Who Designed This Crap? The Great Ipod Scam

bgerber

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Many can no longer live without Apple's Ipods and Itunes? Some need a daily Itunes fix. Others lust after the money to be made by getting on the "I" bandwagon. Not Barry Gerber. He's fed up with Ipods and Itunes and argues that the world might have been a better place if they never saw the light of day. Hey, what's with this capital "I" in "iPod" and "iTunes" stuff?
 

petur

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Find your nano again quickly, then browse as fast as you can to http://www.rockbox.org and be liberated from Apple/Itunes for the rest of your life

RockBox is an alternative DRM-free firmware that currently runs on several players from archos, iriver and apple

(note: ipod replacement firmware is still under development but already very usable on 5G and nano, others are following quickly)
 

AbelIAN

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So... did you get cash or merchandise from Creative?

Not wanting to get too accusing, but i would think otherwise if you could have at least put in criticisms worth a damn. Like how you can't drag and drop music into the ipod without itunes, or that you're restricted to using itunes to buy music, or horrible isync stories, etc.

How can you state with a straight face that itunes' restriction of not being able to share music with more than five computers, or being restricted to one CD backup, are serious flaws? Five pc's are more than enough for almost everyone, and if you have more than that number that you regularly use, you're probably rich enough to not care, and in a small enough minority for Apple to not care. As for backups, the limit is because the cd's are intended to be used only for backups (seriously, isn't one physical copy and up to five digital copies enough redundancy?). I don't like DRM, but it can't be helped - apple needs to use drm in order to get the studios to put out. Fairplay, IMHO, is better than many more evil alternatives.

And another thing - you're acting like apple is keeping all of the money from online music sales. Why do you mention only the sales number, and not all the overhead and the actual profit that apple makes? This is one more reason why I get the feeling that you're not expressing honest criticism, but rather smear campaign propaganda.

PS - I do agree with you on the total lameness of battery replacement for ipods, the lack of nano cases at launch (at least apple fixed the problem some time later), and the lack of fm tuners.
 

JustPlainJef

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How can you state with a straight face that itunes' restriction of not being able to share music with more than five computers, or being restricted to one CD backup, are serious flaws? Five pc's are more than enough for almost everyone, and if you have more than that number that you regularly use, you're probably rich enough to not care, and in a small enough minority for Apple to not care. As for backups, the limit is because the cd's are intended to be used only for backups (seriously, isn't one physical copy and up to five digital copies enough redundancy?). I don't like DRM, but it can't be helped - apple needs to use drm in order to get the studios to put out. Fairplay, IMHO, is better than many more evil alternatives.
I think it was more along the lines of the number of burns. My step daughter and my sister both have iPods. If they use iTunes, they (apparently) can't burn a mix for themselves, a different mix for a friend, and an MP3 CD for their MP3-friendly car stereo? How is that acceptable? What happens if they burn a CD, and the burn fails, or if the CD gets scratched later?

Call me old fashioned, but I buy CD's from artists that I like, and I rip the CD's to by HDD, and I copy the whole CD to my Creative Zen Touch, keep a copy on my home server (nothing huge, Athlon 1.8 or so w/ 2 80 Gb drives), play songs from my PC or my wife's laptop, take copies to my work PC, and make multiple mixes each year. But if I buy a copy of the CD, why wouldn't / shouldn't I be entitled to do that?
 

Darkk

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I thought about getting the 60GB Ipod Video for $399 and remembered about the stupid proprietary Itunes and battery. Also looked at my entire store bought legal CDs and for giggles I ripped my entire collection into high quality MP3s which equates to 4GB. I was like..wow.. that means 56GBs would be wasted if I don't use it for videos.

I've wrestled myself over this for weeks, finally skipped the Ipod and bought myself a nice 2GB MP3/WMA player by Sandisk. Slick little thing. No moving parts to worry about.

What happens if you drop your $399 Ipod and the hard drive crashes? Will Apple replace it? Probably...at a cost.

My SanDisk Sansa™ m200 Series MP3 Player..best $129 I ever spent. It even came with a carrying case!!


Darkk
 

petur

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I thought about getting the 60GB Ipod Video for $399 but I thought to myself about the stupid proprietary Itunes and battery. Also looked at my entire store bought legal CDs and for giggles I ripped my entire collection into high quality MP3s which equates to 4GB. I was like..wow.. that means 56GBs would be wasted if I don't use it for videos.
All your CDs on 4GB?
Either you don't have many CDs or ripped them low quality.
My iriver h340 is filled with a little over 30GB high quality mp3 (all from my own CDs) so I'm looking at replacing the HDD with a 60GB version.

And don't forget it's also a portable HDD (and how nice my h340 has standard port connectors, not that dock crap)
 

drcroubie

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Call me old fashioned, but I buy CD's from artists that I like...
Hey, i'll call you old-fashioned, and then put myself in the same bucket.

Forget about ipods, zens, whatever, is anyone else just over the whole mp3 thing altogether??

here's my story:
1 (circa 1999-2000): "hey, the internet is cool, lets download lots of mp3s illegally from ftp sites". Yeah, except that half of the files were crap, most sounded like they'd been recorded off a stereo using a computer's inbuilt mic.

2 (circa 2000-2003): "lets just get all my cds and rip them to mp3, and store them on my hdd as a backup and for parties". That works, except that i have a few hundred cds (all originals, all bought legally), so i shelled out a few hundred $ for a 30GB hdd (big for the time). After losing the whole damn lot in a crash, i just couldn't be bothered ripping the whole lot again, for the use of about 5 parties a year where i wouldn't trust the guests with my cds (not to mention that my ever-increasing cd collection would require an ever-increasing hdd)

and am i the only one who can hear how crap mp3s sound? I'm hardly what you'd call an audiophile, but i did build my own speakers and amplifier, no korean plastic with no (or worse, muddy) bass and nothing above 5kHz. Although, maybe I am in the minority, most people have only heard songs on radio and mp3, and have no idea about the rest of the audio spectrum and dynamic range they're missing.


But not me. I won't be sad if i never hear an mp3 again. Call-me-old-fashioned time again. I bring CDs (you know, those round flat things) to work to listen to. I can also listen to them at home with less effort than firing up a computer. There's also radio, which i can listen to on my 4 year old phone if i choose to on the bus home. But i rarely do, there is such a thing as too much music, the bus to & from work is my ears' rest time.

So, to summarise:
(bad music quality) + (the bother of ripping OR "handcuffed" downloads OR crapper quality illegal downloads) + (cost of mp3 player) + (I have a CD player already) + (has anyone heard anything released recently worth listening to?) = why bother?

/rant
I'm off now, to listen to some vinyl. and before you call me an old fogie, i turned 23 last week...
 

theDudeAbides

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An interesting article. I second the guy at the top who mentioned Rockbox, I'm using Rockbox experimental on an iriver H320 and its a fantastic piece of software with support for a huge number of codecs, colour games to play, gameboy colour emulator and even a fully functional version of doom!

Could you perhaps do an article on rockbox, it could make for an interesting review to see it on different players and compare it to their original firmware for battery life, functionality etc?

thanks

theDudeAbides
 

r368kevin

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Feb 22, 2006
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I'm more curious about the article and the artists which were mentioned in it, since they all have one major thing in common. Was it intentional on Barry's part?

doh - just noticed there's a pic on the link to the article..... I'm sure that wasn't there earlier......
 

mesarectifier

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I don't think there's any question over the quality of MP3 - it's not as good, just way, way more practical.

And my Sony NW-HD5 is waaay better than all my friend's iPods, cost less and sounds better. iPod does have the best 'OS', though...
 

theDudeAbides

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I don't think there's any question over the quality of MP3 - it's not as good, just way, way more practical.
So use a different format! There's plenty out there.

One of the reason's I chose Rockbox was its Musepack MPC codec support, this is full-VBR and produces a far cleaner high-end and tighter bass than MP3 is capable of even at 320Kbit (an excellent quality MPC file is about ~250Kbit). I'd recommend this to anyone fed up with MP3s, I've got a decent pair of floorstanders at home and use shure E2C phones on the move and I've had a far better listening experience with MPC than MP3 which used to annoy me with warbly treble artifacts.

laters dudes

theDudeAbides
 

katmandude

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i have more than 5 'puters at home.... not because i'm rich, but because a) i hate throwing stuff b) i take care of them, so they grow REALLy old , lol.
now that i've got that out of the way, i dont have ny difficultys in exporting on any format , any media from itunes on any of my machines. there are some complications when i want to get music from my ipod (mico 4gb) to a hdd(technically impossible, WAIT! nothing is impossible for a bored geek!!).... actutally is quite easy. Just copy the 'hidden' (hehehe) music files from said ipod to hdd (thru explorer).
problem: only itunes will read the music file names correctly ( but is that a problem?)
AND i've heard of plug ins for itunes to export files from a folder within the ipod to hdd ( i still need to check that one, has anybody seen or heard of it)


my concerns are more in the lines of craftmanship and materials that apple uses. I paint regulary, and i've noticed that the soft skined plastics are prone to get affected by my colors that i used (water based)
my ipod seems to attract ALOT of unwanted grime... must be the flashy whites and the spotless grays...

Appart from those, the metallic outershell is fine, battery life is fine.
i know that replacement will cost me a bundle, but for those of use who are always with thier noses in a pc, will it really be that hard to change? getting a battery might prove hard ( HA :p) changing it, i doubt it...

as for a small story, last night, just outside my fitness club i saw a nano die. It got wedged in a jacket pocket , the guy pulled, and crack, screen when dead ( nice cristal liquid art splash on screen)... sad really, AMEN!

Why bother DrCroubie? , cos CDs are expensive, and they break, scratch, burn out way way to easily. coming from a vinyl listening crowd , i revere my 'disks' like the air i breath, sadly most people i know do not have a vinyl trained upbringing, which makes me go balistic when they 'forget' to put cds back into thier boxes, covers or what ever. so mp3 are a decent way to protect your hard earned music when u spend 120€ a week on music u sort of go psyco when a 'friend' scratches a cd... u know what would make me even more mad. losing my hdd with all those cds in mp3 format. time to burn some dvds ^^

A.
 

clue69less

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Many can no longer live without Apple's Ipods and Itunes? Some need a daily Itunes fix. Others lust after the money to be made by getting on the "I" bandwagon. Not Barry Gerber. He's fed up with Ipods and Itunes and argues that the world might have been a better place if they never saw the light of day. Hey, what's with this capital "I" in "iPod" and "iTunes" stuff?
I was really expecting this article to be more informative and entertaining. As one that has owned a variety of MP3 players over the years, I did not find your criticisms to be very analytically useful. Perhaps your nightmares have infiltrated your daytime sensibilities.
 

MidniteArrow

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and am i the only one who can hear how crap mp3s sound? I'm hardly what you'd call an audiophile, but i did build my own speakers and amplifier, no korean plastic with no (or worse, muddy) bass and nothing above 5kHz. Although, maybe I am in the minority, most people have only heard songs on radio and mp3, and have no idea about the rest of the audio spectrum and dynamic range they're missing.
In my experience, it's not the MP3 format that sounds crappy. It's MP3s encoded with certain codecs and options. For example, MP3s are typically encoded with a high and low pass filter. This is fine for headphones that don't reproduce those tones anyway. But if you're going to be playing them on high end audiophile quality equipment, you don't want those filters applied. I use the LAME codec with the the "insane" preset. For reference, a typical 1 hour CD usually takes up around 120-150 MB as MP3s. Still a lot better than CDs. I haven't been able to personally hear the difference between the original and these MP3s using a Turtle beach Catalina, Yamaha 1000 TX, and NHT 2.4 towers.

The actual end-level ripping application that uses LAME that I use is Exact Audio Copy:

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/
 

zeekle

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Well the itunes store sucks but so does every other other downloadable music store. The quality is low, DRM sucks but it seems pointless to complain about it just don't buy music that way.

Also not being able to replace the battery on your ipod sucks. That being said for 60 bucks you can send your old nano in and they will ship you a new one. Its not as cheap as rechargeables but anyone buying one of these should just factor that cost in as a cost of ownership. Just a little research out there will tell you that.

The complaints about the cases and stuff really are a non issue right now. Maybe you had a complain LAST YEAR but today all ipods have as many cases out there that you can shake a stick at.

Basically the whole article came off as a desperate attempt for attention.

the ipod is a decent but not perfect MP3 player. The nano hits a good price point for the size of storage. Right now theres not much else out that has that size and that much storage.
 

clue69less

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Also not being able to replace the battery on your ipod sucks. That being said for 60 bucks you can send your old nano in and they will ship you a new one. Its not as cheap as rechargeables but anyone buying one of these should just factor that cost in as a cost of ownership. Just a little research out there will tell you that.
It's not all that hard to change the battery yourself. If I can do it, anyone can... I noticed that the new issue of Laptop has a how-to.
 

Asphix20

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You know, I find it saddening that people blindly cling to obvious double standards and exibit such an extreme inability to think objectively and with an open mind. There are some good replies throughout this "discussion", and there are a few which make no sense to me within the context of what this should be; a discussion. At least stay on topic and talk about what it is you liked, didnt like and why.

Without getting into different peoples definitions and opinions on what a discussion entails, I'll point one thing out. I'm pretty sure 90% of anyone who shows up in this thread flaming the author or who is unable to understand and give merrit to the point he is pinning up has a very opinionated stance on Microsoft. I'm also willing to bet that most of you also use firefox if you're even using a Microsoft OS. What are your opinions on IE? What are your opinions on Media Player? How about the fact they're bundled with the OS and thrown on you?

Without getting too deep into another issue entirely I'll cut to the point. I'm sure the majority of people who have flamed in this post dislike IE and MediaPlayer and the fact that they're forced on you. At a more basic level, you dislike being controled, told what to do, being spoon fed, manipulated, having the feeling of some looming alterior motive or massive corporate undercurrent directed at the consumer. Name it what you will, its all basically the same thing and exactly the same thing the author of this article was pointing out.

But god forbid, we all love these catchy phrases, flashy colors and are so goggled by the ever present "new and improved" revision to keep us distracted and in love that its impossible for some of us to break from that and think objectively and consider some possibilities.

Apple is a corporation out to make money, and thats exactly what they're doing. Audio quality, alternative product, and opinions aside what it boils down to is that Apple has some awesome PR and a superb business model. It doesnt take a genius to notice and acknowledge that fact. However, it also doesnt take a genius to acknowledge that this awesome PR machine and business model is pulling in cash at the expense of the consumer.

People are willing to go nuts over limitations in IE, Windows, Media player and various other of "evil" Microsofts products, why is it so different with apple and their iPod? This is personally why I hate the products. They've brainwashed you all. Their flashy colors, hip catch phrases and the ever new releases have the masses accepting the unacceptable!

DRM is more of an industry issue rather than Apple, so its unfair to pin it wholey on Apple, but with the weight Apple carries Jobs could easily start pushing boundaries and paving the way for consumers. He doesn't because the current business model his company employs is better at lining his pockets.

The author of this article has some really great points, and if people could step away for just one minute to consider they'd understand the merit in what he is saying. It doesnt mean your iPod is a piece of junk. It doesnt mean you need to dislike the product. You dont need to stop using it, chuck it out of your car window while on the freeway or molest it in any other unsightly fashon.

But being able to enjoy your product while openly acknowledging its shortcomings and voicing that they are unacceptable will lead the way to better future products and consumer awareness. These blind defenses, denials and short handed flames do nothing but promote what Apple has been doing.. making money off people who dont know how to think with an open mind and challange ideas. Just because you dislike an aspect of a product doesnt mean that makes the whole product rubbish. And just because you like an aspect of a product that doesnt necessarily make consumer restrictions, limitations and hinderances which result in corporate profit acceptable. Even if these limitations dont apply to you, the fact that they exist and are overlooked makes them all the worse.

We shoudlnt HAVE to look up detailed instructions on how to change a battery. We shoudlnt HAVE to use third party software to bypass DRM. We shouldnt HAVE to use a protective case to shield a plastic device from the dangerous (sarcasm) jagged spikes that make up the interior of our pant pockets. These are things that understandably deserve criticism and are in no way defensible! Sure, the first gen iPod didn't have easy access to the battery. Since then its become knowin that consumers would like the ability to change out their battery to prolong the life of their device. Why is it horrible to request that this consideration is incorporated into the devices design? Why should I void my warrenty if I desire to change my battery? Because it makes Apple money and no one proclaiming how easy it is to replace myself will make me feel better about that fact.

Come to think of it, I believe this is why products that are Open Source always tend to be the better of whats available. Since its platform is by nature open to criticism it draws this open minded approach to a products use. People use the product, enjoy the product and point out what is unacceptable to further create a product that benefits the user. Compare that with products like the iPod and the additudes of most of the userbase found happily gripping the product by the ankels and being dragged across the floor. Consumers who spark the mentality that the product is some demi-god sent from heaven which can do no wrong. Any wrong that is so apparent you can't deny it, is promptly ignored and accepted as "just the way it is" and shoved behind the next product release, further excused by an aspect that is great about the product or worse, forgotten through the ever increasing dificulty of trying to choose which color will best match your attire.

Unacceptable.
 

SuperFly03

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I have had 3 or 4 ipods, 2 creative mp3 players and all I can say is make them go away. Dear god they are everywhere, and its only getting worse. These teenagers walking around in the malls with their Ipods in their ears and still talking to each other, or walking around the mall with their parents and listening to their music still. WTF, damn teens need to be slapped.

Ok, 1 fact I forgot to mention is I'm 21, and not much older than those kids and they still piss me off. I, for one, feel certain acitivities are meant to be shared with friends and family not drowned out but teens and their "super cool" Ipods. I really wish they would leave them in the car or in their desk at home where they belong. Ipods, in my book, are meant to provide entertainment when you are 1) Studying 2)In an airport/airplane 3)Alone those kinds of places. Not 1)Out with your friends walking around amall 2)With your parents out and about 3)at the movie theater 4)In class 5)where ever else they seems to be appearing.

As more and more of these teens (remember i used to be one only 2 years ago :tongue: ) are allowed to use Ipods 24/7 anywhere and everywhere they will probably lose touch with reality and become so removed from the world that they won't know how to interact socialy except for when they have music. Anyone ever heard of something called small talk. Ok, I hate small talk, but if your with friends/family (not people you wish would stop talking and go away lol) its fun and you learn alot. When was the last time you talked to a family member who didn't have something funny to say? or a new fact of the day? or some question to make you go hmmmm?

I realize I am ranting, please take it as my opinion only, but just stop and think about it. I like the concept of portable music, but kids these days have utterly killed it. I have the feeling I forgot to address an issue but oh well, I'll come back to it if i remember.

All I have to say is, if you need proof of how stupid some teens can be: Apple is to release a new ipod firmware to allow max volume limitation secured but a "combination" lock because teens are killing their ears.... good job next generation lol.
 

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