Annoying software: Is Apple iTunes the new AOL?

Back in 2000 when AOL was king -- and incredibly irritating. Apple's iTunes seems to be catching up. Here are seven reasons why iTunes may be ready to don our Annoying Software crown.

2. System Hogging

AOL and iTunes are both resource-intensive; when running they slow down my Dell Dimension 8400 3.6-GHz P4 computer, configured with 3GB of RAM, significantly.

Loading either one feels like I'm strapping an elephant onto the top of my car and driving uphill. Everything — using Photoshop, opening and closing Firefox, working in Microsoft Office apps — moves sluggishly.

For me, this is the strongest argument yet for Apple to offer light program alternatives to iTunes for people who want just an iPod management tool. Sure, third-party iTunes alternatives (Amarok, Anapod Explorer, and SharePod) are around, but I'd like to see one reliable, single-function, free tool from Apple.

3. Stealth Updates

When you sign off of AOL, the software automatically updates itself, popping up an update indicator. You have to wait and wait for AOL before the software finally closes and relinquishes control of your desktop back to you. Still a mystery is what "updates" AOL decided to tack on. Often the only clue becomes apparent the next time you log on and you see a new toolbar or shopping aid in your AOL software.

Along the same lines — and far too often, as far as I'm concerned — my iTunes software always wants to be updated. And, until Apple faced scrutiny for the practice, it automatically delivered extra Apple services such as the Safari browser and QuickTime. It still will dump a new browser on your PC if you're not quick enough to uncheck Download Safari every time iTunes updates.

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Tom Spring

PC World (US online)

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