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iTunes update is less than a perfect 10

Sunday, September 12, 2010; G03

Q: What's up with the close buttons in iTunes 10 for Mac OS X, and how do I make it look like a normal Mac program again?

A: Apple's just-updated media program has its issues. But on a Mac, none stand out like its bizarre placement of the red, yellow and green buttons that close, minimize or zoom iTunes -- Apple stacked them vertically instead of in the normal horizontal lineup.

That is an inexplicable move for a company so focused on correct interface design and making developers follow those rules. (The Windows version of iTunes is no paragon of proper Windows coding, but its maximize, minimize and close buttons are in the right spot.)

Apple declined to comment.

Fortunately, Mac users quickly found a fix for Apple's mistake. Quit iTunes, then open the Terminal application from the Utilities sub-folder of your Applications folder. At Terminal's command line, type "defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1" and hit Enter. Restart iTunes, and it should now feature a row of close, minimize and zoom buttons.

My portable Sony radio's analog-TV band is useless. Does anybody make one with a digital-TV tuner?

Although we're near the debut of a mobile digital-TV standard for on-the-go viewing--and two of the 23 mobile channels available in the District are audio-only NPR signals -- manufacturers haven't built that technology into portable radios.

Dave Arland, spokesman for an industry group called the Open Mobile Video Coalition, said the roughly $30 cost of a mobile-DTV tuner made its use unlikely in such low-end hardware. Instead, look for it in pricier gadgets with small screens, such as DVD players.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward for his Faster Forward blog.

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