, another frame displayed other albums by Morton, a listing of music others bought in addition to Morton, and links to a Morton biography. I’m not surprised at the list of albums I can buy–iTunes is first and foremost a music store. I am pleasantly surprised, though, by the link to the Morton biography.

Okay, so I’ve seen the feature. Now, what’s the uproar?

The Ziff-Davis boys compare the MiniStore to Microsoft’s Passport. (I would have made a comment on this at the site, but you have to register first, and I was too tired, and to uninterested to fill in all those fields.)

Rob Griffiths at MacWorld wrote the following about data being transmitted when a song is double-clicked:

In order to do this, the music store must obviously know what you’re listening to. It learns this information via a packet of information sent each time you play a song via a double-click. This data is sent without your explicit permission, and as far as I can tell, there are no Apple privacy policies that cover that transfer of information. It’s also unclear exactly what data is being sent. (Is it just song and title? Or does it include your Apple music store ID, which would tie the song info directly to your personal data?) And although Apple now assures us that the data is not collected, that information is not made clear to users when they begin using iTunes.

However, this isn’t about the MiniStore itself. It’s about Apple’s attitude in rolling this change out to the millions of iTunes users, without as much as a peep about what’s going on behind the scenes.

Oh my Aunt Matilda’s bunions. Consider with me, if you please, a scenario:

You open iTunes. You double click a song. While the song is playing, additional information about the song, singer, other albums you can buy, and so on is displayed. You bring your hands to your cheeks in astonishment.

“Oh my gawd!”, you cry out. “How could iTunes know what I was going to be playing next?!”

You then call out to your significant other, who is currently fetching toast out of the plugged-in toaster with a fork, “Jimmy Joe! Jimmy Joe! You’re never gonna believe this one, sugah! This here iTunes read my mind, honey bug!”

At that point, having been saved from certain death, Jimmy Joe enters into your room, looks at the screen, scratches his belly in puzzlement and replies, “Sweet lips, I do believe you’re rauuught about that there iToones. It read your durn mind.”

A sudden thought dawns on Jimmy Joe, causing him to exclaim (as well as fart), “You know, the same thing happened to me the other day! I was out getting my email at gmail when I realized, golly, the ads looked familiar. I was writing about chain saws, and lo and behold, the ads were about chain saws.”

“No!”, you exclaim.

“I wouldn’t lie to you sweet cheeks. And come to think on it, when I wrote about the new Dukes of Hazard movie, the ads were about the Dukes of Hazard.”

You look at each other in wonder. You then wrap your arms around Jimmy Joe, exclaiming, “Honey bunch, you know what this all means?” Jimmy Joe shakes his head no. “We’re psychic!”

I wasn’t going to write on all this sort of stuff this this year, but the temptation was too strong. There was a little pulse that kept beating, “do it do it do it”. But you already knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from the lists didn’t you? Yes you did. And you know what that means, don’t you…

Why honey bunch, you must be psychic!

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