Tag Archive for 'iPod'

Smells like pedestrian navigation

New patent application from a well known fruit company:

CREATION, MANAGEMENT AND DELIVERY OF MAP-BASED MEDIA ITEMS

CREATION, MANAGEMENT AND DELIVERY OF MAP-BASED MEDIA ITEMS

[via fscklog]

Update: Adena did some more investigation on that.

Unsexy

As I found out today, one major usability drawback of the new iPod touch could be the fact, that you’ll need two hands for interaction: one hand holding the thing, while the other hand does the fancy music selection.

On my way home I noticed how easy I can switch albums on my iPod nano by only using one hand. Pull the player out of the pocket, a quick look at the screen where I am, two or three thumb moves on the click-wheel. Done. Artist, album, playlist or podcast changed. No need to stop walking (or cycling).

I don’t even believe all other basic features, like adjusting volume or go to next/previous song, can be done easily with one hand. And those things are really essential in my opinion, at least for my everyday use much more worth than any fancy touch screen navigation.

So I guess I’ll stick another while with my good old nano. It still covers everything I expect from an mp3 player.

Sexy

There is a lot of legitimate criticism around: closed and not extendable, missing software, poor hardware features, little storage, over-prized, etc.

But,

the usability of the new iPod touch is simply sexy.

Watching the demo video instantly produces this must have feeling in me…

Scrobbling again

Last.fm only makes sense if it knows what music you’re listening too. Without that it’s totally useless.

It’s the basis for last.fm’s user specific music recommendations and social networking features like music neighbours.

Assumed that the system is working and knows your taste of music, last.fm is an excellent way to discover new music.

iTunes 7 stopped the fun:

Thank Apple for silently changing the iTunes AppleScript dictionary definition and breaking it in the first place!

After the update I wasn’t any longer able to sync my iPod playlist with last.fm. Most of the time I listen to music on the iPod, so I heavily rely on that feature.

Finally I found the right group and thread today that solve all “Track is too short to be submitted” problems. It’s easy, just get the iScrobbler 1.2.1 test 2 version. Last.fm should address this issue somewhere in the official download section.

Btw, who invented the word scrobbling?

Expect the unexpected

How weird is that: yesterday at the the pool we saw a guy swimming with an iPod!

Listening to music while your work out is probably quite common – cf. Nike + Apple cooperation or Jane Fonda’s aerobic soundtracks – but hey, underwater too?

Actually I love the silence underwater, the few moments when you hear nothing but dull underwater sounds. Listening to music would destroy this rare moments. Our world above water is loud enough.

If you’re interested in waterproof iPod accessories you should check OtterBox (yes, the water loving furry animal) for iPod.

However, next time I see somebody answering a call underwater it won’t surprise me anymore…

Microsoft’s iPod

Microsoft simply has not the corporate image to attack iPod/iTunes. The iPod is a lifestyle product, not a technical product. First of all they should probably change their industrial design team: MS iPod parody. (via engadget)

iPod Video again

Here is an extremely well done video of the imaginary new full-screen iPod Video. (via BB)

New iPod Video widescreen

Check this video (“the making off”) to find out more about the new iPod Video widescreen!

OSong

Once Songbird supports iPods I’ll definitely have a closer look at it. Very promising sounds the extensions concept (like Firefox) which’ll make it highly customisable. But for now iTunes is the one and only useful jukebox.

Just like biking…

A week ago I was obliged to go ice skating on a social event. Don’t get me wrong, those events use to be enjoyable and interesting. They’re one of the few opportunities during the year to meet with almost every colleague in a friendly atmosphere and have normal (non-work related) conversations. Even though you always start talking about work, but that’s another story.

My first thought when I heard about this year’s ice skating action was: oh my god! The last time I went ice skating with my class mates in elementary school and that’s quite a time ago. I didn’t feel any better when a colleague told me that they were ice skating on this event a few years ago too and one of them fell so badly that he spent more than a month in hospital. However, I was not the only one who was concerned about the sportive part of the event. There were a few others who weren’t practicing ice skating frequently. But someone told us that ice skating is just like biking: one time you know it you won’t forget it for your entire life. So we tried. Not only that everything went fine, nobody was hurt, no, we had lots of fun!

After this event my ice skating enthusiasm was high enough to buy my own brand new pair of skates. It so happened that just that week the Wiener Eistraum was opened, the ice skating area for this winter in front of our city hall here in Vienna. Like most places in Vienna’s city center this place is surrounded by a spectacular scenery (Rathaus and Burgtheater). Impressive what they built a hundred years ago – sustainable urban planning from a touristic and cultural point of view. As you can imagine this place is usually pretty crowded but yesterday afternoon when we went there it was ok, not too many people. See the proof of my ice skating progress:

So, now here comes the geeky part: the video clip & compression

I don’t own a portable video device such as PSP, iPod Video, 3G phone or any other mobile video player, nor do I possess a video camera. As you might have noticed this short video clip was done with my photo camera. At home I just had the idea to put this clip online, knowing that a 55MB MPEG – the movie format of my camera – would consume too much webspace and bandwith. Thus I needed to compress the file. Without being an video editing expert or having any particular reason I decided to use the MPEG4 H.264 standard. I just heard that HDTV, Blue-ray, HD-DVD and iPod Video are using it and it’s supposed to be the Holy Grail of video compression, that’s all. Especially thinking about iPod Video I got curious about how difficult it would be to bring home videos on your iPod Video.

OK, so I got this MPEG file out of my photo camera. I fired up Quicktime and hit “Export / Movie -> iPod”. Sounds easy but unfortunately the result wasn’t satisfying at all: the exported movie had no sound, only video.
Google told me that Quicktime can’t export muxed movies to MPEG4. I opened up my original file in ffmpegX and demuxed it. Btw, ffmpegX offers an iPod-setting to create iPod-compatible videos, I tried it, but I wasn’t lucky and couldn’t play the created file. Something went wrong. I went back to Quicktime and tried to copy the audio and video track of my demuxed movie together into one movie. No luck, apparently Quicktime can’t copy MP2 audio tracks. So I had to convert the demuxed MP2 audio track to AIFF with the help of iTunes. Meanwhile I downloaded and tried Podner. This software works like a charm! But the demo only let’s you convert the first 2.5 minutes of each video. Even though the shareware fee is pretty low ($9.95) I didn’t purchase it since I’m not planning to convert more movies and my ambitions to do it with Quicktime was already pretty high. Back to Quicktime: having the AIFF audio track I was able to create a new Quicktime movie with separate video and audio track. This time the export to iPod using Quicktime worked well (as you can see), even though it took quite a while.

To sum things up, if you’re trying to convert your (muxed) MPEG movie for your iPod and Quicktime only gives you a video with no sound try the following steps:

  • demux the movie (using ffmpegX for instance)
  • create a new Quicktime movie by joining (copy&paste) the demuxed audio and video track
  • export to iPod with the help of Quicktime
  • spend $9.95 on Podner to make the whole process easier and faster