Recent iTunes and iPod Posts



July 9, 2008

Best. Product Name. Ever.

G-Spot. No, I am not making that up. Since there is no denying bad humor (and this will be even funnier if you actually go and read what the app does): "Honey, I can't find your G-Spot."

February 5, 2007

I'm Late to the Last.fm Party

Wow, do I wish I joined Last.fm sooner. I signed up two days ago, and I love it. What is Last.fm? Its a social networking music site. It is Internet radio that is better than iTunes. It really is a rockin' service.

Check out my profile as well as the Blogcritics group page.

There are iTunes/iPod plugins for Mac and Windows, the Mac one seems to work just fine.

The site must use less bandwidth than iTunes, because it drops and has to re-buffer far less than iTunes. Sunday had a lot of hiccups, but I have to assume that the site sees a spike in traffic then.

You basically search for music to listen to, ay Pearl Jam. It then streams a radio station (no commercials or irritating DJ) with music like Pearl Jam. I only wish it played Pearl Jam more than often then it does.

But the "Artist Fan Radio" stations seem to play more of the target artist.

Simply wonderful service, I cannot recommend it enough. One final note - it's free.

January 17, 2007

Games on 5G iPod

Sure, the iPod has had Brick, Music Quiz, Parachute, and Solitaire for a while now, but last September brought even better ways to put off work - if you own a fifth generation iPod.

I just bought a black 5G iPod, and of course the first thing I did was download games from the iTunes Music Store. They are all $4.99, and some offer a great deal of game for that small price.

Sadly, there have been no additions beyond the initial eleven. I hope more games get released soon.

Still, the initial launch was strong, and I intend to write reviews of the games.

September 24, 2006

Mac game makers disappointed by iPod shut-out

Many long-time Mac game developers figured it was inevitable that Apple would one day add premium games to its iPod music player. But when that day finally came earlier this month, many of those same game developers were left wishing they could be a part of it.
Source: MacCentral

Good job Apple! You are (yet again) alienating your loyal developer base. Give Aspyr and other mac devs like Pangea an SDK and maybe your iPod games thing will fly.

September 10, 2006

Amazon.com starts video download service (before Apple)

Amazon.com launched a digital video downloading service Thursday, ending months of speculation that the Internet retailer would be getting into the online TV and movie business.
Source: BusinessWeek

The service, dubbed Amazon Unbox, (how original) has been launched just days before the Sept. 12 Apple "It's Showtime" event where the entire planet Earth thinks Apple will release a true video iPod and their own video download service.

TV shows will cost $1.99 per episode, and most movies will go for $7.99 to $14.99; movies can also be rented for $3.99.
The Amazon service will allow viewing on two devices, and be crippled for Mac users as it uses Windows Media Player, which implies (of course) WMP DRM.

July 26, 2006

Metallica catalog added to iTunes

One of the longest standing holdouts on selling digital music at online stores is Metallica, the band that initially started the backlash against Napster years ago.
Source: Playlist

What's next? The Beatles? I can't believe these Metallica tunes can also be purchased individually, given how much the band has protested in the past. Maybe they finally figured out after all these years that a lot of people actually buy digital music from iTunes?

April 15, 2006

The New iGoatse Skin

The new iGoatse is the definitive skin for your iPod. There are no words to describe it.. And you know why.

January 25, 2006

For Sale: Ignitek iCarrier Audio System For iPod

For sale, new in box, $175 OBO. (MSRP is around $250)

Contact me: ken [at] meancode [dot] com.

January 9, 2006

All the World's A Podcast

Every year, the New Oxford American Dictionary people hand out an award for "Word of the Year." It's usually given to the word that has the most amount of hype attached to it, but it's a rite of great distinction for the word. This past year's Word of the Year is podcast. That's a given, right? "Sudoku," "bird flu" and "reggaeton" didn't stand a chance.
Source: Webmonkey

Yea, that is an odd opening to a technical article on creating your own podcast, but it is what it is.

January 7, 2006

My New iPod shuffle

Five days ago I filled out a form for a replacement iPod shuffle. Three days ago I received my new iPod shuffle, free of charge. Although I must say I am glad I was home when it was delivered.

It arrived via DHL, who are really fast, but they never nock. It had rained and the cement step outside my apartment was still wet. Though my iPod was sitting in a very not-waterproof envelope damp when I got it. You see I had to check the DHL web page to see that my package was even delivered.

It is a very good thing it didn't rain that day, as we have been getting a lot of rain lately. Which incidentally in Ohio means we will have winter until June or July.

Lets just hope that this one does not fall apart on me. I will be more careful this time. I will not *gasp* carry it around in my pocket every day.

January 2, 2006

iPod shuffle Repair and Accessory Replacement

I recently wrote about my iPod shuffle falling apart. I called Apple Tech today and they sent me to this page. Just like with their PowerBook repair boxes I have so many times used, Apple will send you a box for your shuffle. Mine is broke so it will be replaced. But it will only take a couple days.

How nice. I should have called sooner.

Of course the flippin' site will not recognize my serial number (in Safari or Firefox) that I am grabbing out of System Profiler. Grr. Skip that one, it wants a different Serial Number! It wants the other one, duh!

October 13, 2005

Video iPod, iTunes 6, and new iMac G5

What a busy day. Although I can't it was a surprise, thanks to the rumor sites. MacWorld has a piece on the new iMac, Playlist has the video iPod and iTunes 6 covered.

Viva la video on the iPod! And to answer Matt and Jake, NO I am not gonna buy one. I have Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and Sin City on my PSP right now, and I can watch them (and actually see the details) just fine on the luxurious screen. Granted I only have a 1 GB card, but I will take the bigger screen over the bigger hard disk space.

The one thing that gets me is how Apple can only charge $1.99 for videos and TV shows. I think that is a miracle in itself. Of course the flip side to that is BitTorrent and free, but $1.99 a show isn't bad at all.

September 27, 2005

Motorola CEO: 'Screw the nano'

Apple Computer's newest MP3 player, the iPod nano, is receiving rave reviews and analysts believe the device will solidify Apple's dominance in the competitive MP3 player market for at least another year. However, not everyone praises the device -- Motorola CEO Ed Zander had some harsh words for the nano in a recent interview.
Source: MacCentral

I think there is a rather large portion of the world that "listens to 1,000 songs," and is glad to have only 1,000 songs in their pocket. I don't see how politicly sound this is for Mr. Zander as the reviews of the new MOTO ROKR have been luke warm at best. Lets face it, the ROKR is a dud. I don't think Apple should have gone with MOTO in the first place (they have absolute crap phones in my opinion).

You usually do not get such a juicy sound bite from such a high profile CEO.

So why is the MOTO CEO blasting the iPod nano? Especially as MOTO now has a business relationship with Apple. This just makes the MOTO ROKR an even bigger eye soar in the media. Good job Mr. Zander. You can take your crappy attempt at an iTunes phone and shove it.

I do have one question though: Who listens to 100 songs, (the ROKR limit) to paraphrase your quote. Not many, as the mediocre reviews of your new phone show. Yet the nano is flying off shelves. Imagine that!

Sounds like stable ground between MOTO and Apple (sarcasm).

September 19, 2005

My iPod Shuffle fell apart

My iPod shuffle is broke. One day, out of the blue, when I pulled the shuffle from my G5 the case came unattached from the metal USB port. There is a ribbon that attaches these two pieces. It has gotten progressively worse, it just falls out. I need to find/buy some super glue to put the thing back together. But I bet when I do that the warranty (if any) will be null and void.

Continue reading "My iPod Shuffle fell apart" »

September 7, 2005

Apple unveils nano, ROKR and iTunes 5

On Wednesday, at a special event in San Francisco, Apple took the wraps off the long-awaited iTunes phone from Motorola, the ROKR. Apple also updated iTunes to version 5.0 and introduced its replacement for the iPod mini: the iPod nano.
Source: MacCentral

Continue reading "Apple unveils nano, ROKR and iTunes 5" »

August 5, 2005

Apple alters iPod trademark to include video

Well, this will certainly add some fuel to the fire on those video iPod rumours — Apple has updated its trademark for the iPod from “portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, and audio files” to read “portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio, image, and video files.”
Source: Engadget

I was just thinking to myself, it has been a while since I bought a new iPod (joke). After seeing how video can look on my PSP, I do not think the 2" screen of the iPod will be very inticing. What will be great is the ease of use via iTunes, of course.

Sony really needs a good interface for getting video onto the PSP (they also need a Mac compatible version; the current 1st party software is Windows only). There are good 3rd party Mac apps out for the PSP, but with the 2.0 firmware coming, they all have to update for a quasi AVC/h.264 format. If it was true h.264 video we could all use QuickTime 7 Pro, but that would be too easy, wouldn't it.

I wonder how much that video iPod will cost? The 60 GB iPod photo is $399. Will they charge $499 or more for a video iPod?

August 4, 2005

Duke learns lessons from the iPod

At Duke University, administrators are reassessing how best to use the devices as educational tools. After an experiment last year that involved giving all 1,650 incoming freshmen iPods, Duke has decided to distribute the devices more selectively.
Source: Playlist

Ha, this is funny. Now the student has to be enrolled in a class that requests an iPod. Great idea. Maybe the freshman were using the iPods for a little too much music and not enough lecture recordings?

August 1, 2005

HP to stop selling iPods

HP will stop selling its branded Apple iPods in September. HP will continue to install iTunes on its PCs and laptops, however.
Source: Playlist

This union between Apple and HP never did make sense to me. It all begins with HP's Invent slogan. Ironic, really.

July 1, 2005

Use Automator to mass-convert iTunes tracks

Thanks to this great hint and Doug's Automator iTunes Actions you can now fully automate the process of converting your MP3 files to AAC files, saving a bit of space along the way. If you are an audiophile you may not want to do this, but I hear no difference in audio quality. I end up saving a lot of hard drive space, which is more important to me then CD quality tunes.

June 22, 2005

Apple has been slapped with a lawsuit over iTunes

Contois Music Technology last week asked a Federal Court to stop the iPod maker from distributing its iTunes jukebox software and is seeking damages over an alleged patent violation by the iTunes software.

The suit, filed on June 13th in Vermont District Court, alleges that Apple's iTunes software design infringes on Contois' six-year old design patent (US Patent No. 5,864,868) entitled "Computer Control System and User Interface for Media Playing Devices."
Source: Apple Insider

The mock-up that Apple Insider posted is very similar to what iTunes looks like. It seems like a genuine case of patent infringement. I cannot remember, nor can I find screenshots of SoundJam MP - the predecessor to iTunes - to see if it had a three column layout for displaying genre -> artist -> album.

Continue reading "Apple has been slapped with a lawsuit over iTunes" »

May 19, 2005

Windows iPod problem fixed

Yesterday I fixed a friend's iPod that would not show in iTunes for Windows. It is a brand new 20 GB model. He had just installed the iPod software update. The iPod would mount in Windows Explorer, just not show up in iTunes.

Continue reading "Windows iPod problem fixed" »

March 31, 2005

Review: iPod Camera Connector

When Apple first announced the iPod photo, many digital photographers believed their prayers had been answered: At last, a compact storage solution that would allow you to snap pictures with a digital camera, dump the camera’s contents to the device, and then preview your pictures on that storage device. Regrettably, these dreams were dashed when it was revealed that the iPod photo would display pictures only after those pictures were processed by a computer and delivered to the device via iTunes.
Source: Playlist

March 30, 2005

iPod shuffle clone returns as Super Tangent

Taiwanese MP3 maker Luxpro made headlines at the CeBit trade show in Germany earlier this month when they showed off an MP3 player called the Super Shuffle that was, unmistakably, a clone of Apple's iPod shuffle. The product briefly disappeared but it's back now, as the Super Tangent. Luxpro appears to have made some changes to the Super Tangent since it was shown at CeBit as the Super Shuffle, but it's still unmistakably an iPod shuffle clone.
Source: Playlist

Yes, it is still a clone. But it is not an exact replica like the Super Shuffle was. I am guessing someone from Apple legal had a talk with them, and that is why they pulled it.

Griffin's aluminum iVault protects iPod shuffle

Griffin Technology Inc. on Tuesday introduced the iVault, an aluminum case designed for Apple's iPod shuffle.
Source: Playlist

Do you remember this from a while ago? Some guy had way too much time on his hands so he custom machined a metal iPod shuffle case? Then I read somewhere that his design was bought. I guess it was Griffin. Indeed, it is a "Full Metal Jacket." It does look great. When I saw the original I sure wanted one. Griffin's is also half the price of some of the competition, sold in Japan only.

March 22, 2005

PyMusique author hacks Apple iTunes fix

Apple and the authors of an application that allow users to buy music from the iTunes Music Store without using iTunes itself appear to be involved in an escalating war of wits. Only a day after Apple announced a change to the iTunes Music Store that prevented users from using a third-party program called PyMusique to buy songs, one of the program's authors has made changes that restores the software's ability to work.
Source: Playlist

Will this ever end?

March 21, 2005

iTunes Music Store locks out DRM-free purchases

Apple on Monday confirmed they have closed what's described as "a security hole" in the iTunes Music Store that allowed users to purchase songs without DRM attached. As a result of closing the hole, users of iTunes older than version 4.7 will need to upgrade in order to continue purchasing songs. This update also locks out users of PyMusique, a software application for Windows and Linux that served as an alternate interface to the iTunes Music Store.
Source: Playlist

Ahh, DVD Jon gets stopped again.

March 20, 2005

Psst... wanna buy some DRM-free iTMS tracks?

The name Jon Johansen should be familiar to any foe of digital rights management. Known primarily for authoring DeCSS, a tool for removing the CSS from DVDs, the Norwegian programmer seemingly spends most of his time fighting DRM implementations. Johansen has also gone after Apple and iTunes Music store in the past, writing an application that could capture the raw AAC content. He and some other programmers are at it again with the release of PyMusique, an application that allows end users to buy music from iTMS without any DRM.
Source: Ars Technica

March 10, 2005

Luxpro Corp. rips off iPod shuffle

Taiwanese company Luxpro Corp. is showing off an iPod shuffle clone called Super shuffle at this week's CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany. From the front, the device is physically identical to Apple's iPod shuffle, straight down to the control pad and white earbuds. It touts features the iPod shuffle lacks, however, including an FM tuner and a voice recorder.
Source: Playlist

This is not your ordinary rip off, this is a RIP OFF. Apple has sued for less. This should be a fun lawsuit.

March 9, 2005

Allofmp3.com let off the hook

Russian online music site Allofmp3.com will continue to operate, after Russian prosecutors concluded they cannot take legal action against the music store. Finally prodded into motion by continuous lobbying by the RIAA, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and other copyright holders, Russian law enforcement officials began an investigtation of the service two weeks ago.
Source: ArsTechnica

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the entire world's sigh of relief. It helps when you find a loophole in a law. There has been quite a lot of ink splattering from publications such as WIRED Magazine as to the validity and legality of Allofmp3.com. If anything, this investigation has proven what most had feared: it is legal under Russian law.

Allofmp3.com offers high-quality recordings (even lossless if that's what you want) at a low price to anyone, anywhere, on any platform. If the site continues to grow in popularity, it may give the labels second thoughts about raising their prices.
So this turned into something very good for Allofmp3.com. Who would have thought of that. In some ways this investigation validates the service and gave them plenty of press.

I just wonder how long the service will last now that it has hit mainstream news.

Sony takes on iPod shuffle with new flash players

Sony has announced nine new flash-based MP3 players to compete with Apple's iPod shuffle. "The lineup includes a set of cigarette lighter-sized models, a bit more expensive than the iPod Shuffle but with a much longer advertised battery life--50 hours of playback time with a rechargeable battery compared to Apple's 12 hours. And unlike the Shuffle, the Sony players have bright, 3-line screens to display song information...
Source: MacCentral Via USA Today

If Sony cannot undercut Apple in the price department, I wonder if they will sell many at all. Sure it will sell, its got the Sony name on it. But will it dent Apple's stronghold on the MP3 player market?

It is great to see that Sony is finally embracing MP3 in their new flash based players. Their worst decision with that new Network Walkman was only supporting the ATRAC format. Sony finally saw the error of its ways, but to think they could make a proprietary format like ATRAC work in the first place...

Top 10 iTunes AppleScripts

iTunes on both the Mac and PC is a terrific application, but it has a singular advantage on the Mac—its support of Apple’s scripting language, AppleScript. Regrettably, writing AppleScripts is beyond the ken of a lot of Mac users. Fortunately, that makes not a whit of difference thanks to Doug Adams and his invaluable site, Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes.
Source: Playlist

It is not really fair to boil down the scripts on Doug's site to 10, but the list here is pretty good. If you have not thought of extending iTunes with AppleScripts, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time. There are a great many things you can do with Doug's AppleScripts. What's more is that he is not the type of person who does not support his work. I have emailed him regarding a couple of his scripts, and he has gotten back to me fairly quickly.

iPod defeats Blue Screen of Death

At Big Blue's USA PartnerWorld conference Steve Welch used software on the iPod to save the crashed ThinkPad. The software is One-touch Rescue & Recovery On Linux and is not as yet an announced IBM product.
Source: Playlist

February 24, 2005

MP3s for pennies? Russian cops say no

A Russian digital-music site offering high-quality song downloads for just pennies apiece is the target of a criminal copyright investigation by the local police, recording industry groups said Tuesday.

AllofMP3.com has been operating for several years, asking consumers to pay just 2 cents per megabyte of downloads--usually between 4 cents and 10 cents per song. Alongside the catalogue available at traditional stores like Apple Computer's iTunes, the site offered access to songs from the Beatles and other groups that haven't yet authorized digital distribution.

Source: C|Net News.com

Damit! It looks like the party is over.

February 21, 2005

15 GB Dragon green 3G iPod for sale

UPDATE: It has been sold!

I am selling my 15GB 3G iPod. I have no need for it. It is in pretty fair condition. The screen is scuffed, the metal back is scuffed, this thing has seen little use. The battery life is still great. It has no engraving on the back. It is also painted "Dragon" green by ColorWare.

I know this did not come with a Dock, so that is not included. I would give you mine but mine is for an iPod photo. It does come in its original box, and with all of its original accessories. You get all this:

15 GB 3rd Generation Super Cool Dragon Green iPod
FireWire iPod Connector Cable
AC adapter (not pictured)
Original (unopened) Earbud Headphones & Remote
Apple Belt Clip
Carrying Case
4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter (not pictured)
Original Paperwork
NEW iTunes CD (iPod photo version)
Original Packaging (minus one piece of Styrofoam that got lost along the way)

All of this can be yours for $125.00. Post a message or send me an email, kenneth.edwards at gmail dot com.

iTunes Hot Tips

Apple has a hot tips page for both Mac and Windows. They are basically the same, with just different screen shots, etc.

February 17, 2005

Napster goes retro with (unintentionally) free music

When Napster launched its new subscription Napster-To-Go service two weeks ago, they touted it as a low-cost way to access thousands of songs without having to buy them. For $14.95, customers can copy all the tracks they want from Napster's catalog to digital music players. There's even a 14-day free trial. Of course, when the subscription expires so does the music.

However, in a flashback to the heyday of the original Napster in the late 1990s, a rediscovery by a few users of an old Winamp trick has resulted in subscribers being able to download any number of tracks, which are then no longer tied to the subscriber's PC and digital music players.

Source: ArsTechnica

I know this is old news, and I have written about it already, but the headline is just golden, and it is Ars after all. I can't believe that it took less then a day for a "crack" to surface. Of course the method is very time consuming, but that has never stopped people before.

February 16, 2005

iPod Troubleshooting & Service

EDITORS NOTE: This was originally posted on November 24, 2003. It was updated with much more information and links on February 16, 2005. I want to welcome everyone who has been coming here from the search engines, and mainly Google (I have just been too busy to update this post). I cannot imagine any other reason for so many comments, so it must be because of the search engines.

UPDATE: 02/16/05: I have added one tip specific to Windows and USB/FireWire devices, as well as how to perform a hard reset of the iPod.

UPDATE: 02/22/05, Neil confirmed a few things, please see end of post.

What a great page, that is hard to find! There is also a iPod Service & Support page I just found. If you go to either of these pages and search for things, most, if not all, of your questions will be found.

I would also highly suggest the iPodLounge.com Forums or forums at Macworld, Mac OS X Hints, or Apple Discussions.The aboe Apple links and iPodLounge.com have great tutorials if you are unfamiliar with anything.

Continue reading "iPod Troubleshooting & Service" »

February 15, 2005

Math Is Done: Napster To Go Doesn't Add Up

Whether you like Napster To Go, the online store's new music subscription service, depends on whether you think of it as all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-pay.

Both descriptions are accurate. For $15 a month, Napster To Go offers unlimited song downloads -- in a copy-restricted format that can be played only on Windows XP computers and some digital music players -- but these songs expire if you don't keep paying that fee each month.

Source: Washington Post

Here is BugMeNot.com for convenience. I would be interested to know how many "some digital music players" really is. Here is your answer:

Because this underlying software is so new, Napster To Go is the least compatible music store in existence. You can use it only on a Windows XP computer running Windows Media Player 10, and you can transfer your downloads only to a Windows Media-compatible player that includes special software and circuitry to enforce the pay-to-play deal.

Nine devices are compatible, seven needing software update to work with Napster To Go. Odd licensing limits the actual library available to To Go users. I see that I am not the only one who didn't think this sounded good. It was good to read Rob Pegoraro's first hand account in this Washington Post article.

Consider this example: I have been purchasing CDs for about 20 years now, in which time I've accumulated about 300 of the things. At an average of $15 each, I've spent $4,500. Now suppose that, instead of buying those CDs, I could have opened up a Napster To Go account back in 1985. My total bill would be $3,600 and counting -- and although I might have accumulated a larger, more diverse collection, I wouldn't own any of it.
That is a much better example then I came up with.

February 12, 2005

*It is necessary to maintain a subscription in order to continue access to songs downloaded from Napster To Go

Its funny you never saw that asterisk during the Super Bowl commercial. Would you rather own your 10,000 songs are rent them. Once you miss a month's $15 payment for whatever reason you entire music library goes 'poof.'

Lets do some match, based on $1 a song and $10 a CD. One full year of Napster To Go will cost you $180 a year. That is 18 CDs for one year, after that year those CDs are yours to do with whatever you want. At the end of the day (year) I would rather have 18 CDs then have to continue forking over $15 every month to continue listening to music.

Sure I have a biased opinion towards the iTunes Music Store and Apple, but forget the brand names and brand loyalty for a moment.

I do not see how people can equate digital music to satellite radio. It is the closest form of entertainment that I can compare Napster To Go with. The model works for satellite radio, it does not work for online music stores.

This will of course not prevent hordes of people to Napsters new “To Go” service. There will always be people who buy before they think.

15 is less then 10,000 after all.

February 9, 2005

1 GB iPod Shuffle Review

I had to, I just had to. Sure I have a 60 GB iPod photo, but I had to get a Shuffle. This iPod shuffle is a 2-in-1. I can now get rid of my aging USB thumb drive, and have a super small iPod with me at all times.

This thing is tiny. You can fit it inside the coin pocket of a pair of jeans.

Continue reading "1 GB iPod Shuffle Review" »

February 8, 2005

All album artwork is missing after upgrading to iTunes 4.7.1

Why is it that all recent updates to iTunes (on the Mac at least) have to come with an asterisk. Every time something goes wrong. It is starting to really annoy me. This time after the 4.7.1 update, part of iLife '05, killed all the album artwork on my iPod photo. And look, there is a tech note for it. Here is the abridged version.

5. Deselect the "Display album artwork on your iPod" checkbox.
9. Select the "Display album artwork on your iPod" checkbox.

February 5, 2005

Pepsi-iTunes Super Bowl commercials

I don't know which I like better - the Gwen Stefani 2005 iTunes Ad or the 2005 Pepsi/iTunes Ad. Incidently, if you did not know, Different District has most all the Apple movies online in QuickTime format. They even have a DVD you can buy.

The iPod Scuffle

Ahhh, what would we do without The Joy of Tech?

Hide Your iPod, Here Comes Bill

"About 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a portable music player have an iPod," said one source, a high-level manager who asked to remain anonymous. "It's pretty staggering."

The source estimated 80 percent of Microsoft employees have a music player -- that translates to 16,000 iPod users among the 25,000 who work at or near Microsoft's corporate campus. "This irks the management team no end," said the source.

So popular is the iPod, executives are increasingly sending out memos frowning on its use.

Source: WIRED News

Now this is just funny. Microsoft's offices have more iPod users then Apple has employees. I bet that really does irk the brass at Microsoft. Sweet revenge?

December 15, 2004

Apple fights RealNetworks' 'hacker tactics'

Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players.
Source: C|Net News.com

December 8, 2004

Apple tangles with owner of itunes.co.uk

U.K.-based Internet entrepreneur Benjamin Cohen says that he got an unexpected shock last month after he checked his voicemail and heard a lawyer representing Apple Computer Inc. telling him to hand over his Web site domain, itunes.co.uk. Apple alleges that Cohen's CyberBritain Holdings Ltd is a "cybersquatter" just sitting on the domain hoping for a big settlement; Cohen denies the allegation.
Source: MacCentral

Uhuh... an "unexpected shock" my ass.

December 1, 2004

The Complete U2: The World’s First Digital Box Set

In October, Apple announced a deal with rock band U2 to provide its entire music catalog on the iTunes Music Store as a “digital box set” called The Complete U2. For the first time, a significant artist’s entire career would be available — legally — over the Internet. On November 23, Apple released this electronic collection on all of its iTunes Music Stores. Being both a U2 fan and a trustworthy Playlist editor, I took it upon myself to purchase and download this new approach to music packaging and collecting. Here are my experiences and impressions.
Source: Playlist Magazine

Dan Frakes provides a full review of what is included. If you ask me, the $149 is worth it. I am heavily thinking of buying it, even if it would take hours to download!

Here is another review.

November 21, 2004

Creative 'declares war' on iPod

Creative Technology says it plans to shell out US$100 million (Yahoo! News) in marketing money next year in an effort to take on current MP3 King, iPod, reports Reuters. "The MP3 war has started and I am the one who has declared war," Creative Chief Executive Sim Wong Hoo told a media briefing in Singapore. "I'm planning to spend some serious money -- I intend to out-market everyone," he went on to say. Creative says it is targeting a 40 percent share of the global MP3 player market in 2005, and intends to spend most of the marketing money in the United States, followed by Europe and Asia.
Source: MacMinute

Well they do have a fairly ugly 5 GB iPod clone out now, who's to say they can't capture 40% of the market? I am, for one! Creative will never best the Apple iPod juggernaut.

Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes

Download 300 free user-contributed AppleScripts for Apple's iTunes that will make maintaining your digital music collection easier and more fun.
Source: Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes

My favorite is his Managing Files collection. Of all these scripts, the one that should be integrated into iTunes is the ability to make AAC files "Bookmarkable."

Let me explain: If you buy a book from the iTMS or Aduble.com, those files are Bookmarkable, when you stop listening, the file remembers where you were last - even once you sync your iPod back to your computer. But what if you rip an audio book yourself? This is where Doug's AppleScripts come in. Make Bookmarkable is the best script on the site. Sure, there are a lot of very useful scripts here, but none top Make Bookmarkable.

iPod photo Diagnostic Mode revealed

For years, iPod tinkerers have known that holding down the correct two sequences of buttons (currently, hold Menu plus central Action button, then Reverse plus Action button) would reset an iPod and then bring up a hidden diagnostic mode. Various tests, including hard disk, screen, and Wheel diagnostics would appear, and the iPod could even be forced into a slave-like disk mode from this menu system.
Source: iPodLounge

The color LCD on the iPod photo (re-branded name) is by default set to a brightness value of 128. It can go up to 255, which is very bright. Sure you would kill battery life it you left it at 255, and that is probably why you cannot leave it at 255. After all, the default setting of 128 is bright enough.

November 11, 2004

French court dismisses Virgin's FairPlay complaint

The French Competition Council has dismissed the case brought by Virgin Mega's French arm against Apple for alleged abuse of market dominance. In June, Virgin filed a complaint against Apple alleging that the company has wrongfully refused to its license FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) technology to competitors.
Source: MacMinute & C|Net News.com

November 9, 2004

Review: iPod Photo

After weeks of rumors that hinted at a more colorful iPod, Apple turned conjecture into cold hard fact by unwrapping the iPod Photo—the first of its portable music players to offer a color screen and the ability to display digital pictures and album art. Available in two configurations—a $500 40GB model and a $600 60GB version—these new iPods feature not only new graphic capabilities, but increased playtime and the power to project video to a television via a composite- or S-video cable.
Source: Playlist Magazine

Christopher Breen has a pretty good review of the new iPod Photo. It doesn't go as far as I would like it though. But please read Breen's review for a more thorough overview. I am just going to get to the highlights.

I ordered my iPod Photo (from here on referred to as iPP) on October 27th, and I received it November 2nd. No John Kerry in Office, but I got my iPP!

I was not expecting to get it until Nov. 4, the FexEd shipping page lied. I was quite happy about the shipping time, considering that this is a new product from Apple. We all know how long new products from Apple can take to get into the hands of the masses. I have had some time to use the new iPP and I am very impressed.

Thanks to Todd at CTLT, we have confirmed that the 4G iSkin evo 2 cases fit the slightly thicker iPP. It is a little bit of a stretch, but it works for sure. I have already ordered mine.

I snapped some pics of my new iPP, be sure to check them out.

The new font that it uses, Myriad over Chicago, makes a huge difference. Looking at the 4G next to the iPP is a big difference just in screen readability because of the font change. Maybe a firmware update for the 4G can bring Myriad to the older iPods. I did do some looking though, and I found this: Chicago is a 1-bit font, the monochrome screens are 1-bit. Myriad is not a 1-bit font, and neither is the new color screen of the iPP.

The new color screen of the iPP is very crisp. I cringe at the 4G iPod screen now. The new color iPod OS is very Aqua, really nice. The screen refresh rate is much better with the color screen.

The backlight of the iPP works great indoors and is very readable outdoors as well.

I like album art more and more the more I use it. Its just great to see the album art on the iPod.

I am also growing more and more in love with having my iPhoto libraries on my iPod.

Now the real reason I bought this was the 60 GB of storage. The storage and the crisp color screen were enough new features for me. The iPhoto and album art support are just icing on the case. They are more then just gimmicks, they really are great feature additions to the iPod.

Expensive? Yes, but this is Apple folks. Worth it? Indeed.

November 5, 2004

iPodlounge's Buyers' Guide 2004

As promised several weeks ago, iPodlounge is proud to announce the immediate availability of the iPodlounge Buyers’ Guide 2004 for free download from the links and locations below. It contains the world's first review of Apple's new iPod Photo.

Source: iPodLounge.com

This is a 42 page full color guide for the holidays that leave you drooling for an iPod or some accessories. I know I am using this guide it to make up my wish list for Santa.

October 31, 2004

Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition iPod

Like no other, iPod Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition stands out. Virgin white, it features the new Apple Fast-Forward Click Button and, on the flip side, complete how to use instructions. Available for just $349, it comes with enough money to use a pay phone for calling your daddy, your agent or both, when you get caught lip syncing live on national television. We have also included some Kleenex for those special times when your entire fan base realizes you're nothing but a talentless hack.
I heard Bob and Tom joking about this. Then Chris sent my this link. Very well done, kudos to the creator.

iPod Photo is no digital photo wallet

If you use a device such as the Belkin Digital Camera Link for iPod or the Belkin iPod Media Reader to import photos to your iPod Photo, the imported photos won't appear on the iPod Photo screen while browsing photos or viewing a slide show.

If you want to view the photos you imported to iPod Photo, load them on your computer from iPod and then use iTunes 4.7 or later to sync them back to iPod Photo.

Source: Apple Knowledge Base

I am a bit disappointed in the iPod Photo. It had really great potential. I agree that video would not be worthwhile on the iPod, but this new iPod Photo could have truly been a "Photo iPod" if you could import a roll from your memory card with the Belkin iPod Media Reader and then use the iPod to view those photos on that nice color screen. This would surely be a boon to photographers in the field both novice or professional. Imagine having 40 or 60 GB of space to transfer and view your photos with.

I hope, like many I am sure do, that Belkin is in the works of a new iPod Media Reader that will automatically show the photos on the iPod without having to first sync with the Mac.

At first neither Apple or Belkin was saying anything about this, but at least Apple has put to rest the rumors by releasing this KB document.

October 30, 2004

iPod Photo: First Impressions

Given that few of these iPods have made their way into the world, I thought I’d offer a few initial impressions. This isn’t the full review that will follow when we’ve had the time necessary to give the new iPod a thorough going over, but rather what I expected after Apple’s presentation and how this iPod has met those expectations.
Source: Playlist Magazine

iPod Photo: Attributes and Accessories

...Another major change is that the new iPod Photo extends battery life to up to 15 hours, as compared to 12 hours for 4G iPods and 8 hours for the iPod mini. Our “best scenario” tests (meaning that we fully charged the iPod and had it shuffle songs until the battery ran out) revealed that the iPod Photo is capable of even longer playtime. In those test the iPod played music continuously for 16 hours and 10 minutes...
Source: Playlist Magazine

October 27, 2004

Apple music event roundup

Below are the highlights from Apple's special music event with U2, which took place yesterday at the California Theater in San Jose, CA.

- Apple introduces iPod Photo
- Apple unveils U2 iPod
- Apple expands European iTMS; Canada in Nov.
- Apple to offer iPod Socks
- Apple releases iTunes 4.7; iTMS gets 'Artist Alerts'
- Apple launches iPod Store
- Jobs: 'Photos are the next big thing'


Source: MacMinute

Wow what a day! Mostly iPod news... a London Apple Store!

Those iPod socks look cool. I drink the Kool-Aid, I will probably buy those. And this new iPod + iPhoto thing! Take that HP. Yea. I am selling both of my iPods and buying an iPod Photo (odd name, don't you think?)

September 22, 2004

Sony to support MP3 music files

Sony said today that is working to add native MP3 support to its portable music players. "The shift from reliance on its proprietary Atrac format will begin with flash memory-based players, but plans are still being finalized on how and when products will add MP3 support," reports CNET News.com. "Sony is revisiting its MP3 strategy at a time when competition in the digital music market is heating up--and threatening to leave the company behind. The surprise move could portend a major strategy reversal for the consumer electronics giant, with important ramifications for the fledgling online music market."

Source: C|Net News.com via MacMinute

Holy Toledo Batman! Sony is going to embrace a standard! This is unheard of.

Call me when I can play a MP3 on that new 20 GB HD model, you know the NW-HD1 Such a catchy name isn't it?

I am really floored though. I thought I would never see the day that Sony would use a standard format.

They will never catch the iPod, but its fun to watch them try. Maybe Sony should pull a HP and just license the real deal.

September 20, 2004

Apple could quiet Beatles with iTMS spin off

Forbes' Arik Hesseldahl says that Apple could put the legal dispute with the Beatles behind them if it would spin off the iTunes Music Store: "Apple could make this entire thing go away by spinning off the entire iTunes Music Store as a subsidiary and stop promoting it under the Apple name. This would harm its prospects not one bit. No one who's been awake during the last year hasn't heard of an iPod or seen it in one of those TV ads in heavy rotation....

Source: MacMinute

Well they spun of the iPod, why not iTunes? Will they do it? Will it be fragmented too much if they do? Why not spin off the PowerBook and the PowerMac, and then have OS X a spin off as well? Yes I am being silly here, but this has happened before. Apple spun off Claris, then brought it back in, then spun it off as a new name, FileMaker, then retained ClarisWorks under the Apple brand. Its all fun and games... Well it worked for FileMaker. We do not know if it is working for the iPod, we assume it is.

To dodge a legal bullet with The Beatles and Apple Corps, whch seems like a really stupid lawsuit if you ask me, it might make sense. Of course then we can really see how much (or little) money that the iTMS makes. Apple would not be able to pad the iTMS financial data with sales of iPods. Oh no!

September 17, 2004

iTunes is renaming my Artist Name field

This is really annoying the _bleep_ out of me.

I have decided since there is no separate fields for last name and first name that I am renaming all my music with Last Name, First Name in the Artist field. After all, this makes it easy to jockey the collection of music on my iPod.

I recently did this to my entire Jimmy Buffett collection (my sincerest condolences to those who are not Buffett fans, but lets focus people). Now when I double click on a Buffett tune in iTunes, it magically changes it back to "Jimmy Buffett" and therefor it vanishes from the listing for the author listing I am looking at. Once more when I click that handy dandy arrow icon next to the Artist and Album names, it also rewrites the Artist field to "Jimmy Buffett."

I renamed the Artist field to "Buffett, Jimmy" for a reason (as described above), and I have no clue why iTunes would be reverting the Artist field.

Does anyone have a clue as to why? This is quite frustrating.

UPDATE:
It must have been a permissions error, my most favoritist and most common error and pain in the arese in OS X. I believe the permissions error came from when I copied my entire library from an external firewire drive to on of my internal drives in my G5. Firewire drives and permissions is one of those huge security problems with Mac OS X. So I am not that suprised here. My files had the user/group set to meancode/meancode, even though there is no "meancode" group. I set the group back to "admin" of which I am a part of, and now things work. Thanks to Bruce at Apple DIscussions for the suggestion.

September 16, 2004

A Tale of Two iPods: iPod vs hPod

With the release of the new HP-branded version of the iPod, many consumers -- especially those using Windows-based PCs -- are wondering whether they should buy the original Apple-branded model or HP's version. We did some research to help you make the right decision; read on for all the details...

Source: Playlist Magazine

September 15, 2004

iTunes pricing unfair, says British consumer group

British consumer watchdog group Consumers' Association, publishers of Which? magazines and books, on Wednesday announced that they've written to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) alleging that Apple may be unfairly pricing songs sold through the UK version of its iTunes Music Store. But they appear to be one of the few people who think so, if the comments of the organization's own head of policy is any indication.

While Apple sells songs in Germany and France for €0.99, it sells songs in the UK for £0.79, or about €1.20...

Source: MacCentral

I would like to hear what Neil has to say on this (hint hint).

September 10, 2004

iTunes Japan hits 'inadequate DRM' hurdle

Apple's plan to open a Japanese version of its iTunes Music Store could be scuppered on local music companies' fears that its DRM technology, FairPlay, simply isn't restrictive enough...

Existing Japanese digital music services do not support CD burning. They also charge from ¥200 ($1.83) a song - rather more than the Yen equivalent of the US store's $0.99 (¥108) download fee...

Source: The Register

It sounds to me like it sucks being a Japanese digital music lover!

August 15, 2004

iTunes 4.6: Items In Playlist Cannot Be Burned

You can't burn an MP3 CD from AAC files. You have to first convert the AACs to MP3. You can of course burn the AAC files to audio CD. Excuse me, but this is bull pucky! iTunes does so much, why can it not rip an AAC to memory and then burn it to CD as an MP3 disc? Stupid "feature." So I have to transcode my AAC files to MP3 (its a good thing iTunes does that) and then I can burn a MP3 CD. I now have a large portion of my collection in AAC. Had I known this I would have only used AAC for those files bought from the iTMS. iTunes should be able to convert AAC on the fly to MP3 and then burn the MP3 disc. Toast rips MP3 files to AIFF before it makes an Audio CD. I am not really miffed, it is just that I expect more from an Apple product such as iTunes.

August 2, 2004

Review of Apple's 4th Generation iPod - 40GB Model

By Brandon M. Suman The iPod is a magical thing. It's almost like a pet. There are few gadgets that exude as much personality. It's almost like a comfort blanket, when your iPod is in your pocket, you know you won't have to live in silence. Scary walks home at night in sinister neighborhoods go faster with my favorite music. (Of course, wearing shiny white iPod earbuds increases your odds of getting mugged, but oh well.) I purchased my first iPod on the bleeding edge of the revolution- until last week, I was carrying the original 5GB iPod. I named her "Jenna," after a girl I admired at the time, and the iPod (not the girl) has been by my side ever since. That was prior to the days of solid state control wheels, dock connectors, or super-rounded corners, of course. The spinning scroll wheel had a tendency to spontaneously change volume while I walked, and the thing was too thick to be mounted to my belt without being an inconvenience. Nonetheless, I loved it, and found it to be most useful in the car, connecting it to my Taurus's stereo with one of those cassette tape adapters. (Those things still amaze me.) Needless to say, when my new iPod arrived, it was an exciting day. The free text laser-engraving proved useful and attractive. I simply chose to have my name and phone number embedded for posterity. Helpful, I figured, for identification if anyone tries to steal it. The new iPod is a huge improvement over my original version, but a fairly mild generation-revision from the 3G lineup. I am aware of rumors, however, that the new iPod is entirely redesigned from the ground up, and contains some special new abilities that have yet to be realized by its software. (Cross your fingers and watch for updates!) While it may be slightly thinner than the last model, the big outward difference is the light gray "click wheel" that places the usual buttons right on top of the scroll wheel, an interface used previously in the iPod Mini. After a week or so of experimentation, I wholeheartedly embrace the new click wheel. The original iPod placed the navigation directly around the scroll wheel. This made navigation with one hand very easy, and the buttons were easy to memorize. ("Menu" was just above, "Play/Pause" was just below, and the track skip buttons were to the left and right.) When Apple placed the buttons in a four-in-a-row layout above the scroll wheel I cried for the disappearance of the directional-memorization system. Now where was that pesky play button again? Third from the left? The click wheel brings back my "up down left right" system, and improves on it. I don't even have to reach my thumb above the wheel, I just press the top of the wheel itself. My only fear with this system would be that it would somehow inhibit the scroll wheel's performance. I am pleased to report that it does not. I was slightly disappointed by Apple's choice of gray for the scroll wheel color. An all-white device is so pure-looking, and this is the iPod's first departure from this thinking. The scroll wheel surface, however, is more than just a different color. The material is textured, soft and smooth, almost like a piece of paper. It makes a perfect surface for scrolling, it gives just enough resistance to complete the illusion of a spinning wheel. It does seem probable that this surface would be more easily marred by dirt from your fingers, the gray color may have been chosen to limit the noticeability of this problem. I am almost entirely happy with the way the iPod looks and performs. I can nearly get my entire music collection on a 40GB iPod (mine currently contains about 6000 songs.) I still can't get all my music on my iPod, however- and I can't wait until that day. Heck, I'd like to be able to store my favorite movies on my iPod, too- so I can plug the iPod into my television and stop lugging DVDs around to parties. (Are you listening, Apple!?) Of course, that would require an even bigger hard drive in this little gadget. One thing at a time. Software-wise, the iPod works and acts just like you'd expect it to. I can now customize my main menu, which is a sweet deal for me (I only ever navigate by artist anyway, better to have fewer options if I'm not going to use the others.) The games are still good, and the other palm-pilotesque address book / calendar storage could be useful, though I doubt I'll take advantage of it. The biggest software advancement, in my opinion, is the new On-The-Go playlist option, I can finally generate a playlist using the iPod itself, without the assistance of iTunes. My iPod was cheaper than the last 40GB model, but it doesn't contain a belt clip case or remote control. (The iPod remote is pretty lousy anyway, but the case would have been really nice.) As a 40GB owner, I get a dock, which is a wonderful thing. It keeps my iPod sitting upright and happy and free of scratches, which makes me happy, too. I've acquired the habit of carrying the dock with me just to have a little stand for my Pod. Also, the white earbuds included with my iPod have a defect, the right side makes these static-y popping sounds- I need to call Apple about that, though I'm confident that the situation will be resolved. The overall iPod experience is as magical as it was with the original so many years ago now. Kudos to Apple for finding a way to make technology so convenient and useful. I can only hope that the iPod magic and simplicity finds its way to other devices, like my WaterPik™. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see if Michelle minds having an iPod named after her.

July 23, 2004

Apple signs three major European indie labels to iTunes

Apple was criticized when the iTunes Music Store first launched in the UK, France and Germany in June because of the absence of independent music. That changed on Wednesday when Apple said that it has signed licensing agreements with three major European independent music labels; the agreement adds tens of thousands of additional tracks from leading independent artists to the service's UK, French and German stores... Source: MacCentral I do not know how the words major and indie fit into a headline, but this is good news for all the iTMS fans across the pond. Is it just me or is an indie label not major by defenition. We here in the US already have these artists, and its nice that the UK gets this music too. I think "Popular European indie labels" would have been more fitting, but thats just me.

July 21, 2004

New iPods' "lower prices" come at a cost

Although Apple is touting the fact that the new iPods, announced Monday, cost $100 less than the previous generation's models for the same capacity ($299 for the 20GB model, $399 for the 40GB model), if you want or need the same accessories that came with the previous models, you'll have to buy some of them. Specifically, the remote control and carrying case, included with the previous models of the same capacity, are now optional accessories, listing for $39 each (although purchasing the remote also gets you an extra pair of the iPod's white earbuds). The previously included FireWire 4-pin-to-6-pin adapter is also no longer part of the package (and doesn't appear to be available from the Apple Store, although other similar adapters are available). Finally, the previous 20GB model included a dock base, whereas the new 20GB model does not (the dock is now a $39 accessory for the 20GB model; it's still included with the 40GB model). Granted, the new iPods also include a USB2.0 cable -- previously a $19 extra -- and have a few new features. However, if you want an iPod with the same accessories as the previous generation, you'll need to spend an extra $78 (for the 40GB model) or $117 (for the 20GB model). Source: MacFixIt I don't get the remote control argument. That thing is a piece of crap. But I guess some people use it. But I do think the new iPod should come with a carrying case! Not to mention that little FireWire 4-pin-to-6-pin adapter is very handy if say you bought a posh Sony Vaio that only comes with 4 pin Firewire (lame, Sony, really lame). The 20 GB replaced the 15 GB, which did not have a dock base. So I would not expect that to come with a dock base anyhow. But in reality here, these acessories are not used! Who uses the carrying case that you get with the iPod? Who uses the remote control? Who uses the FireWire 4-pin-to-6-pin adapter? Who uses the dock base? Just kidding, the dock base is handy to have. But truth be told I hardly use that either.

July 20, 2004

Apple introduces fourth-generation iPod

Apple on Monday introduced its fourth generation iPod, revised with a new interface similar to that found on the iPod mini and a new feature called Shuffle Songs. The new iPod also sports a battery that's good for up to 12 hours of use at a time, according to Apple. The iPod is available in 20GB and 40GB capacities for US$299 and $399 respectively.... Source: MacCentral The price is great! The new software is great. Why in the world can't you flash the 3G iPod with the new software? That makes no sense. The last major software bump, whatever number that was, could be installed on the older hardware. Why not this time? Hopefully someone will hack it so it can be installed on the 3G iPod.

July 18, 2004

Newsweek leaks new iPod design (Updated)

The cover of the Newsweek issue dated July 26, 2004 shows a bespectacled Apple CEO Steve Jobs holding what appears to be a new iPod design featuring a new scrollwheel that mimics the one used on the iPod mini... Source: MacCentral Article has Newsweek cover. Back to basics it looks like. And 60 GB would be nice. How about wirelessly talking to the AirPort Express. And what about video on the next iPod? I think the headline is wrong though. Mr. Jobs posed for this photo, how is that a "leak?" UPDATE: Newsweek has an article online now as well. No boost in HD size, 12 hr. battery life, and multiple on-the-go playlists round out the new features. Oh they are cheaper too. Not bad at all! This is an odd avenue for Apple to be taking for a 4G iPod announcement, but then its Apple, and odd does not apply. Talk about cheap PR. Should we call Newsweek Apple's new PR firm?

July 4, 2004

Dell offers iPod trade-in; Sony Network Walkman

Bold text are my comments.

In an effort to convert users of Apple's iPod music player to its own Digital Jukebox, or DJ, Dell Inc. on Wednesday announced a US$100 mail-in rebate for DJ buyers who send in their old iPods for "recycling." The rebate nets users a new 15GB Dell DJ for $99.

Source: MacCentral

That sounds like a deal! Not.

Sony Corp. has unveiled its first hard-disk drive-based digital music player to bear the Walkman name. The device was launched on Thursday as the Walkman brand marked its 25th anniversary.

The NW-HD1 features a 20GB hard-disk drive and is, according to the company, the smallest music player at this capacity. It measures 89 millimeters by 62.1 millimeters by 13.8 millimeters and weighs 110 grams.

Source: MacCentral

Sony is gonna sell a ton of those things! I mean ATRAC3 is all the rage. Just like MiniDisc, and MemoryStick.

Okay, so it's been tough, but you've finally managed to stop yourself from taking Dell up on its kind offer to crush your iPod into a thin paste in exchange for $100 off one of its own stellar music players. Good for you. Only now you're finding yourself tempted by those new players that Sony introduced yesterday-- in particular the NW-HD1 Network Walkman. As faithful viewer Mike Scherer pointed out, MacMinute reports that the NW-HD1 (catchy name) has a 20 GB hard drive, but weighs only 4 ounces-- almost thirty percent less than a 20 GB iPod, and only about half an ounce more than a miniPod with a mere 4 GB storage capacity. Trust us, size does matter, as through-the-roof miniPod sales will attest; Dell's player is a clunky slab by comparison, and when we had the misfortune to encounter a 40 GB Nomad Zen last weekend, we mistook the thing for a brick wrapped in tin foil.

Source: As the Apple Turns

You would do yourself good to read this scene, "The Temptation Never Ends." The best part is the notion of "songs recorded at 48 kilobits per second" as the measurement of how many songs can fit on that Network Walkman. Thats better then the ATRAC3 format listening test, or the fact that the device doesn't even read MP3 files.

Thanks to Brandon for pointing out yet another wonderful AtAT article.

July 2, 2004

Will the new Walkman run over iPod?

Sony launches portable music player that holds more songs, plays longer and costs less than Apple's. TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp. said Thursday it is launching a Walkman digital music player capable of storing far more songs than Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iPod, while also undercutting iPod's price. Source: CNN Money Will the new Walkman run over iPod? Sony is a dinosaur. No. First off - What the heck took so long Sony? Will the ATRAC format kill this new snazzy looking Walkman? Thanks I will take MP3 and AAC.

June 15, 2004

iTunes Music Store comes to UK, France, Germany

Apple on Tuesday opened for business its iTunes Music Store to customers in the UK, France and Germany. Apple said that a European Union version of the store is coming this October. Music is priced at €0.99 or £0.79 per track. The iTunes Music Store launches in the UK, France and Germany with more than 700,000 songs in its catalog, with songs from popular commercial artists represented by the five major music companies as well as dozens of independent record labels. Source: MacCentral Its about time everyone shook hands on this deal. Let the dominating begin in the UK, France, and Germany. Yes, Apple got out of the gate a little late on this. But I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the iTMS will be as big a driving force oversees as it is here. I bet it will have the same type of dominance there as it does here in the US. Isn't this the Apple mantra though? Apple has always put quality above everything else, even if it means not being the first to Windows or the first to a Europe launch. I wonder how many iPods were sold to Windows users since that launch? Apple doesn't make money off the iTMS. They make money because they will now be selling more iPods in the UK, France, and Germany. Right on cue, Neil has a great first look at the new internationally flavored iTMS. Where is iTMS Canada? I wouldn't start blaming Apple again (as they were notoriously berated for not launching the Europe stores earlier). I am going to take a guess the Canada launch has something to do with the Canadian Recording Industry. You folks up north will get the iTMS sometime soon. Things just need to fall into place - I am glad to see they finally did in Europe.

May 21, 2004

Napster goes live in UK, iTunes still pending

Roxio Inc. announced on Thursday that its Napster online music download service has gone live in the UK, well ahead of a promise the company made in March to launch the service before the end of summer. Apple, meanwhile, continues to make plans for a European launch of its rival iTunes Music Store service, though the company is reluctant to offer a firm release date. Source: MacCentral Yet again, even though apple announces or ships something first, someone else delivers first. I will be interested what Neil will have to say about this. Wow, like clockwork, Neil has his take. Come on Apple, you announced UK support a long time ago, where is it?

AudioLunchbox indie music service adds 100 new labels

AudioLunchbox.com, a music download service that features independent artists and labels, announced Wednesday that it has added 100 new labels and plans to have 250,000 additional tracks online by mid-July. The service features higher music downloads encoded at higher bitrates than is available at the iTunes Music Store, available in the user's choice of either MP3 or Ogg Vorbis formats. Source: MacCentral I wrote about AudioLunchbox a little while ago, and the site has improved a bunch since then. If you have not, you should check them out.

May 20, 2004

Apple creates new iPod and Macintosh divisions

Apple has reorganized its corporate structure into new iPod and Macintosh divisions. The iPod division will be led by Apple Senior Vice President Hardware Engineering, Jon Rubenstein, while Apple's Macintosh efforts will be led by Executive Vice President Worldwide Sales and Operations Tim Cook. Tim Bucher, who heads Mac system development, will head up the Mac's hardware engineering, according to a Reuters report. Source: MacCentral Rubenstein in charge of the iPod division? Huh?

May 18, 2004

Chinese PC maker Founder to install iTunes on all PCs

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday announced that Founder, a major supplier of personal computers to the Chinese market, will pre-install the Windows version of Apple's iTunes software on all of its PCs beginning next month. With iTunes installed, users of Founder PCs will be able to copy music from their own audio CDs, create playlists, share the music of Local Area Networks (LANs) using Rendezvous, and listen to that music on the iPod, Apple's popular digital music player. Source: MacCentral

May 12, 2004

Apple wins iTunes interface patent

Apple Computer has won a patent for the interface of its iTunes music software, underscoring the growing importance of the multimedia business for the company. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple a patent for its media player software interface on May 4, along with several other features of the company's high-profile products. Other parts of the iTunes software, including the ability to stream songs over a network to another copy of the program, had been the subject of earlier patents. Source: C|Net News.com

May 10, 2004

Sony unveils long-awaited HDD music player in Japan

Two and a half years after Apple Computer Inc. launched its iPod and began to steal thunder from Sony Corp., which had ruled the portable music market since the Walkman appeared in the 1980s, the Tokyo company unveiled the first hard-disk drive based music player to bear its name on Monday. The Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 has a 20GB hard disk drive and a 2.2-inch color LCD (liquid crystal display) screen with 320 pixel by 256 pixel resolution (just over QVGA). In addition to acting as the main user interface, the screen displays track information when songs are being played and displays, if available, album art. Source: MacCentral

May 8, 2004

Apple: 99 cent music price tag staying

Apple Computer dismissed rumors Friday of rising single-song prices at its iTunes online music store, saying that it planned to maintain the price tag of 99 cents per song. Reiterating comments made by Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs last week, an Apple spokeswoman said the company is maintaining its single price tag for individual songs. The comment came in response to an article in the New York Post reporting the likelihood of higher prices as a result of new contracts with record labels. As earlier reported, some full-album prices have already begun to climb on the service. Source: C|Net News.com Thats great! I just wish it was $9.99 for all albums as Steve said at launch. I am also getting tired of seeing "Partial Album" and "By Song Only." I see no reason why 8 out of 10 songs are online for some albums. And why do I have to buy "Just Push Play" (Aerosmith) By Song Only (costing $11.88)? I bought "Honkin' on Bobo" (Aerosmith) when it was released, and could not buy the album. I had to buy the seperate songs to get it. I had more then enough Pepsi bottle caps so it was worth it. Now "Honkin' on Bobo" can be bought for $11.88 - not $9.99 Mr. Jobs.

May 6, 2004

I won a 15 GB iPod

I entered a drawing for an iPod mini a week ago at the Student Union. I won a 15 GB iPod, they could not get a mini. Oh darn. I never win stuff like this. I can't remember winning anything as valuable as a 15 GB iPod. Killer! People want me to give it to them, or sell it to them. NOOOO! I won it it is mine. True, I do have 2 iPods now (MUA HA HA HA) and they ain't gonna be sold. Well unless someone wants to give me close to face value. What should I name my new, smaller iPod? iPod 2.0 or iPod Jr?

May 1, 2004

Pepsi-iTunes promo produces weak redemption numbers

An Apple representative said Wednesday that only about 5 million free songs have been given away through the Pepsi-iTunes promotion -- a lot less than the 100 million songs that could have been redeemed. "We had hoped the redemptions would have been higher," Katie Cotton, Apple's vice president of worldwide corporate communications, told CNET News.com. Consumers with winning bottle cap codes have until Friday to redeem them. Source: C|Net News.com & MacMinute I have heard that it was the fault of Pepsi on this one. I heard a joke that "If Apple had Pespi in charge of its Apple Stores they would have G3's on the shelves." And I can say that we did not get the Pepsi bottles with the iTunes caps until halfway through the give away here at BGSU. I also noticed that other places like Miejer and gas stations did not have the iTunes caps until at least halfway through the give away as well. I also know a lot of people who just threw away the winning bottle caps. Of course a lot of people are not going to redeem the caps. But the fact that Pepsi did not get out of the gate on time sure didn't help one bit.

April 1, 2004

Apple should not be granted patent for iPod UI

ZDNet's Matt Loney believes that Apple should not be allowed to succeed in patenting the iPod user interface. "Few could deny that the iPod is a superb example of industrial engineering, or that the user interface is one of the coolest around, or, indeed, that the accompanying iTunes service may yet prove to be the one that makes the music industry recognise it can mix with the Internet after all," writes Loney. "But I have yet to see anything in the iPod interface that I have not seen before elsewhere. If this patent is granted, it will simply serve to show what a car-wreck the US patents system has become, and should serve as a warning to governments elsewhere." Source: ZDNet UK

March 31, 2004

iPod: this season's must-have for muggers

West Midlands police have issued a stark warning to iPod users: ditch the white headphones or pay the price. Fashion-conscious music lovers are apparently being targeted by muggers. The Times tells the sorry tale of 22-year-old language student Roland Baskerville, who lost his 20GB model on the mean streets of Birmingham: "I was walking down the road near to my home when a man who was walking the other way pointed at my headphones." The thief then asked Baskerville if he was listening to an iPod and, receiving an affirmative answer, he "pulled a knife out and started waving it at me, saying: ‘Well hand it over, then.’ I gave it to him and he ran off. He must have known I was wearing an iPod because of the white headphones." Source: The Register

Virgin gets taste for Apple's iPod

Apple Computer last week pushed back the international debut of its iPod Mini, citing a limited supply of hard drives. But its full-size iPod is a big hit "across the pond," in the Virgin Atlantic Airways lounge at London's Heathrow Airport. Passengers can borrow an iPod to listen to music (courtesy of the Virgin Megastores) before boarding their long-haul flights. The iPod is popular throughout Europe; the iPod Mini is supposed to ship worldwide in July instead of April. Virgin's lounges, known for their upper-class amenities, feature full business facilities, an open bar, hot meals, haircuts, massages and even electronic golf driving ranges. Source: C|Net News.com

March 19, 2004

Indie-only AudioLunchbox.com serves music with no DRM

The iTunes Music Store has been gradually adding more independent music since its second-generation version was launched in October, 2003, but fans of such music have a new resource to turn to as well. It's called AudioLunchbox.com, and it launched last Halloween. Since then the indie-only online music download service has gone from 17,000 to almost 90,000 tracks and will expand even further in the next couple of months. MacCentral recently spoke with the company's co-founder and CEO Morgan Harris to find out more. AudioLunchbox.com works very differently than most other online services include the iTunes Music Store -- that's evident from the Web site, which is also the main interface for the service. The company has eschewed a custom application interface for a Web browser. "We did it that way so it's cross-platform," Harris told MacCentral. No Digital Rights Management, totally cross-platform. Source: MacCentral

March 16, 2004

iTunes hits the 50 million song mark

Apple on Monday announced that its iTunes Music Store has seen more than 50 million songs purchased and downloaded since its launch last year. That figure doesn't include songs redeemed through Pepsi's iTunes promotion, which runs through the end of this month. Apple has made other deals in the past few months with Target, Hewlett-Packard and AOL to push the service cross-platform. Analysts are optimistic on Apple's success in the music business, but warn that Sony's entrance in the market could be Apple's biggest competition yet. Source: MacCentral

March 5, 2004

iPod mini sells out

USA Today reports that Apple's new iPod mini is "a smash hit." Retailers are having trouble keeping the devices in stock, according to the report. When Apple announced the devices were shipping in February, the company said they already had 100,000 iPods on pre-order. The US$249 iPod mini was first introduced to attendees of Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif. in January, but it's only been available for purchase for a couple of weeks. The diminutive version of Apple's eminently popular MP3 player sports credit card-sized dimensions but uses the same user interface to control up to 4GB of music, or about 1,000 songs. It's Mac and PC-compatible like its bigger, larger-capacity siblings. Source: MacCentral So is this a nose turned up to the critics?

February 16, 2004

Can iTunes learn from Musicmatch?

Like my co-worker, Jason Snell, I love iTunes. I can't imagine organizing or playing my music on anything else. It's so easy to import, find and play songs, and then skip on over to the iTunes Music Store to buy an album or two. An easy to ease feature-rich application, but as Jason points out, iTunes is far from perfect. While I'm sure most Mac users have tried or use iTunes on a regular basis, I'd be interested to know if those same users listen to iTunes Radio. This is one feature that I don't think I've used since iTunes 1.0 -- to be honest it's terrible. I really had nothing to compare the radio service to until recently when I tried Musicmatch's Windows music service. Source: MacWorld Blog

February 7, 2004

(Only) A Single Instance of iTunes

What's this nonsense about only being able to run a single instance of iTunes at a time in an otherwise multi-user environment? It's silly enough that I can share my tunes across my home network yet I can't share them with someone on the same machine. Despite keeping all my music in /Macintosh HD/Users/Shared/Music, I still have to wander from account to account adding each new CD or iTunes Music Store purchase to each user's library just so that we can share _our_ (defined in the strictest sense) music. Surely your iTunes library on the local machine should show up in my iTunes window just like any other network-shared iTunes library?
You cannot open the application "iTunes" because another user has it open. Ask the other user to quit the application, then try again. [OK]
No, not OK. Should I mistakenly leave "my copy" of iTunes open and wander off for a bit, there's no music for anyone until my return. No music for you! Nobody but an administrator capable of killing off other logins and processes has the ability to rectify this situation. Should every user really need to be an administrator to truly share this multi-user environment? Bug or feature? If the former, it'd be a good one to squash. If the latter, why doesn't this feature appear in iPhoto or any of other apps (sans any DRM entanglements)? Source: raelity bytes There is a hack available, thanks to the good folks at MacOSXHints.

February 1, 2004

10 percent off iPods this weekend at the Apple Store

The online Apple Store features a 10 percent off sale on all 15, 20 and 40GB iPod models and select accessories, this weekend only. The deal is also available at Apple Store retail locations. Through February 1, 2004, users who purchase a 15, 20 or 40GB iPod can save 10 percent instantly. iPods that you'd like to personalize with engravings are also eligible for the discount. What's more, you can get deals on accessories for your iPod from Apple and third-party manufacturers, including in-ear headphones, car cassette adapters, FM transmitters, remotes, speakers and more. Source: MacCentral This is a great way for Apple to kick off the Apple/Pepsi 100 million free songs deal. Drink your Pepsi!

January 31, 2004

Music Rebellion.com

Talk about low prices on digital music! This site sells music based on popularity. The more popular the song/album, the more it costs. It is a shame its WMA based, but why would it be anything else? So if you are a Windows user, this might be something to check into. They do have independent music in MP3 though. They have a rather extensive FAQ page to read though. The site has a couple ways of paying, interesting is the option to use a PayPal account. My only question is this: Can you burn these WMA tracks out to CD as a red book audio CD? I am not familiar at all with using Windows Media Player. I am a Mac user and have an iPod but would love to pay on average 30 cents a track for my tunes. Does anyone burn audio CDs out of Windows Media Player? Here is an price comparison: I would consider OutKast to be "popular" especially with "Hay Ya!" From the iTMS it costs $19.98 for the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below 2 disc set. I know this because it is the latest thing I have bought from the iTMS. From MusicRebellion.com the same album costs $11.20. The song "Hay Ya!" is a mere 34 cents! Music Rebellion only has the edited version, but thats a difference of $8.78. Music Rebellion does have many albums that have all the swearing in them, just not in this example. What I find odd is finding artists like Metallica who are not on the iTMS at all. I wonder if there are any other such discrepancies. Be sure to read the comments on this post over at BlogCritics.

January 27, 2004

ArsTechnica take on the iPod mini

The hefty price tag for the multihued player has left many scratching their heads and wondering what insane devotion to high margins could produce such a price point for a device that Apple is hoping grabs them another 20% of the market. People have been quick to point out that another US$50 will buy you an additional 11GB of storage with the 15GB iPod model. They are right. Compared with the current iPod offering, the iPod Mini is a disappointment in terms of price. However, those who make such comparisons are missing the point of the business card sized player. It is not meant to be an alternative to the iPod, but to the high-end flash-based and other small hard drive-based players. Let's look at some numbers. Source: ArsTechnica (This is a timely article, you may not find it on the main Ars Mac page for long) Great article, and as well as a nice price comparison chart.

January 23, 2004

Coca-Cola's music site has gone live

But this one must not be a competitor to the iTMS. Why you ask? Because I cannot seem to load the site in Safari, OmniWeb, Mozilla, Explorer, or Opera on the Mac. I am going to assume it is WMA based. I did get to the site in Windows IE, and only IE. It doesn't work in Windows Mozilla either. You have to buy "credits" which equate to money. Whatever, why not just bill directly to a credit card. The world needs another online music store like it needs another hole in the ozone, IMO. One annoying thing, if you have flash installed, you have to go through the home page which is only flash (no choice) and then a stupid popup window with an intro animation, then you get to the music store. HELLO PEOPLE, drop all that crap already! But by all means, please visting MyCokeMusic.com!

Pepsi iTunes ad to feature RIAA legal targets

This sounds like it will be a good ad, but it is not like Apple to let things like this slip.
According to USA Today's Theresa Howard, Pepsi's advertisement will feature 20 teenagers who have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has accused each of them of illegally downloading commercial music from the Internet. The ad will reportedly feature a version of the Bobby Fuller Four classic "I Fought the Law" covered by pop-punk band Green Day. The ad shows a 14-year old Staten Island teenager who proclaims, "We are still going to download music for free off the Internet."
Source: MacCentral

January 22, 2004

iTunes Music Store RSS Feed Generator

Thanks to Eric for this link!
Apple's new RSS Feed Generator produces custom feeds you can subscribe to using RSS-enabled software. You're presented with a choice of genres, along with the feed type. Choices include New Releases, Just Added, iTunes Top Songs, iTunes Top Albums and Featured Albums & Exclusives. You can also adjust feed size from 5 to 100 tracks, and you can choose whether to show explicit content.
Source: MacCentral Great! Now the iTMS will take even more of my money now...

January 13, 2004

Canadian MP3 player tax challenged

MP3 player manufacturers, including Apple Computer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, are challenging a recent regulatory ruling in Canada that would impose an extra fee of as much as $25 on iPod-like digital music players. The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in December that hard drive-based digital music players should be subject to fees aimed at compensating musicians, songwriters and record labels for copyright infringement. Similar fees are placed on blank audio tapes and CDs, and manufacturers typically pass on the costs to the consumer. A group of retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores and Best Buy, also is appealing the decision, which will be heard by a federal court. Source: C|NET News.com

January 12, 2004

HP CES Video

Here is a C|NET Video of the unveiling of the HP Digital Music Player (WMP) I still cannot believe HP is selling iPods, and HP branded iPods for that matter!

January 8, 2004

HP to deliver iPod-based players

Apple's desire to see the iPod remain the leader in the digital music player market got a big push on Thursday when Apple and HP announced that they have formed a strategic alliance to deliver HP-branded digital music players based on the iPod. The news came at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. What's more, iTunes and the iTunes Music Store will be available to HP customers. Buyers of new HP consumer PCs and notebook computers will include iTunes software and a desktop icon to help them find it. HP said that the software will be pre-loaded on Pavilion, Media Center and Compaq Presario desktop and laptop systems. Source: MacCentral This is very cool, but I never thought I would hear of Apple licensing the iPod to any other company. Not only is iTunes and the iTMS part of this HP deal, but QuickTime is as well, which I believe to be the superior media file format. For those who do not know, iTunes requires QuickTime even on the PC. This is great for developers who create QuickTime content, and sites that produce QuickTime content. I really do not see how this helps Apple in a hardware selling sense. They may well see a higher market share with HP branded iPods' + the strong selling Apple branded iPods'. I think more important is iTunes on the desktop, potential iTMS customers, and QuickTime on the desktop. from ZDNet: "Apple will manufacture the player, which will not have the iPod name, but will have the same design and features as Apple's third-generation iPod players, Phil Schiller, senior vice president at Apple, said in an interview. Also, the HP music player will come in "HP Blue," he said. "The way we look at it, HP will be reselling an iPod device," said Schiller, who noted that the device will display the Apple logo at start-up and will work with all of the accessories made for the white-hued Apple varieties."

January 6, 2004

New iPod Mini

Steve Jobs said today at the Macworld Keynote that the $50 spent on the iPod Mini (the difference between then high end $199 flash based MP3 players) is the best $50 spent. Well hells bells! The best $50 spent is going from the $250 iPod Mini (4 GB) to the $300 iPod (15 GB). Or does no one else see that? I think, just like most Apple products, the $250 for the iPod Mini is too high. It is not worth buying at that price, especially since Apple has made the 15 GB iPod $300. Of course this is not the first time Apple has done this. They do this with the iBook and PowerBook line as well. It is rather obvious why they take this tactic. If the cost to get the "next better model" is a small enough margin, people will pony up the cash to get the next better model. That is just smart business. There is nothing wrong with that. I just wish that sometimes there was a bigger gap between the products, meaning the lower end products were a little cheaper. Don't you think the iPod Mini would sell better at $200? It might, but the 15 GB iPod will sell better because of the price point of the iPod Mini. While I am on the subject of Apple products being too expensive: Why the hell does it cost $60 for a friggin' one button wireless mouse from Apple? Hello?

December 16, 2003

iTunes: 25 million sold

Apple Computer Inc. said Monday that consumers had bought and downloaded more than 25 million songs from the iconic computer maker's iTunes online music store. Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also said that more than $1 million worth of iTunes online gift certificates -- sold in denominations of $20 to $200 -- and allowances have been bought since those features were added in October. "The fact that we've done over $1 million in allowances and gift certificates shows a lot of interest on both Mac and Windows," said Chris Bell, director of iTunes product marketing, in a telephone interview.
Source: CNN Money

December 14, 2003

iPod in short supply for Christmas

Apple's popular iPod digital music player is in short supply in many markets in the US and UK, according to the Financial Times. "Most stores in New York have sold out of the larger capacity models and do not expect to get more before the holidays... shortages are forcing many Christmas shoppers to hunt around or settle for one of iPod's many imitators. While most rival machines cost less, aficionados consider them to lack the vital quality of 'coolness.'"
Source: Financial Times "Coolness"? Come on! How about "functionality" That is why people buy the iPod. It just so happens that Apple does design some of the coolest hardware out there.

Canada slaps levy on iPods, other music players

The Copyright Board of Canada said on Friday that it will place a levy of CDN$2 on digital music players with a capacity of up to 1GB, $15 for players with a capacity of 1GB to 10GB, and $25 for those over 10GB. As expected, Apple'siPod will be affected by this decision. However, it could have been worse. "Under the music industry's original proposal, an MP3 player with a 20GB hard drive would have been subject to a levy that would have boosted the price by about $125," reports The Globe and Mail. "Manufacturers filed objections to the Copyright Board over that plan, arguing that the levies would price their products out of the market."
Source: The Globe and Mail

December 3, 2003

iSkin eXo 2

I cannot say this enough: They changed everything that was wrong with the first iSkin eXo.
This time around you get a nice color user guide that shows how to install the belt clip. The new screen protector has a large lip that sticks under the rubber around the screen. It now says "iSkin" in the upper left of the screen protector, but what are you going to do, it is an iSkin. The screen protector is much nicer with the wide lip around it that slips under the case. The hole around the hold button is twice as big this time. This, more then the beveled holes, makes using the hold function much more usable. The beveled buttons for rewind, menu, play, and forward buttons are much more usable as well. It is not like using the iPod with no protection, but its a ton better then the old iSkin. The 4 touch buttons are much more sensitive. I can flip through tracks, and pause so much easier now. The belt clip that is included is much stronger. It is now metal, and not plastic. It is also is not "installed" by default. It is something that you have to add if you want. In my case, I do not want it, so I do not have to take the clip off. The old iSkin had a nice threaded mount that the clip screws into. This is great if you want to use a mount in your car, the type that fits into your car lighter. This also unfortunately means the iPod does not sit flat. With the new iSkin 2, your iPod will now sit flat on the desk. There is a cover over the Dock Connector port. This is a nice touch. It does not just cover the port, it also actually fits into the port. This keeps it in place until you want to use the Dock Connector port. I use the PocketDock, not the Dock that comes with the iPod. I tried, and cannot get the iPod into the Dock unless I take the iSkin 2 off. This, for me, is not a problem. It might be for you. These changes are, what I believe, a direct result of user feedback. I emailed them about the hold button being hard to use, I am sure others did as well. The opening around the hold button is now double the original size. I emailed about it being hard to push the 4 buttons, as I am sure others have as well. These buttons are now beveled, and make it much easier to "push" the buttons. Great job on getting a better product out!

November 25, 2003

More on QTFairUse

"The exploitation of iTunes vulnerabilities forces Apple to revisit their code -- this results in a challenge of how much developer time can Apple dedicate to patching security holes rather than enhancing features," Tim Deal, senior analyst with Technology Business Research, told MacCentral.
Source: MacCentral I sincerely hope that Apple thought about this fact when they decided to release iTunes for Windows. Apple had no comment on this. Apple still has done nothing about MyTunes, which is odd because the same flaw existed in the 4.0 Mac version and god very quickly updated to 4.01. I don't see why Apple has done nothing about MyTunes. One reason, the only reason I can think of is because MyTunes does not break DRM. But I would still think that Apple would have patched this already.

November 24, 2003

Jon Johansen Publishes iTunes hack

The Norwegian programmer who distributed the first widely used tool for cracking the copy protection technology found on DVDs has turned his attention to Apple Computer's iTunes. Late last week, programmer Jon Johansen posted a small program called QTFairUse to his Web site, with little in the way of instruction and even less explanation. But during the next few days, it became clear that the program served as a demonstration of how to evade, if not exactly break, the anticopying technology wrapped around the songs sold by Apple in its iTunes store. Johansen's software isn't for technology novices. In its current form, it requires several complicated steps to create a working program from source code, and it doesn't create a working song file that can be immediately or simply played from a digital music program like Winamp or Microsoft's Windows Media Player.
Source: C|NET & Slashdot & The Register & MacRumors Now, what I have read, is that QTFairUse does not work. But who knows. Try it for yourself!

iPod 'jack ins' happening more frequently

Wired News has a report on the practice of iPod 'jack ins,' where one user will plug their iPod headphones into the iPod of a passerby. "Sharing an iPod through its headphone jack is also a crude, low-tech version of what some predict is the real killer application of future iPods: transforming them into short-distance broadcasting devices by adding Bluetooth or similar radio technology, coupled with Rendezvous, an Apple-developed networking technology that allows devices to discover each other automatically."
Source: Wired Um.........OK!

AppleCare now available for the iPod

Apple's highly recommended AppleCare premium warranty service is now available for the iPod. The plan is priced at US$59 for two years of protection. One caveat, however: "The AppleCare Protection Plan cannot be sold to consumers residing in Florida. 'Consumers' are persons who use their computers primarily for personal, family, or household purposes."
Source: MacFixIt Those darn Floridians! What were they thinking? Yea, that makes a lot of sense Apple.

iPod'd Dirty Secret

I found this over at Neil's World. He got it from Dan's journal. Here is the great QuickTime movie that explains everything. Apple does [now] offer a $99 battery replacement plan, btw. I think my brother got one of the first 30 GB iPods off the line, his would not hold a charge. He sent it into Apple and he had a new (or fixed, I cannot remember) one rather shortly. I have friends who have the original 5 GB model, and have had no problems with it.

November 20, 2003

iTunes ID3 Auto Naming

This is amazing! I do not know why it is not touted as a feature of iTunes. I do not know if this existed in earlier versions or not, but it is a very nice feature. I ripped a CSNY boot and of course I get "Track 1" etc, etc. I have the files in a playlist in iTunes 4, and am renaming them in the Finder, thanks to finding a track listing online. When I rename the file names, iTunes 4 makes the ID3 Name the same thing! I imagine you have to have the files open in a iTunes playlist for this to work. But man, what a time saver! You may have to double click on the track in iTunes, probably to refresh, but it works! Also, this little trick only works if the file started out life as "Track 1.mp3" etc, etc. If the file name is already named, and you rename it, there is not dynamic rename in iTunes. Now if the file name started as "Track 1.mp3" you can rename it as many times as you want, and iTunes will update the ID3 info. I only wish this worked on renaming files as well. But for what it is, it is a very cool feature.

November 1, 2003

iTunes ID3 Tags Follow Up

From BlogCritics:
posted by Iain: One thing that can dramatically change the time to write ID3 tags, is if there is a format change. ID3 v1 tags are or fixed length, so if you alter the data you only have to rewrite the tag. However, if you start adding additional info such as in V1.1 tags or V2.3 tags (not sure what itunes uses) - then the tag suddenly becomes longer. At this point instead of just rewriting the tag the program has to rewrite the whole file to disc - this takes more time. This may account for the difference in write times you are experiencing. I suspect that Itunes is converting the tags.
This is in response to my post about slow ID3 tag editing in iTunes. This clearly is the reason for it. I just checked it myself, I edited a MP3 with v 1.0 tag and added info that requires v 2.3 tags and it took much longer. Thanks Iain this answers my question.

October 20, 2003

OGG Support in iTunes

iTunes doesn't support Ogg out-of-the-box, but it's really easy to add support for it, since iTunes uses Quicktime. Just go to QuickTime Components page and download either the Windows, Mac OS 9, or Mac OS X version. I have no OGG files, nor do I really have time to test this out. Neil tried this out and said it is a "less then utopian" experience.
The reality is somewhat less than utopian - while it does indeed work as advertised, be prepared for iTunes to hang for 10-15 seconds before playing each Ogg Vorbis file, during which time the program is completely unresponsive and CPU usage shoots up to 100%. You also cannot get tag data for an Ogg file while it is playing, unless you want to endure that pause.
Source: Neil's World Maybe the project will get updated, maybe Apple will add support in future versions of both iTunes and the iPod. I really doubt that, but its worth a maybe. My suggestion is to just convert your OGG library to MP3. It can't be hard to find a program that would batch convert them.

October 19, 2003

iTunes for Windows First Impressions & Problems

This ended up rather long. I broke it up into 3 parts for that reason. I had no problems installing iTunes on my Windows box. I had only one problem in viewing and listening to music from my Mac iTunes playlists. This has to do with audio books, both bought from iTMS and directly from Audible.com. Audible.com uses a file extension of .aa and iTMS uses a file extension of .m4b. I think that the Windows iTunes has problems with these file extensions. This does not effect me, I do not listen to audio books on my desktop or laptop. Therefor I am not really inclined to look into this issue. Being able to share all my playlists from my Mac is really nice, and did not take any effort at all. I do however have some gripes about the interface. Additionally Neil has some thoughts. I am not asked if I want a shortcut on my Desktop, in my Quick Launch Bar, or the QuickTime Player Tray Icon, All of which are installed, and all but the iTunes icon on my Quick Launch Bar were deleted or deactivated. Most well written Windows installers ask you about shortcuts on the Desktop and in the Quick Launch Bar. Despite Apple's claim that iTunes is the best application written for Windows, it is far from true, in even the most basic functionality. It would have been nice if they would have used the standard Windows UI standards. Apple harps so loud about using standard UI elements in the creation of OS X software, you would think they would do the same with their own Windows software. Some People do not like the brushed metal. In OS X this is an easy thing to change if you have Interface Builder (Developer Tools) installed. Windows users will just have to deal with it. I like the brushed metal of iTunes for Windows. I just wish the menu bar and the minimize / maximize / exit buttons would conform to the standard Windows UI. What in the world is up with the Maximize button? Any other Windows window would zoom to full screen. In iTunes it shrinks to the condensed player window. If you want to make the window larger you have to drag the lower right resize handle, something else that is not standard in Windows. You can only resize the iTunes Window by grabbing the lower right resize handle (which is a feature of the Mac OS I cannot stand after using Windows for so long). It is a standard Windows UI element that you can resize a window using any of the sides or corners of a window. Since these are standard Windows UI elements, wouldn't it be easier to implement then what Apple has done with Windows UI elements in iTunes? On the other hand, the Windows version of iTunes works just like the Mac version. Even the Maximize button, that is what it does in the Mac version.
I notice over at the Apple Discussion Boards that Windows 2000 users are having all sorts of problems with installing iTunes. Thats no fun, I read that Apple is looking into it. But that, IMO, does not mean you should troll the boards with "Apple Sucks" banter. It has already gotten rather congested. People go to those boards for technical help, they do not want to see your anti-Apple rhetoric. Another issue I see a lot of at the Apple Boards is the fact that iTunes renames and reorganizes mp3 files. Yes, this is in-fact a feature of the product. And if you ask me it is a very nice feature at that. iTunes relies strongly on ID3 tag information. If that information is not present then i strongly suggest you go to the Advanced tab of the Preferences and turn off "Keep iTunes Music folder organized." This is pretty much the main reason for the mixed reactions (C|Net). Because Windows users do not know how iTunes works they automatically think the software is bad. There is a saying in tech. support "99% of software problems happen between the chair and the keyboard." In other words, 99% User Error, 1% Software Error. If any Windows user had just asked a Mac user, who has been using iTunes for a long time, about iTunes, most Mac users (myself included) would tell you to be carefull of the fact that iTunes can/will reorganize and rename your tunes. Instead they just bash iTunes on the Discussions Boards. "Apple said if the default settings are used, iTunes is not supposed to rename or move any music files." (C|Net) This is, I think, false. In the Mac version of iTunes this option is on by default. I am pretty sure I had to turn them off when I installed iTunes for Windows as well. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to delete those preferences in Windows (I even tried System Restore) so I cannot say for sure, but I am pretty sure I had to uncheck those two check boxes. (I have my MP3 collection on a external HD and don't want my Windows install of iTunes messing with the file names or organization of the files, my Mac version of iTunes does that) My guess is that a lot of Windows users have a lot of MP3's that do not have proper ID3 tags. This could be because of illegal p2p file sharing, but is not necessarily the case. That or when you ripped your CDs you did not gather information from the CDDB. Whatever the case, not having ID3 tags is going to seriously hamper your iTunes user experience. The Browse function of iTunes relies on correct ID3 tag information. I do not know what others are used to, but wouldn't you like to automatically browse your collection by Genre, Artist, and Album, then have to manually manage all that information? For a long time I did not want iTunes to manage my MP3 collection, but this is because I had some incomplete ID3 information in my files. Since getting an iPod though I have iTunes manage my collection as your ID3 tag information needs to be immaculate to use on an iPod. Unfortunately there is no way to undo the damage done if you have iTunes manage mp3's with badly formatted ID3 tags. I did a test though. I checked both options to organize my music folder, and to import into my music Library (which to my knowledge are the default settings). Going to File > Add Folder to Library... and selecting one of my tunes folders, it copies the files to my My Music folder, and does not rename the original files. This is obviously not the scenario most if not all Windows users are taking. This is though, what I believe is the most logical way to import you tunes. So I really don't get the problems that people are having. In this experiment iTunes fixed a lot of file name problems because it used the ID3 tag information, it also put track numbers (and full song titles) in the file name. This saves a lot of time. It is a feature folks. But there will always be people that fight it for some reason. You can always turn it off. As I read on the Apple Discussion Forum, most users think this is a nifty feature once they understand it. Another misconception is how iTunes manages Soundtracks, or other collections like AM Gold's Best of the 70's, for example. Apple users of iTunes think the behavior is normal, because, well, because it is. If Compilation is checked iTunes will put all the files into a folder by album (They show up in a Compilations folder in your iTunes Music Folder. If that is not checked then yes, iTunes will make folders per artist.
I am biased, so my opinion does not really amount to much. The only other jukebox app I liked was SoundJam, and Apple bought them and incorporated some of its features to create iTunes. I think iTunes is a wonderful addition for Windows. It is a lot nicer to use then WinAmp, which I think has been the best choice for a jukebox on Windows. I can look past the non standard Windows UI elements, and I know how iTunes works, so I have no problems with importing and letting iTunes manage my collection. Like I said, I am biased. Mainly because I have used iTunes for years. What I am noticing is that once Windows users understand how iTunes works, they really start to like iTunes. This is the impression I get from posts at various discussion boards. The anti-Apple trolling needs to stop though, no one wants to read it. If you hate Apple then for crying out loud do not install iTunes and do not ask for help. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 17, 2003

New iPod and iTunes Software

We all knew that the iTMS for Windows was coming. We did not know what great new features were coming for it though. We also did not know about the new version of the iPod software (2.1).

This new iPod software fixes the one thing that annoys me the most. The backlight can now have a custom timer, set to 2, 5, 10, 20 seconds, and always on. Not only that but now when you touch any of the buttons or scroll wheel, the backlight turns on. My number one gripe about my iPod has been addressed.

Being able to sync On-The-Go playlists back to my computer is also a nice addition. The new Music Quiz game is really a joke though, I have 22 GB of MP3 and AAC files on my iPod. So it is a little hard to guess what the song is when I have that much of a selection. The iPod software update looks like this:

* Better default contrast setting
* Added Voice Memos application (Belkin Voice Recorder)
* Added digital photo storage functionality (Belkin Media Reader)
* Enhanced On-The-Go playlist functionality
* Improved playback performance
* Added Music Quiz game
* Improved backlight functionality
* Improved battery meter

What a great amount of updates to the iPod software, very unexpected.

The two new Belkin accessories sure look nice. The $99 Media Reader seems a little pricey, but it does include even the memory stick in its list of supported media. The Voice Recorder is a great idea, but I won't be getting one as my Tungsten T2 does that. Still, a great addition to what is starting to look like a "slash" gadget from Apple.

The partnerships announced today come at a great time, right before Napster 2.0 launches. AOL will promote the iTMS, Apple will promote AOL Music, Pepsi to give away 100 million free iTMS songs, and Audible.com is now part of the iTMS. I questioned if iTMS for Windows was too late, and the announcements today may have been a little late in my mind, but Apple brought out a lot of new features in what could really be called iTMS 2.0.

Here is a list of the announcements in reverse chronological order.

Apple calls it the "second generation" store while most competing online music stores do not have the features of the "first generation" iTMS. The new store doubles the music library to 400,000 tracks by the end of the month, added 200 independent labels, added audio book support thanks to a multi-year exclusive deal with Audible.com, 5,000 books available with free previews, gift certificates, an allowance feature (very nice). That is a lot of new features, and this is 6 months after the iTMS launched!

If you have an Audible.com account (like I do) you might think the iTMS prices are a little high at first glance. After checking the prices through the iTMS and just going to Audible.com, the iTMS prices are most always $1 to $2 less then at Audible.com. I however have a subscription where I get one book and one periodical per month for $15. You can get two books for $20 if you wish. If you like audio books, you would be wiser to use a subscription to Audible.com then using iTMS. But this is only if you are an avid audio book listener. The free previews of the books are a nice bonus.

I am so glad I no longer have to use WinAmp as my Windows jukebox. iTunes for Windows is wonderful. In no time I was listening to songs from my Mac's iTunes playlists thanks to the new cross platform sharing. The only problem I had with this is my PC did not recognize the audio book (.m4b) I bought from the iTMS, it did recognize the music (.m4p) I have bought from the iTMS, this I do not understand :(

I know a lot of Windows users who have been waiting for this day - not because of the iTMS, but because they know how nice iTunes is to use as a jukebox.

Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 15, 2003

Comments on my iTMS/W Article

Other than a rabid argument between us superior Pepsi drinkers and those *cough* Coke drinkers, there are a good bunch of informational and opinionated posts about the iTunes Music Store for Windows available as well. So for the standard group of people that come here to read my stuff, check out the comments over at my BlogCritics post.

But to get to the important issue, this is my take:

Its more the taste then the amount of sugar in Coke, and Diet Coke is soo nasty. If you want a Diet the only thing that is good is Diet Dr. Pepper. But then I have always been a Dr. Pepper fan.

But between Coke and Pepsi its Pepsi for sure. Our college (BGSU) even went with Pepsi over Coke, they obviosly knew what they were talking about :-P.

October 13, 2003

iTunes Music Store too late?

Is the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) for Windows too late? I think it is. I think they needed to come out with it either right before BuyMusic.com launched, or right after. Now Napster 2.0 is coming, there is also MusicMatch, and Rhapsody (listen.com) that was recently bought by RealNetworks. I think this is another case where Apple is too little, too late (Apple always seems to be the first to bring new innovative ideas to the table, only to loose out to the cloners.). When BuyMusic.com came out it really made iTMS store look great, wether it liked it or not, it showed that Apple had the right idea, and BuyMusic did not. That is when Apple needed to launch. But iTMS for Windows must not have been ready at that point. There is also this thing about AAC files. The AAC file format is/will be more easy accepted by the Mac crowd then by Windows users. This is mainly due to the fact that Mac users will go along with virtually anything Apple throws at them, and accept it. If you have a Mac and you want an MP3 player, why would you buy anything else but an iPod? Windows users have had MP3 players a lot longer (it took a while to get Mac support, part of the reason for the launch of the iPod in 2001) then Mac users have. Most MP3 players support MP3 and WMA file formats. Some even now support alternative formats such as ogg. Even though a Windows user can use an iPod, there are many other products out there that are cheaper, and support WMA, which happens to be the file format of choice for many online music sites such as BuyMusic, etc. Will Apple support WMA on the iPod? I think it would be in the best interest of Apple. Unlike Mac users, Windows users are not only going to use the iTMS to get digital music, and I do not mean using p2p file sharing, I mean the other Windows music services available. After all, the iTMS has some holes in it, specific artists are not listed, so people are going to go elsewhere. If I only owned a PC, why would I get an iPod if it only supported MP3 and AAC, and did noy support WMA, the reining champion of Windows music file formats? I would get it because it is so cool, but that is beside the point here :-P. There is another argument here. The iTMS for Windows might not have WMA, but Windows users might see it as being the least restrictive of the available music sites. Every song you download has the same restrictions, (BuyMusic anyone?) Napster 2.0 (and BuyMusic,com for that matter) has buy only music, you cannot burn it. Another thing I noticed about Napster 2.0: It is an all inclusive Music Store/ Jukebox, but you cannot rip your own CDs - what a shame. I really do not think that Apple will support WMA on the iPod and use it for the Windows iTMS, but they may sell more iPods to the Windows crowd. That is the plan, isn't it? Of course there are Windows users that are able to look past the no WMA problem, as seen in the sales figures of the iPod (because we all know there are not THAT many Mac users). It doesn't seem reasonable to sell WMA file to Windows users and AAC files to Mac user on the iTMS, but Apple should think about supporting WMA on the iPod because the other Windows only music stores use WMA. Windows users would not be tied down to the iTMS. But this would not push people to the iTMS. I doubt that WMA support for the iPod will happen, but it sure would be nice. Sorta like I doubt a 1st party 2 button mouse is going to happen, but it would be nice if it did. While doing reasurch for this post I found a great discussion about this very issue over at Chaosmint (that would be an anagram for Macintosh). I have also added Chaosmint on my blogroll, check the site out, its got some good reads. I do not see the iTMS for Windows launch being as big as a lot of people think it will be. We will see, maybe it will be big. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 10, 2003

Dell Digital Jukebox

It is announced, but not yet available. But doesn't the Dell DJ look like an iPod? Even the UI is close. I just love how companies takes cues from Apple, all the time. Like BuyMusic.com, and even the feature set behind Napster 2.0 (although that does have some rather glaring drawbacks).

October 2, 2003

PocketDock, iSkin screen protector arrive

Today I got my SendStation PocketDock in the mail. This is a gotta have accessory for your 3G iPod. I pre-ordered mine too, so I got $2 off. Now I do not have to carry around a separate FireWire cable. I always have a 6 to 6 pin FireWire cable as I carry a bus powered FW HD with me. I suggest to anyone who does not want to deal with Apple's proprietary Dock port buy a PocketDock. I still do not see the reasoning for taking the FireWire port of the iPod.
Last week i finally got the screen protector part of my iSkin. Now my entire iPod is protected from scratches, even the screen. The screen protector does not obstruct the view of the iPod screen either. The iSkin is a superior case for the iPod. The case feels great too, it has grip to it. It sorta feels like the cover of an iBook, its better to hold onto then a naked iPod. Oh and I found out you can unscrew the belt clip snap too! I was wondering how to take that thing off. The zipper pouch that came with the eXo iSkin also comes in handy, it holds the FireWire power adaptor, PocketDock and my portable headphones (those ear bud ones that come with the iPod are so uncomfortable). This is a great case. My brother got one and he loves his too. Of course now all the wild colors are shipping, a month after I wanted an iSkin. Well I would rather have my iPod protected then wait for glow in the dark orange.

September 19, 2003

iPod Web Sites

Since I have finally decided to become a pod person and buy an iPod, (although I could not justify a new Beetle as well) I now have a good reason to check out all those cool iPod web sites that meant nothing to me before. The two iPod Web sites I check out most often is iPodlounge.com and iPodHacks.com. I know there are other iPod sites out there, but these are all I need for news and reviews of everything iPod and iTunes related. iPodLounge.com is where I first read about the eXo iSkin and the PocketDock. I have an iSkin and I love it. I see that this case just received a Tom's Best Editors Choice Award (that would be Tom's Hardware Guide for the uninitiated). Rightfully so I would say. It is a wonderful case. I also pre-ordered (just paypal'd it today actually) the PocketDock from SendStation. I cannot wait to get that little gizmo. I got both of these great accessories because of the exposure on iPodLounge.com, so check them out. iPodLounge also keeps up on the latest software and accessories that are available or soon to be available, and they list great deals too! iPodHacks.com is actually quite the same but It has some off the wall hacks, as well as some usefull hacks, that iPodLounge does not have. Both sites have great message boards too. Since I am an iPod nOOb these two sites are a lot of help.

iSkin Screen Protector

This week, Monday I think, I finally got the screen protector for my iSkin. It sure took long enough but the wait was worth it. Especially after I have seen how my friend Kurt's iPod screen looks after only one months use. The great thing about the iSkin screen protector is that it does not obstruct the iPod screen at all. The screen is just as readable with the protector on as it was without it. Hopefully people who order these things today will get their case with the screen protector and not have to wait a few weeks extra like I did,

August 28, 2003

3G iPod Accessories

The 3rd generation (3G) iPod was released in April of 2003. It is the end of August and people (myself included) are still waiting for accessories designed for our new iPods. The SendStation PocketDock will not ship until September 12, although it has been announced for some time now. I emailed them and was told "All manufacturers of dock related iPod accessories are dependant on Apple and its connector supplier - unfortunately there's only one, as the dock connector is patent protected. We've been waiting a long time to get this component, and have been told to finally receive it within this week. " The PocketDock has got to be one of the most wanted gadgets for the 3G iPod. It is a small iPod Dock to Firewire converter. You can pre-order and save two dollars, which I did, but it will have been 5 months by the time the PocketDock ships - if it indeed ships in early September. I am just as impatient as the next guy, but come on! Five months for 3rd party accessories? That is a little ridiculous. Another accessory I wanted to get, and even more so then the PocketDock, is a good case with a screen protector for my new iPod. I have seen how easy the iPod gets scratched and scuffed up so screen and case protection is important. The best looking case, and one of the only ones that comes with screen protection is the iSkin. Unfortunately supply and demand has caught up with this iPod accessory maker as well. I pre-ordered a glow-in-the dark orange case. In order to get the case soon, I had to get a plain white one. The screen protector did not ship with it either. It has been a couple weeks since I got the iSkin case, and I am now told I should get the screen protector within a week. My friend's iPod has big scratches on the screen and numerous scuff marks on the metal body and white plastic face. I care far too much about my $500 iPod. At least the body of the case is protected at the moment. I notice I have a small scuff on the lower right side of the screen now. I do not know how it got there, I am going to try rubbing some tooth paste over it (as I hear this works to get rid of scuffs in the plastic). I just want the screen protector piece so I do not have to worry about it. I hear other 3G iPod accessories are in the same type of limbo at present as well. And that is not fun at all.

August 24, 2003

iTunes & ID3 Tags

I Love iTunes. And am feverishly awaiting the release of iTunes for Windows. I am really getting tired of using WimAmp to play my MP3's. iTunes is great for Internet Radio, It is great for playlists and dynamic playlists. The one thing I cannot stand stand about iTunes is editing ID3 tags. Sometimes it take iTunes a while to move through the MP3 files using the Next or Previous buttons (see image) in the Get Info window. For example if I need to add an album title or a genre to an entire album you can paste, click next, paste, click next, paste... you get the idea. This setup is very good and easy to use - something I have not found in any other ID3 tag editor for OS X. It seems to take a while to save the ID3 tag info to file then go on to the next MP3. This does not happen ALL the time, but it happens enough to be very annoying. It takes anywhere from just a second to go to the next MP3 to 10, 30, or 60 seconds to save the ID3 data and move to the next file. This happened on my 500 Mhz TiBook and now happens on my 1 Ghz TiBook as well. It happened in iTunes 3 and now happens in iTunes 4. It does not seem to matter how big the MP3 (or AAC for that matter) file is. It does not matter if the files are on my internal HD or on a portable FireWire HD. This spotty behavior has me perplexed. There is no rhyme or reason to when this slow down happens but it is annoying. Most the time it works like it should, you can cycle through any number of files adding or changing ID3 info. Its just plain frustrating to go through 6 or 7 files and then have to wait half a minute to get to the 8th file. iTunes is such a great app, it is a shame it has such a flaw. And as I said I have found no alternatives that do the job of editing ID3 info as well as iTunes. Oh well. Every great application has its faults, and ID3 editing in iTunes is a spotty mess. Maybe the PC version if iTunes will have smooth ID3 editing. I am hoping anyway.

August 11, 2003

BuyMusic.com Ripping Off Artists

Jody Whitesides writes "My name is Jody Whitesides, I'm an artist that is about to be brought to the Apple iTunes Music Store. Of course I recently heard about BuyMusic so I decided to point my Mac browser at it (with Javascript turned off you can see the site)." Jody ran into some trouble with BuyMusic that is very troubling: they're ripping him off.
Fast Forward again to last week. It came to my attention that BuyMusic was up. So I tried to get in to see the hubbub. Mostly cause I'm so excited to be finally getting onto iTunes. Immediately I wasn't happy with BuyMusic, being a Mac lover. I then got word that anyone who was with the Orchard may very well be on BuyMusic. I went to double check and sure enough my old CD (Amalgam - Delicate Stretch of the Seems) that I still control and own was up there, for sale without my permission. This made my blood boil.
From MacSlash

July 24, 2003

BuyMusic.com Music Service

UPDATE Jennfier over at Scriptygoddess had a "great" experience with BuyMusic.com that you should read. A small tidbit of info:
Update: This is in the trackback but important enough to be brought into this post. Privacy policies are something I don't usually pay attention to but really should, but what buymusic.com has in theirs is just wrong. Jenett linked to Stereoboy's post where he pointed out this little tidbit from their policy: "we may disclose, sell, trade, or rent your Personally Identifiable Information to others without your consent" . Not cool.
Yea, that is really not cool. Their TV commerical is a blatent rip off of the iTunes Music Store (iMS) commercials. Its such a rip it almost comes across as another Apple commercial. It is a shame Apple has not introduced the iMS for Windows yet. They are working on it but now they have to compete with BuyMusic.com. Even if BuyMusic.com has what seems to me like an inferior service they do have a leg up, they are out of the gate first. At first this looks like a good service for Windows, but after further inspection and research it looks pretty bad. It appears each artist has different limits for downloading, tranfers, and burns. Some allow one burn, some three, and some are unlimited. It's a confusing mess. It's a blatant and inferior copy to Apple's effort. There is a reason the site has How To videos - It is not intuitive enough a process to use. I found this on a board, its funny: Hmm, If I were a parent, would I want my kids to have "a thousand songs in their pocket" or do I prefer buymusic.com's tag line of "get loaded"?! BuyMusic.com makes heavy use of ActiveX and the DRM in Windows Media Player 9. I cannot even view the site in Mozilla in Windows, I get this:
Thank you for visiting BuyMusic.com. In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com's offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.
I can get to it on IE 5 for the Mac, but the search is horrid. I read this is becuase the search actually requires ActiveX, thus Windows. Please go to BuyMusic.com and read their agreement. You are not buying anything at all! I don't know if anyone has noticed this or not but the Tommy Lee commercial is a rip on the iMS, that is the same gatar used to promote iMS. The following is a list of things I have found out today about BuyMusic.com through first hand experience and reading multiple boards:

Continue reading "BuyMusic.com Music Service" »

July 18, 2003

iPod Love

Funny Stuff. ;-D

July 3, 2003

iPod or Firewire/USB Hard Drive

Hmmm. This for me really is not much of a choice. I thought about this a year and a half ago when I bought a 40 GB firewire HD. I don't listen to tunes when I am not in front of my computer so an iPod would not really do much for me. It costs $469 (educational price) for a 30 GIG iPod. It costs $399 for an 80 GIG bus powered Firewire & USB 2 hard drive from OWC. I would buy again from The MacSmith but they do not carry the 80 GIG, only the 60 GIG. I cannot see buying a new drive and only getting 20 GIG out of it. Doubling my available "On-The-Go" space is a better deal. So lets recap: $469 for 30 GIG iPod that tried hard to be an uber PDA (Address Book, iCal integration, and music player) or the $399 80 GIG drive which tries to be a hard drive. Oh and the added bonus is the OWC HD has firewire and USB on the drive. You don't have to have some proprietary iPod > Firewire cord to use it as a hard drive (IMO the worst "feature" of the new iPod design). And as much as I have drooled over owning an iPod I am going to take a pass this time and just get the hard drive. Added bonus #2: I don't have to buy a $15 cord from apple to hook the hard drive up to my PC, I just plug in the USB. Now I am sure you are asking "why the heck does Ken need 80 GIG of portable storage? And no my mp3 collection is not that big! Between my Carbon Copy Cloner archive of my Powerbook, my Retrospect backups of my important files from my PowerBook and my Alienware, and my mp3 collection, that 40 GIG drive has very little room on it. Not to mention the fact I keep a OS X and XP software installers to all the freeware/shareware etc, that I use.

June 28, 2003

The RIAA and "The Little Guy"

Is it just me or does music cost too much? I for one really like the $9.99 Price for an album on the iTunes Music Store. I just wish the Apple Music Store had more music, and more full albums. From this report on The Register
... But we also believe that the business model for music, and the pricing of it in particular, needs a major overhaul. As it happens, so did the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The following is verbatim from a ruling from May 10, 2000. “The FTC estimates that U.S. consumers may have paid as much as $480 million more than they should have for CDs and other music because of these policies over the last three years.”
Now the RIAA is after its end users, individuals, not just stupid morons that are pirating TONS of music. They are now after my 80 year old grandma because she gave a friend a couple Frank Sinatra songs (that was hypothetical, my grandmother does not even own a CD player, hell I don't think she has a tape deck in the house.) I agree that there needs to be a better way to get music. paying $15 to $20 for the latest CD is not it. Apple's plan seems to be working, out of the gate at least. As the article points out its about supply and demand. People will create the supply because there is way too much demand, and the RIAA is not the ones providing it. Think of this. Before Napster no one knew about the RIAA. Now everyone, even people who don't know what MP3 is, hates the RIAA. They created that, not the customers. Now they want to sue them. i'm not gonna disagree with the fact that the artists deserve money for their work, but the entire music business model needs some serious adjusting. Anyways it is a great article, as most from The Reg are.

May 13, 2003

iTunes Music Store, Part 2

After getting my credit card verified by Apple, everything was easy to use as expected. It was however more troublesome then expected to get Apple to authorize my credit card. So my first experience with the Music Store were not all that smooth. I put in all my information: my credit card number, Security Code, expiration date, and billing address and hit "Done" in the iTunes window. The page refreshed saying "Your credit card number does not match your bank's information." OK. It looks like I am not the only one with this issue either. I sent an email to Apple, I got a response the next day. It was a BS answer of "did you check and make sure your billing address was correct?" No shit sherlock! Why else would I be emailing. Even though it was not accepting my card, it did put a temp $1 charge on the card, so SOMETHING was happening. I tried again the next day, and it worked, and my account with the Music Store was setup. Interesting. I downloaded some Eminem, and some comedy tracks from Bill Cosby and Bill Engvall, and The Last DJ CD from Tom Petty. i'm a Tom Petty fan, I have a lot of his stuff. I listened to the entire CD - good stuff. The big questions is about the 128 k bit AAC that Apple encodes all the songs at. A lot of people think it is inferior to the quality of MP3. Personally I cannot tell a difference. I don't know why people are getting their panties in a bunch over this issue. To test this out I guess I should go and buy The Last DJ and rip the CD and see if I can tell the difference. But since it is $13.99 plush shipping from Amazon I think I will pass. I payed $9.99 for the CD and I did not have to pay for shipping, nor did I have to get off my lazy ass or deal with one person. I think this 'AAC is worse then MP3' stuff is a bunch of hogwash. I realize that listening to music is very subjective, but my ear is not that atune to hear any difference in the two file formats. The one thing I do not get about the Music Store is the sheer amount of CDs that are "Partial Albums." They do not have the entire CD. In some cases it is one or two songs missing, in others it is about half the album! I might be a casual listener to music, but when I find an artist I like I prefer to have the entire CD, not just most or some of the songs on an album. There are a lot of listings of albums on the Music Store that are listed as Partial Albums. From the Apple Discussion Boards I find that this is due to licensing issues. Someone emailed Apple about this and got this response:
Dear Apple Customer, Thank you for contacting Apple. Occasionally, ownership or copyright issues prevent us from offering a complete album on the Music Store. When this occurs, the album is offered "by song" rather than as a complete album. In this way, you are not charged the price of a full album for one that is incomplete. We hope this satisfactorily answers your question. Please continue to check the Music Store, as new content is added daily. Thank you for choosing Apple. The iTunes Music Store Team
This is something Apple needs to get on the ball and fix because there are way too many albums listed as partial. There is also a large gap in music on the store. Though it is very new and I am not going to complain about lack of artists just yet. What is a bit odd, and this is probably because of "licensing issues" as well is that an entire artists discography is not present. Sometimes only some of an artists entire works. Well they say they add more and more each day. I think the Music Store is great! I just wish that it launched for Windows at the same time. I want iTunes 4 on my PC now! he he. I think the price is right. And it is nice to buy just the songs that I like from an album, I just wish there were less Partial Albums. Nonetheless I am a huge Pearl Jam fan and they do have a lot of their concert CDs (although Partial Albums) on the store, about 65 of their live concert CDs, so it is easy to pick and choose the songs I like. The 30 second preview is nice too. Its better then other sites like Amazon. It seems that care was taken to give the end user a clip of the music that is representative of the piece, and not just 30 seconds from the begging or end of the track.

May 11, 2003

Don't Read This Article

Here it is, don't read it! That is what the author, John Manzione sais in the first paragraph. But really, please read it. This is defiantly another Mac user who has figured out how to see beyond the Reality Distortion Field of Steve Jobs. Is the sound quality of AAC worse then MP3? I cannot tell a difference. but then I am not using some 5.1 or 6.1 audio system to listen to them. I really don't care. it is cheaper then going to the store. And as Apple's promotional video about the iTunes Music Store points out, you do not have to deal with humans to get music. I don't know about you but I am quite adept at buying a great deal of things online. about the only thing I have NOT bought online are groceries. there is a good point about the iTunes Music Store not being Mac & PC from the get go. I too think they were stupid not too do a simultaneous release. I don't care if they are catering to the Mac faithful first. I for one cannot wait till I can get iTunes 4 on my PC! The comment about Apple customer service is spot on too! I had that happen to me when the keys were popping off of my TiBook. The first call the tech. told me to talk to an authorized dealer in the area, get a confirmation number from said dealer, and call back. The second call the rep said "well I will just send you one" and I had it next day. The keyboard was/is a $120 User Replaceable Part (I know because of something called AppleOrder, a tool my dad uses to order parts from Apple) and the first guy I talked to did not want to give one to me. But the second guy I talked to had absolutely no problems sending me one, overnight shipment no less! This just means if you ever need to call Apple tech support (or any other tech support for that matter) be sure to call back if you do not get the response you think you should get the first time. In some ways this article validates my reasoning for going out and buying a PC out of the blue. as any of my close friends would tell you I am one of the biggest Apple "zealots" there is. I will always love the Mac. I still think the GUI and user experience is much nicer then XP, but I have developed a resistance to the Reality Distortion Field as well. OK now go read that article you are not suposed to read!

May 6, 2003

iTunes 4, new iPod, iTunes Music Store

What a first week for the iTunes Music Store huh? It is a shame that Apple did not release the Windows software at the same time. I personally think that "over 1 million" in the first week would have been much higher if the Windows crowd got to buy songs at 99¢ a pop as well. I for one cannot wait to see the iTunes Music Store on Windows. Not only because I will be able to play my bought music on my PC, but because iTunes 4 on Windows is a Good Thing(tm). I cannot wait until I do not have to use WinAmp 3 to play my MP3 files. Its not a bad app, but nothing comes close to iTunes. The 2 new features in iTunes 4 that are worth note and worth a try (other then the new Music Store) are the remote playlists. You have two options: over standard IP and Rendevous. I have tried both out and all I can say is "very cool" You can connect to someone else's playlists over IP just as you can over Rendevous. The new iPods are cool, and I was eagerly waiting for there release as I have drooled over the thought of owning one for some time now. It is nice to see that Apple has come to its senses and put the Mac and PC version in one box. But there is always something that baffles me about some of Apple's hardware & software releases. Why the hell would you take the Firewire port off of the iPod? That one detail right there is making me seriously think about NOT getting one. With the old style iPod, of which I used one from work for a few weeks, it was easy enough to find any Firewire cable anywhere to move files or MP3's to the iPod. Now with no Firewire port on the device, you are forced to use an Apple proprietary (that is something that Apple has been good at doing is using proprietary technology. Something they have gotten better at NOT doing this but sometimes proprietary tech. just does not make sense to me) iPod cradle to Firewire cord. So it makes the iPod much less of a dual purpose device, and more of a dedicated MP3 player. Why did Apple take the Firewire port off of the new iPod? I would have bought the 30 gig iPod if it were not for that. If they took it off to make is slimmer, that is a very irritating reason. Why take the Firewire off of the iPod? Come on! If I were dreaming and worked at Apple my suggestion would be to take that cradle and shove it. Put a USB 2 and a Firewire port on the bottom of the iPod. Then there are no extra friggin odd ball cords to mess with. Problem with USB is it cannot power and charge the iPod so you need that new cradle for that. Fine - use that iPod Dock Connector to Firewire and USB 2.0 Cable that apple released for charging the device. But a standard USB cable that can be found anywhere could be used to load MP3 or data files onto the thing. That's why I liked the "original" iPod, I could just grab a Firewire cable out of the cabinet and move files or MP3s over. Not any more. It is a shame. I was about to part with a big chunk of money to have a combo MP3 player/portable HD. I guess I will just stick to my Macsmith Firewire HD. I do not need a MP3 player that much!



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