I have a very firm stance on several computing principles, and portability is the most firm of them all.
Yet, sometimes, I find myself backing off of my stance for the sake of minimalism as a whole, and the idea that, well, I take what I get without complaining too bitterly.
I'm a college student. Family members seem convinced I want Apple products, notably the iPod nano and some iTunes gift cards (as well as that iPod touch I mentioned a few blogs ago, which I no longer have). Well, should I refuse to use the music because Apple sells their files in the patented and difficult-to-keep-portable file format AAC? Should I discard my iPod nano because it was designed, from the most integral software in the device, to be a pain in the rear for anyone who doesn't use iTunes on Windows or Mac?
iTunes and iPod are not "portable" pieces of software, in my definition of OS and program agnostic behavior. In fact, they are the exact opposite, going out of their way to make life difficult for people who try to be portable. Especially the iPod, whose anti-portability has thrown me into more than a number of furious rages.
I can deal with this, sure. Linux works nicely with both AAC files and the iPod nano*. But the theoretical side of things - what the company and devices stand for - has made me consider moving out of said platforms more than once. I've been telling relatives to please give me Amazon MP3** gift cards instead of iTunes, but Apple's tantalizing advertising has forever linked my demographic with their ubiquitous gift cards, and so I continue to rack up money on my account. Good music, but annoying platform. And that doesn't even begin to cover my irritation at needing a Windows partition for iTunes' sluggish and user unfriendly behavior.
Would it be a waste to go out and buy a Cowon audio player that supports OGG and MP3? I'm undecided. My annoyance at new gizmos and gadgets is almost as strong as my irritation at iPod's lack of portability (and it's not as if I really care for the iPod;s features above anything else - the Conwon looks just as nice and has radio). They almost cancel each other out, and so here I stay.
*I'll note that this integration is not quite as nice as iTunes is. Cover art gets messed up sometimes, and Podcasts get scattered throughout the device. Nothing to cry about, though.
**Amazon MP3's lack of support for recent Linux distros is getting ridiculous. A quick compile and repackage wouldn't take more than an hour of their time.
Clamz is a good project to deal with such foolishness. I try to use 7digital as much as I can, because they seem to be the only MP3 site that doesn't try to shoot itself in the foot with downloaders and other nonsense.