Friday, November 13, 2009

OK Microsoft, you've made your point.

You don't like Apple, and you don't like Apple customers. OK, I understand. But I like the Zune, so can't we just get along? I've liked them for a while, even before releasing the ones with the squircle control pad and redesigned interface. I probably would've bought one instead of an iPod Classic if there was some Mac support.
Is this out of spite? Is it supposed to bring Mac users back to Windows? They must have a reason that's not "Oh yeah, Macs. We forgot about those." All they're doing is losing a lot of sales opportunities, because as much as I love Apple, I know I'm not the only Apple fan who's wanted a Zune.
And yes, I can install Windows, I can get VMWare Fusion or Parallels, but I'm not going that far just for an MP3 player. I don't want one that badly. And even if I ever do install Windows for some other reason, I think I'll still sit tight and wait for my Mac support. ITunes [and therefore the iPod] has been on Windows for some time, so why not return the favor? It'll sell at least one more Zune HD.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So I visited the Apple store

Here is what I think of the new gear:

- The iMacs were quite nice. Despite what first came to mind when I heard the screen sizes, they aren't gigantic desk-dominating monsters. Well, the 27" sort of is, but that's what it's supposed to be. They're pretty much what they say they are, so I'm not going to go too into it. It didn't quite perform as I expected it to, though. This is actually only in reference to one thing that happened. I was in iTunes in grid view (the one that shows the album covers as thumbnails) and scrolling was very choppy there. My Mac (1.83GHz core 2 duo, 2gb RAM, OS X 10.5.8) does it too [although it stops after all the art has loaded], but this is a matter of the fact that the Mac I used at the store was vastly superior to the one I use at home. Anyway, the reason I was in iTunes was to test the new internal speakers that are supposed to be better than the old ones. They do sound better, but that's not to say that I'd still use them.

-The Magic Mouse wasn't good for me. It's a nice idea, but if they'd just taken the Mighty Mouse (which is now simply the "Apple Mouse") and added multitouch to that it would have been much better. Yes, this is in regards to comfort. The mighty mouse is very comfortable for me. The way my hand rests when I set it down on something is exactly the same way it rests when I hold the mighty mouse. The magic mouse, by comparison, seems like it just doesn't want to exist. It's so thin and small that it's slightly awkward to hold. And of course, that makes multitouch gestures awkward to execute. Maybe it's just because I was standing up and the mouse had one of those security things on it, but it was just very strange to scroll with. Something that didn't aid this was the acrylic plastic it's made of. Apple's glass multitouch trackpads are wonderful because of how easily you can track with them. There's nothing special about the plastic on the magic mouse, so it provides some uncomfortable resistance when scrolling. Thanks to that and the awkward shape, I found myself accidentally clicking the mouse a few times when I meant to scroll or do the swiping-thing.
So while I could probably get used to everything else about the magic mouse (which isn't to say that I'd want to; if I got a new iMac I'd opt for the mighty mouse), there is one thing that it's missing that I just couldn't get past. The buttons on the side. Anyone who's used a mighty mouse surely knows of the buttons it has on the side. Either you love them or hate them, and I love them. I use them for exposé, which makes them very convenient and makes exposé a feature that I actually use (I wouldn't use it if I had to press F9 to get to it). They also happen to be right where my thumb and ring-finger rest on the mouse, so there's really nothing to using them. Because they're there, exposé is a natural part of the "flow," and using it is as easy as pressing the side-buttons. If it's not clear enough yet how much I need to have exposé, go back and read this paragraph again. The absence of the buttons will stop me and this new mouse from ever getting along. I guess if there's a bright side here though, it's that using the buttons wouldn't be as natural on the new one anyway since they'd be in a strange place.

-The New Macbook is essentially what the reviewers have said. I don't know why they got rid of so many ports on this one, namely Firewire. Yes, USB 2 has a higher top transfer speed, but it rarely actually transfers at that speed. Firewire, on the other hand, transfers at a cool 400Mbps (or 800 if your system has Firewire 800 ports) all the time. When I got my external hard drive I specifically sought one with Firewire, and it's been great.
The unibody construction does give it a nice robustness that you're just not used to coming from a plastic laptop. That is a positive aspect. When I picked it up from the corner (while it was opened) there was no creaking or flexing that I noticed. The material they make the bottom out of is nice, it's fairly grippy. It does seem like it'd stain easily, though.
What puzzles me the most is where they price it. For $800 I'd like this a lot more, but with the aluminum 13" Macbook Pro being $200 away, there aren't a lot of good reasons to get this one. Yeah, I can imagine that some people don't want to spend the extra bucks, but for that much you get a lot more in a laptop. I'd do it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


As in the iTunes feature. If you use it, you probably know the drill. Pick a song, click the button, and maybe you'll get a pretty decent playlist. That's just it though, maybe you'll get a pretty decent playlist. Sometimes it'll actually be a few songs that really do go well with whatever song you start with, but there's often a lot of stuff that doesn't. For example, I made one for Bittersweet Symphony a few minutes ago. I've reduced the list to five (counting Bittersweet Symphony) after getting rid of Van Morrison, Devo, Steriogram's Walkie Talkie Man, etc. And a lot of the content that I took out was pretty good stuff, too. For example, I like Walkie Talkie Man. But when I'm listening to Bittersweet Symphony and I want to hear more songs like it, I don't want Walkie Talkie Man.
What I'm getting at here is that Genius is too broad. It seems like it's trying to base suggestions off of a perspective that covers too many different tastes. For example, I have most of Franz Ferdinand's works in my library, and I also have U Can't Touch This. So does that mean that if you make a playlist based off of U Can't Touch This, you should get The Dark Of The Matinée? Nope. There should be a way for you to modify the playlists after they're made as a way of "showing" Genius what you think should go with that song. If I'd built the playlist for B. Symphony, it would've included songs like Exodus Honey by Honeycut, Bytecry by Weevil, Aluminum by Barenaked Ladies, etc. It ended up being that none of those songs were in the playlist, which is unfortunate since I think they all go well with Bittersweet Symphony.

Anyway, in case you're wondering, the playlist I have after reducing it so much is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, The Dark Of The Matinée by Franz Ferdinand, Dashboard by Modest Mouse, The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats, and How Bizarre (Mix) by OMC.