Categories: "Soft Culture"

24 hours with an iPod video

I just surrendered to my geekyness again. I'm passing my iPod photo over to my girlfriend, so I had to buy a new iPod for me. Or maybe it was actually the other way round? :roll:

Oh well... let's just pretend I got an iPod video for my birthday! :D

iPod photo and iPod video
iPod photo vs. iPod video

First contact at the dealer: I was really surprised by the size of the packaging! It's barely larger than a double CD jewel case! I first found it pretty cool because it optimizes shipping... thus uses less fossile energies... okay I disgress... the point is: later in the evening it dawned on me: Apple just did it again!

Since the 4th generation, Apple has been removing stuff from the package all the time. They took away the remote control. They took away the dock. Then they took away the firewire cable. Now they just took away the power adapter! Hence the slim packaging...

This is how they manage to keep the same price tag when adding core functionnality... and they raise their margins at the same time!! (Those accessories are so insanely overpriced when purchased separately!) Guess, there's yet another Apple marketing lesson to be learned here...

I have to admit that I barely ever used the power adapter on mt iPod photo since I've been charging it via the USB connection all day long. Still it was comforting to know that if I ever took a vacation (yeah like that's gonna happen anytime soon...) I had what is needed to get uninterruped music... (though not uninterrupted podcast streams, but that's another story...)

Also, I'm a little bit worried that with watching videos which keeps the screen backlight on for significantly longer periods of time, it will drain the battery even faster than before. On the other hand, the new battery "might" last longer than before.

And it doesn't stop there: Apple has also removed the user manual from the box and the remote controller port from the iPod itself. And you know what else they removed? Firewire! Yes, that's right, they removed firewire support completely. When you connect your 19 € worth firewire cable, the iPod screen will turn to "You can't use a firewire cable with this iPod!" :(

The sad thing is that my 35 GB of music are stored on my older PC which has large ard drives, but no USB2 port. It had a firewire card though... which made the trick pretty darn well until now!

So I had to sync the iPod via USB1! Oh no... it would normally take about 10 hours to copy the 35 GB down to the pod at USB1 speed... so I've left it transfering overnight...

Then of course Murphy's law kicked in: Windows Update decided it would be a good idea to reboot in the middle of the night. So I had to do it all again and leave the iPod at home today (with Zone Alarm's internet lock ON so ). I wasn't finished when I got back from work... but eventually completed all right. Let's see the bright side: I finally found a use for Zone Alarm's internet lock: preventing Windows Update from attempting any funky update when you don't want it to! :P

Okay, nuff said about what's missing. Here's what's added! :)

First there is a sleeve included so you can protect that scratch-me-baby-I-love-that plastic when the iPod is in your pocket:

iPod video in sleeve
iPod video in sleeve

I'm not sure it's very convenient to adjust the volume with that thing on though... I'd like to rant about how much I'd like a volume control on the headset but I said: enough! :-/

First thing I tried, even before synching my music was to put some video onto the pod. That's a pain in the pass. It didn't accept any of my quicktime MOV files. And although iTunes could play them well it wouldn't even attempt to convert them so the iPod could.

So I subscribed to a video podcast... and... several... dozens... of... minutes... later... I finally had a 5 minute clip to look at on the iPod. Awesome! Really nice screen! Really fluid motion. And easy navigation control. B)

I'm definitely going to enjoy those videos... but again... why isn't there a video cable included so I can connect to my TV? Bleh... I know... marketing...

The coolest stuff anyway is the new form factor: same 60 GB capacity but thinner! Same overall width and height but larger screen! I wonder why they made the click wheel smaller though... is it easier to manipulate? Or does it just make the screen look bigger??

The larger screen is the killer feature for me: easier to locate podcasts (or songs) in long lists, larger pictures/cover art... and... you can finally see the lyrics for the song you're currently playing. Yeah! :D

Conclusion: this upgrade from a 4 months old iPod is totally not worth the price for anyone with reason... but it's just as exciting as my first iPod for the geek inside of me. I fear I'll upgrade again when the next one comes out... (WiFi anyone?)

I, Robot

I, Robot Went to see "I, Robot" tonight, just to get me out of my boxes for a while...

I was pleasantly surprised. Very pleasantly actually! I love it when you just go for entertainment and before you know it you find yourself thinking about the very deep nature of the human soul. Because that's what it is all about, if you ask me! ;) And, in this respect, this is the greatest movie I've seen since "Fight Club".

I guess the original book is just as good. Well, could be, but I'm pretty sure the actual movie serves it well. The visual effects are really cool. They'll definitely appeal to the geek inside of you! :)

There's two things though that I found a little deceiving:

  1. The pathetically obvious product placements. JVC, Converse, Audi... all over the screen, again and again, and in the dialogues too... Can someone tell those guys that most moviegoers are not blind? Btw, what about "USRobotics"? Do they realize there actually is, ahem... was a company called like that? (of course they must know) The movie doesn't say they've been bought by 3Com... :>>
  2. But the real sad thing is this: when they find out the reason of the robots' unexpected behaviour, this reason actually makes perfect sense... at least in a logical way. Nonetheless, the main characters won't give it the slightest thought before they decide they don't want it and start to fight it... That's really deceiving... IMHO... because I'd say the whole point of the story is to think about those reasons! But I can't really say more or I'll ruin the plot for those who haven't seen it yet...

Anyway, go and watch it! It's really good! Much better than things like the Matrix reloads and the Terminator sequels or even Minority Report if you're expecting that kind of stuff. Actually, I've never seen the late night show that crowded since I'm in Montpellier!

b2evolution, Movable Type and WordPress

Just realized I barely haven't posted anything to this blog for the whole month and this is my last chance to pop up on the calendar page for May! :P

So what has happened for the last few weeks?

Well, for the most part we polished and we released the much anticipated b2evolution 0.9, got a lot of feedback and made it even better (0.9.0.5 so far).

Incidently, at the same time, as you must have heard by now, Movable Type changed their licensing scheme, disappointed a lot of their users, created a tidal wave of blogtool evaluating, comparing and switching all over the blogosphere. With slashdoting and everything. |-|

Funny actually, because the new license isn't really that much different from the previous one. Looks like people just opened their eyes and suddenly realized what it really was about! :>

At least, with a license like b2evolution's GNU GPL, users can rest in peace. (It's so Free actually, commercial companies like SCO would like to get if off the surface of the planet! >:-[ But since it's being used by tens of thousands of free open source projects, I really don't see this happening anytime soon... :>> )

Well, anyway, I think one of the most interesting "replace-your-MT" comparisons was provided by Owen in his - now famous - Blog Software Breakdown [Page gone].

Owen eventually decided to go with WordPress for himself and explains his choice. Interesting. Of course I wish he'd gone with b2evo, but I guess he didn't need the extra functionality. It's never too late though! ;D

Anyway, I hope Owen is going to maintain his chart in the future because it's a valuable resource... as long as it's not outdated. ;)

Well, apart from that... the world is still screwed as usual in its grotesque pattern of self destruction... but that's a topic for another day!

Fame! (The illusion of)

Every blogger gets to do that once in a lifetime (ahem, I mean at least once...): I searched for my firstname in search engines...

Surprisingly or not (depending on how much you know about web indexing techniques), I am famous, very very famous!

  • #1 François in the world out of about 6,450,000 on yahoo.com
  • #2 François in the world out of about 3,310,000 on google.com

What more could I ask for?

Real fame? nah... I just hope those rankings last long enough for me not to look stupid when you read this :p (Those rankings can actually change on a daily basis, so... yeah maybe cyberfame just works like real fame, one day you're at the top, the next day you're gone...)

Unsubscribring from spam *NOT*

Cédric [site gone] posted some interesting thoughts about whether or not to unsubscribe from spam.

Cédric advocates that unsubscribing has become less a trap than it used to be, basically because spammers are better off collecting new masses of addresses than preventing their mailers to automatically unsubsribe people who'll never buy from them anyway. And also, because there are legal risks in spamming twice someone who asked to be removed.

Cédric also says:

Another thing I can see coming in the near future is that these "do not spam" lists will one day be forced to be shared among spammers. In other words, any "do not spam" list you are a member of right now might end up in having your email address removed from others as well.

=> Well actually... this is precisely the point: some day spammers will have to share their "do not spam" lists...

Oh... actually they do it already! It's just that they do not share, they resell... and they donto not call them "do not spam" addresses, they call them "qualified" addresses!

The buyer can spam you without worrying too much... after all you haven't yet asked to be removed from this one!

The problem with spammers is that they are dumb and smart at the same time!