13 December 2007

Drag and Drop Vs. Plug and Go in the Media World

A long time ago, I described the ongoing battle between Twin-Sticks and Pointer/Directional input in First Person control - a battle already convincingly won by Pointer/Direction input (Mouse/Keyboard and later Wii remote/Nunchuk). And yet the debate raged on, despite overwhelming evidence in favour of the Mouse/Keybaord and the Wii (And some arcade systems).

There is another debate, long since decided in one sides favour, which also refuses to die. Drag and Drop or Plug and Go, which is better for managing media?

Of course, this is a slightly more complicated debate. Although the winner overall is already decided, making the debate slightly pointless, the other side does win in some ways. The problem with the debate is that it is used in a similar Geek Vs. Mainstream way as the Twin-Sticks Vs. Wii Remote & Nunchuk argument (Ironic considering the Twin Sticks were themselves on the Mainstream side in their own battle with Mouse/Keyboard).

The number one selling line of personal digital media players on the market is the iPod Line. Don't try and dispute it, it's absolute fact. Consumers love it for its convenience and simplicity. Plug it in, iTunes loads it up, and you're done.

However, some people within the geek community feel that Apple's simple, easy solution lacks the customisation features they want (They like to be able to choose which songs go on and which don't. Clearly they have never heard of Playlists.) and prevents them from performing certain actions.

These people champion Drag and Drop. Some people who champion Drag and Drop also berate those who use Plug and Go for being "stupid" and "babies" for using simpler methods. Not all Drag and Drop supporters feel this way, and those who do not are often embarrassed to be associated with these people (Usually the same or similar to people who support PS3 and say Wii is for children only).

The major feature Drag and Droppers cite is taking music to other computers. I don't know about you, but I've never done that, nor can I see any real world situation where I will ever need to. I'm not saying noone needs it, but in my experience its application is so infrequent as to be meaningless. But whatever. Proponents of Drag and Drop also often cite it being cross-platform. What, like iPod?

The fact of the matter is, most Drag and Drop players are Plays For Sure. In English, that means that no, they are not truly cross platform. They cannot be used to they're full extent on the leading multimedia computer platform, OS X. Plays For Sure is Windows Media DRM.

iPod & iTunes are Mac and Windows.

*Linux may be ignored for the purposes of this discussion as the lack of support is more related to small market share and its fractious nature.

Plug and Go proponents, such as myself, enjoy the fact that Plug and Go works thusly:

Plug in iPod/Other media player, iTunes/Competing media manager does all the work, unplug once satisfied with power.

Whereas Drag and Drop works like this:

Plug in device, navigate to media in file explorer, copy media, navigate to device in file explorer, paste media, unplug once satisfied with power levels.

Furthermore, Plug and Go adds features of its own, like play count tracking. Something I use much more than the ability to plug into another computer.

But it's beside the point. Plug and Go has won, it is by far the dominant system.

And yet, I still see people avoiding iPods so they can make use of the less successful Drag and Drop.

I got news buddy. iPods can do both.

Jens Out

No comments: