Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Stupidest 10 Things I've Heard Lately...

My friend Walt sent the following to me, from a Windows newsletter he subscribes to. He's now switched to Linux, but thought I'd like to see this since I had recently gotten an iPod.

This is a perfect example of "FUD," "fear, uncertainty, doubt." Notice that the writer starts by saying he's not trying to talk the iPod down, then proceeds to do just that:
Interesting iPod Facts

If you read the Q&A tip above about organizing your iPod playlists, you're probably going to be interested in this one as well. Many of us believe that iPods are the best thing since sliced bread and although they are great little devices, there are some things you should keep an eye out for when dealing with them. So, if you own an iPod, you'll want to listen up to this. I'm not trying to talk negatively about iPods, but it's my job to give you the information and that's what I intend to do.

Here are 10 facts about your iPod that you would probably never know otherwise.

It's been made public in the last few months that Microsoft has "planted" people who write blogs and newsletters to talk up the Zune (or at least talk down the iPod). Just for fun, I put my answer to each one below:

1.) It's a known fact that the iPod is the most popular music player available today. Since debuting in 2001, nothing has been able to surpass it. The iPod brings so much to the table when it comes to music, including its user-friendly design and the easy to use iTunes file management program. Well, all of the sudden, the iPod might be facing some trouble. Apple, the developer of the iPod, has a proprietary format that may cause them some trouble in the near future. This format is completely incompatible with any other digital music technology.

Yeah, but Apple's FairPlay copy-protection is also more generous than Microsoft's PlaysForSure copy-protection (which is also incompatible with the Zune). A lot of users don't like copy protection, but I doubt the media companies will allow digital downloads without some kind of protection.

If they don't do something to change their format soon, they may back themselves into a corner, because most people like to have options. If the iPod doesn't bring them their options in the future of digital music, they might find something else to love.

Like what? The Zune? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

2.) You may have run into this second problem already. A lot of the big name companies are now charging their users just for a little technical support. If you have a problem with your iPod, you better expect to pay up in order to get some help. Apple gives you one free call to their support line, but it has to be used within the first 90 days of your purchase. Chances are, you're not going to have many problems with your product within that 90 days. After that is up, they will charge you $49 for a support call. A little outrageous, don't you think?!

I'd worry about that if I had ever, in 20 years, had occasion to call Apple. Their stuff works so well that I haven't had to call them. Ever.

3.) If you have an iPod, you probably know they're not the most sturdy thing in the world. I bet you especially know that if you've happened to drop yours on the ground or hit it against something. Yes, the iPod ads show everyone running down the street with their iPods in hand, so it may seem like you can do anything with it, but in all actuality, the iPod is very fragile.

The iPod runs off a tiny hard drive that can halt service if it's dropped even once or knocked around just a little. You also always need to be very careful with the iPod screens. They are a bit flimsy and can scratch or crack very easily. If that somehow happens to you, it will make it quite difficult to see what song is playing and all the information that goes along with it. You might not expect such a faulty thing to come from Apple, but it unfortunately has.

BS. Yes, the hard-drive iPod is a bit less sturdy than the Nano and that's why I bought a Nano, but the screen is polycarbonate plastic, the same stuff they make bulletproof glass out of. Nor would any other hard-drive based player be any more sturdy, it's the nature of the beast.

4.) How many songs do you have on your iPod? Is it over 15,000? If so (and even if it's not that many), you might want to delete some of your songs off so you can replace them with others. Well, that may not be as simple as it sounds. Once you have as many as 15,000 songs on your iPod, Apple will not let you transfer them to another computer or any other device. If you do, it's sort of put under the copyright infringement status. It may not be just Apple that is harping this issue, but I'm sure they're not losing any sleep over it.

First off, if you're using iTunes to manage your iPod, iTunes has the master list of all your music, not the iPod. If you find yourself with a bunch of music that isn't from your iTunes, a) you probably stole the music from another person's computer and b) there is free third-party software that will allow you to copy those songs back to your PC/Mac.

5.) So, how long has your battery lasted? Yes, the new iPod promises a battery life of 20 hours or so, but their fine print really says that the "battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings." You can also only recharge your iPod battery so many times before it has to be completely replaced. It's said that the magic number is 500, but it just depends on how much you use your iPod. You will also know when the "death" of your battery is coming, because after about 400 charges, your iPod may only hold 80 percent of its normal capacity. You better start saving for a new battery now!

Yeah, because at $59 for a replacement, I'm going to go broke...DUH! In normal use, the battery should last 2-3 years.

6.) This is a common factor when it comes to music players. Of course, if you have an iPod, you probably have earphones that go along with it. If you want to take your iPod anywhere with you (besides in your car), you must have the earphones in order to listen to it. Well, by doing that, you could be damaging your hearing. According to a study done, the iPod's full range of sound can go up to 120 decibels, which is just like standing next to a jet plane when it's taking off. If you listen to your iPod that loud (hopefully you don't), you could already be suffering from hearing loss.

If you're that stupid, I have no sympathy for you, and neither did the judge that heard the (only) case ever filed against Apple on this. That's why there is a volume control, you idiot.

On a positive note, Apple has come up with a fix for this though. They have designed some software that will allow you to cap the volume of your iPod. This is especially helpful for all the kids who have iPods. As their parent or grandparent, you can lower the sound on their iPod with this software. It's available for free on Apple's Web site.

Yep, they idiot-proofed it anyway, even though they didn't have to. Again, it's called "volume control."

7.) One thing you probably don't know (or even ever considered) is that sometimes products are out of date before they're even taken out of their boxes. It's possible that right after you buy an iPod, Apple will come out with a new model, just days after. They are shortening their product cycles, so it's possible that you could get your hands on an "older" version rather than the brand new product. No, it's not the end of the world, but who wants to spend that much money for an old version?


If you absolutely need the "bleeding edge" product, you've got more (psychological) problems than an old iPod.

8.) If you have an iPod, you better keep a close eye on it, because they are starting a crime wave all over the place. iPods are one of the most favorite products of thieves these days. It's not just happening in urban places like New York City either. It's going on in high schools and colleges all over the U.S. iPods are so popular, because they're easy to steal and they have a good turnover rate on the street (black market). They are also very easy to spot. If you're listening to yours with your bright white headphones, you may be a target. So, make sure you keep yours safe and sound with you and no one else.

Yeah, and don't drive a car, either, cuz I hear people steal them. And there are burglars that will break into your house and steal your TV, so don't own one of them...GEEZ, where do they get these people?

9.) Although Apple has made a fortune from their iPod product, they keep piling on the fees, etc. for owning an iPod. This doesn't even include the accessories you can get for your iPod. No, these days, they're charging for the things that once used to come along with the initial purchase of the music player. Some of these include chargers and a cord that allows you to hook your video iPod up to a TV.

Out of the box you have everything you need to load music, charge the battery, and listen to the damned thing. If you want more, then you SHOULD pay for it. I suppose the Zune comes with anything you'd EVER want? No? Oh, I guess the iPod's ok, then, huh?

10.) Finally, the last thing you may never had heard about your iPod is that once you start using one, you're stuck for life. If you use iTunes to manage your music files, you will always only be able to listen to that music with your iPod. They will not work with any other music device, because of the special format they're under. Also, no other company is allowed to make a format that will work with Apple's products. Seems a little stingy, doesn't it? But, I guess it's all about money and competition.

Yeah, and Apple has all the money in this area because they invested the money up front to put together an item that people wanted. Unlike Microsoft, who clobber or acquire any company/technology they don't already own and then turn it into a mediocre product.

And it's not like all the companies that built their entire business infrastructure around PC hardware and Microsoft Windows aren't "stuck for life." And the Zune is not even compatible with Microsoft's older DRM, PlaysForSure (which I've heard didn't). So who got stuck? The folks that bought media protected by PlaysForSure, that's who.

Then this idiot again tries to make it sound like they're impartial and just telling you the "facts:"

Once again, I'm not putting down the iPod, because I, myself, think it's a pretty cool device. I'm just letting you all know the truth about some of the things that go on behind the scenes. I know this isn't one of our normal tips, but I know iPods are popular among our readers and I thought it was important to share all of this with you. Also, I know that some of these things may never, ever pertain to you, but it's always nice to know the facts. Hope you all got something out of it!

~ Erin


I just had to post this, as it is such a transparent attempt to dog the iPod. LAME!

Now, if you'll excuse me, the iPod is done recharging and I have some podcasts to listen to...