|01-15-2002, 12:56 PM||#1|
Pseudo-review: The iPod
Okay. So, as we all know now (or you will soon), I finally bought an iPod on Saturday. This was as pretty big buy for me - I'm in a "saving money" period right now, and $400 is a pretty hefty investment. However, I figured that with the amount of time I spend listening to music, it would be good to have some variety. I'll go into everything else later, but basically, I decided that an iPod was right for me.
So, that having been said, and myself having had all of Saturday, Sunday and Monday to play with it, how does it stack up?
<b>Battery life</b> - This is one area where Apple seems to excel, and the iPod is actually surprising here - it <b>exceeds</b> the advertised time. Apple says "10 hours" - After listening for roughly 8 1/2 hours yesterday, my battery gauge indicated 75% life. Now, even if it was close to 50% and was rounding way up, that's still some 16+ hours of battery time - more than enough for a bus ride/train to work, a long day at the office, and a bus ride/train back. The battery life has, so far, been exceptional. I've been listening to it for nearly 4 1/2 hours this morning and it's yet to drop from the "100%" indicator. I imagine I'll have no trouble making it last the whole day. Most excellent battery life, and it sure beats the hell out of my old portable CD players.
<b>Portability</b> - This is a big issue to me. I have a slim Palm and slim cell phone for a reason. I don't want something big and bulky in my pockets - firstly, it feels uncomfortable to me. Secondly, I have other things I need to carry - I can't dedicate an entire pocket just to an MP3 player. I need something that I can barely notice is there. I'm pleased to tell you that the iPod is great in this respect as well. It's some .78 inches thick, 4 inches tall and a little over 2 inches wide - like Apple says, about the size of a deck of playing cards. Its rounded edges are very pleasant too - it feels better in my pocket than a deck of cards does. It's also fairly light - 6.5 ounces. I don't really notice it being in my pocket. Very very portable.
<b>Usage</b> - Very impressive. The scroll wheel is being hyped, and rightly so - it makes navigating very simple. The wheel has acceleration - if you move it slowly, it scrolls one item at a time. However, if you move it fast, it scrolls faster. Whereas it might take two full rotations to go through your artists slowly, it takes one if you move it fast enough. This is especially helpful when navigating through the "Songs" menu, which lists all of the songs contained on the iPod.
Just the right buttons are included - Play/Pause, Skip Back, Skip Forward, Menu and Select. If it comes upon a song you don't like, click the "Skip Forward" button and it goes to the next. Exactly what you'd expect. If you pause it and then let it go into sleep mode, when it comes back on (by pressing any button), it will resume at whereever you left off.
The menus are great too - Playlists, Artists, Songs, Settings, About & Now Playing. The ability to have playlists on an MP3 player is something that has been lacking for a long time - it makes the task of "programming" your CD player seem extremely ancient. Thankfully, making playlists on iPod is simple (providing you're using a Mac) - just make a playlist and drag it onto the iPod. Programming CD players, on the other hand, has always been something I found too tedious and cumbersome to engage in. Sorting by Artist is good too - pick an artist, pick an album and then pick the song you want to listen to. If you just want to see all songs by an artist, select the "All" menu item and you're there. If you want to sort by all albums (a nice little shortcut), select the "All" item under "Artists" and you're there. And, of course, if you're looking for a specific song, go to "Songs". This also allows you to shuffle between all songs on your iPod - turn Shuffle on and select "Songs" - it will skip randomly between all songs. Of course, it loads the next song to be played into memory, so there's no wait time for the hard drive to spin up before it starts playing. This all works very well for an MP3 player.
<b>Settings</b> - the available settings are what I would deem as "pretty good" - in other words, they should be standard, but there's nothing really exceptional here. Shuffle, Repeat, Backlight Timer (more on this later), Contrast, Clicker (the iPod emits a small clicking noise for each menu item scrolled if this is set to "On"), Sleep Timer, Startup Volume and Language. There's a menu item to reset all settings to default. Since the volume is controlled by software (via the scroll wheel - the volume is affected whenever a song is playing), the "Startup Volume" setting is a nice addition - it allows you to set it quiet so you don't blow your eardrums whenever you start up iPod with a new song. The language support is also impressive - it displays special characters perfectly (it has no trouble with Tool's Ænima, for example), and supports non-Western languages such as Japanese. Support for extra languages is added via iPod updates, which seem to be published every 2 weeks or so.
<b>Capacity and Speed-of-Update</b> - I lumped these together for a reason - they go together. The iPod has an internal 5 GB hard drive. This is enough for approximately 1000 normal-length songs. I happen to listen to a lot of longer songs, and my iPod currently has some 924 songs on it, with a free 33.8 megs. Make no mistake - 924 songs makes for a pretty good variety. I have heard a lot of people say "Well, my Archos 20 GB Jukebox will hold four times that amount" - these people are missing the point. My iPod holds 5 GB, but it can be updated substantially faster than any USB-based MP3 player with a comparable (or larger) hard drive. I may not have 4,000 songs with me at any given time, but I can put a fresh batch of 1,000 songs on here in some 8 minutes. In comparison, it would take some 55 minutes to fill up a 5 GB USB MP3 player. Those 20 gig Jukeboxes will take four times as long (or about four hours). The difference <b>is</b> important - I can wake up in the morning, grab a section of 1,000 MP3's, drag them to my iPod, hop in the shower and - here's the cool part - all of those are ready to go for me when I'm done. Granted, with a 20GB player, you may not have to update very often (i.e., you have all of your MP3's with you) - but what happens when you get more than 20 GB of MP3's? iPod leaves the option open - you pick what you want and you're good to go. 1,000 MP3's is still a pretty good chunk of music - there are 1,440 minutes in a day, 5 minutes in the average song, and some 5000 minutes of play time in an iPod. That means that if you never listened to the same song twice, You'd still have some 3 1/2 days of music with you. I don't care what MP3 player you have - your battery is dying before then. Anyway, the iPod provides a very good amount of storage in a small package that is easily and quickly updated. iPod gives you the power to choose what music you'll listen to today.
<b>Extra Features</b> - I'll run down these pretty quick. The backlight is gorgeous. Simply put, this is the best backlight I have seen on any product, ever. It makes Indiglo look stupid. The backlight is turned on by holding down the Menu button for 2 seconds. It stays on as long as you're hitting buttons/using the scroll wheel and doesn't go off until after the preset time (set in your Settings, remember?). This makes it super easy to use in the dark (like, say, when you're traveling at night and have this plugged into your significant other's car stereo). Very cool. Also, even though the iPod charges over your FireWire connection, an AC adapter is included - plug your FireWire cable into the adapter, plug the adapter into a wall and you're good to go. The iPod charges to 80% of its capacity in an hour and takes about 2 hours after that to complete the charge (so I've heard, anyway). This means that if you're actually away from your computer, you can still get those 3 1/2 days of music in - just pull out the <b>tiny</b> AC adapter & FireWire cable and give it some juice. Of course, like I said, the battery life on this is great though - honestly, for casual use, you won't need to worry about it. However, it should make recharging on longer trips much more convenient. I would have killed to have had one of these when I was in Toronto.
<b>Conclusion</b> - It's good. I've played with a lot of MP3 players, trying to find the perfect one. If the capacity was there, it was too large. If it was small, so was its storage. Apple has done a great job of making an MP3 player that's just the right size and still has a great storage capacity. It seems to me as though they waited until they were able to bring a perfect design to market, and then they did it. It truly is a joy to use, and I find myself feeling like the $400 was exceptionally well spent. In other words: if you're looking for a great MP3 player and you have a Mac (or are willing to fork out a couple bucks for a FireWire card & appropriate software on Windows), buy this. You will not be disappointed.
Disclosure: I do <b>not</b> own Apple stock.
|04-10-2011, 09:17 PM||#4|
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"Always, the censors are concerned with how men act, and how women are portrayed. Women cannot make free sexual choices in that world; they are too oppressed to know that only oppression would lead them to sell sex. And I, watching, am either too oppressed to know the harm that my watching has done to my sisters, or--or else I have become the Man. And it is the Man in me who watches and is aroused. (Shame.) What a mysogynistic worldview this is, this claim that women who make such choices cannot be making free choices at all--are not free to make a choice. Feminists against pornography have done a sad and awful thing: *They* have made women into objects."
- Sallie Tisdale in Harper's Magazine: "Talk Dirty to Me--A woman's taste for pornography"