Thursday, August 28, 2008

Loving my iPod Touch once again!

OK since my last comments on the iPod Touch as my least favorite iPod, Apple releases a new upgrade (2.02), and as a result I haven't touched my iPod Nano in a week.

Has something happened to change my opinions of the MP3 player shortcomings of this otherwise wonderful device? No. It is still a major hassle to deal with.

But it hasn't crashed since the new upgrade, and the battery life is much better. I have been managing the screen power much more closely, but even before that I noticed a difference. But the biggest thing is the crashes - when I would switch the screen back on I would dread the possibility of yet another music crash. Since the update, when I turn the screen on the iPod is always in vertical orientation and never locks - whereas before it would switch from horizontal to vertical and cover-flow to the current song. It is a small change, but I guess it signals what matters to me with my music - I just want the darn thing to work!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting.

Well, this is somewhat redundant ... I posted nearly two months ago about catching up at Goozex and going through all of the posts, and how much of a strain it was looking at all of the posts from teens there who were complaining about every manner of injustice.

Well, Goozex just got unblocked at work, so I have been trying to drop by to join back in the conversation. But it is not easy ... I had to catch up with 1500 unread posts (I hate seeing anything 'unread'). And there I was again, smack in the middle of the 'whine tour' ... and with each post I answered, nearly answered, or even read other helpful people answering, it sapped my energy.

I know that my kids will want to do this stuff in a few years, but I know I will work hard to make sure that they read the rules, use sentences, re-read the rules, check the rules before asking questions, search the forums for same or similar questions, scan the forums before asking, re-read the rules again ... and then ask me.

At least the movie Adventures in Babysitting had Elizabeth Shue ...

Friday, August 08, 2008

iPod Touch - my least favorite iPod

OK, so I'm spoiled rotten ... I admit it. I have had digital music since I could play AIFF files on my Newton back in the 90's, and I bought the original iPod and have had one from every generation since. I have pretty much skipped the video-focused ones because, well, I have other gadgets to do that! I still have that first iPod, a 40GB one that had the short-lived touch-wheel and separate touch buttons, a 4GB 2nd-gen Nano, and my newest addition - a 32GB iPod Touch. And of all of those, the iPod Touch is my least favorite music player. Let me explain ...

The first thing I did when I got the Touch was to set up some email accounts and web browsing stuff. And of course fill it up with music and video and pictures and subscribe to podcasts. The Touch is always with me, and I have a load of games and useful apps from the app store. I use it for maps, weather, quick web browsing, and other stuff. When we were on vacation I hooked it up to the TV to watch some videos, and have a number of photos on it as well.

Yet when I got in my car this morning and wanted to listen to music for the commute, I reached for my 4GB Nano. And it is pretty obvious to me why that is - convenience. With the Nano, if I want to play or stop I just hit a single tactile button without even looking. With the Touch, when music is playing the screen switches off and locks after a minute, then I need to click the home button to activate the screen, slide the unlock section of the screen, then press pause. The last two are 'virtual' buttons and therefore require looking at the screen.

Another thing that bothers me about the Touch is instability - I have had issues with songs stopping or skipping over the years, but I have had more freezes and crashes playing music with the Touch in the few months I've had it than with all other iPods combined! What will typically happen is that I will start planing music, then set my Touch sideways next to the shifter. Then if I want to change songs or see what is playing I pick it up and activate the screen. When I do that 'Cover Flow' flips to the correct album cover and then orients it in vertical mode ... and sometimes just shows the generic 'notes' graphic - and freezes. I have no idea why this happens, as it is random - and almost all of the music is stuff I have played successfully for years on other systems (iPods, PDA's, PSP, etc).

I think that the Touch is just so focused on the massive screen that it has lost something in terms of simplicity. I can stop music to answer my cell phone with one touch in a fraction of a second on my Nano, but on my Touch it takes several swipes and looking at the device. It is just too much of a hassle, and while I still use the Touch for the massive capacity, I don't feel bad using the Nano anymore.