Wednesday, February 23, 2005

apple is at it again

many news sites are reporting today on apple's update to the ipod. being an industrial design nut, i've wanted to buy one for quite a while. however, there are two things holding me back:
  1. there's no way they are going to get me to use itunes
  2. it only plays mp3s (believe it or not, i have quite a bit of music in wma format)
regardless, the pricing for the shuffle and ipod mini are dangerously approaching impulse buy range for me. i may be a convert soon... although if i end up working for microsoft again, i may need to sneak around with it.

speaking of the shuffle, when i met scoble a few weeks back, he had one. he'd had it for over a week and hadn't loaded any music on it nor had he even plugged it into his computer. the problem was the fact that you have to load software from a CD. his argument was: if the shuffle is a storage device, why doesn't the device contain the software and bootstrap itself when plugged into the usb port?

oh, and he was clearly content using the shuffle for its secondary purpose: a fashion accessory.

update: a company called jens of sweden has a new player called the mp-120. i want one really bad, but they aren't sold in the us yet. argh!


Blogger Bob said...

I was never going to pay for an ipod but I did just get one for free shipped to my house. And I also haven't liked itunes but I will put up with it if I need to. Also, can you just convert wma files to mp3? I figure that's what I'll be doing.

2/23/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gaby de Wilde said...

I am confused now, music makes me a lot less productive. A Walkman is a silly tool you don't want to carry around. A walkman is A social. How can M$ allow working with headphones? If you forget about the mental disability's, the being unavailable for communication, people having to repeat things they really did say and really didn't get listend to... If we would skip all that, it's still not safe at all.
It's a big hazard. Deaf people don't respond to explosions screaming cars or fire. Your team member could choke to death just outside sight.

Yes he died, but I didn't ignore him I was listening to music. LOL

2/23/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger kobekci said...

may sound like a dumb question but i wonder if you have a special way of hangin around the net and finding new sites. To be more specific.. lets say those .net interview questions.. did you use google, forum or blog or..? thx, kaan from baltimore

2/23/2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger deconstructing.purpose said...

stating that itunes only allows mp3's is either an over simplification or a comment based on sheer ignorance... (no harm intended)

itunes accepts

aac in my opinion the absolute best filetype invented
applelossless (m4a variation)
ogg vorbis (with plugin)

So clearly there are more options than, as stated earlier mp3, on top of that... you should convert wmv files anyhow, it is outdated technology, and are only well suited on the wmp, conversion is done quite easily.

2/23/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I have to mention this, I got my wife the iPod shuffle for her birthday and I took it out of the box and plugged it into my computer and it setup, no CD needed. Now, I di have the latest iTunes ver loaded, but I thought it was the easiest process.

2/23/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Haberstroh said...

1. there's no way they are going to get me to use itunes

I would be curious what your reasoning is behind that statement. Which music player do you prefer if you are so bent against iTunes.

2. it only plays mp3s (believe it or not, i have quite a bit of music in wma format)

Drag and drop into iTunes. Much like all Microsoft products, apple makes it easy to switch.

2/23/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Vidar said...

I felt the same way about itunes, I really thought it was to much of a resource hog on windows, and what was the point? Then for work I had to purchase an ibook and for christmas I was given an ipod mini. Needless to say I enjoy both the ibook and the mini, and itunes runs a lot better on a MAC, I just ordered the new 30gig iphoto, that is how much I have enjoyed it. BTW itunes will happily convert WMP to MP3 into the itunes directory for you without converting the original file. Very nice indeed,

2/23/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger scotfl said...

if the shuffle is a storage device, why doesn't the device contain the software and bootstrap itself when plugged into the usb port?Because the user could delete the driver.


The user plugs his or her new device into the computer, the driver is loaded, the device is unmounted and remounted as an iPod. So far so good.

The user fills the iPod but wants to add just one more song. So he or she deletes the setup.exe and autorun.bat and whatnot from the iPod. Great, that just freed up over 50 MB (iTunes and iPod SW install — I'm assuming only the Windows SW is one the device, since it's preloaded on Macs).

The user's hard drive crashes, or the computer get inundated with viruses or something else happens to force a complete reinstall of Windows.

The user plugs the iPod back in, it get mounted as a generic device. Nothing happens. because the setup program was deleted.

If the setup program is included on a CD the user can't delete it. You can throw the CD out, but then it's quite clearly your fault you did that. Deleting what looks like wasted space on the iPod would be more indicative of bad design.

Also, having to load the software onto each ipod at the factory would add a considerable amount of cost to the production process compared to including a CD in the box, and the shuffle's price point is much of its appeal.

Lastly, the software can all be download from Apple's website. And the online version is always more up-to-date anyway. (I've never actually taken the setup CDs for my ipod out of their sleeves.)

2/23/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger markjen said...

deconstructing - you are right, itunes does support more formats. thanks for giving me the heads up :)

haberstroh - i use windows media player and i am against itunes becuase it only plugs into apple's music store. which would be fine, except i'm sort of an audiophile and i want my music to be at a higher bitrate than 128kbps.

while conversion is an option, sound quality is affected in a dramatic way when you switch between formats.

scotfl - apple could have created a bootstrap on the shuffle which would be a very small installer that kicks off a download of the full blown product from the internet. they could make this bootstrap read-only. clearly this requires an internet connection, but it is slightly better than having to find a CD.

additionally, i think i should be able to load songs onto a shuffle just by copying files to the device. this would prevent the need for any sort of software (USB mass storage devices are supported by OSes without additional drivers).

however, they clearly want to lock you into an apple-only environment (which is completely understandable from a business perspective). it's just annoying to me from a user experience perspective.

2/23/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

in response to deconstructing.purpose,

I meant that the iPod does not let you play wma files.

2/23/2005 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Darnell Clayton said...

Now that is funny! Maybe I should mail an ipod on Bill Gates Birthday...does anyone know when that is?

2/23/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Carlos Eduardo said...


Entiendo que el tema de hoy es hablar de los sistemas portátiles de audio pero aún me queda la duda si realmente fuiste parte de un truco publicitario de Google o realmente un trabajador de esa compañía.

Alguien me dijo que era parte de una campaña publicitaria agresiva de Google (el construirte conjunto con el Blog).

¿Quieren contactarme? Me encuentran en mi blog.

Saludos a todos, considero que el iPod es muy bueno por cierto

2/23/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger TSR said...

Forget iPOD, and treat yourself with iRiver H320. I bought this after a lot of research, and beats iPOD hands down anyday. It plays MP3, WMA & OGG Formats, has built in FM Player, recorder and connects to PC as an external drive. It has Windows-like tree file structure. Comes with color screen and has JPEG Photo broswer (like iPOD Photo), and costs same as 20GB iPOD. Isn't that a great deal?

2/23/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I suggest one of the Creative ZENs. The 40 gig one is nice. Personally- because I am in Iraq at the moment, I have a micro. But I find them much better and it doesn't make me a target of marketing... although I did get an Operation Iraqi Freedom t-shirt over here.. guess I can't say the latter anymore. Haha.

2/24/2005 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger nwinkler said...

Wow, quite a bit of FUD around here. Time to clean up this mess...

The iPod plays the following formats:
- MP3
- AAC (as M4A)
- Apple Lossless

iTunes can import Windows Media files without any problem whatsoever.

You don't have to use iTunes for the iPod, there are lots of other programs for that. Check out Ephpod or FooBar2000 with the foo_pod plugin, which is an excellent Windows audio player BTW. Both are free...

2/24/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

I used MediaPlay's Xplay since the first gen of iPod... it integrates with Windows Explorer and WMP (and will convert WMA files to MP3's before they are downloaded to an iPod).

Good stuff.

2/24/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

I have an MD player from Sony. They are tiny little things popular in Japan and Europe. It plays music off of MiniDiscs that look like a tiny floppy disc, but each disc holds at least 3 hours of music. That's on the cheaper versions(like mine). The more expensive kind can hold lots more music per disc. It's base program is Sonic Stage. You should consider those as an option, if you haven't already.

Best Wishes.

2/24/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger jdragon said...

Who cares about WMA? Oh, only MS zealots would...

2/25/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Petilon said...

I don't have an iPod, but I have iTunes, and I use Airport Express to send music from my laptop to my stereo.

I think iTunes is one of the most well designed Windows application in existance. Windows Media Player can't hold a candle to it.

Great software is after all the reason Apple still exists, in thr face of competition from Windows and Linux.

2/26/2005 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ronald Allan said...

I was supposed to get an iPod late last year, I have to admit I was affected by the battery controversy. From where I am, there aren't any aftermarket batteries, and getting Apple to replace it can be expensive.

This was also the reason why I eschewed the Tungsten T3 for an iPAQ 4150, the built in batteries. I know tech things inevitably get obsolete but knowing beforehand that a gizmo only has a lifespan of sorts up to when the battery wears out didn't really sit well with me. Got an iRiver iFP-790T flash memory based player. Uses an AA battery, lasts for 40 hours. No fuss. Oh yes, its 1 gig memory pales before the monster capacities of hard disk based players, but in a year or two, in all likelihood, it will still be working. An iPOD? Maybe not.

2/28/2005 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger West said...

honestly, people complain about using itunes software, but it is a godsend.

1) letting itunes auto-manage your 6,000 + songs and auto directorize them into nice organized directories.....time saved: 100 hours

2) letting an itunes "smart" playlist catch all songs you throw at your library and ones that are already there, with live updating....time saved on creating playlists: 1,000,000 hours

3) being able to manually manage your songs when you want to? sure can, just check the "manually manage songs" option in the ipod prefs in itunes.

4) live-searching where you can simply enter a text string and get fast results? - time saved ......10000000 hours..........

Now that I have saved millions of hours off my life, and only have apple to thank........I think I'll still stay and play around on my macintosh cuz it's fun :-) I can always find some fun *nix things to do.

3/03/2005 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

sometimes I listen to mark's farts...well, forced to. they rip better than mp3s.

3/03/2005 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

sometimes I listen to mark's farts...well, forced to. they rip better than mp3s.

3/03/2005 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

sometimes I listen to mark's farts...well, forced to. they rip better than mp3s.

3/03/2005 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger matthk said...

The thing is:
No music software is as easy or as clean (on EITHER platform) as iTunes. The only reason to use others: (Read this in an Eddie Murphy nerdy whiteboy voice) "so that I can create my own skins"
Get - a - life.

(2) What saddo would want anything BUT an iPod these days? iRiver and Creative's efforts are butt-ugly. (ooh, suits Windozes users then!) The only thing that comes close to being cooler than the iPod is the beautiful Olympus M:Robe players.

oh, and yes, music at work, unless it's instrumental, does feck up your work. But it's fun, so just be sensible.

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