Llais Ifanc Reloaded

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm sad to say that this blog is now officially closed. To be honest, I've lost interest in the concept. For any new readers who stumble here, consider this blog an archive of my thoughts over the last six years. If you have any questions, feel free to comment!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shuffling regression

Last week Apple released the 3G iPod shuffle.

From reading news stories and reviews, it seems that some things have changed. Among the good changes are the improved sound quality from the 2G iPod shuffle. Using the stock Apple earbuds, I can hear a audible hiss. It's annoying, but nothing major. In any case, this is a plus. I also like the "VoiceOver" feature that reads song/artist titles and playlist names. While some may find this interesting for a while and then annoying (I include myself in this number), I think it has possibility. It offers a solution to those who wondered were the screen was in 2005. I also like the new connector. I've never liked the former dock; it was too bulky and seemed out of place with the device. Increased space is always good as well. Multiple playlists are a plus as well.

With this model, Apple has made some bad changes as well. The controls are now on the headphones! While this looks good on paper at first glance, it seems the headphones are now the only way to control the shuffle. Added to this, the only headphones available are from - you guessed it - Apple. Making this worse is that the new shuffle has no buttons only the toggle switch on the top and the headphone jack. Another bad change is how small the shuffle compared to the two previous generations. I found the the 2G shuffle to be small enough. This however, is extreme. Speaking of extreme, I found the new way of using the device to be complicated. While the 2G had a tiny learning curve (a good example is the clicks on the keypad needed to return to the start of a playlist; that stumped me for a bit), this new model seems to require more clicks just to move around the playlist. For example compare the instructions for the old and new shuffles. The price is also high, but that appears to be the Apple premium we love.

Overall the new shuffle has some good things (VoiceOver, better sound, space) and some bad (headphones, lack of buttons, size). In the end, this appears to be a regression from what came before. It's Apple's idea for the shuffle and not mine. I'll just pass and take my tunes and go home.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Transitions in more ways than one

This time of the year is the time for transitions to take effect. As I think back over the last election, I'm glad the right man will become President and the right woman will become Governor. While the road will be rough and rocky, I feel both President-elect Obama and Governor-elect Perdue will do the job they can.

Yesterday was another day of changes. Congress was sworn-in and Roland Burris, the guy was appointed by Rod Blagojevich (who's been in trouble lately) was turned away from the Senate. While I don't like what the Governor has done, Illinois needs both Senators in this time of trial for all of us.

Apple has also made changes as well. All songs will be without DRM and the price will soon change with prices being from 69 cents to US$1.29 apiece. While I'm glad DRM is gone for good, I'm surprised by the new price range. However I think this won't matter in the long run, as video rentals have been operating on the same principle for years.

I think everything will work out in the end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday morning amazement or why do TV boxed sets still exist

I was bored Sunday morning. To cure this, I decided to watch a few informercials. I saw one for a eight CD set of songs from the 50's called Oldies But Goodies. The informercial was hosted by a guy named Bowzer (who was annoying to say the least) and Julie Lancaster. (BTW, if anyone is reading, who are these people?). The deal offered throughout all of this was 158 tracks on ten CDs for "five easy payments" of $29.95. While watching all of this I began to wonder if this was really a good deal.

Most digital music services, such as iTunes, Napster, or Amazon offer individual songs for 99 cents or in Wal-Mart's case 88 cents. If I were to buy this with the "five easy payments" of $29.95, the entire price would come out to $149.75. Dividing the to total of the set by the number of songs reveals that each songs costs 94 cents each! This is five cents cheaper than iTunes, Napster, or Amazon and six cents cheaper than Wal-Mart. The offer also promised free shipping and handling to the first 500 callers. The S&H was 16.99 which combined with the price after the five easy payments is $166.94. Doing the math again, each song costs $1.05 which is more six cents more expensive than iTunes, Napster, or Amazon and 17 cents more expensive than Wal-Mart. With the S&H included, the savings costs you save before the S&H is gone!

This all leads me to ask why these these box sets still exist. While you save per song, it seems there is a high cost of admission to get the savings. Also, while these songs were hits, how many would the average person like? Not all of them, I think. If the world does move to digital downloads, I wouldn't mind seeing these sets go the way of the Dodo.

Bottom line: research and then spin the bucks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yesterday Apple released new iPods. On the whole this is a part of the natural progress the iPod has made for all of these years.

First off is the new iPod nano. Its now available in nine (flashy) colors and compared to previous model it is rounder and thinner than before. On the color end, I like these choices better. While last years colors were sober, this year I can actually tell which color is which. Interface wise, the nano has has its biggest change. Like the iPhone and iPod touch the screen rotates when watching video or looking at photos. There is also a "shake" feature that shuffles songs in a playlist. This appears to be the most interesting feature of all.

The new iPod touch, is in my view, the model that should have been released last year. It has gone through a redesign giving the device a curved back, a less conspicuous Wi-fi patch, and finally an internal speaker and volume buttons! There is also support for the Nike+iPod running sensor.

The iPod classic now only has 120GB of space with the previous 80GB and 160GB models dropped. This to me, seems like we are nearing the end.

Also new in both iPods and iTunes is a "Genius" feature. According to things I have seen via the Keynote, "Genius" is designed to create playlists using a song (such as this one) that is based on the songs it thinks you would link. At the Keynote it was said that this requires this to connect to Apple to update preferences; they have promised this mined data will be anonymous. I have my doubts about this.

When all is said and done, this was a small bump and a very meaningful one at that. As for the nano, its gotten a few new features that keep Apple ahead for a longer time. As someone who got a touch recently (more on this later), I'm excited to finally see the device become the best PDA and iPod ever.

We are in for good times.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Apple, Amy, and Denise or What I've been up to

It's been awhile since I blogged. I know. The wiki has kept me busy. I also have discovered a site called Rate Your Music. Until I tagged and claimed the CD's I have, I never realized how many I had.

A few things have happened, so let's dive in:

On Monday Apple announced the new iPhone. From everything I read, the thing seems to be faster and come with GPS. Compared to current models, it's cheaper than before, and that's good. However for me to switch, they need to let other carriers have it and lose the attitude about it. Apple have also introduced a new service called MobileMe. From what I read, this is supposed to go beyond sync for your iPhone, iPod touch, and computer. Looks nice on paper, but will it work in practice?

Last weekend Amy Winehouse got in trouble last week with a video full of racist words and drug stuff. This is unacceptable, but on the other hand this shows she needs help - now.

TV has also kept me from blogging. One show I have been watching Denise Richards: It's Complicated. This is fun TV so far. The first episode focused on Richards' angst towards dating and trying to find a date for her pig. The best sense were of Richards' asking for pig sperm over the phone and her date asking unconforable questions during their date. Overall, very fun TV!

I hope to do better blogging!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Over the last week something great has happened. Until last Sunday, Kosovo was a autonomous province of Serbia under temporary UN administration. This week Kosovo has began a new life as a free country! As we speak, the US and a few other countries have recognized Kosovo as a country. Serbia and Russia is upset, with Serbia telling their ambassador to come home as a protest. There was also an attack on the US embassy in Serbia. Serbia and Russia are against Kosovo's independence on two grounds. Serbia claims that independence is illegal since the act interferes with their territorial integrity. Russia is against, fearing that independence will set off a chain reaction of areas becoming independent. In my mind, these agreements are weak at best.

In the statement Serbia issued "annulling" Kosovo's independence, they refer to the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999. This Resolution ended the war in Kosovo and created the temporary UN administration. The document contains a passage that states support for the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". While this is all well and good, it appears that any sovereignty Serbia has had over the last nine years has been zero and virtually symbolic in nature. As for their territorial integrity, Serbia lost the right to govern Kosovo due to the conduct of the Milošević government in revoking Kosovo's autonomy in 1989 and the nasty decade of direct rule Serbia brought on until the 1999 war.

Russia claims that Kosovo independence will give every other area a reason to secede. However, this falls flat in my mind. As stated above, its obvious Kosovo is a different case for the reasons set above. There is also another reason this is special. Kosovo's independence is another chapter in the breakup of Yugoslavia that started with Slovenia, then Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and now Kosovo. If Yugoslavia was still one nation and Kosovo declared independence, I would understand Russia's position here. In this case, I can't.

As for me personally, I'm happy Kosovo is free. The people wanted it and for me this is the number one reason to support their recent action. However my happiness is muted by the lack of agreement on ether side. In any case, that's ancient history now. Let's help Kosovo in going the right way.

It will be hard, but we can do it.