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How many Apple engineers does it take to fix iTunes?

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In the ranking of unpleasant life experiences, using Apple's iTunes lies somewhere between filing your taxes and having your wisdom teeth pulled out. It's not good even at the best of times, but two weeks ago it was downright harmful to one James Pinkstone of Atlanta, who found 122GB of his own musical creations had been deleted by Apple's renegade software. The response from Cupertino has been swift and decisive, with two engineers being sent out this weekend to diagnose the cause of Pinkstone's agony and try to fix it.

Alas, two full days of testing were not able to recreate the bug that had caused the original file obliteration, and none of the people on site seemed to consider uninstalling iTunes as a solution (probably because that's literally not an option in OS X). Before Pinkstone, blogger and guitarist Jim Dalrymple was perhaps the best known victim of aberrant iTunes behavior, though he had to go to Apple rather than Apple coming out to him. Flying a duo of senior software engineers across the United States is a mark of Apple taking these issues with its software — and related plaintive blog posts that happen to go viral — seriously.

Pinkstone reports that Apple's Tom and Ezra were amiable and professional, and they were aided by colleagues back at Cupertino who were connected in via multiple conference calls. Still, even with all that brainpower invested, they couldn't figure out how or why iTunes might have murdered gigabytes of innocent mixes. They did fix something, though. Pinkstone's attitude after the visit was converted from white-hot fury to a sense of fraternal understanding. He was mollified and even charmed.

Q: How many Apple engineers does it take to fix iTunes?
A: None. It's a public relations problem.


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