iPod too hard to use?


Some music fans complain they have to upgrade their computer to get the iPod to work. Others report spending hours or even weeks transferring just a few tracks from their CD collection to the new player.

Apparently there’s a whole industry developing to help people fill their ipods with music.
Ever since i first laid my hands on an ipod i considered its dependence on a personal computer its greatest weakness. Of course it doesn’t bother me, i’ve abandoned hardcopies of my music a long time ago, but most people don’t enjoy using their computers, some are even afraid of it. Making a portable audio player depending on a computer fits right into apples “digital hub” strategy, but considering the heritage of portable audio players it’s a novelty. The question is, will people adjust to this novelty?
Something comparable happened in the world of digital cameras: in the beginning you needed access to a pc to get to your photos. Perhaps my memory deceives me, but i think a few years back when digital cameras were still a novelty, it wasn’t trivial to find a camera shop developing photos from digital sources. Nowadays there are plenty of photo printers available that cut out the middleman (i.e. the pc) with integrated memory card readers and lcd displays. Heck, there are even photo printers with bluetooth to allow direct printing from your camphone. Sure, you don’t get the advantages of easy online image sharing or organizing your huge picture collection with something as neat as iphoto, but some people don’t want that anyway.
The same goes for the ipod and itunes. The two are a match made in heaven, both excellent all by themselves, but even better when paired. But lots of people don’t like their computers and aren’t willing to pass control over their music collection to these vile machines. Just as the mc walkman and the md walkman, the ipod should be capable of music recording, at least line in, but something more efficient would be even better and shouldn’t be impossible. Let those who are comfortable with their pcs make them their digital hub, but also make life easier for those who don’t wanna adjust to the new way of consuming music.

“The irony is the people who can use it – the tecchies – are not in themselves very fashionable. […]”

Somewhat offending, isn’t it?


Kinja: Really Simple Aggregation

Kinja has gone live as a public beta and already created a lot of buzz around the web. Most likely you’ve already read this nyt article and nick denton’s post about the kinja launch. Many bloggers already signed up and share their digest, so i’ll follow their lead: here’s my kinja digest.
Now that i’ve tried it, i think it doesn’t cut it for me. Use it a few minutes and you’ve seen everything it offers. It appears to be a very barebones news aggregator lacking most advanced features necessary to manage a significant number of feeds. Of course i know that i’m not exactly their target audience with 120-something subscriptions in my feedreader of choice, but imho managing a great deal of sources conveniently, efficiently and fast is the number one reason to use a news aggregator in the first place.
I really appreciate their simple, intuitive interface, it really helps to get you started quickly, but nonetheless it just lacks some features to be of use to me. Two major shortcomings are bugging me, and these two shortcomings don’t just bother me regarding the usage as a personal newsreader, but even more when i dig into the shared digests of others:

  • There’s no way to get a quick overview of all the feeds you’re subscribed to. Well, actually there is, but only in the administrations section of a user. What i want is a feed list of shared digests. An overview showing the number of unread items per feed and their last update time wouldn’t hurt either.
  • You can’t categorize your digest. This effectively prohibits that you can use kinja to keep track of more than, say, 20 or so feeds.

Perhaps kinja actually offers these features, i didn’t dig too deep, but they definitely aren’t apparent if they are there.
I always wanted an elegant way to share my subscriptions somehow, but haven’t found the right tool for the job yet. I’d hoped kinja might get the job done, but it clearly doesn’t, at least for me. When it comes to subscription sharing, share your opml is a lot better (except that you have to sign up to browse other peoples subscriptions), and it definitely won’t replace my default feedreader, sharpreader, anytime soon.
Overall i think that kinja is nice, it’s just not for me. I also can’t but wonder what took so long to get kinja finished, i mean it’s not like there’s a ton of features or something genuinely new there (adam gessaman isn’t convinced of their offering either). At least it somehow brought server-based aggregators back onto my radar. I think i’ll check out bloglines and feedonfeeds over the holidays.
Update: another kinja review, via scripting news.
Update 2: It dawned on me what kinja really lacks – openness. It doesn’t help you find new and interesting weblogs. The lack of feedlists both for shared digests but also the editorial digests is imho a hint that kinja somehow tries to lock you in (the opml export feature hints otherwise, though). Perhaps not exactly to lock you in – but it clearly isn’t as helpful and useful as it could be. I wish they’d take some clues from share your opml.
Update 3: I’ve posted a follow-up.

I hate april fools day

Takes the whole fun out of web surfing if you can’t be sure wether somethings true or not. Some news are easily recognizable hoaxes (like the thing with the ipod video player), others are less clear (like the googlemail thing). I won’t be able to write anything about the stuff i read today for the next few days if i don’t wanna risk to look like a gullible idiot. I once fell for a surprisingly stupid hoax in a magazine and a friend still keeps bugging me with the story (in my own defense i should mention that the magazine was on newsstands around mid-march, easy to fall for). Thank god i have a huge backlog of links i wanna get onto my blog from the last few days.