Happy Halloween

Now where did I put my cardboard?

Mad cow


Fire and Don't Forget

I meant to post about this a long time ago, but better late than never.

In an earlier post, I wrote about wanting a digicam with Bluetooth and built-in GPS. Well guess what? Daisy Multimedia is making that happen with their Gempix DM 600 Z.

I'd love to try this camera out. The specs look good, but I've used a Daisy Multimedia camera before and it was not a pleasant experience. The Bluetooth implementation was the definition of a bad user experience. Hopefully they've improved since then.


Mozilla is Scary?

Ok, the hallows eve is approaching, my favorite full screen app is rocking the jack-o-lanterns, and the Frightmare Forest is making people soil themselves nightly. So, what more can I do than show off my evil, not so bug infested, mozilla pumpkin from a couple of years ago.

iPod - It Keeps Getting Better

It was nearly 2 and a half years ago when I bought my first iPod. It's still kickin, but it has been replaced. My 5G iPod arrived on Monday. It is beautiful. I'm amazed how much has changed in those 2.5 years.

I picked up the 60gig and it is still smaller than my old 3G 15gig. The screen is fantastic. Crisp, bright, and BIG. On my old iPod, I can only see 7 lines of text. You can see 10 on the 5G. Even better is the width. No longer must I select a playlist such as "Nick Warren - GU...". Now I get to select "Nick Warren - GU 028 Shanghai (Di...". I can't quite see which disc it is, but at least I know which Global Underground city it is :)

The sound is just as good as my old one, if not better. It still doesn't have gapless playback, grrrrrrrrr. I've been itching for album art ever since the first iPod photo was released. I love being able to view the album art. I was also delighted to find that I can put it in full size album art mode and it stays there as the tracks change. That's nice for a docked iPod if I just want to see art and I don't care to see the track details.

Video looks great too. I picked up a couple music videos, two Lost episodes, and I ripped my Batman Begins disc as well. They all look good. I bought the AV cable to go with my new toy.

Watching Lost episodes on my big screen wasn't as bad as I thought. It looked pretty good. I would watch video of this quality, although I'd prefer it to be better.

The picture viewing is great. I'm amazed at how quick you can flip through them. I also like how you can view the last, current, and next picture when using the video out. Very slick.

In all, I'm quite satisfied and glad I upgraded. Now, if my remote and universal dock would hurry up and get here, I can give those a whirl.


5 of the Now

No need to tag me anymore, I'm going to keep 5 tracks that I'm enjoying in a sidebar of this blog. Most likely I'll change them without an accompanying post, so keep an eye out.

I'm digging back a little for this 5. Only one is a new track. That's the great thing about a large music library and shuffle. Your old stuff gets to be new stuff again!


Just Write Your 1s and 0s On the Paper

The ol' switcheroo. If you know me, you might have heard me tell my story about buying a HUGE 1 GB hard drive at Wal-Mart back in the day, only to find a thick stack of paper inside, no hard drive to be found. I thought it was a pretty unique story, but after reading the comments on a recent Engadget story, I guess it is pretty common. Buyer beware!


What's On?

Apple recently released a new iPod that is capable of playing video. The primary purpose of this device is still audio, but video capabilities are included. I'm excited to test these out. However, that's not the big thing that Apple announced last week. The big thing is the ability to download video content from the iTMS.

People have been speculating for years about video content on the iTMS, and now that it's here, no one seems to care. Sure, Hollywood is whining about wanting their cut, but I'm not seeing the press coverage that I thought I would.

Have no fear. This will be a big deal, but don't take my word for it. Maybe you've heard of HDnet. It's probably on your cable dial right now. HDnet is the baby of a very smart guy, Mr. Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about media. His involvement in Broadcast.com made sure he'll be able to do whatever he wants for the rest of his life. Thankfully he's chosen to be the voice of reason and insight in the changing face of media.

I bring up Mr. Cuban, because his recent post to Blog Maverick lays out why the ability to download network television is such a big deal. Today, the programming isn't the product the networks are selling. The ads are the product. The content is just there to keep us tuned in. With the ability to buy the show directly, the content becomes the product, and the content producers stand to make more money than today's model. The post is incredible, go give it a read.

I have now bought two Lost episodes from the iTMS. I purchased the first and fourth episodes from season 2. I bought the first episode because I wanted to try it out. I bought the 4th episode because I screwed up and didn't set the ReplayTV. The episode quality is OK, but not great. File size is about 200MB for the 45min episode and comes in MPEG-4 format. If I run it at double size, I start to notice the compression, especially in dark scenes, which sucks for Lost episodes. Running it at full screen looks bad at only 2 feet away. If I was sitting on a couch, I probably wouldn't notice it as much. Unfortunately for me, I've spent way too much time hanging out in the AV Science Forum. I have now trained myself to spot the video flaws that irritate me. Yay for me. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

This is about the content, but it is also about the convenience. I actually have more than 2 Lost episodes. We bought season 1 on DVD, but haven't watched a single one yet. I guess we're too lazy to put the disc in? (lol) Apple *MUST* release DVD rip capability in iTunes. Having the content on the go will ensure that I watch it, somewhere, sometime.

So, I guess my point is, I'm on board for getting video content pay-per-download, but I'd like to see the quality improve. I know Apple is just testing things and they are serving up content meant for the iPod right now, but I hope it doesn't end there. It does concern me that they haven't offered the ability to download music off of the iTMS in the Apple Lossless format.

I'm not done with this topic. I still have lots to say about the cost of the content and the Front Row software.


5 of The Now

Jason tagged me for some current music I'm listening to. Here's 5 that I'm enjoying as of late.

Adam Freeland - Heel N Toe [All Mixes]
Hybrid - Finished Symphony (Original Radio Edit)
The Chemical Brothers - The Boxer (DFA Version)
Deep Dish - Awake Enough
Greg Churchill - Budonkadonk

I tag Monk Jones and Jeff.

Oldie, But a Goodie

Ahhh, the radio. Certain to make a hit out of anything, as long as you play it enough. Listen to Your Heart by D.H.T. What's DHT stand for? Don't have talent, must borrow? No, that's too harsh. I actually like the song(s), but why has this particular track struck such a nerve? Why is it 4 of the top 10 in the iTMS dance section?

Why aren't any of the other dance remakes getting any love?
Fatboy Slim - The Joker
DJ Nu-Mark & Pomo - Believe
Deep Dish - Dreams

Ehh, what can I expect from the same people that put Crazy Frog in 3 of the top 10 of the iTMS electronic section.

I swear, if the wretched stench of a dirty diaper were audible, it would be a Crazy Frog track. My goodness people.


The New iPod

Of course I'm posting about this. I think you'd be more surprised if I didn't post.

Ok, so first off, it's not fat! It's an optical illusion. Check for yourself, the new iPod is the same length and width as the previous generations. You can get the old specs from my over-the-top comparison I did before and then compare that to the new specs. 4.1 x 2.4 is the magic ratio. It looks different because the screen is bigger and the scroll wheel appears smaller.

Now, how did Apple fare in my wishlist?

60gig - check
Under $500 - check
Color screen and photo features - check
A depth less than .5 inches - yes on the 30gig, reeeeeeeeal close on the 60gig (.55)
Video capability - bonus

I'm a man of my word, so I ordered the 60gig white one earlier tonight. I expect my 3G to start giving my the cold shoulder now.

Now, video playback. I'm glad it's there. I'm glad the focus is still music. I'm jumping up and down with joy now that I can buy shows. I really hope that expands the way the music store has. It might get to the point where I could run the numbers and ditch expanded cable and just buy the shows that I'd normally watch on those channels higher up the dial. Battery life - ugg. 2 hours when playing video? That's just crap. Good thing it will get 20 hours playing music.

I downloaded a Lost episode. It looks ok on my 19" LCD. Not fantastic, but it will look good on the 2.5" screen on the iPod. I'm curious to see how long it takes for tonight's Lost episode to become available for download. Somehow I didn't have the ReplayTV set and we didn't get it recorded. I was ready to spend the $2 right then and there. I won't pay for every show, but there are cases where I will. I'm hoping that 1/4 VGA isn't the end all. I'll pay for high quality video delivered over the web.

Happy Halloween - Bluetooth Style

Happy Halloween and don't forget to visit Frightmare Forest


Don't Shade My Shine

Has anyone else noticed the new, hip thing in UIs? Well, it's the half shine, of course! Take a look at these examples from Office 12 and iTunes 5.

Ok, so maybe the half shine isn't new. Apple used this technique on its buttons for apple.com way back in 2002. Go check the archive. I just seem to be noticing this more lately. Can anyone point me to the first use of this by either Apple or Microsoft? Is Office 12 Microsoft's first use of the half shine? This post seems to suggest this is the first time Office has used it.

The Office 12 UI is shaping up to be pretty cool. There is a great blog on it. It is really nice to see the developers letting the rest of us take a look in on their thought processes. I'd love to do something similar at work, but I have a feeling that isn't going to happen. Microsoft is doing a great job with this. I guess it is all about developers, developers, developers.


Evil 9.99

Need some new music? The iTMS continues to impress me. First off, they have the newest Y4K, a DJ mix series, over a month before it is set to release.
Even better, it's by none other than Evil Nine. Even better, it appears to be an import to the US, which means Amazon wants $20, but the iTMS will give it to you for $9.99. This is some thumping, grinding, mixing. If you liked Crooked, you will fall in love with "Heel and Toe". I highly recommend picking this up.

Ohh, did I mention that I WANT FRICKIN GAPLESS PLAYBACK on my iPod? I want to break the thing everytime it harshes my groove. Head nod, head nod ... silent pause - DAMN IT!

While you're at it, take a look at the newest Global Underground release - Synchronised. This is an even better deal. $4.50 for a full album? I'll take 2 for that price :)


Take a Look

I don't think I can sustain a photoblog like Ian does, but I do have a few pictures I'd like to share from a recent trip to Illinois. Surprisingly, none of the pictures that I took in Chicago made the cut.

Some large fungus

Halloween fungus - This one's for you Ian

Cabins in White Pines Forest State Park

Moist Flowers in Illinois

Be careful passing on the left

Some sweet kayaks. The 3 person one has to be over 20ft. long.