On Software Packaging & Distribution

Casey Key Drum Circle pano
Casey Key Drum Circle.

So, I’ve moved in with my significant other (yay!), and part of that move is a reconfiguration of my office space. Part of this involves me examining things I’ve been holding onto for a while. Those things? Software packaging. Giant, shelf-space hogging, software packaging. Boxes, just filled with cardboard & plastic, so as to take up more space on retail shelves, so that they get noticed by consumers and picked up. I just recycled so much of that stuff.

Now that we’re in the age of electronic software distribution, that won’t be so much of a problem. That said, I couldn’t bear to part with my box for American McGee’s “Alice”, one of the first games I bought for the first computer I bought, all the way back in 2001. So there’s a part of me that regrets this loss of the physical manifestation of software, too. The future of software will be a colder place in that regard.

Reflections on today’s Apple Event

So, I haven’t posted in a while. True. Been very busy with life. Between work and school and Joy and Facebook it’s been tough getting in some blog-time. But here we are… question is, are there any of YOU left. Yes Cam, I see you. You and your RSS-reader. Ha… anyone else reading this by an RSS reader? How many of you are seeing this because you saw I added a new note on Facebook?
Anyway. The next bit is about Apple and their announcements today, so if that doesn’t interest you, too bad! Haha.
So yeah, today Apple held a special event in which they announced new iPods and a new major point version of iTunes, 8.0. I followed along on the Engadget liveblogger feed. What I find interesting is how much, this time around, the rumormill got right. In particular Kevin Rose pretty much nailed it. I’m curious what’s going to happen there. His reports have been more and more accurate lately. Will he be sued for his sources like ThinkSecret was, then settle out-of-court with Apple, like ThinkSecret did?
What was announced, specifically (the following list copy-pasted from MacRumors’ summary entry for the event):

  • Jobs takes stage. “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. New for iTunes: HD TV shows. $1.99 for SD. $2.99 for HD.
  • NBC returns to iTunes: Office, Monk, Heroes etc… both HD and SD. iTunes 8 today: HD TV shows, accessibility, genius playlist, grid view.
  • Genius: create playlists from songs in your library that go great together. Also personal recs from iTunes Store. Optional and private.
  • iTunes 8 avail today. Free download. Moving on to iPod. 120GB Classic to replace 80GB and 160GB. New Nano. Similar to leaked images.
  • Nano: thinnest ipod ever. enhanced interface. accelerometer. genius playlist within nano. aluminum w/ curved glass. shake ipod to shuffle.
  • battery: 24hr music, 4hr video. environmentally safer. 8 colors. $149/8GB. $199/16GB. new $29 headphones w/ volume, next button, microphone.
  • iPodTouch: Thinner, Stainless steel, Volume controls + speaker. genius playlist. Nike+iPod receiver built in. Demoing app store again. Including Spore Origins, Real Soccer 2009, and Need for Speed. (Gameplay video of Real Soccer 2009 available on TouchArcade)
  • iPodTouch: battery 36hrs/music, 6hrs/video. 8GB/$229. 16GB/$299. 32GB/$399. 2.1 upgrade. free to iPodtouch 2.0 owners. “funnest iPod ever”
  • iPhone 2.1 Upgrade: This friday. significantly better battery, fewer call drops, bug fixes, faster backups to itunes, no app crashes. Free.

It’s a pretty short list, really. My reactions:
(1) Woohoo, they got NBC back. Time to go find 30 Rock and that those Joss Whedon-directed episodes of The Office.
(2) Genius sounds neat. Curious what it’s going to do with all the techno in my library. How cool would be if it could sort something out with that!
(3) They’re discontinuing the 160GB iPod. Jobs called it the “thick one” in his presentation; that’s a lot of spin. I’d call it the “most songs for the dollar” one.
(4) The new nano has a curved display surface. Really curious how they’re going to prevent glare issues.
(5) New in-ear headphones with mic. I *was* excited about this until I read the fine print on Apple’s website for it that says the mic will only work with the second-generation iPod touch, but not the original. I was hoping that it would enable me to use apps like Shazam, which provide music identification services on the iPhone (unavailable to me, largely, I’m thinking, because there’s no sound input on an iPod touch).
(6) New games for iPhone/iPod touch. That’s me! They looked like fun. Might have to try one out. Engadget noted during their coverage today that they thought Apple was putting hand-held gaming companies, i.e. Nintendo, on notice. We’ll see. I’m not convinced just yet.
(7) “funnest iPod ever” – something about the word “funnest” just sounds awkward.
(8) “no app crashes”. Ah ha ha ha ha. Ouch. I guarantee there will be crashes still. I don’t care how good their iPhone/iPod touch OS team is, they can’t stop a badly written app from going down.
(9) And last point about the new Touch — built in speakers is a big plus. I almost never take my headphones with my Touch. It’s such a versatile device I almost never use it to listen to music. Podcasts, yes, but in that case, the touch is either plugged into my dock, or my car’s FM transmitter. Built-in speakers makes it possible for your friends to hear that YouTube video you just remembered.
So yeah. Now all I need is a new computer, an iPhone 3G and a new camera. Oh yeah, and hm, maybe a budget 🙂

New toy… iPod Touch

On Thursday, after spotting this post on MacRumors that some people had already been able to purchase iPod Touches* from the SoHo Apple store in NYC (a full two weeks before the official release date of Sept 28th), I shot Jeff an email; I knew he was already interested in getting one, and so was I. We were going to make the trip up to the Tampa Apple store Friday morning (we get every second one off), but he was really busy and had to work, so we pushed it off until Saturday instead.
Saturday morning arrived, and Jeff and I drove up to Tampa, picking up Kosi along the way. They didn’t have any left in stock. They did however, have some on display, so we got to play a bit there. I’m going to copy and paste this from a MacRumors post I made about the experience:
This morning I made the drive to the Tampa Apple store from Sarasota with a work buddy of mine.. they didn’t have them in stock; we were told to come back Monday. They *did* have them on display, though. It seemed like only half the staff even knew they were on display. Anyway, I ask one of the staff near the iPod touch area if I could take a photo, and he sneers,
“What, are you gonna post it on Digg or something?”
Me: “Nope… this is old news for Digg. I just drove an hour to come up here and buy one, I’d like to go back with something.”
Anyway… guess who just got back from Best Buy 😀
So yeah. And after a day and a half of using it, while I haven’t exercised all of its features yet — like, purchasing a song from the Wifi iTunes music store; I got an error when I tried last night — I have got to say I am really impressed. The built-in web browser is the best I’ve ever seen on a handheld device, the photo/slideshow experience is great — flicking between photos is fun 🙂 — the battery life is still surprising me and the thing is so thin it’s ridiculous. And my fears about the screen, brought on by this DaringFireball post, have gone largely unrealized. The screen is a little dark on its default brightness setting, but for the most part, I like it. Blacks are SUPER black. I haven’t seen it go negative yet.
I have yet to load a lot of music onto it; slightly disappointing is the fact that it doesn’t seem to want to sync via Firewire, and my computer doesn’t have USB 2 built-in. Easily solved however; I’ve got the Sonnet Allegro 5-Port USB 2.0 PCI Card on order from my favorite third-party Mac-related online computer store, Other World Computing, which should arrive sometime next week. So I’ve been able to sync things to it, just at USB 1.1 speeds, which — for those who don’t know — is like pulling your fingernails out slowly.
Anyway I’m really looking forward to using it more; all I need now is a case 🙂 Here’s some pics (clicky)!

Photo I took in the Apple store

Me and Jeff with our new acquisitions

Carnage as I ripped the box open

Gonna need to make some tough decisions, haha

The now famous green syncing screen

*Yes, I know it’s “touch” with a lowercase “t”. For the sake of not needing to say “iPod” every time I want to reference it, I’m going to be capitalizing the T.

Canon Powershot G3 Pictures

While doing research on the Canon Powershot G3 I ran across some gorgeous pictures taken with one; thought I’d share.

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