Archive for the 'iPod' Category

3 minute review: iPod Nano 2G (8GB, black)

iPod Nano 2G (8GB, black)

It’s hard to believe (and a little embarrassing to admit), but at this point, I’ve gone through six iPods. The very first one, a 20 GB, a 60 GB that died on me, a short lived iPod mini which was quickly returned (due to the mini lacking a album line on the “now playing” screen), a 60 GB color, and now a 2G 8GB black iPod Nano; And so far, this is easily my favorite iPod yet:

It has an awesome form factor, the battery life is amazing, it holds as much music as I actually need (for awhile I was obsessed with being able to fit all of my music onto the device, but I’ve long since blown past that being a possibility and have learned to make do), and I basically have no complaints that would actally stop me from recommending the device.

A couple of comments:

While I was excited about the included “search” feature when I read about it, in practice I have never used it. On the other hand, I find the displaying of the current letter you’re viewing when you’re scrolling to be super useful (even with only 8 gigs) and I don’t know how I lived without it before.

Not about the iPod in particular and I’ll skip on the details, but the new iTunes interfaces fix a number of my long-standing issues with some of the configuration interfaces, even if a few of the annoying behaviors when plugging in an iPod remain.

And the battery life is simply amazing. I only charged it twice during my entire three weeks in India — and one of those was right before I left for the plane trip.

However, there are two features that they’ve broke since previous versions of the iPod that I would like to see fixed:

1. It’s no longer possible to turn on/off the backlight by holding down the menu button. I don’t like the backlight on all the time, and I want to easily turn it on when I need it.

2. It’s no longer possible to add anything *except* an individual song to the on-the-go-playlist. Not being able to add an album or an artist pretty much completely neuters the on-the-go functionality for my purposes.

But you know, bugs happen. I’m sure they’ll be fixed.

4 minutes.

Almost awesome.

Psh, talk about missing a golden opportunity:

iPod games cannot be played in iTunes

More the second sentence than the first.

More on NPR.

My NPR addiction started when I switched my alarm from buzz to radio. I figured I would be less likely to snooze the radio if something was on that wasn’t just annoying, and I chose KQED because I didn’t want to listent to Howard Stern on Live 105.

The radio did a pretty good job of getting me to wake up and not hit snooze 500 times. The problem was, I’d gradually wake up, but once I was listening to what they were talking about, I found I ended up staying in bed even longer than when I was just just using the snooze button.

Apparently I’m going to need to get a radio for my bathroom, and for the first time, I wish the iPod had a radio tuner.

I guess I should get out of bed now…

Stew Reviews iPod shuffle

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.

iPod Shuffle RAID

iPod Shuffle RAID

Now that’s just silly, and yet kinda cool.


Snowboarding 2005, Day 4: Kirkwood

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:
    • 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:
      1. During certain jumps I would manage to hit forward or back or play, which kind of ruined the experience.
      2. 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.

      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!

    • 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.

    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?”

Hide Your IPod, Here Comes Bill

Hide Your IPod, Here Comes Bill

Heh. “This irks the management team no end.”


Shuffle me

Oh, there’s a lot I could say, but let’s leave it at this: I already ordered an iPod shuffle (the “Do not eat iPod shuffle” footnote is pretty great), I kinda want a Mac mini to use as a home server, I’m going to wait for iPhoto 5 to actually deal with all the Europe pictures (and yay, it also finally stores movies, too!), and I really really can’t wait for Tiger.

iPod photo

iPod photo

Gah. Want 60 gig iPod. Don’t need or want photo/color features, especially not at an apparent $100 premium. Will decide after Europe, I guess.


iTunes 4.5

iTunes 4.5 is pretty nice and all, but two big pet peeves that have been around since the introduction of each feature sadly still remain:

  1. The iPod Preferences dialogue still sucks: In particular, if you have a lot of playlists, that too-small scroll pane is a big pain to work with. Just making that dialogue resizable would solve a lot of problems.
  2. On the other hand, the Smart Playlist preference dialogue has the opposite problem: If you add too many rules, the dialogue just grows off the screen, with no way to actually access the rules that are off the bottom of the screen. Those rules need to turn into a scroll pane at that point.

Besides that, iPod 2.2 still doesn’t add the ability to delete entries from the On-The-Go playlist, or have multiple OTGs. Further, I’d like to have a “Party Shuffle” on the iPod, though the necessary editing features would be a little tricky to implement.

Feedback goes here.

Feel Free to Jack Into My iPod

Feel Free to Jack Into My iPod

This article discusses an intriguing iPod social phenomenon. It’s so intriguing, in fact, that I wrote part of an article about this more than a year ago — I’ll have to polish it off and post it sooner or later.


iPod: Battery And Assault

iPod: Battery And Assault

On the one hand, I can totally sympathize with this because my original iPod’s battery was dying when I got my new 30 gig iPod in May. On the other hand, I already have a new 30 gig iPod.