iTunes 7.3: Ignoring symbols in browser (sorting) is not always a good idea.

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GadgetGuru72

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Apple just released iTunes 7.3.1. I was hoping that they fixed this absurd sorting issue, but 7.3.1 has the same problem.

I hope this doesn't support the conclusion that this was done intentionally. It seems to me that if it was a mistake it would have been corrected in the update.
 

rockmyplimsoul

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7.3.1 does have the same back-asswards sorting as 7.3, but at least with 7.3.1 they fixed the "Apply Sort Field..." command so that if you enter a special sort criteria for an artist, you can apply that to all songs by that artist. In 7.3 this was broken, but now fixed. So, for all your artists beginning with a character or number, update the Sort Artist field with the same artist name but preceded by "A" and a space (e.g. set the Sort Artist for 10,000 Maniacs as "A 10,000 Maniacs"). That bumps the artist back to the top, ahead of all other artists that actually start with "A", and the "numeric" artists still appear as they always did.

Funny story, while perusing the Apple board someone said that they had resorted to using the Spanish version of iTunes thinking that would help this avoid this sorting issue. Apparently the Spanish iTunes defaults to ignoring artists beginning with "El" (the, in English). But this user noticed that "Elvis Presley" was sorted under "V" since iTunes en Espanol was ignoring the "El" in Elvis! ay yi yi ...
 
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rockmyplimsoul

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GadgetGuru72 said:
... he confirmed that the sorting is "expected behavior" and was intentional.
And counter-intuitive to anyone familiar with how characters are sorted in any other computer application (just had to add my 2¢). Yes I think the Apple symbol (and Cupertino as his location) suggests that he is an employee, but maybe not in any position to drive changes.
 

GadgetGuru72

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rockmyplimsoul said:
And counter-intuitive to anyone familiar with how characters are sorted in any other computer application (just had to add my 2¢). Yes I think the Apple symbol (and Cupertino as his location) suggests that he is an employee, but maybe not in any position to drive changes.
I agree that he's probably in no position to drive changes, but I think his position as an employee is sufficient to confirm that this is not a bug and was, in fact, intentional.
 
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Yes, AFAIK he's an Apple employee. I dealt with him briefly over an Apple TV issue back in the v1.0 firmware (the clock seemed eternally off by either 1 hour or 9 hours, and both my Apple TVs were different in that regard).

It's disappointing to hear that this is actually expected behavior, since it really is counter-intuitive to the way everything else handles sorting. The omission of leading punctuation was probably intended to get tracks with names like "Weird Al" to sort correctly, and in many cases the leading punctuation really is not part of the name (your ?uestlove example notwithstanding, of course :) ). Using the Sort Fields for those few exceptions probably isn't that big of a deal for most.

The only other option would have been to choose what punctuation does get ignored -- a solution that would have probably created a different set of complaints, and a lot more issues for international versions.

On the other hand, numbers sorting at the bottom is definitely not normal or expected by any other sorting standard.
 

GadgetGuru72

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jhollington said:
Yes, AFAIK he's an Apple employee. I dealt with him briefly over an Apple TV issue back in the v1.0 firmware (the clock seemed eternally off by either 1 hour or 9 hours, and both my Apple TVs were different in that regard).

It's disappointing to hear that this is actually expected behavior, since it really is counter-intuitive to the way everything else handles sorting. The omission of leading punctuation was probably intended to get tracks with names like "Weird Al" to sort correctly, and in many cases the leading punctuation really is not part of the name (your ?uestlove example notwithstanding, of course :) ). Using the Sort Fields for those few exceptions probably isn't that big of a deal for most.

The only other option would have been to choose what punctuation does get ignored -- a solution that would have probably created a different set of complaints, and a lot more issues for international versions.

On the other hand, numbers sorting at the bottom is definitely not normal or expected by any other sorting standard.
I agree that there's probably not many examples in which punctuation is actually part of the artists' name, and I can live with having to use a "sort artist" feature for those that do. However, the letters before numbers thing is nothing short of absurd. I hope they change it back.
 

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Ditto - It's really weird having albums with numbers as names (i.e. Blonde Redhead's '23') all the way at the bottom of the list. Just seems completely nonsensical. The symbol thing is getting to me as well, though not as much. I'm accustomed to seeing +/- as the first artist; now it's all the way at the bottom of the list. Not as much of an issue as ?uestlove, since the symbol doesn't actually replace a letter, but still. It's odd.
 

supertoe

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Why can't we have it both ways?

I don't understand why it has to list them with the characters and the numbers at the end of the list. There has to be a way they could do it both ways and let us choose. I think it's just backwards. I already arranged all my albums by numbers. I don't want to go back and change them all by putting letters on them. It doesn't make sense that they would change the ordering this far into their product. I've had it with numbers and characters for years, I just don't see the need to change that. How is that making anything better?

http://forums.ilounge.com/images/smilies/shakehead.gif
 

kylo4

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This is just lame. Everyone knows numbers come before letters. On my CD rack 74 Jailbreak comes before Abbey Road, and now in iTunes its been shifted all the way to the bottom. It would take Apple 5 seconds to put this "feature" back into iTunes since it was already there. The fact that they're not doing anything about it is unreasonable.
 

Cold Irons

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Just gotta say couple of things from the older music lover's perspective...
1) more worried about ? and the Mysterions than ?uestLove
2) all my software/user interface training/experience is that you listen to "cultural stereotyypes". In America, hot water is on the left, cold on the right. For computer users, symbols sort before letters. I have to assume this is a mistake....

This is the main reason (thanks iLounge!) that I haven't yet DL'd 7.3
 

Petary791

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Alright this is making my blood boil and is seriously (for the first time) making me VERY VERY VERY ####ed off at Apple-- SOOOOOOOOO how do I downgrade to 7.2 and is there anything really serious i'll be losing?

Congrats Apple, you're on your way to being Microsoft.
 

Code Monkey

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GadgetGuru72 said:
I agree that there's probably not many examples in which punctuation is actually part of the artists' name, and I can live with having to use a "sort artist" feature for those that do. However, the letters before numbers thing is nothing short of absurd. I hope they change it back.
Agreed, I just got my internet connection back after 2 weeks, saw an update to iTunes and thought, "yes, surely they'll have fixed that bug...".

Ha, now they're actually copping to doing it on purpose even though nowhere in the history of sorting things have numerics come after alphabetics. Which is more user friendly and intuitive? A) Having the user need to manipulate the sort order for their artists, going so far as to then have to tell iTunes to sort an artist that begins with "A-" such as A-Ha to now sort as if it was "A9Ha" so that it sorts correctly with the modified numbered name artists; or B) Sorting the way you are supposed to with numbers before letters.

I gave my feedback through their form although I'm sure, like all boneheaded Apple ideas, it will stay just the way it is.
 

rockmyplimsoul

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Interestingly, the peculiar sort order seems to only apply to the first character. I have all my "numbered artists" preceded by A and a dash "A-" in the Sort Artist field. Great, that puts them at the top of the library like they used to be. But since the 2nd character is now a dash "-", that should make it come after all the letters in the 2nd position. For example, "A-10,000 Maniacs" still comes before "Aaron Neville", which is how I'd want it but not how I'd expect with Apple's new sorting method. So they must only be picking up the first character for the sorting algorithm.

Somewhere, either here or on Apple's board, someone made reference to this new sorting order having to do with the iPhone. No details were provided, and I can't understand how this new sorting would be important for the iPhone. Probably just a lame excuse ...
 

kylo4

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The iPhone's sorting method for the iPod portion would be the exact same as for the iPod would it not? If that's their excuse its a pretty bad one, because even if it was the iPhone doing it, in preferences the suer could have the option of switching between the two.

Maybe they're attempting to be different by putting letters before numbers. For people with 15,000 tracks and thousands of them with numbers first, that's pretty annoying.

I also noticed some glitch today. On one of my albums the second track is coming before the first. I checked the tagging and everything is as it should be. Year, song title, album title etc.

Hopefully Apple gets enough complaints about this undesired change and switches it back. Or maybe a programmer will create a simple installation that will allow your iTunes to do this for you.
 

tokerblue

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Does this just affect iTunes or does it also affect the sort order in the iPod? I'm not brave enough to download 7.3 to find out. BTW, I also agree that this is a moronic change. I wonder if anyone actually asked for this change.
 
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The short answer would be yes. Basically, the sort order on the iPod is determined by iTunes, rather than any kind of sort criteria on the iPod itself.

In fact, even my iPhone and Apple TV follow this sort order as of iTunes 7.3.
 

kyussmondo

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I welcome the changes of ignoring the symbols in front of albums and artists. Although, there is a rare case such as the ?uestlove one, but there cannot be many like that so it can easily be changed using the Sort By field.

I have to agree about putting the numbers last though. I see no sense in this at all.

Was there really a need for these changes though? People are used to the old way. All other media players use the old way. I am all for change but this change seems too radical and unnessasary. It must have freaked some people out, especially those who buy stuff mainly from the iTunes Music Store.

I am not sure whether other people get this problem, but I have had all my tracks duplicated in the iTunes library. It would have took me ages to go through them all, so I had to go through the long process of re-importing my whole library...of course now it is not just a simple case of adding the files, but then you have to wait for the gapless playback and then download the album artwork again. There must be a way to back up all of that information so I don't have to go through that process each time?
 
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