Elf's Treehouse -> Archives -> 2009 -> February

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the iPod

2009-02-02 05:09:49 - 1 comments    |     Archives

Last summer my former employer gave everyone in the company an iPod Shuffle as a summer gift. This was before the recession set in and the company profits were larger than they had ever been, but I digress.

I didn't even unpack it, because I still remembered all the hassle I had with my former step son's iPod a couple of years earlier. He bought it because it was hip and cool, and he had no idea about the limitations that the bastards at Apple imposes on iPod owners. He thought you could use it as any regular mp3 player, namely as a disc drive where you just uploaded the songs you wanted to listen to.

iShuffle

However, as most people know, the iPod forces you to use the piece of malware known as iTunes to administer your music. And to add insult to injury, you can update the iPod with one computer only. Which means if you've got several computers, or you take the iPod to a friend's computer, you can't synch your iPod with the music on those computers. Well, you can, but then you have to allow the other computer to take over your iPod.

In addition, the music you buy at the iTunes store can only be played on your iPod or in iTunes on the same computer you used when buying it. This means you can kick all Apple fans in the nuts every time the complain about Mickey$oft and DRM.

Because of this, I just left my iPod Suffle in it's wrapping and didn't really give it much thought. When asked by a colleague why I didn't use it, I gave him the above reasons. And that's when he showed me a sweet little program called iShuffle.

Connect the iPod Shuffle to your computer (remember to absolutely refuse to install iTunes spit, unless you're a machosist), download the iShuffle-file, unzip it and put the exe-file in the root folder of your iPod Shuffle. (The iPod Shuffle should appear as a disc drive in your explorer window.)

Next step is to create a folder called Music in the root folder of your iPod Shuffle. Upload all the mp3s you want to listen to there, you can even arrange them in to folders like this Artist\Album_Title\.

The final step is to double click on the iShuffle.exe file in the iPod's root folder. After a short wait a window pops up telling you that your iPod is updated successfully.

Now you can put on your earphones, turn on the iPod, and walk happily around the world while singing: Yaboo/Sucks to you, Steve! At least until you have to change batteries...

Pick Up the Memories

2009-02-26 15:19:41 - 1 comments    |     Archives

Pick Up - Pick Up is closing! The text message lights up the display on my cell phone. It's a rude awakening of huge proportions. How the hell am I supposed to spend my time now when I go back to the home town where I grew up? I might be in danger of loosing my inheritance here, but visiting the old record shop, where I in many ways grew up, is among the highlights of the summer. What's the point of going back now? I can always see my family when they come down here...

I'm not surprised that Wiggo is closing shop. He's been going on about how he will shut down after Xmas for the past three years, but it was just unfathomable. Pick Up was a watering hole where you could hang out. No matter where you travelled out in the big wild world, you could always return home to Wiggo and his shop. It gave you a feeling that everything was as it should be, and always has been. But now the oasis has dried up.

I don't think the people of the road cross village of Fauske realise what they've lost. Less than twenty years ago the town had a butcher, a fish monger and several other specialised stores where you knew you could count on the expertise of the people working there. You were on first name basis with the people behind the counter, and you could idly chat away while things where weighed, tallied and paid for. But most important of all, the people running these shops had a genuine passion for what they were doing.

Try asking in your local supermarket for advice and tips about groceries or recipes, and I think the answer will be "we've got what you see in the shelves and isles." There are even those who want wine to be sold in Norwegian supermarkets. I wonder what the answer to questions about wine tips for dinner would be from the spot faced teenager stocking the bottles. "Umm..well, we've got to types: Red and white."

Wiggo What's missing is expertise. And Wiggo was full of expertise. A lot of my musical interests are because of him. Sure, I'd still be a music geek even without his influence, but music that followed me through my teenager years, through my time in the army, my days at college and even to this day, is stuff I started listening to after Wiggo recommended it to me. It created a solid foundation for music I later discovered on my own.

I started hanging out at Pick Up in 1985, only a year after it opened. When I think back on my adolescence, Pick Up is a vital part of my life. I was one of those who would drive Wiggo crazy by hanging around all the time. If Wiggo were me, I'd have chucked us out a long, long time ago. In stead I ended up running around with flyers, and doing the occasional job as Santa. All for a few free records as payment.

As one got older, one had to move away from Fauske. I've been assured by Wiggo that there was a new generation of music geeks waiting to take over the job of turning the store owner in to a slobbering man crouched on the floor in the fetal position. I seriously doubt that the new music shops, namely the Post Office and the supermarket, will handle it as gracefully as Wiggo.

So it's not just another independent music store closing down. It's a solid piece of the village history that is being lost. Pick Up has been important to a lot of people. And what for some people began as a customer relationship, has turned in to a very nice acquaintance, or even a friendship. It was always very nice to return home and stop by Pick Up to (no pun intended) pick up the conversation from last year. And Wiggo, despite his complaints about the chaos of nagging costumers and unopened parcels of CDs, clearly loved his job.

Last night there was a wake at the store, before the doors were closed for the very last time. I really wish I could have been there. I've been looking at photos from the empty store that were posted on to Facebook, and it really breaks my heart.

So to Wiggo, Ann-Siw, Barbro and everybody else who worked behind, in front of and to the left of the counter: Thank you! Pick Up is dead. Long live Pick Up.

This blog posting is a translation of a piece I wrote for Saltenposten

The Japanese Hates the iPhone

2009-02-27 14:34:54 - 0 comments    |     Archives

Some people might think I need to grow up, but Wired's article about why the Japanese hates the iPhone just created a huge grin on my face.

Some quotes: "The country is famous for being ahead of its time when it comes to technology, and the iPhone just doesn't cut it. For example, Japanese handset users are extremely into video and photos — and the iPhone has neither a video camera nor multimedia text messaging. And a highlight feature many in Japan enjoy on their handset is a TV tuner, according to Kuittinen."

Not to mention: "A large portion of Japanese citizens live with only a cellphone as their computing device — not a personal computer, said Hideshi Hamaguchi, a concept creator and chief operating officer of LUNARR. And the problem with the iPhone is it depends on a computer for syncing media and running software updates via iTunes."

Now, some perceptive people back home have complained about these very same things. I won't mention names...

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