Thursday, 26 February 2009

iPod Touch 2nd Generation 16GB: First Impressions

A couple weeks back, I picked up a 2nd Generation Apple iPod Touch – partially so I could start playing with web apps for it and partially cause my much beloved 3rd Gen 40gig iPod is starting to flake out.

I’ve been primarily for programming-related movies (PeepCode, SDRuby, and Pragmatic Programers), a calendar & address book, and some ongoing mobile experiments.

Compared to a Palm device, the iPod Touch is a far better experience. No question. As a music player compared against my iPod Nano or 40gig – it’s a miserable failure – especially in the car. Even as a video player it’s awkward if only because video and audio are treated differently in terms of navigation and rating.

The ‘slide to unlock’ gesture is the most elegant, convenient way to wake a device up – far better than the 2 key combo sequence phones require.

I was surprised to see the iPod Touch doesn’t have a camera. I fully expected it to. The omission makes me think the iPhone is far more heavily subsidized by AT&T than I originally calculated.

I’ve added a only a small handful of free apps from the App Store, and deleted all but 3 of them; Alocola, Fring, and WordPress (which may be deleted shortly.)

The apps the iPod ships with fared about as well, but I can’t delete them easily, which makes me grumbly.

Mail is nearly worthless for anything more than 1 (, non-Google) account, because there’s no rolled-up aggregate view of mail and it relies on server-side spam filtering.

Calendar is such a nice app. Good monthly and list views, easy to move events around and update their information. This is best calendar I’ve worked with.

Maps – Google Maps itself is an amazing piece of technology, then wrapped into tiny, tiny, highly-mobile Apple computer – astounding. There are a couple oddities I’ve found though; when I ‘drop pin’, ‘edit bookmark’ is the action for changing the name of the pin’s location (shouldn’t it be ‘edit pin’ or ‘edit location’) also, I haven’t figured out how to access my list of pins/bookmarks. Any idea?

Stocks, YouTube, Music, Clock, iTunes Music Store, Mail, and Settings have all been relegated to a secondary app screen, cause that’s most effective way to hide them.

Overall, I’m ‘eh’ on the device. It still has what I consider the iPod’s fatal flaw – required tethering to iTunes (my phone can update wirelessly from across the room, why do the iPod need to be plugged in?) and I’m not sure what – aside from basic PDA and media playback – I’d want applications on the device to do.

So, the numbers in the AppStore Secrets report from PinchMedia don’t surprise me (punch line: apps have ~30 day lifespan).

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.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Goal: 5k, Actual: 5k, Time: 30:32

Pretty hard run. Thankfully, the dust was gone. Unfortunately, it was replaced by 96F heat.

iTunes isn’t remembering my account info – so none of the workout data is being sent to the Nike site. Definitely not the seamless integration advertised. Maybe I’ll look into this after I cool down.

Update: Not sure what I just did – aside from plugging in the Nano one more time – but the sync now seems to be working.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Goal: 5k, Actual: 4.5k, Time: 25:02,

A pretty good run. I’m still doing intervals to build up endurance (run a song, walk a song, repeat until you’re home.). I could feel a good rhythm underneath a thicker-than-I’d-like surface layer of dust. That underlying feeling kept me going.

I’m using the Nike+iPod kit to track my distance and time. Like Audiobooks and Podcasts before it, the Nike+iPod tab in iTunes proves how limiting iTunes must be for Apple. While the iPod shows me my last (as of this writing) 12 workouts, iTunes only shows me the roll up and none of the detail. Presumably, I need to follow the link to for that info, but, considering the volume of information iTunes is managing for me now it seems silly that I can’t see this workout info the same way as my music or movie libraries.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Save for Later Because

I think albums of music and podcasts are very similar and I see both them very different from radio. Unlike Dave, I don’t want my podcasts automatically deleted, I would like the ‘Save’ or ‘Delete’ option just as I do on Tivo.

The iPod/iTunes assumes everything is precious (it’s not), automatically deleting assumes nothing is valuable (it is). Both assume a scarcity. Either a scarcity of storage space or a scarcity of access. 10 minutes from now, we’ll have neither. Any podcast I’ve downloaded over the past 3 year is more than likely in 1 of 2 places: my iTunes library or the Internet. Somewhere.

The scarcity we need to solve is context – a way to gesture why I saved something and kept it close.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Follow My iTunes via Twitter

Thanks to Doug Adams’ script, Current Track to Twitter v1.5, if you follow me via Twitter you’ll get continual updates on what I’m listening to.

I’m digging Twitter as way to automatically publish in the background. I can keep my flow and we can stay connected.

I see this quality that’ll keep Twitter from being Pet Rock 2.0. If more and more people can ‘tweet’ without thinking about it (via the API, not the browser) Twitter fades into the background, like the internet itself.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

AppleScript: Send iTunes Playlist to MarsEdit

In preparation for declaring my picks from the 2007 SXSW Showcasing Artist tracks, I’ve put together an Applescript that pulls the track names, artists, ratings, and comments from an iTunes playlist and sends them to MarsEdit for blog posting.

The script even makes a half-hearted attempt to guess the artist’s website and direct mp3 link.


Thursday, 8 February 2007

iTunes Music Store Replies – More than Two Years Later

Dear Garrick Van Buren,

Thank you for your interest in iTunes.

After careful consideration of your application, we believe that the most efficient way to get your content up on iTunes in a timely fashion would be for you to deliver the content through one of the several digital service providers with whom we currently work.

For your information, below is a list of several companies that can encode and deliver your music content to iTunes. Should you be interested, please determine which digital service provider is appropriate for your particular content. For Audiobook content, see below.

Please note that the companies listed below, regardless of their location, may be able to deliver content for global Artists and Labels

Huh, where the did this come from?

The best I can figure:

Sometime between October 2004 and June 2005 – before iTunes had a built-in podcast directory – I filled out an browser-based iTMS application to sell the First Crack Podcast through their store.

Not getting a response in a timely fashion – say, within 27 months – I forgot about it. Completely.

As you see, the email give no context (i.e. ‘RE: your the application – submitted on Nov 23,2004’) and it even has a ‘do_not_reply’ in the ‘Reply-To’ field.

My opinion of iTunes has dramatically decreased over the past year and getting bizarre emails like this don’t help.

I wonder if I’d feel the same if Apple bought Audion instead of SoundJam.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

New Work Playlist – Thanks to Tangerine

Since discovering Tangerine a couple months back, I’ve been tweaking the BPM-based playlist to find the ideal collection of tunes that keeps me working without calling too much attention to themselves.

Here’s the iTunes Smart Playlist that’s been working for me for 2 weeks:

BPM - is in the range - 90 to 110
My Rating - is greater than - 2 stars

This give me 6.4 hours including tracks from; Minutemen, Mac Lethal, Brad Sucks, Transplants, The Odd Numbers, The Gentle Readers, Two Cow Garage, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Its, Winter Blanket, Diesel Jenny, and Tullycraft.

Thursday, 4 January 2007