Quarter Life Crisis

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Hmmm, iPod

482 words

I like よしみ, my iPod. Whether just using it for a the short trip to my office, or listening to music there all day to avoid having to follow the conversations in the common room on the other side of the wall. Whether it is to fade out the hectic world during Saturday shopping or for keeping me entertained on a long railway journey. Still being a third generation iPod, this means its battery isn’t quite up to the job on long days, but generally it’ll just work if I remember to actually turn in off while I’m not listening.

At this stage there are just two things which keep bugging me constantly. I’m having a rather long list of artists on my iPod. Once those just appearing in compilations are taken into account, their number does exceed 500. Scrolling through such a long list on a screen that only displays six lines at once can be quite painful, even with the nice scroll wheel. Particularly if the acceleration doesn’t feel right. And to me it doesn’t feel right. When doing constant scrolling I find that the speed remains quite slow for a time that’s a little bit too long and then it starts going too fast too quickly. Whenever I want to listen to a band beyond the first quarter of the list I find myself being bored by slow scrolling at first and then overshooting my target because the speed just takes off. Perhaps it’s just me. But then, I quite like Apple’s mouse acceleration.

The other improvement I’d like to see is very unlikely to come around because it might be controversial. Remember the early iPod commercial where a guy sits at his iBook, listening to music, fills his iPod and then walks off starting to dance to the very same music? Well, look at it closely: He needs to actually scroll around on his iPod to get to his song again. And that’s what we still have to do these days. Why can’t the computer just note the song currently playing in iTunes on the iPod, so you can go on listening to what you were listening to before with a single key press? I often want to do just that. And I always have to do a lot of – imperfectly accelerated – scrolling to do it.

To add an obvious third point: Why do I always have to unmount the iPod manually or endure a nasty ‘warning’ by my computer and a quasi endless wait before the iPod works again. Can’t they just make it safely unpluggable at most times and be less nasty about it. Those may be just seconds you save, but it’d be much more in the ‘just works’ spirit where you don’t have to worry about the weaknesses of the technology you’re using but the technology tries to not get into your way.

August 25, 2005, 1:53

Comments

Comment by Sören Kuklau: User icon

“Why do I always have to unmount the iPod manually”

You don’t. Turn off disk mode, and the iPod will unmount automatically once iTunes is done syncing.

(Of course, you can’t put files on then.)

August 25, 2005, 5:00

Comment by ssp: User icon

Sure, but I happen to need disk mode every now and again. So I don’t really want to turn it off.

August 26, 2005, 7:38

Comment by Sören Kuklau: User icon

Well, in that case, there’s nothing that can be done — the unmounting causes the hard drive to spin down and prevents damage. I’m not sure if the iPod shuffle acts differently in this regard, as it shouldn’t technically have this issue.

(It bothers me too.)

August 26, 2005, 9:14

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