My 3 teenagers have all purchased the iPod Touch from BestBuy. Actually, the youngest one just received his as a birthday gift and that is what is prompting this rant.
There are a variety of gadget sites that talk about the deals available at BestBuy (see here and here). The forums are split as to buying the warranty (here and here) but Apple doesn’t have a great track record on iPods and the BestBuy warranty has replaced 3 separate iPods for my family over the years so we think it is a good deal.
So when my youngest son wanted a new iPod Touch to replace his nano, it was natural for us to go to BestBuy. He was ecstatic when he opened the gift and it was plugged into the family computer within minutes. Imagine his disappointment when his brand new Touch had pre-2.0 software on it and iTunes wanted him to upgrade for only $9.95! This OS upgrade was announced almost a year ago.
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I am a big fan of the music of Sheryl Crow. I have all of her CDs and have bought each one (no, I didn’t “borrow” someone else’s MP3 files). I have enjoyed her music over the years but, to be honest, her first CD was probably her best and she could be accused of coasting since then – a couple good songs per CD with so-so songs after that.
I have listened to Ms. Crow’s latest CD several times. It is titled “Detours”. It is an apt title since it is a detour from her usual high quality work! I feel like the Democratic Party, Al Gore, and Laurie David have been injected into my brain via my ears! To think that I spent $15 for a CD of political propaganda.
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I recently came across a post on a different kind of top 20 (or worse 20) list. This list is of bad software (or at least poorly behaving software). The focus of the article was on web applications but, too be honest, I think there are still some ‘regular’ applications that make these same mistakes as well.
I don’t want to reproduce the entire 20 items, you can go to the original article here and read those. I would like to point out that that author forgot some of my personal least favorites:
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I am sick and tired of the bad attitude and the drugs in professional sports. I know that many athletes say that they aren’t heroes and they shouldn’t be held to a higher standard. I tend to agree with them but can’t we at least hold them to the same level of conduct that we hold our own co-workers?
If my co-worker was found to be sleeping with the boss in order to get ahead, they would both be dismissed from their position. If they lied on their resume, they would be fired. If they were salespeople and they falsified an order, they would be fired.
Similarly, if I go into work tomorrow and strike my boss with a fist (sometimes I have wanted to) then I would be fired and possibly be charged with a crime.
So why is it okay to have steroid use in sports? That is cheating.
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The party is over. There were thousands of people in attendance and hundreds of people playing musical instruments. Supposedly, there were millions of people watching the show on TV but who really knows the correct number.
There was a lot of controversy, ranging from trash pickup to the lack of reality for the 90% reduction pledge. There was also some good music played so I am sure there will be a CD put out for the greatest hits (which will use more energy in creating).
Overall, I have a hard time with all of this attention. Yes, there does seem to be some validity to the argument that Earth is getting warmer but the science doesn’t seem to be conclusive that it is being caused by humans (check out Is It Getting Warmer for a bunch of articles on both sides of the subject – for and against).
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I despise software that thinks it knows best! I want it to be smart enough to know what to do no matter where I put it or where its data resides.
Why do software companies think they know where to put stuff? I hate it when the install of the software doesn’t allow me to put the application on the hard drive that I choose (it is rarely the C drive that it likes). Software programmers that don’t ask where to install should be FIRED and their software should be THROWN INTO THE BIT HEAP!
I also don’t like it when it tells me where to store my data. Sometimes, I want it in My Documents and sometimes I don’t. If I know I am going to back up that data then I want it in My Documents. If I am not going to back it up, I don’t want it in My Documents. Apple is really guilty of this with their iTunes software (don’t ever let them manage your music – it will be lost forever).
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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…