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I'm loving the new iPod April 1, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Apple Computer, iPod.
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So the other day I finally made the jump. I’ve had three different digital audio devices over the past decade or so.

The first was an RCA Lyra with I believe 32MB of memory. Since it was my first it was my constant companion until it started to disintegrate. That was about when the MP3 player market exploded but I wasn’t about to buy another and find it fall apart after a year or so.

The next was a Dell DJ Ditty that shipped with my new computer. Didn’t actually cost me anything, had 512MB of memory, in essence a USB stick with MP3 codecs and a headphone jack. The problem was the headphone jack, a poor solder joint consigned that one to the junk heap.

Everyone I work with has an iPod. One guy has both an iPod and a Microsoft Zune. I got to play with both and determined that not only did Microsoft cripple the crap out of the Zune via DRM, the interface was klunky and poorly done.

I also realized that hard drives don’t last very long when subject to vibration or regular bouncing around. So I picked up an 8GB Nano. It’s maybe 1/4″ thick, about 3″ long and 1.5 inches wide. Weighs next to nothing.

I do note that shuffle play isn’t really random. I noticed this with iTunes too. For example, I just heard a Stephanie Mills track that I really like so I five-starred it. Then suddenly my random shuffle starts toward her, Candy Staton, etc.

Like this morning, a little Luther Vandross, then Levert, a nice Sunday morning mix

Battery life is pretty good. I used it all day yesterday while we were moving and most of the morning today before the little battery indicator went into the red.

And now I can finally take my podcasts mobile! Right now the only two I regularly listen to are Learn Italianpod and KBCS’s City Soul program. And even though it doesn’t do video that is just fine with me, that’s what my digital camcorder is for.

Speaking of the digital camcorder, this morning I captured the audio from a neighborhood resident. Yes, we have a woodpecker in the neighborhood. The cats are most amused.

Of course I can just imagine my next visit with my audiologist. She reads this blog on occasion and I’m sure she’ll be horrified that I’m blasting music into my ear canals. But just so she knows, I’m careful with the device, constantly adjusting the volume and even setting the max volume level several notches below the proverbial 11. I’m also going to plunk down the $149 for the Shure noise blocking earphones. That way I won’t be tempted to ratchet up the volume because outside noise leaks in.

The only dangerous part of blocking almost all outside noise is that you have to be especially cognizant when crossing a street.
Which brings up another thing, what happens when we go all electric? The only noise the car will make is from the road resistance to the tires, which isn’t much to begin with.

Some things I'd like to recommend February 3, 2007

Posted by truthspew in iPod, iTunes, Marijuana, RSS, Zune.
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First is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. I got introduced to RSS about three years ago. For you IE users, there’s an aggregator called Pluck and for those using Firefox there are a plethora of aggregators, but my favorite is Sage because of it’s simplicity and power.

By now you’re asking, why the hell would you want an aggregator? First you have to answer a simple question, do you look at a lot of blogs and news sites every day? If you answered yes, then aggregation is for you.

For example – every blog on blogspot.com has an RSS feed built into it. For example, the feed for my blog is http://truthspew.blogspot.com/atom.xml – you may have noticed I appended atom.xml to the end of my blog URL. Just place a bookmark to your favorite blogs to the Sage Feeds folder in your Firefox bookmarks. Sorry IE users, been quite a while since I used it or Pluck so just follow the documentation though if I recall correctly it’s pretty easy.

Some of the other goodies in my feeds are to all my friends blogs, how my congressmen voted, digg feeds for tech, science and videos, fark.com, among many others. It’s one place I can go and when a feed is bolded under Sage it means there’s new items to read. Clicking on the title gives you a listing of the article titles and a first paragraph preview. You can then click the article and read the entire thing.

That’s my brief take on RSS.

Next up are podcasts. I know I’ve mentioned Mr. Deity here before and that’s one of the podcasts I listen to in iTunes. Others are most NPR programs (Science, Environment, law, etc.)and even language lessons (like learnitalianpod.com). And if you have an iPod you can sync the podcasts to it. Right now I have approximately one gig of podcasts. The other benefit of iTunes is the shared libraries – no you don’t download the tunes per se (Unless of course you’ve figured out myTunes Redux) you just connect to another persons library on your local network and can listen to their music.

As far as players, all I can say is that I’ve had the chance to play with an iPod and a Zune and I do not like the Zune for multiple reasons, first of which is Microsoft caving to the RIAA and crippling the unit with horrible DRM, second it feels cheap in my hand. The interface of the Zune is pretty easy to use though so that may be its saving grace now that they’re popping up in clearance bins for