Your software hates you and your devices think you’re stupid

Red hate key on a keyboard

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “I want you to kill Barbra Streisand.”

Yup, no problem, I’ll enjoy doing that. Anyone else?

“Kylie Minogue. And bloody Madonna, I can’t stand her any more.”

Consider them bumped off. It’s sounding a little misogynistic, though. Are you sure?

“Leave Chaka Khan alone.”

Fine, Chaka survives to sing another day. Anyone else you want wiped out?


Now you’re talking. As you might have guessed, faithful reader, I have been tasked by The In-No-Way-Radioactive One with pruning an improbable list of some 563 MP3s that have been generically tagged Hits from the Eighties.

The source material is sitting on a tiny gadget that students of history refer to as an “MP3 player” – i.e. no camera, no comms, no apps, just plays music, mono matrix display smaller than a postage stamp. It was given to her by her brother, who couldn’t work out how to use it. I can only imagine he in turn received it as one of those tautological free gifts you get when buying life insurance or a funeral plan.

He’d have been better off asking for the ballpoint pen.

While a pen might lack the ability to produce much by way of sound other than a tension-relieving click, let alone 30-year-old chart-toppers by Spandau Ballet and Tom Tom Club, it would not have necessitated a micro-printed, concertina-folded user guide in nine languages and frequent recharging via USB.

The target device is an iPhone. How difficult can it be?

Not difficult at all, of course. It was just a matter of connecting the MP3 player to Mme D’s computer via USB, mounting the music player as a disk drive, filtering its untidy file structure to reveal only the MP3 tracks across all directories, copying them to iTunes on the computer, regrouping them into a single album because iTunes’ playlist feature is pants, customising iOS device sync settings and sending them out to the iPhone via USB again.

Easy, right?

Of course I couldn’t use the same USB cable for both devices. The MP3 player and the iPhone in question have been designed with proprietary connectors, so I had to go hunting through my hoard of writhing and inexplicably knotted electronic serpents to find the cables with the appropriate plugs for each.

Here’s a brief unboxing video of me locating them.