Now the IPod Backlash

16 Comments

Now that most media has run of most of the nice things to say about iPod, it is perhaps time to bring down the iconic music player a notch or two from its perch at the top of digital music totem pole. Or so goes the convoluted logic of folks over at Silicon.com. I am wondering out loud here, but what really changed between today and a month ago? As luck would have it, they bought a few iPods, and they flaked on them. Happens, not often but happens. A high quality Honda turns out to be a lemon, and so does a Fujitsu plasma screen.

I have had my share of problems with iPod Mini, and its errant quality. But it doesn’t mean that the iPod era is over. The device and the music store along with the iTunes software is still the best digital music experience: buy, plug and enjoy! It is not an ideal situation, for I abhor the format bullying by Apple, but given the alternatives, this is a pretty good option. Sure the Silicon.com team can buy their Creative Zens, but from what I heard last Creative’s CEO is pulling his hair out, wondering how to overcome the Apple juggernaut.

Silicon.com folks are pulling straws and trying to make something out of what is really nothing. They try and support their arguments with a Duke University report. Duke university gave away iPods to 1650 freshman and only 600 used them. Silicon.com spins the results as mixed. I am not sure what Duke was thinking, but iPod was meant as a music player not as a recording device for academic purposes. If you are going to use a BMW to bulldoze a wall, you know the results are going to be mixed.

16 Comments

Kirk Peterkin

Not to say that there aren’t a lot of wasted classes at Duke, But the two classes I have taken with Satti Khanna, were among the most important experiences in my personal artistic development.

I am personally not a fan of the ipod, but if there is a teacher out there that can show people how to experience more, live more, and learn more using their mp3 players, Satti is probably the teacher.

Anona

“Make that the **rigged** market economy, which feasts off innocents like you by using advertising to create wants in such as you.”

I don’t own an iPod, do you?

“Regarding needed gadgets…”

You need to learn to read. I said absolutely nothing about “needed” anything. On the contrary, I said it’s for entertainment.

“how about stopping development of beyond stupid computerized games, and concentrating on devices that can help deal with poverty and AIDS in Africa?”

How about it? What are *you* waiting for?

“What if every person in Africa south of the Sahara had a yet-to-be-developed stripped-down computer attached to a broadband connection?”

Well, I’m sure you’d be complaining about how the rigged market duped them into buying one of those!

Thomas Hirsch

Hey, James: Your vague attack is not helpful.

Anyway, I checked what Duke is doing with the iPod, in a collaboration apparently funded by Apple. It appears that Duke is even nuttier now than in the late 1990s, when I followed its silly English Department’s wackiness. Anyway here is one course using the iPod:

Fullness of Being (AALL 49S)
In this course, taught by Professor Satendra Khanna, students examine subjective experience and ideas about mysticism and human potential. In projects exploring how people experience various cultural environments, students will use iPod devices to record the sounds in settings such as a pool hall, movie theater, Duke Gardens, or evening parties. Freshmen in the class will already have iPods through Duke’s iPod experiment; upperclassmen will be loaned iPod devices for the semester. The entire class will be loaned iPod microphone attachments.

Parents pay about $5000 so their kids can waste time in such a junk course? Aaaargh.

Duke and Apple appear to be made for each other. Nutty puffing of junk gadgets to academic status.

For more on Duke’s crazy use of iPod, go to

http://cit.duke.edu/about/ipod_faculty_projects_spring05.do

By the way, the best way to learn a language is through Total Immersion, with other students and language experts, without junk gadgets.

james

Thomas,

What an attitude. You must have a tough life full of beefs against marketing and education. And having so few who want to do what you and you only think is important or useful must irritate you to no end.

But I have compassion. And so that you can speak with a bit more intelligence and less ignorance the next time you’re wasting your time reading about the iPod instead of changing the world according to Thomas, here is some background:

The iPod’s at Duke were given to foster education. To use in language classes. To use to listen to recorded lectures and speeches. The experiment was not a rousing success because those students who didn’t need to use them for classes did not take any initiative to figure out how to use them for education. I’m sure the students thought the professors were the ones to figure that out, and if the professors couldn’t do so, then surely the students couldn’t be expected to do so. I don’t know what the administration was thinking.

jbelkin

The people who seem to write for Silicon.com seem to be 14-year olds who might have other agendas – almost all of their Mac based stories are negative ones, based on filmsy evidence or frankly, just outright lies.

And using the Duke ipod experiment means nothing out of context. I’ll bet 1,000 out of every 1,600 textbook buyers in college hated the class & the money they spent on the book.

Jesse Kopelman

Isn’t 600 out of 1700 a pretty good take up rate for new technology. Last time I checked there are still people who don’t know how to use e-mail and that is what 30 years old?

Thomas Hirsch

[For Anona] Make that the **rigged** market economy, which feasts off innocents like you by using advertising to create wants in such as you. Regarding needed gadgets, how about stopping development of beyond stupid computerized games, and concentrating on devices that can help deal with poverty and AIDS in Africa? The former by creating a culture of economic stabilization and growth, the latter by smashing a culture that fosters the spread of AIDS and makes AIDS sufferers social outcasts. What if every person in Africa south of the Sahara had a yet-to-be-developed stripped-down computer attached to a broadband connection?

Anona

“To what end are all the gadgets being created, and Are the proper gadgets being invented?”

You are, of course, free to create your own gadget, and not buy an iPod, if you don’t want to.

I’m sure Jobs, Gates and the rest of the world is waiting patiently for you to invent what we all need.

I don’t think a single one of those 15+ million iPod owners were held at a gunpoint before their purchase. It *is* for entertainment.

The whole thang is called the market economy. Look it up sometime.

Thomas Hirsch

[This is for Anona.] The world is on fire in Iraq, and elsewhere, and Steve Jobs pushes iPods and extreme junk cartoon movies. Compare him to Robber Barons of the past. Andrew Carnegie funded untold numbers of libaries, many in small towns, and Carnegie Hall in NYC and the Carnegie endowments for peace and education. The Rockefellers added immensely to American cultural life, The Cloisters being just one example. The Frick Collection. The Morgan Library etc. etc. And what about that other hollow man, Bill Gates? Yes, he has funded some vaccinations (probably preserved with Thermerisol), using maybe 0.001 of his horde, gained mostly through rapacious destruction of competitors. And the various other high-tech multi milliionaires and billionaires. How many hospitals have they funded? What good have they done, besides building horrific junk mansions for themselves and driving the latest conspicuous-consumption vehicle? President George Bush is the clear Doppelgaenger of the high-tech hollow boys, as well as bizarrely hollow Warren Buffett, among others. Anyway, I enjoy broadband, the subject of this blog, but clearly there needs to be much thought on To what end are all the gadgets being created, and Are the proper gadgets being invented?

Anona

“is it possible to download classical music to an iPod (that is, beyond a 3-minute stippet)?”

No, for you, it’s not. You have to have a modicum of intelligence to click a few buttons. But then, as soon as the iPod senses the tune to be of “classical” nature, it truncates it at the 3 min mark.

“Do any iPodders do so?”

No, they are all unserious idiots.

What’s “classical music” anyhow? Is it edible?

Andrew Goodman

I was nonplussed when I initially saw that Duke story. I thought – why don’t they give them something that relates to the future of their working lives, like a Blackberry or Treo? As currently constituted the iPod is still a fun toy for off hours, as T. Hirsch above correctly emphasizes.

Thomas Hirsch

Om — Perhaps the world is a serious place, in which you should not bury yourself narcissistically listening to (mostly junk) music (“music”). Hats off to Duke students, who apparently are serious, aware, and properly motivated. Out of curiosity, is it possible to download classical music to an iPod (that is, beyond a 3-minute stippet)? Do any iPodders do so?

Kalyan

Indeed, the era of Ipod is not over but I feel that there are other players, perhaps not the Creative Zens but IRiver and Cowon IAudio that deserve a lot more than they get. I have personally used IRiver, IAudio and Apple Ipod 40 GB versions and Apple can just not match the sound quality provided by the other mentioned counterparts.

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