Tuesday, August 09, 2005


(Warning: might be preaching to the choir here, but let me have my fun and bear in mind that not everyone is Mr. Tech Bleeding Edge.)

Short of having an Austin Mini, a suburban carboncopy homestead/townhouse, and a can-do ultra-professional girlfriend, I think I may have taken the final step to yuppy-dom... last night I bought an iPod (and the latest NIN album - yay!).

Let me just say this: iPods (and Apple products in general) understand one thing very well: user experience/user interface is as important as product quality. Sometimes more important since usability/interface is something that customers see upfront; it's most top-of-mind. The iPod app, iTunes, is so stupid-easy even I can use it with only infrequent use of the Help option. (The tutorial on the Apple.com site is simply fantastic, by the way -- walk-through videos!).

I got one of the iPod Mini's (4 gig version, or 1,000 songs) which is enough for me. (they also sell 20, 40 and 60 gig iPods... you know, for those of you in the world who have the equivalent to the Library of Congress in music... yeah, all 6 of you) The ability to create customized, on-the-go playlists make having anything larger than a 6 gig capacity superfluous, in my opinion.

I'm not normally one for gushing over freakin' electronics, but... the iPod itself is very intuitive and laid out in a way that only Apple could have built. There is a LCD display, a centre Select button surrounded by a wheel, and on the scroll wheel at the 4 points of the vertical/lateral 'compass': a Play/Pause, Menu, Forward and Backward on the scroll wheel. Nothing else. It's simply as hell. Choose Music hit Select, use the scroll wheel to navigate the menus, hit Select. To go back, hit Menu. That - is - it.

More impressive, however, is the application that is the iPod's brain: iTunes. You start it up, it instantly recognizes which iPod is connected and uses those settings. It scans your computer for any .mp3 and .wmf or whatever and loads them all into a Library folder. From there, you can create and make custom folders, and set the iPod to update from any and/or all of those directories. Every time you plug the iPod in and start iTunes, it auto-updates so that if you've converted 8 cds that week but haven't manually moved them to your iPod, it does it for you. Me no think = me happy good.

The neatest feature is its auto-recognize CD thinger. Put in a music CD, and iTunes will load up and display all the tracks with all information. Then click or (Ctrl+A to get all of them) and right-click and Convert to AAA and bam... you've just made a CD iPod'able in about 45 seconds. AND it will retain track #, title, artist, album name, and genre (without displaying it). Click and drag all those songs into a custom folder, Update iPod, and you're ready to go. Rinse, repeat. Took me 2.5 mins to get about 28 songs from 3 CDs (2 NIN albums) into my custom folder and on my iPod for this morning. I've got 449 songs on there, with plenty of room left. I was file-hoppin' like mad this morning, going from the new NIN to Breaking Benjamin, to Toasters (coming to the nation's capitol on 16 Sept!!), to Sublime to Jethro Tull to Diana Krall. Frickin' sweet.

Honk if you also love having new toys.

Safeharbor Statement: I do not own nor manage client accounts containing Apple stocks or mutual funds, and was in no way paid or compensated for this flagrant gushing.

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