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My original iPod has returned to me! on Flickr.

Little green men

I love the little aliens from the Pizza Planet vending machine in Toy Story. Thanks to my friend Heather, and a long ago giveaway of some kind, I have two of the little guys guarding my favorite Mac, which is a little otherworldly in its own right...

Click on the photo to see the entire set.


If you have an iPod, or a new iPhone, and you're worried that the mere sight of the device may prompt a ne'er-do-well to attempt a snatch, consider the Hide-a-Pod as a deterrent. Even if you choose not to purchase a Hide-a-Pod, be sure to click on the Order graphic or Buy Now link for a special treat. You won't have to complete the order to enjoy the surprise. [Via David D. on the Ranchero iPhone list.]


Originally uploaded by paul beefs.

I don't recall Steve Jobs talking about this new product during the Macworld Expo keynote.

Once again, we learn why they're called analysts

So let me get this straight: Apple sets new company records for revenue and profit, beats the Street's estimates, and ships 28 percent more Macs and 50 percent more iPods than they did this time a year ago, but because a bunch of analysts don't like future estimates, the stock price takes a dive? No wonder monkeys do just as good a job at the stock market as analysts.

Stevenote on iTunes

Apple has posted Steve Jobs's keynote address for the 2007 Macworld Expo on the iTunes Store. It's a 1.21 GB download, so make sure you've got the space to watch it on your iPod.

Yesterday's shuffle first ten

Kicked on ye olde iTunes in shuffle mode yesterday morning, to give myself some background music while I commenced writing this year's novel. What's funny is that I had earlier finished the chapter on the beauty and apparent oddities of the iPod's shuffle mode in Steven Levy's The Perfect Thing, his book devoted to the little white wonder from Apple. Part of the chapter was devoted to the randomness of shuffle mode, the mathematics behind it, and how when true randomness is really at work, we begin to believe it's not really so random at all. Like say when people notice their iPod--and here I'll also throw in the iTunes application itself--seemingly playing a lot of the same type of music in a row. Such it was this morning, when I had an all-mellow mix. As before, songs are linked to the iTunes Store, albums to Amazon. 1. "Never Say Goodbye" - Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet 2. "September Skies" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra - The Brian Setzer Orchestra 3. "Yellow Ledbetter" - Pearl Jam - Jeremy 4. "Flesh for Fantasy" - Billy Idol - Greatest Hits 5. "DJ Culture" - Pet Shop Boys - Discography 6. "If I Leave This World Tomorrow" - Glenn Kaiser - Spontaneous Combustion (I've always loved Kaiser's voice, and think his blues work is so much better than when he fronted Resurrection Band/Rez) 7. "Understand Your Man" - Johnny Cash - Unearthed, Vol. 1 - Who's Gonna Cry 8. "Last In Love" - George Strait - Pure Country 9. "Your Presence" - By the Tree - These Days 10. "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I" - Elvis Presley - Elvis 30 #1 Hits
and a bonus, because I like the song so much: 11. "Loved and Forgiven" - Lost Dogs - Gift Horse

Disko goes Centerstage at Griffin

Griffin Technology today announced two new iPod cases, the Disko and the Centerstage, for fifth-generation iPods. Both are made from clear polycarbonate for protection, then diverge to their unique features. The Centerstage features an anodized aluminum flip-cover, which allows the case to convert in to a stand. The Centerstage flip-cover is available in four different colors. The Disko has three colored LED lights set around the scroll wheel portion of the case, as well as what it appears to be around the edges of the case. The lights are motion controlled, turning on with movement of the scroll wheel, and are powered by the iPod itself.

Griffin's Centerstage case Griffin's Disko case

Personally, I wouldn't waste my money on the Disko, but I know there are plenty of folks out there who will love it, much the way they love the light-up mobile phone accessories. I can see a real use in the Centerstage, however, especially for those who may take their iPod to the office where they don't have a dock hooked up to their office computer system.

Koyono iPod cases, by Orbino

Photo of Cambino case Koyono has announced some new iPod cases, hand-crafted by the leather goodsmen of Orbino. I especially like the brown, embossed crocodile skin Cambino case for video iPod models, seen here. I've been using a Koyono ViewSlimmy as my main wallet for several months, and I love it. Great build quality, and it's holding its own in day-to-day usage. I would expect much of the same from these iPod cases. I also have my eye on their BlackCoat Minimal, which, oddly enough, is not available in black.


  • The U.S. Army now has podcasts.
  • Picture Framer is one of myriad non-productive widgets, but it's probably the first one of that category that I like.
  • There are new Get a Mac ads, and in "Trust Mac", I swear Justin Long is about to truly crack up every time he has to look at John Hodgman wearing the glasses and fake mustache.

    [Via Paul.]


The iPod cases from ifrogz look very nice. I like the customizable aspects of the design, but would love to be able to upload my own image for the Screenz. A Retrophisch-branded iPod case in "Gun Metal" Wrapz and "Thick Black" Bandz would rock.

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Amazon Grocery is now out of beta after more than 200,000 people have used it to shop for food staples.

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One of the recent winners of a Flickr Pro account speaks to my childhood.

Tivoli's latest iPod accessory

It's a shame that at the time I reviewed the Tivoli Audio iSongBook, there wasn't the black version. Such is life. Now, Tivoli has the unusually-named iYiYi coming in the fall. Billed as a digital home entertainment system, the iYiYi doesn't look to have many more features than the iSongBook, but it does have a deeper casing. This means it's not as portable as the iSongBook, but will likely sound better, since the iYiYi will be capable of delivering deeper, fuller bass sounds, one of the areas in which I found the iSongBook lacking. [Wave of the phin to Uncrate.]


I must have a Gnome-be-Gone. Must. [Via Uncrate.]

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Why is it I'm learning about Pete's Famous from Brent, rather than my parents, who have lived in the Birmingham metroplex for a decade? (I can actually answer this one; my parents bring their lunch to work, and don't go out.) I wonder how far Gus's place is from their respective offices?

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Eric Blair:

Of course, I could see this eating into the PowerMate’s market. I mean, who needs a flashing knob to notify you of email when you can have a flashing keyboard? One reason I turned off that particular functionality of my PowerMate was the distraction of the blinking light...

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Presenting the iCarta. iDon't think so. [Via Firewheel Design.]

We were content to kick your BLEEP, but now you've made us mad

I love how my friends are able to succinctly sum up current events.

A pair of Apple miscellany

"Apple simplifies .Mac Web access". So common sensical, I wonder why they didn't think of this sooner.

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"Apple actively courting the Beatles". I like the Beatles, but I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to download any of their music from anywhere. For the sake of Apple, I would love for the iTunes Music Store to carry their full catalog; I believe, as one online commentator wrote, that the Beatles could make up any lawsuit-related losses easily through iTMS sales. Unlike myself, there are lots of people, including TUAW's Dave Caolo, who want individual Beatles albums. Personally, I have all the Beatles' songs I could want on my iPod already. It's called "1".


It's too bad I have no design experience nor web programming skills. The guys at Firewheel Design sound fun to work with, and they're about fifteen minutes away in Southlake.

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Dan needs some of this furniture in his pad.

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Cableyoyo's new Pop is a good idea, but most folks I know with iPods keep them in some sort of case.

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What happens when you shove an iPod Shuffle in to a NES controller?

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[With waves of the phin to the Firewheel Design blog, and Macsimum News.]


Waterfield Designs has a padded carrying case for the iPod Hi-Fi that allows the use of the system while remaining in the case.

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Lost your iPod? Check craigslist to see if someone's found it.

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Further proof that RSS is everywhere.

Dell can't compete with Apple

Dell has discontinued its sale of hard drive-baesd MP3 players. John Gruber:

Someone should make a list of all the pundits and tech columnists who, back in October 2003 when Dell first introduced the DJ, predicted that it was the beginning of the end for the iPod.

How you know you're a parent #1,487

While testing a new product for review, you set your iPod on shuffle, and hear Hootie & the Blowfish, dc Talk, King James (old Christian metal group), Petra (the Aerosmith of Christian rock), and then VeggieTales. Just kind of throws that whole rhythm off to have Junior pop in to the middle of the mix with "Come over to my house and play!"

The latest iBelieve

Someone tell me when Snoop, 50 Cent, or some other rapper/hip-hopper sports the iBelieve on MTV. Not that I really care; that's just the first thing I thought of when I saw the product photo. [Via John.]

Why stock analysts are worthless

(Alternative title: There's an reason the word "anal" is in "analyst") Apple quadruples its profit, but the stock takes a ten percent-plus dive because the company "missed" the number of iPod sales stock analysts --who are not employees of Apple, do not sit on the Board of Directors, and who are not Apple executives-- said they thought the company should have sold? They sold 6.4 million iPods in a three months. How many Rios did Creative sell in the last three months? Oh, that's right, they canned that music player. Hold on, it gets better. Those same analysts, who are poo-pooing Apple for failing to sell as many iPods as the analysts thought they should have sold, seem to think Delphi is a good buy. No wonder monkeys are just as good at the stock market as these guys. [With thanks to John Gruber, and Matt Deatherage and W.R. Wing on the MacJournals-Talk list.]

iPod <i>Nano</i>?

I realize with a new, slimmer design, Apple would want a new moniker to grace its smallest-iPod-with-a-screen, but who came up with Nano? That word should imply something very small, as in smaller than the Shuffle, which the Nano is not. Better they had kept the Mini name for this range of iPods, or possibly gone with Micro.

Baby's first iPod

This is giving me all sorts of ideas, should we have another tyke.

Just Can't Get This Out Of My Head

So while ripping CDs and loading up my wife's Shuffle, I decided to listen to a few tunes on it. I am still amazed that music comes out of this little chunk of plastic. One of the tunes I came across was Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough". I remember it was used in a commercial, but the commercial made such an impression on me that I cannot recall what or whom the commercial was for. Anyone?

Napster needs to do the math again

See Napster's Super Bowl ads? Think you'll remember them three weeks from now? Right. Ashlee Vance dissects Napster's supposed costs, which do not take in to account the fact that most people's songs on their iPods are not from the iTunes Music Store:

From where we sit, the math doesn't break down terribly well in Napster's favor.

Let's take a look at consumer A. This consumer goes to and does a search for Creative - one of the Napster supported music device makers - and picks up a 20GB player for $249.99. Let's assume he keeps the device for three years, paying Napster all the time. That's $538 for the Napster service, bringing the three-year total to $788.19.

Consumer B types iPod into the search engine and finds a 20GB device for $299. Apple doesn't offer a subscription service, so this customer has to buy songs at the 99 cent rate or at $9.99 per album. Subtracting the price of the iPod from the $788, consumer B would have $489 left over for music. That's roughly worth 489 songs or 49 albums.

We posit that during this three-year period both Consumer A and Consumer B will actually end up with close to the same number of songs on their devices. Customers do not, as Napster suggests, pay $10,000 to fill their iPods with 10,000 songs just because the capacity is there. They take their existing music, CDs and MP3s, and put that onto the device first, then later add iTunes songs as they go along. A Napster customer would have a similar mix of old music and new downloads.

The big difference here is that after the three years are up, Consumer B has something to show for his investment. He still owns the music. If the Napster customer stops paying for the service, his music is all gone. He's paying $179 per year to rent music. This isn't high quality stuff either. It's DRM (digital rights management)-laced, low bitrate slop.

You could once buy a CD and then play that music on your computer or in your car at will. Hell, you still can. You own it. You can burn an extra copy of the disc in case it gets scratched or pass along the disc to a friend to see if they like it - just like you would with a good book. Five years from now, you will still own the CD. No one can tell you where and when you can play it.

This is not the case in the Napster subscription world. After six years, you've tossed away $1,076 for something that barely exists. Forget to pay for a month and watch your music collection disappear. (Not to mention, you're betting on the fact that Napster will even exist two years from now. At least you know that a year's subscription to the Wall Street Journal will still work in 12 months time.) I'm a CD man, myself. I like the versatility of being able to do whatever the heck I want to with the music I purchase. I know it will run aghast of some, but I still use CDs in my Pilot. Most of the time, however, the CD arrives at the phisch bowl, gets opened, ripped to MP3 format in iTunes, and is loaded in to the music library (tunaphisch) and on to the iPod (phischpod). The only tunes I've downloaded from the iTMS are the free ones I occasionally will like. That may change a bit with the new Pepsi-iTunes promo, but other than that, I do not see myself purchasing digital music directly from Apple, much less from Napster. [Via DF.]