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erm? // techie bitching - Lograh — LiveJournal

Wednesday, 27.Oct.2004

10:05 - erm? // techie bitching

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once again, Apple lets me down.

First off, to make a minor addendum to my previous bitching about the new iPods when 4G was released, the click-wheel is actually really cool and easier to use. I like it. thumbs-up.

Now, to my current complaints. The U2 edition iPod is only 20GB?! WHA?! I'm currently storing over 30GB in my iPod, if I'm going to be spending a premium for a special U2 Pod (which I *really* wanted to get when I heard rumors of it), it's going to be at least a 40GB size. GAH!
And further in the "size does matter" department, what's with this 60GB iPod being the photo-capable one only? Why can't they also offer a 60GB non-photo iPod? I simply don't understand that move.

ooh a 60GB black U2 edition iPod.. *drooooool*.. that would've been nice.

And speaking of the photo iPod. *WHY*?? I'm not going to be keepig my photos on the iPod, that's just silly for my pictures. Maybe for someone with a crummy webcam taking 640x480 pictures of their wall, the resolution offered by the iPod's screen is good enough for photos. For me it just doesn't come close. And a slideshow?? what, does the Apple marketing division actually forsee a group of people all crowding around a little 3x3cm screen going "ooh" and "aahh" with the miniscule offerings of colour faintly being emitted?

Or perhaps I am just seriously underestimating how easilly amused and entertained the masses are. After all, 'reality TV' seems to do pretty well for itself.

Truly, Apple, I do (mostly) greatly appreciate your hardware. I love my 40GBpod, and will continue to use it till you get your heads out of one-another's asses and offer a worthy upgrade. Just changing the interface to a click-wheel but keeping everything else (mostly) the same is not enough. And don't try saying "but it shows pictures now!" is an upgrade. This is a *music* device, nothing more. It sits in my pocket and pumps good soothing tunez to my brain. I don't look at it other than to queue up a different artist/album. I use the remote to handle play/skip/volume/search needs, and that's it. Occasionally I'll use it as a data backup for projects, but that's rare now as my mp3 collection is pushing it's capacity. Which is why I'm so keen on a 60GB version.

I'm tellin' ya, soon as the warranty is up I'm replacing the HDD with the largest I can get in that form factor. Hopefully it'll be an 80 by that point.

Though, you know an upgrade that I'd be willing to pay for? actually, make that *two* upgrades I'd be willing to pay for.
1) seemless no-pause playback from one song to the next. I listen to a lot of mix-set CDs and having a fraction of a second pause between tracks kinda kills the whole flow.
2) mixing-friendly tools. Things like: displaying the bpm for a song as a menu option, being able to digitally alter the song (speed/pitch adjustment) during playback, having an uber-responsive play/pause button. Basically make it so I can use my pod for mixing. Admittedly, I haven't done any in some time, but if der'Pod supported it I might just start again.

So there you go Apple, two ideas which would fit *perfectly* with the iPod, and which would convince not only myself but many others that it's worth buying a whole new pod.

Comments:

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[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:18:40 27.Oct.2004 (UTC)
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I may just have to, this is the second round of iPod revisions that has left me wanting.

re AV cables: didn't know they came with those. The store website wasn't overly helpful for figuring out what they offer for output, so I was left to believe they only had the same old firewire/usb cord mine uses. AV cables helps explain the picture thing tremendously. do they have VGA also (for going to a projector) or just RCA?
they really should have made that more clear on the store page. mayhaps a line like "and it has cables included so you can send the pictures to your TV also!" or somesuch.

yes, I store pictures on mine also, but as file backup, not as an "I plan to view these not on a computer" type of thing. when it's done as file backup, the actual contents of the file become immaterial. it's all just data then. Though your mentioning the belkin card reader, coupled with the photo pod could make for a nice way for someone besides the photographer to review pictures after the camera card is filled. But that's a stretch into a very niche market, I would think.
Then again, with cheap digicams going like they are, I could be wrong.

is it worth the extra $100 for the photo ability, though? I don't think so. I'd still rather just have a 60GB non-photo pod.

as for seamless playback, I don't see why it's beyond the reach of current tech. for one, it loads the next song into RAM at least 5 seconds before the current queue ends (I've felt the vibrations when paying attention), and it loads more than one song into RAM at a time, so it's not like it would have to be reading two songs from disk at the same time. it would only have to pre-load the next song from RAM into the decoding buffer slightly before the current play buffer is exhausted. it seems to instead preferr waiting till the current play buffer is done before starting the decode buffer going on the next song.
Evidence: iTunes has the ability to 'cross-fade' songs. it starts song A before song B is done. seamless playback would simply have to incorporate similar code, but with a cross-fade time interval of 0.

note: I am not an electrical engineer, and I'm sure the gang at Apple have a damn good reason why they don't include this feature, but it would be at least nice if they could address the idea and say *why* it's been lacking for so long.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:21:54 27.Oct.2004 (UTC)
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re cables: hrm.. don't know where I was looking before that didn't have that.. could be I'm just being blind again. I stand corrected, it does have cables and that's good.

re price: I'm not arguing that there may be someone out there who will consider this a worthy upgrade. I'm arguing the value in moving away from continuing to perfect the music-playing abilities and instead going down the path of 'feature bloat'.

re cont. play: actually, I seem to recall there being a cont. play plugin for winamp and a friend of mine claims the Nomad player can do this also, so I'd be wary of saying that "any player using a compressed format" has this problem. As for joining tracks, that won't cut it as I often like to start a mix set playing from a specific track in the middle and then just play from there (letting it repeat around to the beginning once finished (and yes, I don't mind the pause at the repeat point)). Having it tracked out makes playing from a particular index possible where that may be overly difficult in a one-file version of the set.

And yes, I've noticed that it handles huge files very gracefully, this is a good thing as I do have a few mixsets as one big file.

don't get me wrong, I *love* my pod, and I recommend them to anyone and everyone who even mentions in passing they are vaguely interested in a portable music device. I've just been quite let-down by the last two rounds of 'upgrades' to the product line (the lack of a 60GB music-only option stinging the most).
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From:macklinr
Date:23:14 27.Oct.2004 (UTC)
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Granted my Nomad is very old and is now broke, so I can't verify, so it may be a case where I either didn't notice or got used to it.

But, given my love for mixed-sets, I would have defintely noticed. Maybe I got used to it, but I suspect that I would keep it in mind enough to complain about it.
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From:urbeatle
Date:5:58 28.Oct.2004 (UTC)
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Haven't looked at the training yet to see whether it also supports VGA, but it sounds like just TV connections are included. It's entirely possible that VGA would work as well, but I don't have info for that right now.

I *did* get that chance, and no, it doesn't support VGA. it supports AV out or (via the dock) S-Video. two formats, PAL and NTSC.
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[User Picture]
From:gregory_geiger
Date:17:45 27.Oct.2004 (UTC)

much more

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the U2 thing, I don't get. thats ok. But the iPod hasn't been just a music device. It stores your phone book, can work as an external hard drive.. blah blah blah.

I think this photo thing is part of the step that most of us expected them to take and break into the PDA/ALL in one device.

Also they may be thinking that the larger hard drive alone would not justify the cost boost, so lets throw in a little picture thinggy to spice it up.

As far as a one second delay between songs.. that is just dumb and the designer should be kicked.
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[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:18:49 27.Oct.2004 (UTC)

Re: much more

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RE price: the picture thingy is also offered at the 40GB level so you can see the clear $100 premium they are charging for that set of features (software and hardware (colour screen, video out, etc..)) alone. Then on top of that there is another $100 being charged to switch from 40GB to 60GB.

re delay: it's not a one second delay. it's a small fraction of a second. perhaps one-fifth of a second. But when you're bopping along on a mix-set and the beat suddenly drops and then starts back up when the track changes, that really sucks.

really.

AS for trying to make the pod an all-in-one device, I don't think it should be done. They would be much better off just focusing on making the best damn music player out there. There are plenty of areas strictly related to music playback where it could use serious improvement and rather than waste time trying to add on more functions, it would seem wiser to simply perfect the one function it should be able to do well.

"jack of all trades and master of none" sound at all familiar? I don't use my hammer to drive screws, I don't want to use a music device to handle video. It's the same old philosophical argument of trying to do too much rather than focusing on doing one thing well.

The games are fun (I'm a breakout addict (top socre: 666 (I have photographic proof!))), the phone book was handy, but kinda odd, the notes section is almost non-functional, video is (predicting here, opinion may change with actual use) pointless and a non-sequitor.
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