In today’s Wall Street Journal, Marcus Lillkvist writes not about the popular iPod, but it’s mostly unpopular white earphones. Many users think the earphones are uncomfortable and produce mediocre sound and have replaced them with better, aftermarket alternatives. “Still, some customers are quick to dump the Apple-supplied buds. High-school student Austin Agarwal took $390 in birthday money last year and treated himself to an iPod. But when he slipped on the headphones that come with the device, he says the the bass was fuzzy, and the high notes muffled. It sounded “like an old boom box,” he says. Less than a week after the 17-year-old who lives in Easton, Conn., bought his iPod, he plunked down $150 more for a pair of higher-end headphones.”
“It’s not clear how many iPod owners discard their ear buds. ‘We chose the 80-20 rule, as we think that the supplied headphones satisfy the big majority of our customers,’ says Stan Ng, director of iPod product marketing at Apple Computer Inc. The company recently introduced a $39 a la carte option, designed to address the fit issue. It comes with three different size caps, to ensure a snugger fit.”
The Music Recommendation System is an automated system that provides music recommendations specifically tailored to each user to find new music that they might like. This system, designed by students at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), operates by taking ratings from your own iTunes playlists and comparing them against other users who have used the recommendation system. Right now we have a very small number of users, and so the recommendations will most likely be laughable. However they will get better over time as more people enter into the system; meanwhile, enjoy while the numbers grow. Works on Mac or Windows.
Lajo has released another silicone case for the iPod mini today. The exo3mini features 0.7mm silicone, 0.5mm silicone covering the click wheel and comes in an assortment of colors. Lajo will also be releasing new accessories for all exo and exomini series cases. Exo3mini is compatible with iTrip and iTalk and sells for $9.50 plus $5 shipping to anywhere in the world.
If you liked last month’s giveaway, you’re going to love this one. Three lucky people are going to get awesome new in-ear phones courtesy of iLounge and its partners, with one winner taking home a $900 personally customized pair of UE-10 Pros from Ultimate Ears.
What you need to do: Submit a photograph of yourself with your iPod or iPod mini for the new “Me and my iPod” photo gallery. The photo can be funny, sexy, art inspired, or whatever you dream up, so long as you follow the photo and contest rules.
Peachpit Press has announced the release of Christopher Breen’s fourth edition of Secret’s of the iPod. “This updated, fun guide from Macworld magazine columnist Chris Breen offers tips and tricks for all of you Mac and Windows users on how to get the most out of your iPod and iPod mini. In addition to the inside skinny on the iPod’s all-touch interface and on-the-go play lists, you’ll also find hints for accessorizing and protecting your iPod, tips on maximizing its storage capabilities, and troubleshooting advice for when it refuses to cooperate.” Now available for $19.99.
iPod2Mac can copy music files from the invisible folders of the iPod to your Mac.
Decode Apple iTunes Music Store protected AAC files into unprotected AAC files so that they can be played outside of iTunes.
Note: Several users of this software are reporting crashes when using the converted AAC files in iTunes on Mac or PC. One user notes: “It appears that before running the playfair you need to make sure to play an encrypted song in iTunes and possibly even need to copy an encrypted song to the iPod to make sure the correct key is on the iPod. I tried it again after doing those two things and it worked. So the code appears to still be fairly buggy so I wouldn’t go around decrypting all your files without backing them up, but it does work, you just need to be carefull to test your resulting files.”
Playfair requires a Unix command line interface to be installed.
“A release version of the 2.4.24 kernel is now available for download! This version includes full support for first, second and third generation iPods (no iPod mini support) including audio, firewire and remote.
The other important inclusion with this release is the demo podzilla program. Podzilla is a basic GUI demo similar to the native Apple firmware, it has a very simple mp3 player which can be run by running the file browser and selecting a .mp3 file, during playback the pause/play button will pause and menu will exit back to podzilla.”
The draft of a new study by Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concludes that file sharing is not hurting record sales.
“The problem with the industry view, Professors Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf say, is that it is not supported by solid evidence. Previous studies have failed because they tend to depend on surveys, and the authors contend that surveys of illegal activity are not trustworthy. “Those who agree to have their Internet behavior discussed or monitored are unlikely to be representative of all Internet users,” the authors wrote.
Instead, they analyzed the direct data of music downloaders over a 17-week period in the fall of 2002, and compared that activity with actual music purchases during that time. Using complex mathematical formulas, they determined that spikes in downloading had almost no discernible effect on sales. Even under their worst-case example, “it would take 5,000 downloads to reduce the sales of an album by one copy,” they wrote. “After annualizing, this would imply a yearly sales loss of two million albums, which is virtually rounding error” given that 803 million records were sold in 2002. Sales dropped by 139 million albums from 2000 to 2002.”
“Fortunately I was armed with more than my one and a half Krav Maga lessons
SiteLink Network recently launched “Tune-Watch”, an advanced web portal to the iTunes Music Store, implementing an easy-to-use interface that allows users to browse the Store’s latest additions, new releases, and top songs and albums without actually launching Apple’s iTunes software. Tune-Watch also provides direct links to the Store through iTunes for purchase or more detailed browsing.
A reader notes that Chenonceau Castle in France has started to use iPods for its audio tours. Visitors may borrow an iPod featuring two tours in varying lengths in eleven languages narrated by one of France’s famous actors, Micha
“The Digital Media Project’s Green Paper, iTunes: How Copyright, Contract, and Technology Shape the Business of Digital Media, provides an in-depth look at this service from the perspective of comparative law. Members of the Digital Media Team
“It’s the epitome of cool, a must-have item rated No 1 with teenagers, oldies and muggers alike.
Yet the iPod digital music player has confused so many thousands of new owners that the gadget has spawned its own service industry - to help technophobes download their own songs. [...]
Now companies are springing up to meet the need, including the London-based wePod, which does the hard work of converting disc tracks into electronic files for the iPod, using its own specially developed software. Even though it does not advertise, the new venture claims it has been inundated with inquiries.”
MacFixit reader, Bruce Nofrey is reporting “‘Like other users, I have also had problems updating my iPod with the iSight camera connected. The iPod would continue to have the ‘do not disconnect’ sign displayed - then the iPod would freeze ( clock not being updated) and finally my G4 tower would freeze. I have replaced one iPod and have talked to tech support when the second one did the same thing. We could not get the RESTORE function of the iPod Updater to recognize the iPod. Unplugging the iSight firewire cable from the computer will allow the iPod to be updated correctly.” Apple suggests installing iSight Updater 1.0.2 as noted in this Knowledge Base document.
Lajo has released the exo2mini case for iPod mini featuring 2.0mm of silicone protection on top, bottom and sides with 0.5mm of silicone covering the click wheel. It will eventually come in over 50 colors (currently 7) plus art designs. Accessories include, ishades multi colors screen protector, zip ultra clear TPU case, SWVclip which comes in over 50 color combinations, ultra clear zip TPU earphone case, multi colored TPU bungee safety straps. A new TPU arm strap is to be released in less than 10 days and a new belt clip is to be released at Macworld Boston in May. The exo2mini costs $20 (case only) plus $5 shipping to anywhere in the world.
Apple today introduced iPod V, the smallest portable video player ever developed.
“Sharing copyrighted works on peer-to-peer networks is legal in Canada, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, handing the record industry a sharp setback in its international fight against file swappers.
Canadian record labels had asked the court for authorization to identify 29 alleged file swappers in that country, in preparation for suing them for copyright infringement, much as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sued more than 1500 people in America.
But the judge denied that request. In a far-ranging decision, the court further found that both downloading music and putting it in a shared folder available to other people online appeared to be legal in Canada.”
MacMinute is reporting that Apple has extened its iPod personalization promotion, which allows customers to get free custom laser engraving on any new iPod purchased between March 28 through June 26, 2004. The engraving normally costs US$19 extra.