The Perils of Programmable Devices

Having just discovered this design “feature” of the iPod, I could easily understand what a tool like iPodDownload is so popular. What’s less easy to appreciate is why Apple forced its developer off the Net until he took the link down: MacCentral: Apple shuts down iPodDownload

On Wednesday MacCentral brought readers news about iPodDownload, a free iTunes plug-in that enabled users to move files from their iPod back to iTunes. Creator Sylvain Demongeot has since removed the software from circulation following a request from his Internet Service Provider (ISP), who apparently intervened at the behest of Apple Computer Inc.

“After Apple threatened my web hosting company and my site was shut down for more than 1 hour, I had to withdraw the plugin,” said Demongeot in a statement posted to the Web site.

I myself had assumed that the iPod could be used to synch my MP3 music libraries between home and work, and was surprised to find out, painfully, how hard it actually is to do this — although, of course, by “hard” I mean “not easy within the Mac desktop/iTunes paradigm” (you just have to plan on working through the files by hand, hunting through a set of hashed folders – the MP3 filenames are there, but the album titles are not used to arrange the folders containing them). But I find it hard to imagine that this action on Apple’s part is related to their licensing agreements with the RIAA, especially since a little Googling turns up mirrors — but it’s equally difficult to figure out any *other* reason for the action.