Okay, so this isn't going to be the epic analyses that my first two iPod reviews were, but here are my impressions on my shuffle now that I've had it for about a month.
Honestly, I like the shuffle for what it does, but it's really not cut out to do everything I need in my primary music player. Here's a brief run down of my primary issues:
- My biggest complaint is that while the shuffle increments the play count, it does not update the "last updated" field. This kind of turns out to be the death blow for my using the shuffle to listen to the 5000 some odd songs in my library that I haven't actually listened to yet. I would have even settled for iTunes setting the "Last Played" to now on sync, but as is, it's a huge pain to figure out what I just listened to, which kind of defeats my ability to use the shuffle as a tool to weed out my library.
- The number of times I've wanted to know what song is playing has got to be in the several dozens already, which translates to "I want a screen." However, it is worth mentioning that half of the music on my shuffle is specifically music in my library with playcount = 0, which makes the wanting to know what song is playing a lot more common than when I'm listening to the "all my favorite snowboarding music" playlist.
- Generating an appropriate playlist out of my 15,000 song library can be a little tedious. I've resorted to a set of nested smart playlists for my "every day random use," and I have a custom "active" playlist I use otherwise. Unfortunately, without "last played," my smart playlists playlist isn't as smart as I want it to be.
- The feedback when first starting up the shuffle is pretty terrible. For some reason it can take several seconds after hitting play before it starts, and in that time the feedback about what its doing is very unclear ("wait, what's that green light mean again?"). I often end up hitting play/pause several times until I finally hear music. "Just hit play for awhile... when you hear my voice, you've pressed play enough."
- And an absurd detail: the shuffle is too small to actually wrap the headphone wire around, so I keep ending up with knots in my headphone wire when I stuff the shuffle into my pocket. Annoying.
- Speaking of the headphones, I've been using the white iPod headphones with the shuffle because my old earbuds finally died, and I've got to say, they make me feel remarkably self conscious. I don't like showing off my hip iPod! (And by the way, I had an [iPod] before you know what one was)
- And then, of course, there were the weird issues I had with beepy skipping, etc, when I used it while snowboarding a couple of weeks ago.
Other than those little problems, I do like it for what it does. It's so small and light that you don't notice you're carrying it at all, the song shuffle is kinda fun when you know all the songs that it's shuffling through, and I like it for what it does. That said, I can't help but admit that I miss my full featured iPod.
Maybe tomorrow's rumored announcements will yield something that will actually meet my non-snowboarding needs.
Reason: Neal Stephenson's Past, Present, and Future: The author of the widely praised Baroque Cycle on science, markets, and post-9/11 America
A pretty interesting interview with Neal Stephenson that makes me want to go back and finish The Baroque Cycle. I was only halfway through Quicksilver when I got a car and stopped commuting on BART + CalTrain.
A pretty good examination of the way Google Maps' interface works.
iPod Shuffle RAID
Now that's just silly, and yet kinda cool.
"You didn't tell me this thing gets spam at four in the morning," I told my co-worker as I was giving him the pager. "Is that just something you let people be surprised by their first week on call?"
Apparently, it was news to him, and at lunch, another team was also complaining about a recent deluge of spam on their pager. Spam sucks a lot more when 1. it wakes you up at 4 am, and 2. you can't ignore it and you can't turn the phone off because it might be a work call. I guess I could have figured out how to set it up so it only rings for known text messages, but I couldn't figure out how to use that phone at all, and now it's not my problem. At least, not for another two weeks.
So is anyone else have text message / "Net alert" spam problems? These are Nextel phones. My personal phone is
AT&T Cingular, and I haven't had any problems near as bad as I had with that work phone.
I've been tinkering with a ton of stuff this weekend, but about the only visible result of all of this is that photos from the "Photo Log" album in my gallery will now show up inline on Linkstew.
If you want to leave a comment on a picture, click through to the gallery (the thumbnail is a link) and leave the comment there. Maybe later I'll try to make comment counts and links show up inline...
For my next trick I'll need to make new albums show up, but that shouldn't be too hard based on the work I've done, though I've still got a long way to go before I finish converting Linkstew into what I realized it needs to be.
(It would also appear that I made the stupid thing slower, but my timing data doesn't suggest that the gallery integration is the problem. I'll investigate later.)
Once again we took a day trip following massive snow, only to be greeted by unseasonably sunny weather. At this rate I'm wondering if I'll even break 10 days this season, but I should still be able to at least make up the cost of the pass. At least we're not Washington, where there's apparently so little snow that the resorts are currently closed.
- Date(s): Sunday, January 30th.
- Who: Me, Rick, Trisha.
- We finally got our act together and actually drove up the night before. We stayed at the Best Western in Jackson, which was really pretty nice and only about $20 a head for the three of us, which is totally worth not getting up at 4:30 am. Instead we woke up at 7:15, after the sun had come up. If we ever manage to take a weekend trip this year, I think Jackson on Friday night and Minden on Saturday night would be the way to go.
- Even if it was a little warm, there was still a lot of nice snow to be found on the mountain. I didn't really jump very much, and instead rode what we felt like of the mountain. Eagle bowl and Sentinel bowl (especially one run to the left) were both especially nice. The drain wasn't bad, and the gully below sentinel was a lot of fun, too.
- I did manage to hurt myself more than average, but everything was minor: I cut underneath my thumbnail when I accidentally ran my nail through my pocket's zipper; I scratched the back of my hand on my pocket's velcro; I tweaked my ankle when I landed funny; I tweaked my wrist on another fall; I scraped my knee pretty painfully on some pretty hard ice when my two edge slipped out after a jump; And I tried to break my arm when I tried to push away from a tree going a lot faster than I realized.
- Most of my day was spent exploring how I actually felt about listening to music while snowboarding thanks to my new iPod shuffle. I liked it and I'm planning to do it more in the future, but there are definitely some details to mention:
All that said, I still liked riding with music enough to invest in making it an even better experience. There's nothing quite like a long run down Eagle bowl cutting through mounds of powder while listening to "Where is my mind?"
- My left ear bud was falling out all day, which was incredibly frustrating. I've already solved this problem by buying the Giro Nine.9 Audio, the purchase of which is what I was really evaluating. I'll have more to say about the helmet later.
- I was carrying the shuffle in my front jacket pocket, which was mostly alright, except for two problems:
I'm ultimately hoping to solve both of these problems with the shuffle armband, but apparently not anytime soon according the estimated wait time ("5-7 weeks" as of this writing). The season'll be over by then!
- During certain jumps I would manage to hit forward or back or play, which kind of ruined the experience.
- The buttons are a little too small to actually use when I'm trying to find the right button through the material of my jacket and my snowboard gloves, complicated further by the fact that the shuffle moved around in my pocket. I ended up taking my glove off to operate it most of the time.
- Somehow the solid state shuffle got into a weird beeping / skipping mode about three times when I jolted it on a landing. It's a solid state device, and that shouldn't happen! If it happens more, I may complain to Apple, because it was pretty annoying; None of the buttons would respond, and I had to stop, take off my glove, dig it out of my pocket, turn it off, wait a few seconds, and turn it back on. Not so good for a device targeted at active users.
Selling It (Commentary on a NexTag mortage ad)
I had to make a new category just for this entry: WTF!?
Hide Your IPod, Here Comes Bill
Heh. "This irks the management team no end."
The second sentence of this Mac mini review made me chuckle. Mentioning that Steve Jobs can make someone want a one button mouse in a review about the first Mac to not come with a one button mouse struck me as amusingly ironic. But once I started thinking about that, a few more ideas occurred to me.
Not only does the Mac mini not come with a one button mouse, but Jobs' was encouraging people to use the mouses and keyboards they already have. Jobs was encouraging switchers to use the multi-button mouses they already own and are comfortable with. And why not? OS X supports multiple buttons and scroll wheels great.
Combined with the touchpad scrolling on yesterday's latest PowerBook, and it looks like Apple may be on the verge of getting over its fear of multiple buttons.