Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday Maximum RocknRoll

Wow, 25 years. That's nuts. We're all getting older every day, but it's things like that which really push me over the edge. Had the same weird nostalgic "holy shit" feeling a couple of years ago when I realized that I'd seen Black Flag 20 (!!) years previous in Syracuse NY.
Good stuff either way... lots has passed, there's been some good times, and I can't complain.

Footnote : As my friend Tom recently commented, my taste in music hasn't changed much in 20 years. Not sure if that's good or not, but quite true....


Managed to win (!!) a 160GB appleTV recently. Was a give-away for people who registered and downloaded white papers, so was a complete surprise.

It's the ideal type of thing to be given, since it's not something I'd pay full retail for, but I'm interested in it. Having had it set up for a couple of weeks now, think I could see myself becoming attached to it over time. Maybe Apple should offer a "rent-to-own" option for these, since they haven't captured the general publics attention.

Here's what I think it does well :

Pictures :
It's easy to set up a folder to sync to the appleTV which is convenient. I have it configured to sync a single folder, and planned on dropping content specific to TV viewing in that. (Have too much to have it sync everything).
The picture quality is great (connected to HDTV via HDMI) and the slide show is functional. There's no "edit" capability (even delete) which would be nice to have it as an editing method, but we were able to look through vacation pictures without huddling around a laptop.

Music :
Much like the Pictures sync, it's easy to set up sync'ing from iTunes to the appleTV. This would include podcasts and smart playlists. I've set it up to sync everything I've added in the last month (again, too much to do everything) and several playlists which we'd use in the living room. I like that shuffle is the first option for playlist playback (since I prefer it for most albums), and the album artwork is large, clear and looks great.

I've not played with Video yet. I'm not someone who'd purchase video content from Apple, but plan to explore the YouTube linkages a bit.

All in all, it's a lot like how I feel about the Chumby. It's interesting, and I could easily see it becoming something that I'd find value in. Unfortunately, the price point is still high enough I'd struggle to measure the ROI on both favorably.

Update : 02/23/08
A week later, and I'm really beginning to like the appleTV. It's great to have access to my mp3 catalog in the family room, something which wasn't possible with iPod docks etc (too small). The YouTube integration works (search-able, can sign in etc), but it's the same crap YouTube quality as the web, so it's really obnoxious on a TV. The pictures sync works as expected, and it's great to be able to view photos on the larger screen.
Still unconvinced I'd pay for it, but think there's probably a market for this, if only it was possible to demonstrate the value effectively.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

paying for software

Found myself paying for software recently (Office 2008 for Mac) which (honestly) would have been unheard of some years ago. I thought of software companies as monolithic entities which didn't need or deserve my support, with the exception of some great shareware ( Graphic Converter, TidyUp!, and MP3 Rage being several which come to mind immediately).

It's a (sorta) weird thing for me to think about, since I'd been so lackadasical about it in the past. Didn't mind paying for hardware, but was always so ambivalent about software.

Guess aging is doing something to me (see post about preferring to buy CD's vs downloading, even when the downloads are legal).

Footnote : I still have limits. Everyone I know (who's serious about photography) loves LightRoom. I can't get over the fact it's $300, so still doing lousy things using Graphic Converter instead....


Have been thinking a bit lately about responsibility, especially as it relates to digital media. I'd spent about a year using soulseek extensively, and managed to find a ton of great (old) punk which never made the transition from vinyl to CD.

It became somewhat cyclical.... I'd troll around, find a record that I'd completely forgotten about like old metalcore records from Canada (i.e. Sudden Impact's "No Rest for the Wicked") and be psyched to relive musical experiences from years ago.

In the end, there's something unsatisfying for me about completely digital media. I still get a kick out of looking at a CD (or vinyl) and having the full package -- artwork, liner notes, etc.

Ended up buying about 50 CD's (mostly used, and most for <$2.00) at Ameoba last weekend while visiting family in the Bay Area. A new stash of loot to dig through!

Mailordered more Destroyer records yesterday, so looks like I'm back to buying my music. Something enormously more satisfying about holding actual media I guess.