Backstage: Vote on Podcast, preview 5 new reviews | iLounge Backstage

Backstage

Backstage: Vote on Podcast, preview 5 new reviews

Life has been crazy since I started full-time work with iLounge two months ago, and I have to admit that I really like it crazy. Between our Podcast, the Buyers’ Guide, tons of reviews and a few cool things that are going on behind the scenes, I’ve been busier and happier than I can recall in months, and it looks like that’s going to continue full steam ahead in the near future.

So, wonderful readers, I’m using this blog entry for two purposes. First, I want to ask whether we should continue doing Podcasts in the future. Comments on the first one have been universally positive, but as with all new technologies, there haven’t been enough comments to constitute a critical mass from my perspective. We have a vague sense of how many people downloaded the first one (thousands, not tens or hundreds of thousands), but we’re still not sure whether it’s worth taking the considerable time to create them for a currently small audience. Thoughts?

Second, in Backstage style, I wanted to drop a handful of new reviews your way before they appear on the main iLounge site: Audio Outfitters’ earPod, BTI’s Auto/Air Adapter, Macally’s PodWave and PodDuo, and Marware’s CEO Classic 4G. The text in each review isn’t finalized yet, but they’re close, and the grades are final. They’re here for now mostly because we’re not ready to push the iPod Photo, HP Tattoos and Socks pieces off of the main page yet, but like a few other pieces we have here, they’re pretty much ready to go live. Click on Read More for tons and tons of additional reading, but no photos. I could put up another five or so reviews today, but we’ll just see how this mini-flood works out for the time being.

Audio Outfitters earPod

We’ll admit – we have a problem. We lose the foam covers for our earphones with some regularity, mostly when the earphones go in and out of our pockets. We’ve lost a few iPod covers and a few cell phone headset covers, too. It doesn’t happen with earphones that include carrying cases – assuming that we use them – but it has happened often enough to make us receptive to a solution.

Audio Outfitters has one. The company’s earPod ($11.99) is a white plastic storage case that protects and winds the cord of earbuds such as Apple’s. Once your earbuds are safe, you can toss the case in your pocket or belt clip the whole affair on your pants if you desire. earPod is so simple in concept that we won’t spend a lot of time discussing it, but here are the basics.

Picture an oversized, all-white Oreo cookie and you’ll understand the basics of earPod’s design. Then imagine what you’d find inside if you spun off one of the Oreo’s cookie pieces: frosting, right? In the earPod, one face rotates off to reveal a large white padded hole with room for Apple’s packed-in iPod earbuds or most other in-canal earphones. Plastic spokes around the hole provide multiple openings for your cord, which then winds around the protective central chamber. After winding, you seal the case shut. If you want to use the earPod’s rear-mounted, small but sturdy belt clip, you can, or you can detach the clip to give the case a thinner profile for your pocket or bag.

The earPod does exactly what it promises to do, and we generally like how it looks and feels. While not a perfect match for the iPod in the sense that its matte plastic is dull by comparison with Apple’s acrylic, it looks good enough and is likely more scratch-resistant for Audio Outfitters’ choice of materials. And though it’s a little larger than we’d like – mostly due to its ability to hold more than just Apple’s small earbuds – we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to people who want to protect their earphones. It’s solid and well-made, and for $11.99 won’t break your wallet if you need its functionality.

Grade: B

BTI Auto/Air Adapter

American Airlines promised that our cross-country flight would be off the ground at 12:16, but it was 4:00 and we hadn’t left yet - no surprise given their recently mediocre reputation. Thankfully, we were counting on our juiced-up iPod photo to keep us entertained, but after four hours, the battery of a 3G iPod or mini would have been almost half gone, and a 4G battery would be down to two-thirds – before we even took off. Would there have been any way to keep the music playing all trip long, even despite the delays?

Answer: yes. Assuming that you’re in the airplane’s correct seating section – something you can plan for in advance – Battery Technology Incorporated’s new iPod Auto/Air Adapter ($24.99, available $18.99 and up) will provide the energy you need for as long as you’re on the plane. Made from two interconnecting pieces of iPod-matching white plastic, the power adapter doesn’t charge your iPod, but it otherwises act like a direct AC power source, keeping your music playing until it’s unplugged.

The Auto/Air Adapter’s first piece consists of an Apple Dock Connector plug and cable that leads into and out of a white power regulating box, which leads to an air power adapter plug. Apple’s Dock Connector plug is the thinnest and most compatible one we’ve seen with third-party cases, so we like to see it in accessories. A second white and metal piece transforms the air adapter to an auto-ready power adapter so that the Adapter can be used in your car, locking firmly to the Air adapter plug with a clasp. BTI includes a single greenish light on the power box that illuminates whenever power is running through the Adapter.

In-Air/In-Car Tests

We tested the Auto/Air Adapter four hours into the aforedescribed American Airlines itinerary when our test iPod’s battery began to show signs of discharge, plugging it in to one of the plane’s in-seat power adapters. Surprisingly, though many planes have been equipped with smaller ports that fit the Adapter’s air plug, this flight instead had a full DC power jack identical to the one in an automobile. Equipped with the Adapter’s auto plug, we had no problem switching over to a compatible power plug standard.

By design, the iPod’s battery meter instantly showed full power when the Adapter was connected, but didn’t display a charging icon as it normally would with devices described as “car chargers.

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Comments

1

I was lucky enough to be chosen to give input to AudioOutfitters prior to the release of earPod.  I was excited about some of the ideas that were presented and couldn’t wait to see what they would give us.  I was admittedly a little disappointed when the earPod came out as I was expecting something else.  I would have to agree with the grade given by iPodlounge.  I use mine daily at work and can’t complain too much, but I sure wish it was smaller and something I could keep attached to my iPod, which would most likely be difficult due to the fact that I use an iSkin on my iPod.  I will say one thing, since I began using my earPod, I’ve not had a single experience with tangled earphones, which is exactly what they wanted to eliminate.

Posted by Lindan in Las Vegas on December 2, 2004 at 3:40 PM (CST)

2

Have you though of making the Podcast a regular thing. At least once a week.

If you do 6 segments, each segment 3 min long. You get a good 18 min show.

2 segments music (Creative commons)
1 Hardware or Software Review
1 iTunes howto (reuse iTunes 101 201 etc)
1 Interview or new stuff
1 Wish we had (for thing you would like to see change in ipod or itunes or accessory etc)

Posted by SouthPaw in PV, NY on December 2, 2004 at 11:01 PM (CST)

3

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. SouthPaw, this is the exact reason I’ve been re-considering whether to make the Podcast regular - it doesn’t seem like many people care.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 3, 2004 at 7:56 PM (CST)

4

Jeremy don’t despair.
I think most people coming to site have no clue what a podcast podcasting is only 4 months old!!  Do a howto. Then do a few shows. Get listed in ipodder directory. Adam Curry, Dawn & Drew, Phillip Torrone, Dave Slusher might Give you a mention then it will take off.

The leading iPod site needs to have a podcast.

Posted by SouthPaw in PV, NY on December 4, 2004 at 1:46 AM (CST)

5

Listening to the podcast right now - tis nice to put a voice to the name - I’d agree it’s still novel but can be useful and interesting way of getting news - do the forum members know about it, I wonder?

Posted by ginalee on December 4, 2004 at 3:49 AM (CST)

6

Gina - interested in plugging it on the forum? Feel free to mention Backstage there too. ^_^

SouthPaw: In concept, I really want to agree with you, but there really is an issue of how big the whole podcasting thing really is. There was a bit of buzz and now it’s quieted down a lot. We may want to take some measures over here to pump it up, but we’ll see.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 4, 2004 at 11:17 AM (CST)

7

Jeremy, I listened to the podcast as well and like Gina said, it was nice to be able to put a voice to a name.  My only concern with the whole idea would be that you guys are not able to update the news ALL the time, though it is often.  Some days there just isn’t anything new to report. There would be times when the podcast is something I’ve already listened to.  Another concern is that when the news just keeps rolling in throughout the day, I’m sure you all couldn’t keep podcasting as it came in.  I’m always around a computer it seems and can check the site often, but my iPod is formatted for Mac and cannot always plug in and receive a new podcast.  I think to be effective it would have to be done for a specific topic such as Backstage since that doesn’t get updated as regularly as the main news site, or even for the reviews section or buyer’s guide.  Keep up the good work guys.

Posted by Lindan in Las Vegas on December 4, 2004 at 5:50 PM (CST)

8

I think the Podcast should definitely be a regular thing.  I love my iPod and and I love iPodlounge.  To be able to listen to it on the go is fantastic!

Posted by BulkHedd on December 6, 2004 at 8:09 PM (CST)

9

If only the PodWave used the 4-pin port too, and had the OPTION to run from iPod power. That would be great! I’d gladly settle for losing some iPod battery life for the sake of having my music wake me up, or whatever. Plus my Photo gets 17 hours anyway :)

I would not want to have another device to feed batteries into. The AA slot is nice if you want longer listening and no drain on the iPod, but I don’t want to HAVE to use it.

Posted by Nagromme on December 6, 2004 at 9:30 PM (CST)

10

Re podcasting—it may not be popular yet, but being ahead of this wave makes sense for the #1 iPod site :) I’d keep doing it and give it time to catch on and grow.

It depends on the time/money/labor cost to IPL, I realize.

I’m stuck on modem for now and haven’t listened to any podcasts from anyone yet. So I don’t know what you include. But a random suggestion: for listening on the go, some “fun” content might be nice mixed into the “useful” content that the website tends to have. Humor, commentary, interviews on the iPod phenomenon, special guests, whatever. I know people on this site tend to flame “fun”/“interest” content on this site, but I like variety myself. And people who want to cut straight to the factual content can always hit Skip.

The IPL community could be drawn upon to submit audio files of their content, too. Maybe some would become regular “columnists.” Sorry, I’m not volunteering :)

In that case, the podcast could even include original music submissions (from garage bands to Garage Band). I know that would open up a can of worms, but it would be neat—and as always, easy to skip. It might even work as a joint effort with MacJams or some such music site(s). It could start small—one community song per podcast even. (Let the forums vote on which one and save yourselves the labor of listening to the submissions? The runner-ups could go back in the running for future podcasts.)

Modem or not, one of these days I’ll try some podcasts.

Posted by Nagromme on December 6, 2004 at 9:40 PM (CST)

11

I listened to the first iPodlounge podcast, and sorry, but I almost fell asleep! :)

Podcasts aren’t for everyone. If you are a good talker and have an interesting voice, and know interesting information, then go for it. If not, don’t do it just because you can (like blogs). You have to think more like radio talk show hosts. Exciting, informative, creative!

Anyways, since you are the #1 iPod site like Nagromme mentioned, it would be smart to lead the iPod community with the first iPod-focused podcast. But personally, I’d rather have more content on the site since I visit that more then I listen to podcasts (haven’t found many good ones to listen to…don’t have time - rather listen to music) :)

If you do a podcast, your strength will be in the users. I’ve always wanted to do a podast that featured only local music, so maybe you could get music that’s created from iPodlounge users and play that only, keeping it iPodlounge focused.

You would definitely need a how-to, since podcasting is a brand new term and very few people know about it.

BTW, the next version of Pod2Go will support podcasts, so keep an eye for that :)

Keep up the great work. This site rocks!

Posted by kainjow on December 8, 2004 at 6:19 PM (CST)

12

I think Podcast would be a great tool for iPodlounge.
I personly would like to hear - Hardware, New items reviews as I find it much easier to listen to a review than to sit and scroll and read (but that’s just me), I could then refer back to the website for pics etc. Just my 2 cents worth!
Keep up the GREAT work…fanstastic site and great content.

Paul

Posted by AusPod on December 9, 2004 at 10:35 AM (CST)

13

was just wondering if anybody could help me. i live in ireland and recently purchased the jbl onstage speakers in new york. i am looking for a power adapter that will fit in to british and irish sockets. my original sower supply has blown. any bit of help would be greatly apprieciated.

Posted by david_ireland in ireland on February 21, 2005 at 7:30 PM (CST)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.

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