heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

The troubles of The Lobby Bar

Last night Mom got sick of the drivel on the BBC World Service, so she shifted her LW dial a little and ended up on RTÉ - an Irish station. It was a music programme broadcast in the dead of night. She tuned in just before John Spillane and Magic Nights At The Something Bar - that was enough for a quick Google search to locate the correct title Magic Nights At The Lobby Bar. Found some crappy recorded-on-a-mobile performances on YouTube, and a long copy with an English/Irish poem running through it which sort of spoiled the ambience.

So, I thought, let's look it up on Amazon.

At €1,29 it is perhaps the most expensive song I've purchased so far (even Kokia costs less and they could use the excuse that stuff in Japanese is a faraway import!). I was going to purchase it on my phone and push it over to the iPad via VLC's sharing server (until such time as I bother to start up that monstrosity known as iTunes) but the Purchase button refused to work on my phone.
And so to the PC where the Purchase button crashed Firefox. Given I have a full-up system drive (the eeePC's C: drive is 4GB and XP and its assorted junk pretty much fills that up), it took a while to get started again, what with Firefox thrashing the disc to update its background stuff (the list of known attack sites, etc) and the anti-virus thrashing the disc to update its definition and...oh, you get the idea.

Then at the "Thank you" page, Amazon just froze. I spent two minutes staring at a blank window before I decided that z-ecx.images-amazon.com wasn't going to return anything useful. I opened a new tab, got into Amazon, looked at my order history. No problems. But no download link. I refreshed the window that never arrived and it finally did, after spending a worryingly long time trying to retrieve something from z-ecx.images-amazon.com. It's a bunch of smallish images, thumbnails, buttons, etc, maybe 100KB tops. Not exactly a challenging request.

And there it was! A link! "Télécharger mes achats"! At bloody last! Yes!

Actually, not yes. Very definitely not yes. I was expecting to see a download window pop up. I was not expecting to see a window prompting me for my mobile number or an email address. Okay, so I give it the email address Amazon has and... it sends an email.

Because I can't download a sodding MP3 from Amazon. I need to download some music player software. Which I do. And I start it. And you know the part where most programs offer you a bunch of options? This did not. It just merry went and installed itself here: C:\Documents and Settings\Rick\Local Settings\Application Data\Amazon Music. DIE! DIE! DIE! What the hell is an application doing dumping 94MB of executables and libraries into Documents and Settings? Omigod - don't you guys know how to program? Is there not a CLUE in the name? Here - I'll explain it carefully: Documents and Settings - configuration files, options, and stuff goes in here. PROGRAM FILES - your program is supposed to go here, halfwit!

The music player starts and asks me to sign in with this comically big sign in prompt, like those huge ones you see in the movies. I provide my credentials and the music player sulks and asks me to sign in to the correct territory. Let me see - I downloaded the music player from French Amazon, it is speaking to me in French and my money is on it blindly trying to sign me into the .com version of Amazon. After all, if they can't even install the thing in the right place, what hope it making anything that resembles an intelligent guess regarding what Amazon it should sign into by default?
So I provide the same credentials again, and it logs me in correctly this time, and shows me music from past CD and MP3 purchases. Sadly the José Luis Perales box set isn't included. Shame, ripping from CD is such a palaver.
I click on the album title (So Far So Good, Like) and the song appears. To the right, a "Download" button. I position the pointer over that and hammer the touchpad. The MP3 arrives little by little. But... where did it put it? I guess the three-horizontal-lines button at the top left is a menu (correct) and I can see now that the music is installed within the program's path. So it's another mini-expedition getting to... ready for it? C:\Documents and Settings\Rick\Local Settings\Application Data\Amazon Music\Amazon Music\John Spillane\So Far So Good, Like - The Best Of\01-08- Magic Nights In The Lobby Bar.mp3 (yes, Amazon Music twice, that's not a typo) but I eventually I work my way through the filesystem to get to the file... and a quick draggy-drop onto the VLC upload in the browser scoots it over to the iPad. Wow, that part was delightfully simple in comparison.
Which I connect to my speakers and listen to.

Mom's right. It's a lovely song. (lyrics are here - if you're not used to an Irish accent, you might need them)

 

Amazon - take note: something that should have been a "go to Amazon, buy a song, download an MP3" turned into such a mind-blowing expedition it almost justifies piracy. Why was this so problematic?!?
RTÉ - thanks.

 

Bootnote: I moved the entire application to D:\Program Files and altered the paths in the shortcut and the app to point to this new location. It seems to work just fine. Also changed the UI language to speak to me in English, although to be honest, I might be forced to get my act together if I kept it on this option:

The first option beside the buttons is プレーリスト which is pu·reh·ri·su·to or "purehrisuto" or "playlist". The next one is "artist" (aa·te·i·su·to), then "album" (a·ru·ba·mu) and...I don't read Kanji so the next one is a waffle iron if you ask me! I'm pleased to say that while I had to think about it, I could read those without looking up anything. I ought to get back to practicing my kana. For now, though, Amazon Player back in English so if it gives me any weird messages, I don't have to think wa·ka·ri·ma·se·n!!! (^_^)

 

 

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VinceH, 30th August 2014, 00:10
Amazon isn't the only one to install its software in questionable locations. For example, the Beeb's iPlayerDownloads puts itself in AppData, IIRC 
 
Because doing things properly is far too difficult. 
 
Incidentally, it's interesting that you got a music player from Amazon - when I bought some music from them a couple of days ago (the first music purchase since buying a new laptop back in February, so I had to install their software on it...) I just got the MP3 downloader that I expected.
Awin D Ozetechie (see what I did there?), 8th September 2014, 19:32
Yup. Had that problem before at a customer's site. A piece of legacy software insisted on in its own folder under C: rather than C:\Program Files (x86). Even when I told the installer to put it under Program Files. 
 
Now, Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions have this little feature called AppLocker. When activated, it will only allow users to run .exe files from C:\Windows, C:\Program Files, and on 64-bit systems, C:\Program Files (x86), unless you're an administrator. 
 
I'm sure I don't need to explain the results that the customer's improperly written software caused. 
 
The reason that policy is set is to prevent nasties like CryptoLocker and other malware getting into the system at all. And it works.
andrew , 1st January 2015, 19:18
Check out the version by christy moore. Much better in my opinion. Although I might suggest using YouTube rather than Amazon.

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