Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for the ‘iPod’ Category

Web: Google Trends – iphone

Posted by cascadehush on January 21, 2007

Google Trends: iphone
As of this writing, most people searching for the word iPhone on Google are from Greece. Or at least that’s what the graph looks like. I’m not sure what statistical methodology is used, it it’s some kind of pro-rata, per population thing… But that’s not the point.

Does Greece have terrible mobile phones?

Does no-one in Greece know how to get to the Apple site?

Has the Greek press given Apple particularly high-profile coverage but lacking in detail?

Are the Greek simply tech-savvy riders of the bleeding edge?

Or are there a lot of retired mobsters sitting on their yachts in the Adriatic with nothing better to do than search google for new ways to spend their ill-gotten gains?

Who knows.

I just thought it was a bit weird.

(Should there be any Greeks reading this, i’d appreciate any local insight you might have.)

Posted in Hardware, iPod, Opinion, Rant | Leave a Comment »

Gadgets: Why The iPhone Will Make Apple A Player In Business IT

Posted by cascadehush on January 19, 2007

Why The iPhone Won’t Make Apple A Player In Business IT – News by InformationWeek:

Whether IT departments embrace the iPhone or not, some employees will walk in the door with them.

And that’s the key point, and it alone negates the title premise of the article.

One of the key reasons Windows slammed OS/2 was that people were using it at home, on their own computers, and were going to work and complaining about the clunky DOS or Unix based systems they were forced to use at work. Windows was gaining market share in the home whilst IBM was trying to introduce OS/2 to businesses. In the end Windows won because people knew about it, recognised it and could use it. All this acted to move businesses to Windows despite the fact that OS/2 was technically superior.

Now I’m not saying businesses will be knocking down Apple’s door any time soon to kit out their staff with iPhones. But if Apple play their cards right, eventually pressure will build and employees could start demanding something a lot better than the dreadful phones they are currently being forced to live with. And unlike the OS/2 vs Windows competition, the iPhone will be both technically superior and have the features real people want, and that will be hard to beat.

The only thing standing in the iPhone’s way is the cost. I suspect that we’ll see the iPhone become part of many employees salary package.

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OSX: TubeSock – Rip videos from YouTube

Posted by cascadehush on January 16, 2007

TubeSock – Rip videos from YouTube:

TubeSock costs $15

Witness the spectacle. On the one side a dodgy website full of copyright violations and naff home-movies. On the other side, a video player with limited codec support, even more limited screen space and yet more limited battery life.

Now, standing between, a celebrant ready to marry these two misfits. That celebrant is TubeSock and it only costs $15. Will it be happily-ever-after for YouTube and the iPod?

I must say it seems like an ideal match. If I’m going to watch crummy, low quality video I may as well do it on a low-quality-video player. If it was free, I’d probably give it a try. $15 is not unreasonable, but I just don’t care enough to pay for the privilege.

If you do care enough to pay, I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity before Google sues stinkbot out of existence, or else just changes their website API to make the software unworkable.

(And before Apple sues me out of existence, make note that I am not calling the iPod low quality, just the video codecs that it plays.)

Posted in iPod, Media, Opinion, OSX, Software | Leave a Comment »

Media: Half-an-Hour (too long) with an iPod Shuffle

Posted by cascadehush on January 5, 2007

A few weeks ago I bought an iPod Shuffle, the new clip-on model. It had only just arrived in the shop.

I bought it because the new iTunes 7 podcast features finally make it possible to keep track of your progress in multiple podcasts whilst keeping everything synced up between iTunes and the iPod. I didn’t stop to think that maybe this feature wouldn’t work properly with the Shuffle.

Now traditionally I dislike iTunes and iPods, even though i have 2 Macs and 2 iPods. As I usually say, they ‘aren’t all they are cracked up to be’ but the competition is usually worse. But the new iTunes features sucked me in… I gave the podcast features a go with my 30GB Video iPod and liked them. The Video iPod is just too big to have in my pocket all the time, so I had been carrying a Creative MuVo.

Anyway, the Shuffle sucks for Podcasts. Apparently Apple have decided that no-one will use it for that.

There is no way to sync podcasts to the shuffle, as there is on the Nano and iPod Video; you have to manually copy them accross. It does keep track of your place, and it does sync your position back to iTunes, so there is some functionality there. But the minute you hit the back button on the Shuffle, it immediately skips back to the start of the podcast, thus forgetting where you were. Now since you only have the forward and back buttons for navigation, that makes it useless for choosing between podcasts.

Now it would be easy for Apple to make the iPod shuffle sync podcasts the same way that the Nano does. There is no reason the Shuffle cannot be made smart enough to allow navigation between podcasts without losing your place.

It is a just a terrible shame that Apple have prevented the Shuffle from being used for Podcasts.

I returned the Shuffle for a refund. Half an hour with a Shuffle was half an hour wasted.

(You may also be interested in my article from last week, where I discuss Podcasts (and the pleasure and pain of syncing with iTunes). After I returned the Shuffle I bought an 8GB Nano instead).

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Web Wednesday: Podcasts (and the pleasure and pain of syncing with iTunes)

Posted by cascadehush on December 27, 2006

Finally, with iTunes 7 and the latest iPod software, Apple have provided compelling reasons to opt for a Nano for listening to podcasts. It’s far from a perfect implementation, but at least for now I can stop in the middle of a podcast, listen to some music, and return to the podcast knowing that the unit remembers where I was. I have always been able to do this with audio books, so I don’t know what has taken them so long to get this right.

If only the sync option could be made intelligent. At the moment you have the ‘dumb and dumber ‘ options of syncing podcasts based on which ones you’ve heard, or based on the last x episodes. Neither option is implemented in a way suited to real human beings.

One sensible option would be ‘podcasts in the last x days’. Principally because some podcasts are daily and some are weekly. I don’t want to have to keep 5 back episodes of TWiT (over a month’s worth), just so I can have the most recent 5 episodes of Buzz Out Loud (just a weeks worth).

A better option would be to make the sync realise that if I’ve started to listen to a podcast, it should only count it as heard if I have listened to the whole thing (or perhaps 80% of the whole thing, sometimes there is some drivel near the end). Syncing based on whether a podcast has been heard or not would then be a genuinely user-friendly option.

As it stands, I do use syncing based on whether I have listened to the podcast or not, but this means I have to be paranoid about plugging the Nano in to my iBook. If I know there are podcasts I am only part way through, I must listen to the end before plugging it in. It’s a stupid annoyance, but that’s the best choice from a poorly pair of options. It’s just a good thing that the battery lasts so long.

So yet again we take 3 steps forward and 2 back, and one has to organise one’s life around the computer. This is what WaitState is all about.

Your reward for getting this far, either by reading the above (a thousand thanks) or by skipping straight here, is some links to the web pages for some of my favorite podcasts.

The TWiT Netcast Network with Leo Laporte:

Netcasts you love from people you trust.

The standard by which all others are measured, at least in tech.

CNET Podcast Central – CNET.com:

Home for all of CNET’s podcasts. From Buzz Out Loud, a daily digest of tech news that’s relevant, hard-hitting, or just plain goofy, to help and how-to, to the latest in auto tech, you’ll find it all here.

Some nice, shorter podcasts that fill in the time between TWiTs and complement it rather nicely.

ABC Online: Podcasting
The Australian Broadcasting Corporations news and current affairs podcasts. Comparable to the BBC and NPR, many programs will be of interest outside Australia.

Keep in mind that at this time of year many podcasts are in recess. Still, it is a perfect time to catch up on missed episodes or try some new podcasts.

If you are looking for a program to download podcasts, there is always iTunes which has a built in search function and an extensive directory. If you want something else, I recommend Juice, the cross-platform podcast receiver. Juice even works with Bit-Torrent based feeds, which many legitimate podcasters try to use to save bandwidth.

Posted in Internet, iPod, Media, Opinion, Software | Leave a Comment »

iPod: A video player? Forget it!

Posted by cascadehush on October 30, 2006

The iTunes+iPod software update has decided to mess with the aspect ratio of all the video files that I spent some considerable time and processor cycles re-coding. They worked fine before, filling the screen perfectly. Now I get a letterbox view with the picture all squashed up to fit and 2 black bars at the top and bottom wasting many precious pixels.

So I’m giving up on this. I always knew that the iPod would be stupid as a video player because if it’s severely limited range of supported video file formats. But I thought I could figure it out, I thought I had figured it out. I could probably buy some shareware to do it, but I just don’t think it’s a problem worth spending money on. I don’t think I should have to, just to be able to use the iPod for the purpose for which it was designed.

So, now my iPod will only being used for the purpose I originally intended, as a photo viewer and as an in-the-field memory card backup unit.

It’s better this way.

I already mentioned how fantastic the new iTunes/iPod software is for viewing photos organised in iPhoto.

Posted in iPod, OSX, Photography | Leave a Comment »