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Kindle First Impressions

February 1, 2008


My Kindle arrived last night, and I’ve had just enough time with it to form some early impressions.

Physical

Yes, the thing is butt ugly. It badly needs a pass through Apple’s industrial design group. Or even Dell’s. But that’s okay, it’s early days, and you buy it to read ebooks, not look cool. That’s why you have the iPhone.

I’m a little more concerned about the build quality — the buttons, particularly the Previous/Next/Back paddle buttons, feel a little fragile. I’m not sure if they are, but I’m a little nervous about how many times I’m going to click them before they stop responding.

Worse, you can’t avoid the things. Between the big navigation buttons, and the keyboard, there is very little room to grab or hold the unit without hitting a button.

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The iPod Tax

January 6, 2008

iPhone mini-rant

October 9, 2007

Before I get started, don’t get me wrong — the iPhone is still the best phone I’ve ever used, at least for the purposes for which I use a phone.

Doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have a few problems.

Also, I’m not talking about unlocking, jailbreaking, installing third party apps or using my own ringtones. Not that I’m not interested in all of the above, it’s just that until the firmware quits being a moving target (which obviously won’t be until Leopard is out, at the very least), it’s a game for those who are in it for the chase — anyone who’s looking for a stable solution to this at the moment is deluding themselves.

No, my not-so-big but increasingly annoying problem is in using the thing just as Cap’n Jobso intended.

Every so often, I’ll put the phone in the sync/charge cradle (which I do almost any time I’m at my desk), and iTunes will suddenly pop up an error along the lines of “The iPhone “YourNameHere” cannot be synced because there is not enough free space to hold all of the items in the selected playlists (X.XX GB required, YYY.Y MB available).”

Looking at the phone, all of my contact, appointments, mail and photos are available, but there’s no audio or video in the iPod section. iTunes claims that the entire phone is occupied by “X.XX” GB (6.33 GB, at the moment), of “other” data.

The only fix is to “Restore” the phone. This works fine, except:

A) It takes nearly an hour to add my 7ish GB of crap back to the phone.
B) I have to re-pair bluetooth to my car’s hands-free unit and my headset.
C) It’s happening way too often.

This happened again on Sunday (not quite 48 hours ago). Now it’s Tuesday morning. A couple of hours ago I was listening to music on the thing while going through my morning routine, and suddenly it’s back to no media and can’t sync.

This is the reason I’m not chasing any of the third party apps and ringtone stuff, btw — outside of the re-pairing, the fix process is all pretty much hands-off. If I were coloring outside the lines, I’d have to redo that each time, too.

This isn’t a major big deal, and I’m not the only person suffering from it, but every time it happens it pisses me off to think that Apple is spending so much time putting out updates designed to foil those blackhearted rogues that are trying to extend the phone’s functionality, instead of fixing it to work the way it’s supposed to work out of the box.

Grrr.

Apple TV Initial Impressions

March 27, 2007

Apple TVSomething bad happened yesterday — I wore out yet another keyboard. Worse, while I was at the crack store Fry’s picking up a new one, I walked past a stack of Apple TVs, and one of them followed me home.

Outside of being in the store anyway for the keyboard thing (the “colon” key failed — how the hell can a “colon” key fail? Semicolon works. Shift+anything else works. Try writing HTML or CSS without a colon key), I probably wouldn’t have been as tempted to get one right now if it hadn’t been for the high rate of very interesting hacks emerging for the Apple TV over the past few days — I’m guessing Apple has hit another one out of the park.

The unit comes boxed more or less like an iPod — fold-open box in a slip case, “Made by Apple in California”, etc.

Not a cable in sight, other than the power cord (boo).

At least the power cord doesn’t have a huge transformer brick on it (yea!).

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5 Ways to copy music OFF your iPod (Windows / Mac OS X)

March 9, 2007

Apple iPod VideoSo, you’ve got music on your iPod that you don’t have on your computer?

It doesn’t matter how you got in this predicament — maybe you’ve lost a hard drive (or an entire computer), or you’ve accidently deleted just a little too much, and for one reason or another, you don’t have the original source of the music.

If any of that sounds familiar, the time to fix it is now — before you lose your iPod (and your music), or iTunes manages to get set to automatically sync your entire library (its default state, if you have to re-install it) and starts deleting all of the songs it doesn’t know about.

Unfortunately, the standard tool for transferring music between your iPod and your computer (iTunes) is one-way — it’ll put music (or videos, etc.) onto your iPod, but it won’t retrieve it back. Why? Uncle Steve wants it that way, I suppose.

The good news is that there are several ways around this, for both Mac and Windows users, ranging from free to cheap ($30 or so).

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iHome iH6 iPod Clock Radio (Review)

March 7, 2007

iHome iH6 iPod Clock Radio(iSwear iM getting sick of the whole iProduct naming thing…)

Oh well; lack of originality in a name never hurt anything, iSuppose.

In any event…

I got my first iHome iPod clock radio (the iH5) for Christmas, 2005.

It was exceedingly cool, and then pretty cool, and then mostly cool, and then (just recently) it sucked enormously.

The concept was great — wake up to your playlist, keep your iPod handy and charged, and it doubled as a damn good iPod speaker dock.

Unfortunately, the execution lacked a bit — the display was hard to read (there were very few brightness settings that were readable during full light that didn’t try to give you a fluorescent tan while you slept), and the clock had a tendency to lose a minute or two each month.

Annoying, but livable.

Lately however, it started making a horrid noise during iPod play if the iPod wasn’t in the dock just “so”. Then it started making it regardless of how the carefully the iPod was placed in the dock. At the same time, the iPod or radio buttons would turn on the associated function (or noise, as the case may be), but not turn it off.

At which point it got kicked to the curb.

All in all, not overly terrible — while fifteen months isn’t a tremendous life span for an under $100 piece of consumer electronics, it isn’t completely unreasonable, either.

Still, I decided I’d give the iHome another shot, with the iH6. Since the original product has been on the ground for well over a year, hopefully they’ve had an opportunity to sort out some of the issues.

So far, so good…
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V-Moda Vibe In-Ear Monitors (earbuds) (Review)

March 5, 2007

V-Moda Vibe In-Ear Monitors (earbuds)I’d never tried an “in-ear monitor” before — mostly because the ones I’d seen were always very expensive, and because I hate “earbuds” with a passion that almost defies description.

But the V-Moda Vibes absolutely rule.

I don’t know if I have overly tiny ears, or they’re shaped wrong, or what, but I’ve never been able to get earbuds to stay in, and they are always painful — often amazingly so.

Which sucks, as it leaves me dealing with headphones; since I end up wearing them for several hours every week when working out, I get a choice of lightweight back-of-the-head phones that fall off, or over the head phones that look goofy. I also end up going with the open-ear variety, sacrificing sound quality for not looking like some DJ that just fell out the booth.

One of the selling points of the Vibe for me was that they come with three different sizes of earpiece.

They are advertised as being affordable (compared to other in-ear monitors), comfortable, and most of all, as having great sound quality.

They live up to the claim.

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It was only a matter of time

February 3, 2007

Some folks have been telling us for years that Microsoft would eventually come out with an iPod killer.

I don’t think any of us expected it’d be Windows Vista, however…

iHome iH5 Clock Radio for iPod Review

December 31, 2005

Among the booty Santa left this year was the iHome iH5 Clock Radio.

Okay, so Santa didn’t leave it — I got one for each of my kids (both in college, and not the swiftest to get up in the mornings), and had to get one for myself as well.

I love it.

I’ve got several sets of iPod speakers scattered around — one of the Altec Lansing inMotion speakers, a Tivoli iPal in the kitchen, etc.

This thing frankly sounds better than all of them. Plus it’s cheaper than all of them. Plus it’s a clock radio. What else could you ask for?
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iPod Movie Torrents

November 7, 2005

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) is reporting that someone now has up a Torrent site for iPod-specific video content.

Podtropolis is the first bit torrent tracker that offers content specifically tailored for the iPod. The site boasts “…loads of high quality content for your iPod including movies, television programs, music videos and of course music. All video is encoded in iPod compatible formats (H.264, MP4, M4V) so you do not need to bother with conversion.”

Yeep. My guess is that Steve Jobs and the “enforcement team” are loading up the assault ‘copters right now…

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