Blackberry envy cured

I have been developing a love hate relationship with Apple. At the moment though I am firmly in the ‘love’ phase again though. My old phone had been gradually getting worse as the screen filled with static.

Adrienne got herself a blackberry and can now get emails anywhere. This is something that I have resisted while working for other companies, but now that we run our own business it is incredibly useful.

So with Adrienne getting email and being able to respond to it anywhere, I started to get more than a little envious. I had to at least consider an iPhone.
I am now continually surprised at just how much I can so with this device.

It covers the obvious basics. It makes and takes phone calls, and synchronizes with my calenders. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. After playing with some of the fun but pointless applications I have started to find some amazing tools.

This post is written entirely using my iPhone. Now that I have this I might actually make the excuse to write some new random stuff.

iPod in airport = Bad

I am finally in a plane headed to Melbourne and lucky to be here at all. I missed my flight at 8:30pm for 2 reasons.

  1. When I looked at my boarding pass I confused my seat number (5D) with the departure gate. Stupid.
  2. While I was patiently waiting for the (now overdue) boarding call I was listening to a ranting podcast, completely unaware that the plane was infarct leaving on time and was trying desperately to call for me.

Still unaware of my error I proceeded to board the plane from the wrong gate with everyone else in the lounge. As I scanned my boarding pass, there was suddenly a problem. My pass was returning the wrong name. Do they ask for id? No. Do they try and resolve the problem? No, they direct me onto the plane anyway.

Thinking that at last I could relax and be on my way I sit down and stow my bags. A moment later there is another problem. Someone else has my seat number. I am just about to get grumpy now, when the hostess mentions that this flight is headed for Coolangatta and not Melbourne.

Oh. Dear.

Once out of the plane the Qantas staff were very helpful in getting me back on track, although the next available flight was at 10:20pm. It certainly gave me an opportunity to reflect on my attention while traveling.

The end of external media?

On the ‘Apple Matters’ blog today Chris Howard discusses the success of the iPod and the decline of the physical media that music is delivered on. Although this is significant I think that Apple has done more and less to drive this trend.

As Chris states they were not the first to launch a flash or hard drive based music player. Around five years ago I have mixed memories of shelling out AUD$700 or AUD$800 for a Creative Nomad 6GB Jukebox hard drive based player. This ‘little’ baby was basically a 3.5in hard drive repackaged into a portable CD player form factor.

From a technical perspective this gave me everything that the iPod Mini provides. This was happening during Napsters heyday so there was no shortage of easily (if not legally) obtained music, it supported playlists that could be managed via the device and on the synchronised PC. But it never really took off. Why?

  • It was still quite big and bulky. Bulkier than even the CD players of the day.
  • The interface was awkward and required concentration to navigate through.
  • The process for loading up songs and managing playlists was a learning experience.

These are exactly the areas that Apple have addressed with the iPod, in all it’s incarnations to date. They created a pocket sized device, with a simple tactile user interface and developed software that for both Mac and PC that was easy to use.

On top of all of this, Apple then made it cool to geeks and non-geeks alike. With fun iconic advertising and the white headphone wires they made their devices visible even when they were stuffed in the over sized fashion jeans pockets of their owners.

So where to from here? Well with digital formats the device IS the media. It is the thing that you carry with you. What is changing is how you use it and what you put on it. iTunes is influencing this with their track by track downloads. Podcasting has the potential to listening habits by consuming peoples listening time with non record label content.

The big step in bringing portable digital music to the masses has been made by Apple and I thank them for it. The next battle however is for the time you spend listening to it. Do you just randomly shuffle you 60GB of music files? You may never listen to the same track twice! I have practically left the CD loaded music behind, as I listen to a backing up stream of podcast content.

So what will you be listening to today?

iPod Power (Part 2)

It is gone. I found my proof of purchase and packaged up my little silver mini iPod, carefully following all of the instructions that were provided. Now I wait.

Will apple make my iPod experience a good one? or will they shaft me and say that is just too bad. I just don’t think that getting 2 hours out of a battery recharge is good enough, when you can’t replace the battery without incurring fees from apple.

Will I learn from this experience? Probably not. There is a new iPod in town called the nano. I am in techno lust all over again. The weekend before last we were walking past an apple store in Chatswood and they were on display. At the time I barely resisted the urge to bring one home. Now I wish that I hadn’t been so ‘strong’. The fact is that I will buy one, but now they are out of stock – everywhere!!

I have one on order now though. It should be available on Friday. Now I just have to work out how to get to it when it arrives. The battery life is rated at 16 hours but I will remain sceptical until I have used it for myself.

iPod Power

I love my iPod as I have mentioned before. I now listen to it almost exclusively and whenever I am out and about with just my own thoughts with a podful of podcasts.

The thing that I have been quietly nervous about is that the amount that i have been using it exceeds the number of daily hours recommended to get the most out of the iPod battery life. Before the podcasts I really had no expectation of listening to more than a couple of hours a day of music. Now however I need to listen to that much just to keep up with all of the feeds that I listen to.

As a result I have been seeing the battery time get gradually shorter and shorter, with the battery indicator sometimes displaying half full before suddenly crapping out at the most undesireable times. This is particularly annoying when I am out for a run, 20 minutes into a 60 minute course when suddenly my head is assulted with the silence of empty speakers.

These shortened times between re-fueling are now becoming a more noticeable issue. I listen to about 2 and a half hours of podcasting now before the battery winks out. At the end of the week I will be traveling overseas (more on that later) which would be a great opportunity to blast through some backed up podcasts while I am on the plane but if the battery craps out before we taxi out I will be very disappointed , to say the least.