Monday, 15 October 2007

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Wanted: An iTunes Alternative

iTunes just asked me if I wanted to update to v7.3.2. Knowing the update is to “improve stability and performance” of features I probably don’t use, I started thinking about my ideal media player.

Features of the iTunes alternative:

    Things it can do:

  • Play mp3, aac, mov
  • Create ‘smart’ playlists – based on multiple attributes of a file
  • Create delete files from the library from playlists – ‘smart’ or otherwise
  • Read and write files and their attributes on the iPod 1
  • Applescriptable
  • Special bonus points for being either: open source or having a price tag on it.
    Things it can’t:

  • Play streaming audio
  • Rip or burn CDs
  • Sell music, movies, TV shows, or games
  • Download and manage podcasts

1. including the Nike+iPod workout data, though a separate app would be better.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Which Car Should I Buy?

Repairs on the ’98 Neon are approaching it’s value and I can’t rely on it the way I was once able to. It’s been a great car, but I can see the day when it won’t serve us anymore. With that in mind, I’m starting the search for a new vehicle to replace it.

From exploring the car sites, their aren’t many cars that seem like a worthwhile replacement. So, I’m in no hurry and happy to wait until the right car comes along – even if that means another 75k on the Neon.

Things I Care About – in Order

  1. Distinctive exterior.
    Something that demands a love it or hate it reaction. A beige Toyota Camry – um no. I think you need to go to extreme sizes for this – super big or super small. I’m going super small.
  2. Gas mileage greater than 30mpg city.
  3. I can fit comfortably and can see out the windshield.
    In many cars – convertibles, those with sunroofs, anything from Jeep –
  4. Easy to get a car seat in and out of backseat.
    Yes, as of next year, we’ll be back to the bucket car seat.
  5. Reliability
    It’s not uncommon for my car to sit un-driven outside for a week or two in the depth of winter or height of summer. I don’t care. I expect it to start when I turn the key.
  6. Minijack & iPod connectivity
    I actually prefer to not having AM/FM/CD/Satellite capabilities.
  7. Bluetooth phone connectivity.
    Having the phone integrated into the car’s audio system sounds very convenient.
  8. Carbon neutrality.
    Not just the usage, but I’d like the carbon imprint of manufacturing and delivery offset as well.
  9. I could fit a bicycle inside.
    Outside of my laptop gear, and a car seat, a bike is the most likely other thing I’ll be hauling.
  10. In 15 years a new driver might want to drive it.
    Barring a dramatic change fuel infrastructure, the idea of keeping a car that long for the kid to practice driving with is pretty attractive to me.
  11. Built-in garage door opener
    Again, a nice convenience. Makes it far more likely I’ll put the car in the garage.
  12. The fuel it runs on.
    Today, alternative fuels are at the point where using less regular unleaded gas is still more effective.

Things I Don’t Care About – in Order

  1. Color
  2. Engine size
  3. Upholstry and floor mats
  4. Chrome and trim
  5. Wheel sizes and locks
  6. Transmission type

All the ‘build your car’ sites care more about the second list than the first.

Cars I’ve been looking at thus far – Ordered by interest

  1. Scion xD
    Looks like a direct response to the Fit, but with better AV options.
  2. VW Rabbit TDI
    In the comments, Nathan suggested I look into it, so far, I like what I see.
  3. Honda Fit
    I sat in a Fit earlier this week, it feels pretty comfortable. I can see out the windows and the put the seat almost exactly where I want it.
  4. Toyota Yaris Sedan
  5. Nissan Versa
  6. Honda Civic
    It’s a good reliable, reputable car. That doesn’t feel as comfortable as the Fit.
  7. Honda Civic Hybrid
    Trading mileage for trunk space.
  8. Mazda 3 5-Door
    It’s been a very long time since I’ve looked at Ford. Kinda surprised this one is here.
  9. Toyota Prius
    It’s got the distinctive look and the tech gear, but seems kinda boring otherwise.
  10. Cooper Mini
    Trading the inconvenience of a 2-door for still being really cool in 15 years.

Am I missing something from this list?

Note to Chrysler: Despite my long history of Chrysler vehicles and that I feel more comfortable buying a Chrysler than a Ford or GM, you don’t have anything interesting that I haven’t already purchased.

Andy Atkinson is also in the market for a new ride, and ran the insurance and mileage numbers for his candidates.

Update 1 Sept 2010
So, I bought a Dodge Grand Caravan

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Sunday, 4 March 2007