All Together Now!

RendezvousToday at Behavior, we finally got a majority of the office running iTunes, thanks to the Windows version of this excellent music management, shopping and playing software that was released recently by Apple. This means both the Windows machines and the Macintoshes were all working together without a hitch, and much more seamlessly than just about any other cross-platform technology I’ve ever used.

This is all thanks to Apple’s superb implementation of the Zeroconf technology standard — Apple calls it Rendezvous — which makes networking and sharing ridiculously easy. We had already been using this between the Macs, but being able to see my colleagues’s Windows-bound iTunes music with absolutely no effort left me duly impressed.

I didn’t expect this result, but the sharing built into iTunes has also helped the office’s collective music catalog achieve a kind of critical mass. We had attempted to share our music collections before using various methods, but in the end each collection had always remained an island. With the new iTunes ubiquity, I felt as if a kind of corollary to Metcalfe’s law had gone into effect: the value of the network had increased exponentially with the increased value of each computer’s contribution. It made me rethink the practical potential of a network even as basic as ours — with the barriers to sharing information so easily trivialized, I had the feeling that true peer-to-peer applications could finally come into their own.

Additionally, I want to give Apple a hand for producing not just the best cross-platform software port I’ve ever seen, but also really going the distance in making sure that there is true feature parity between the Windows and Macintosh versions of iTunes. When I say “feature parity,” I also mean the artfulness of the program’s user interface, which has been meticulously reconstructed from its original source. One look at the software and it’s apparent that it is an order of magnitude more elegant and usable than just about anything out on the market for Windows.

iTunes for Windows