Today, we’ve reached another stage in our overhaul of the site’s left column: say hello to Column Shuffle. In August, we updated the column with new and more useful section headers, and added the ability to close and open sections of the site based on your preferences. Today, we’ve added a new feature that allows you to dynamically reorganize the sections in your preferred order, so that the topics you find most interesting can be closer to the top of the page every time you load iLounge. Just drag and release the headers - that’s it.
Additionally, we’ve also tossed in a permanent link to the iPod Storage Calculator, announced last week, so you can figure out how to maximize your iPod’s music storage space - more tweaks and improvements are planned for the very near future. Enjoy!
Though Apple lets you know how many iTunes Store-downloaded songs can fit on each iPod, readers often ask us how many songs from their existing library can be squeezed onto a given iPod hard drive or flash memory chipset. In this week’s Ask iLounge column, we answered that question by debuting the iPod Storage Calculator, a new tool that lets you quickly estimate how many compressed audio files of various types will fit in any current or past iPod’s storage capacity.
Most people will find that their existing collections consist of songs compressed at bitrates ranging from 96 to 192 kbps, so we’ve provided automatic calculations for each major bitrate in that range. A handful of listeners will have larger, less compressed files ranging up to 320 kbps, and we’ve included calculations for those bitrates, too. If you’re a really hard-core audiophile, you may insist on Lossless-formatted files - if so, you can use the custom calculation field to make a best guess, or the Lossless field that’s set to an average rate of 850 kbps.
We hope you find the new Storage Calculator useful. As always, your comments are appreciated.
To count down to the November 1 launch of our third annual Buyers’ Guide, we have launched a new photo contest with brand new iPods as prizes. The Buyers’ Guide Countdown Contest offers you the chance to win an 80GB iPod, an 8GB iPod nano, or a 4GB iPod nano if your colorful photo of an iPod is picked as a winner. See all the details and the full rules here!
By reader request (and fulfilling our original design desires), our top-of-page headlines now have pause, rewind, and skip buttons, allowing you to stop their automatic rotation, go back to a story that caught your attention, or cut forward to something new. Though this isn’t a huge change to our main page, we wanted to let you know about it just in case you missed the “Show Previous Story,” “Show Next Story,” and “Pause Stories” buttons up there; give them a try, and we hope you like them.
We’ve just added a brand-new category to our ever-growing reviews section - iPod Games - along with full reviews of all nine of the current downloadable iPod 5G titles. You can click here to see all nine reviews sorted by grade, or look at the reviews individually. Enjoy!
Bejeweled by PopCap Games
Cubis 2 by Freshgames
Mahjong by Electronic Arts
Mini Golf by Electronic Arts
Pac-Man by Namco
Tetris by Electronic Arts
Texas Hold ‘em by Apple Computer
Vortex by Apple Computer
Zuma by PopCap Games
iLounge is pleased to announce the winners of our New iPod Countdown Contest, in which we challenged readers to design new iPod and iPod-like devices that Apple Computer might release. Three winners with various types of cool Apple gadget designs were selected from a gallery of beautiful entrants to win pairs of Shure premium earphones. We picked one winning iPod phone, one winning iPod, and one winning iPod-style tablet. The winners are:
First Place: Edmond Ng, Canada (for “iPod chat”)
Prize: Shure E500PTH Sound Isolating Earphones
Second Place: Gerard Pye, United Kingdom (for “MacPad”)
Prize: Shure E4C Sound Isolating Earphones
Third Place: Orrin Sonck, Belgium (for “the new iPod”)
Prize: Shure E3C Sound Isolating Earphones
Congratulations to each of the winners and thanks for all of the great entries. To see the winning entries, please click on the link below.
The iLounge team has arrived at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco for Apple’s special event today. We will deliver live coverage if at all possible—a live update page and live IRC chat are planned. Closer to the beginning of Steve Jobs’ presentation we will switch the site over to a “lite version” to better handle heavy traffic loads. The special event begins at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET.
If you’ve been sifting through the over 2,000 accessories now in our Complete iPod Accessory Guide, good news: this weekend, we updated our review categories to make the catalog even easier to use.
Our biggest change is in Speakers: instead of one catch-all category for the over 100 iPod speakers out there, we now have six categories of speakers, starting with four types of All-in-One designs (pocketable, portable, room-to-room and stationary), one catch-all for Clock Radios, and one catch-all for Multi-Component Stationary systems.
We used to have one category called Stands and Docks. Now we have separate categories that address the many iPod docks now on the market: Stands (iPod holders without electronics) have their own place, while Docks for Audio-Out, Data, On-TV Menuing, and Video-Out are now in their own categories, with some overlap.
We used to put sports-related iPod gear into separate categories - electronics, cases, and so on. Our new Armbands and Athletic Add-Ons section lets you see all of these items in one convenient place.
We’ve renamed Bluetooth Wireless to include all Bluetooth and Wireless Home Audio accessories, and renamed Microphones and Microphone Adapters to Recorders - Audio. There are also new categories for DJ Mixing, Karaoke, and Audio Tools, iPod Hi-Fi cases, Lights and Flashers, Portable Video Displays, Security Devices and Software, and Video Recorders, amongst others.
Check out the new Complete iPod Accessory Guide for all the details - more changes are coming very soon. As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
This weekend, we’ve added another new feature to the main page of iLounge: a way to let you quickly scan only the new site updates you care about. Look off to the left hand side of the page and you’ll see these: colored header bars leading to many different sections of the site, including Reviews, First Looks, Articles, Tutorials, Ask iLounge, Backstage, our Forums, Library, and more.
Hundreds of new pages are added to the site each month, some of which are publicized on the main page, others not. With this new expandable bar - use the rotating arrow on the right to expand or collapse the list of most recent or popular additions - you can easily see only the pages that interest you. A cookie will save your preferred open or closed view for each category; the default position for all of them is “closed.”
We’re continuing to develop new bars for popular topics, and have some other enhancements to this feature planned for the near future. Enjoy!
As the world anticipates Apple’s next-generation iPod this Fall, we have launched a new contest to collect your artistic interpretations of what the new iPod will look like. Just submit your creation to our iPod Countdown Contest and you’ll be entered to win one of three prizes from Shure—one Grand Prize winner will get a pair of E500PTH Sound Isolating Earphones ($550), with two additional winners receiving Shure E4c and E3c earphones, respectively. Contest rules and guidelines are available here - remember, you only have until September 9 to enter.
This weekend, we’ve added something new to the site’s main page: more headlines from the site’s top stories, loaded automatically at the top of the page. Previously, if you hit the “refresh” button on your browser, up to eight different top stories would load at the top of the iLounge home page. Now all of the top stories will load and briefly display, one after another, giving you the chance to see what’s new and exciting without having to reload the page.
If something catches your eye, just move your cursor over it to stop it from being replaced with a new headline. And of course, clicking on any of the stories will load a brand new page with additional details. We hope you enjoy this new feature!
The Editors of iLounge are proud to announce the immediate availability of The Free iPod Book 2.2 for download. This edition is an expanded, improved follow-up to The Free iPod Book 2.0, which was recommended by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg as the “free manual on getting the most from your iPod.” With four all-new sections and updates to many of the book’s previously-released sections, the 200-plus-page Free iPod Book 2.2 is a must-see for current and prospective iPod owners. Did we mention that it’s free?
New sections include:
Nike + iPod Sport Kit (section S)
Troubleshooting Your iPod (section T)
U2 iPod + iPod Pack-Ins (section U)
and Backstage at iLounge (section V).
For additional details and download links, click below. Previous editions of our PDF-format publications are still available from the iLounge Library. Enjoy!
Winners have been announced for iLounge’s most recent contests: Blog the Book XL and iPods Around the World #4000. Winning the first place Geneva Lab Model XL speaker system ($1075) is James Oliver, United Kingdom, with Leopold Plassart of Nantes, France winning the second place prize of a Geneva Lab Model L speaker ($599). A third place, randomly selected winner, Johnathon Schlemmer of Overland Park, Kansas, also won a Model L speaker, all courtesy of Geneva Lab.
Our second contest awarded a custom-colorized iPod nano to the person who submitted the 4000th photograph to our iPods Around the World photo gallery. The winning photo was submitted by Nathan Wong of Taipei, Taiwan, who sent in a photo of a 4G iPod in Los Altos, California, birthplace of Apple Computer. Nathan picked a jet black body with Ferrari red click wheel.
Congratulations to all of our winners! Our 100,000th validated forum member countdown is still underway, with a winner to be announced in the near future.
This is a reminder to note that the posting of the 4,000th photo in our iPods Around the World photo gallery is nearing and that the associated milestone giveaway winner will also be announced soon. As previously stated, the iLounger who posts the 4,000th validated photo in the iPods Around the World gallery will win a custom-colorized iPod nano.
By reader request, iLounge today debuted the first of several new features planned for our Reviews section: “Sort by ratings and categories.” Found at the top of our Sort by Category Reviews Index page, this new tool is the equivalent of the Report Cards published in our Free iPod Books and Buyers’ Guides, but updated in real time. The simple pull-down menu lets you immediately see the top-rated products in any category of iPods or accessories we have reviewed. With over 900 products now reviewed on the site, and over 1,300 in our larger accessories database, this our goal is to help you quickly sort out top-rated products from the not-so-good ones.
Please note that the feature is approximately 90% complete, with several handfuls of products (including a number of lower-rated ones) still yet to be added. We intend to make sure that all of our reviews are searchable via the system by the end of the week. Enjoy!
To get the word out about our Free iPod Book 2.0, we’ve teamed up with Geneva Lab to launch the Blog the Book XL Contest. Like last year’s contest, all you have to do to enter is add one of our contest badges to your blog or website and link to the Book. The grand prize winner with the most referrals to the Free iPod Book 2.0 download page will win a Geneva Lab Model XL Sound System (value: $1075). The second place winner with the second most referrals wins a Geneva Lab Model L Sound System (value: $599). The third place winner—with at least 25 or more unique referrals and an on-blog description of his or her favorite part(s) of the Book—will be chosen by iLounge’s editors to also win a Geneva Lab Model L Sound System.
It’s here: The Free iPod Book 2.0, by iLounge.com! Weighing in at 194 pages, this revised and expanded second edition of our popular Book is your one-stop answer to every major iPod and iTunes question… plus much, much more. Inside, you’ll find 20 exclusive sneak peeks at new iPod accessories from Atlantic, Belkin, Griffin, Monitor Audio, Oakley, Power Support, Sonic Impact, Targus, v-moda, and others, ratings of over 900 accessories and iPods, plus extraordinary guides to All Things iPod, All Things iTunes, and Beyond. Click the link below for the details and the download links. Two versions - printable and widescreen - are available; please download only one. We hope you enjoy!
iLounge is pleased to announce the imminent sign-up of our 100,000th forum member and the posting of the 4,000th photo in our iPods Around the World photo gallery. In celebration of the milestones, iLounge will be giving away a custom-colorized fifth-generation iPod to the 100,000th validated forum member (if you already have an account, please don’t sign up again - tell a friend!), and a custom-colorized iPod nano to the member who posts the 4,000th validated photo in the iPods Around the World gallery. Winners will be announced on the iLounge site.
To celebrate the upcoming launch of iLounge’s Free iPod Book 2.0, we’re holding two big contests and giving away six pairs of Shure’s high-end E500 earphones and one brand-new Mac mini. In the “iPod 2010 Concept Art Contest,” we’re looking for the four best “future iPod” pieces of original concept art. A grand prize winner will get the Mac mini, while the most realistic, most creative and funniest entries will get a set of Shure earphones. Our “iPods Everywhere Photo Contest” seeks pictures taken of iPods in the car, in the home or on the go. The winner in each of the three settings will also win a set of Shure earphones.
Participating in tonight’s live iLounge chat with Griffin Technology, five iLounge readers won huge Griffin iPod Survival Kits full of new accessories, and one reader also won a new Griffin TuneCenter Pro Home Media Center. Griffin representatives also answered iLounge reader questions on a wide variety of topics. A complete list of prizes and winners can be found in the full story link above or below, along with some of the Q&A. Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks to everyone, including all of the representatives of Griffin Technology, for participating in the chat today!