I travel a fair amount in my job. I also need to be connected to the web regularly so I carry a Windows Mobile based phone so that I can get email quickly and occasionally go out to a site.
Even though I carry this phone, I still need to hook up my laptop on an occasional basis. This allows me to grab emails that are too big, have attachments that I can’t read on my phone or check a site that doesn’t format down to my phone (I am sure that I will rant about these things in the future).
But as I sit here on the floor of an airport leaning against the wall just so I can get some more power, I am fuming. Why can’t airports realize that their best customers are businesspeople that need access to power? As I write this post, I have had a dozen people look at me with envy because I found the outlet. Two people have even whispered to me to let them know when I am almost done so that they can get in line for my wonderful floor seat.
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Some of you are not going to get this post. I live in the Midwest, not in Boston or New York. There are different rules of etiquette in driving in those two cities but everywhere else is pretty much like the Midwest (or should be).
When I was a kid (as my children say – back when TV was black and white, the radios only played AM, and a CD was bought by rich people at the bank), we always let others in when driving and were stopped at a stoplight. You know the situation, you are the 5th car from the light, some poor soul just spent half of his savings at the gas station on the corner, and now he needs to enter the traffic stream. Back in the dark ages, that driver would give you a wave of thanks and usually even mouth a “Thank you” in your direction.
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I am a very polite person (okay stop laughing). I was taught by my dear mother to always be polite to others, especially strangers.
So why is it so hard to say “I’m Sorry” (my apologies to the great Elton John and his songwriter Bernie Taupin for stealing this line – couldn’t resist).
It is one thing to be bumped in a crowd. Everyone understands that you are going to bumped, fondled, and stepped on in a crowd of noisy and obnoxious people. But if I am standing in a spot with plenty of room around me for even the biggest and fattest person to crawl through, I expect you to not step on my toes.
If you do step on me, hit me with your 20 pound purse or sneeze on me, would it kill ya to say “Sorry Dude” after I get back up from the floor where you knocked me?
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So why don’t iPods support WMA and similarly, why don’t other devices support AAC (Apple’s format)?
The why is simple. WMA is the format that many companies (e.g. Yahoo) use in their stores to sell music. WMA is developed by Microsoft and it is a competitor. Is it a better sounding format? For the most part, no it is not – the formats are essentially tied in audio capability for the average listener and the average audio speakers.
So it is a competitive issue. Apple makes the best device on the market with something like 90% market share. They don’t like Microsoft, so they don’t play nice to Microsoft. It definitely is not a revenue issue for selling songs on iTunes since at 99 cents per song, Apple isn’t making a lot of money on the songs. They do make a bunch of money for every iPod that is sold though.
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I will dedicate my first rant to one of my least favorite things to deal with and try to circumvent: music formats.
I spend a lot of time listening to audio. I drive a great deal in my car so I regularly hook up my iPod to my car stereo to listen to music, audible books, and podcasts. I have owned a lot of different portable music devices over the years and the iPod is by far the best designed. At its basic level, it supports AAC, MP3 and WAV format. It doesn’t, however, support WMA. Why?
Why can’t all portable audio devices play all formats? Why can’t my iPod play WMA? Why can’t my daughter’s Creative Zen play AAC?
This makes no sense.
More on this topic later…