On Drew's Day, January 14, 2010...

Apple didn't like my homage to Nate Dogg

This is a screenshot of the podcast customer review page in the iTunes Store for one of the podcasts I listen to regularly. If you go read the reviews in iTunes right now, you won't see my review. It was removed, probably by Apple, most likely because of the critical comment I made about how someone at Apple did not like my full review of the podcast that I had tried to post before the one in the screenshot was posted.

When you write a podcast review on iTunes, you are presented with five "Tips for writing a great review":

  • Keep them short and to the point. Average iTunes customer reviews are about 200 words.
    Mine clocks in at 238 words. Granted, it is formatted a little differently and looks longer, but it's no significantly longer than what Apple calls average.
  • Praise podcasts on their own terms, not at the expense of other podcasts or the audience of other podcasts or genres.
    My review is nothing but praise, and says nothing about other podcasts or audiences of other podcasts.
  • Take the time to copy edit your work so that you avoid embarrassing typos or grammatical errors.
    Good advice. Done.
  • Do not use profanity or overtly sexual language.
    No problem here!
  • Do not use language that can be construed as hateful, especially in regards to lifestyle, religion, or race.
    Nothing in my review has anything to do with religion or race, so that's a non-issue. With respect to lifestyle, I suppose you could make a case about the numerous references to drunks, but if you know anything about the podcast I'm reviewing, you know that the topic of alcohol and drunks comes up frequently in the podcast itself. In fact, it is often in the titles and descriptions of the podcasts as posted to iTunes. And, my review is not "hateful" with regard to any lifestyle, so I don't really see it as going against this tip, either.

    At the very bottom after you write your review (not to exceed 6000 characters, mine clocks in at 1200 characters) there is one more line:

    If a review is deemed inappropriate, it will not be posted to the iTunes Store.

    I did some searching online to see if there were other people who had their reviews rejected from the iTunes Store. The only relevant information I could find came from a FAQ for Podcast Makers on Apple's site:

    Can I have a review removed?

    iTunes does not remove reviews for editorial purposes. Reviews with profanity, hate speech, explicit/pornographic content, or commentary that is completely off topic are prohibited. To request removal of a review, click on Report a Concern for that review.

    Again, if you know anything about the podcast I was reviewing, you would know that every line in my review was completely ON topic for their show.

    My guess is that Apple doesn't want their Customer Reviews to become like the ones you see on Amazon. (e.g. The Story about Ping, Tuscan Whole Milk) Which is a shame. Because if fans of podcasts (or any content on iTunes) can't have fun to promote their favorite artists, everyone sort of loses an opportunity to discover something new.

    Anyway, the full podcast review that I wanted to post is here. My apologies to Warren G and Nate Dogg...

    we podcast any speaking of his mind
    and we download em
    But you can't be any geek off the street,
    gotta be out of your parents basement, if you know what I mean, earn your keep!

    It was a clear black night, a clear white moon
    Nick D was in the seat, trying to consume
    some talk in the eve, chattin' with a drunk
    I'm rollin in my ride, beers are in the trunk

    Just hit the Northside on the Kennedy
    on a mission tryin' to find Mr. Nicky D.
    Got a 'dog with fries and I need to chew
    all you drunks know what's up with 312

    So I hooks a left on Addison and Clark
    The Cubs are out of town so I said "Let's park."
    I jumped out the ride, and started to cough
    Nick went on a rant and my pants fell off!

    [Nick D:]
    Since Andy's tweetin' me I'ma check my phone
    Laughin' so hard that I start to moan
    Won'tcha load up your ipod with The Nick D Show
    You can do it right now or at your leisure, bro!

    He's speaking
    about a previous era
    Nick fans,
    Brew and view,
    I dare ya.
    Are in the News

    [Nick D:]
    Wisconsin's where they're from and the "winner"'s gonna lose

    We brings
    where Chicago is home
    and home is Chicago

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On Drew's Day, June 12, 2008...

Sync an ipod with iTunes on a linux computer!

Back in March there was some excitement when one of the WINE developers got an ipod to be recognized by iTunes running on linux with WINE. He posted his patch, but it has yet to migrate to the binary releases. So, unless you fancy patching and compiling WINE on your own, iTunes with WINE is not a great option.

I learned about VirtualBox about the same time, and it occurred to me that I could have a small Windows XP guest OS running on top of my Ubuntu install.

I installed the PUEL (non-free) version from Sun and followed the standard installation procedure. After applying a ton of XP patches, so that I could get to the point where I could use the guest XP install, I was able to download and install iTunes. I followed the instructions on the ubuntu site to get USB to work so the ipod was recognized. Here's a screenshot:

I wanted the ability to share folders between the guest and host OS and after a bit of struggling was able to get that to work (see note below). The bonus of getting the folder sharing to work was that I had to enable mouse sharing, which allowed for the "windowed" mode that you see in the screenshot.

I know that this is not the "free as in speech" way to use an ipod, but I also have a Nike+ that I would like to sync with the runnerplus website on a more regular basis. It was starting to be a pain booting into Windows to sync the ipod to have my stats saved to the website. Also, I have yet to find a linux tool that handles smart playlists of podcasts correctly. So far, this option seems to be the closest to what I've been looking for. And, I haven't seen anyone else do this in linux, that I know of. :)

Some notes:
  1. USB permissions are not persistent after reboot. Further, you need to set the permissions AFTER plugging in the ipod.
  2. The linux host can grab control of the sound card making the XP guest unable to play music. One way to fix this is to shutdown the program in linux that grabbed control of the sound card (if you don't need to use it) and restart the XP guest.
  3. Installing Guest Additions seems to be critical for folder sharing! (Some people have posted that it is optional.) In my case, I had to install it TWICE to get the folder sharing to work. (There are other people who report similar behavior.

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