Stanford on iTunes, Apple Bug Friday XI

Friday, 2005-10-21; 22:52:00

This whole Stanford on iTunes thing is all in all a little weird. First and foremost, I first heard of this on the Mac web, not through the Stanford daily or some other way of communicating information on campus. I suppose that's probably natural since I don't really browse a bunch of Stanford sites, but I would expect to have seen at least some mention in the Stanford Daily. It only was officially announced yesterday, though, so I guess I should cut Stanford some slack.

But why through iTunes? I guess it's kind of nice since it's easier to download all of the tracks at once (since you only have to click one button for a hundred tracks, and it's automatically added to your iTunes library), but why not at least put some links on the web as well for those who can't/don't want to use iTunes? Furthermore, you actually have to go to, in order to even access the content. When you click on the link that takes you to Stanford on iTunes, iTunes actually opens up and displays the content. The "Music Store" source item is also selected, but there's absolutely no link from the regular iTMS to Stanford on iTunes, and you can't even search Stanford on iTunes. Weird.

It is cool, however, that both Apple and Stanford are willing to do this kind of thing, especially when Stanford just signed a deal with Yahoo Music to provide free subscription accounts to all Stanford students, at least for the first year. The Daily's "editorial board" (which by the way I think is stupid, because it basically absolves all members of any kind of accountability for their opinions since none of them sign it) even thinks that this agreement is good, despite the fact that it completely locks out Macintosh users and partially locks out iPod users. Here's my take on that.

Apple is really turning its iTunes Music Store into a sort of all-purpose content service, which is pretty cool in my opinion. If other colleges provided audio through iTunes, it would be an awesome way to not only connect with your university, but hear opinions and faculty speak from other universities. If Apple can keep this up, I think the market share of iTunes will stay where it is.

Oh, by the way, supposedly Stanford on iTunes is going to integrate with CourseWork (?!) to provide exclusive content to students and faculty at Stanford. So far, from the regular Stanford on iTunes link, I see no exclusive content of any kind yet (and I guess that's reasonable because the link says "StanfordPublic"). I guess it depends on classes that specifically add content to Stanford on iTunes, though, so it'll be interesting to see how many faculty make use of this cool but kind of bizarre new tool.

So yeah. Cool but weird.


Well, it's Friday again, and you know what that means. This is another Tiger-specific bug. (In fact, so far I've only done two non-Tiger-specific bugs, and both of those were Panther/Tiger-specific.)

It's about the date formatting in the International preference pane under Tiger. If you go to the "Formats" tab, you can customize the small, medium, large, and complete formats for both dates and times. However, I seem to be completely unable to customize each "size" without the others reverting.

For example, if I first personalize the short date format to the way I like it, press OK to dismiss the customization sheet and see my changes, and then subsequently customize the long date and press OK to dismiss the sheet, the short date format will revert. This is also true of the time customization... I can't customize all length times without some of them reverting to their defaults.

One thought is that Apple intended for you to "pick" a size, and then customize it to your liking. But not only does Apple show you each customized date length as a summary in the Formats tab, but it has a popup menu to choose each length -- if Apple only wanted you to display one length throughout the whole operating system, there would be no distinction between the lengths.

One more thing about this bug: if you change the medium time format, it resets all of the settings for the menu bar clock in the Date and Time control panel. Quite annoying -- it resets the menu bar clock to not have seconds, to not have flashing colons, and to have the day of the week at the front. These settings shouldn't revert every time you change the medium time format. Also, it might be better to simply provide four fields, one for each size, in the customization panel rather than having a popup menu to change between sizes. It's a case of over-engineering.

Bug filed under number 4311999.

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