Apple, Adobe and laziness

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"About Adobe: They are lazy … They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it." – Apple CEO Steve Jobs as reported on

Apple vs. Adobe

Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, is not one to mince words. At his January "Town Hall" employees meeting at Apple's HQ, Jobs responding to a question about the possibility of Adobe's Flash being allowed to run on the then newly launched iPad made it clear that he didn't think much of Adobe's engineering.

I seriously disagree with Jobs: Only someone with a myopic, intentionally blinkered agenda would make such a ridiculous remark. Adobe has created some of the finest content development tools available and as a consequence Flash has become ubiquitous while Photoshop has become an institution in the photographic and graphic design worlds. And Photoshop Lightroom is, as I wrote at the time, "remarkable."

In that review I was looking at the beta of the first version of Lightroom; since then the product has evolved to version 3 and in the process graduated from remarkable to astounding. Not even remotely is Lightroom the work of a "lazy" company.

What got me pondering Jobs' remarks was a recent adventure I had with iTunes: On my Mac I had assigned a 200GB drive for my music collection, a size that had seemed quite generous at the time. Alas, this volume eventually got used up and when just 24KB was left, iTunes, not unreasonably, abandoned downloading podcasts.

As I have a lot of storage available on my network I thought I'd move my iTunes library off the Mac on to a Synology DS1010+ that I reviewed back in February … I mean, how hard could reconfiguring iTunes be? Ha! It turns out that this is not as easy as you might at first assume.

After a little Googling it appeared the best plan was to set aside a subdirectory named "iTunes" on the default "Music" share on the DS1010+ and reconfigure iTunes version 9 (Preferences | Advanced) to use that subdirectory as its "iTunes Media folder location".

You also need to make sure that "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" is checked to be sure that all of your content will be moved to the target location.

So far, so good. Now we need to get iTunes to move its content to the new location. Under File | Library | Organize Library there's an option "Consolidate files" which copies all content iTunes currently knows about to the new storage location. You check that and click OK and off goes iTunes … until it stops with the message "Copying files failed. An unknown error occurred (-51)."

I think you can guess what comes next: Yep, nowhere, at least nowhere that I could find, is the error -51 documented. Tell me, how can an "unknown" error have a number?

I assumed the problem might be missing content but even after running the "Super Remove Dead Tracks" Applescript (111 tracks were found AWOL in my 16,240 items) the problem persisted so I just had to keep re-starting the transfer. At the time of writing I think I'm about two-thirds of the way through having re-started something 30 or 40 times.

So, no error recovery and no documentation for what should be a straightforward copying process. Really, Apple, how hard could this be? I can't be the first person this error has annoyed. Why hasn't Apple fixed this? Just lazy I guess.

Gibbs perseveres in Ventura, Calif. Your annoyances to

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This story, "Apple, Adobe and laziness" was originally published by Network World.

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