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January 11, 2005

Apple Tart

Three days ago, I said, right here, I Live My Life on Shuffle. And today, Apple introduced an iPod Shuffle; designed to randomly pull 120 or 240 songs out of your iTunes library each morning, and shuffle them. It's the size of a lipstick and weighs less, and it's very much the cheapest iPod ever, starting at 69.

Of course, I already have two iPods, which is surely enough. And my Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones, no longer in-ear, are much, much bigger than the iPod shuffle The key audience for this one, apart from those who have been previously disenfranchised from iPod by price, is all the people who want a tiny flash iPod when exercising. My exercise is dance mat, which already comes with a dodgy soundtrack; yoga, where I don't want music; forest and hill walks, where music would detract from the experience; and cycling, where music would be a really bad idea. But hey, if you're a treadmill fan, you'll want one. And of course, I said I didn't want an iPod mini, and I love my iPod mini now.

A little over 3 years ago, we bought an MP3 CD player for our car; we had to put it on an antishock platform, but we could use CDs with 70 or 80 songs each. The cheaper iPod shuffle is about the same price as we paid for that setup. It has just about the same functionality, but will be massively easier to use (no need to burn your playlists to CD), and weighs 22g.

The Mac mini is utterly desirable. For 339, you can give your PC the best upgrade ever; keep its keyboard, mouse, monitor and printer, and throw the rest away. The only thing that's depressing about the Mac mini is that we bought a Shuttle small form factor PC a few months ago, and the MacMini completely and utterly blows it away. It's about 20% of the size of our Shuttle, or less; and it's way cheaper (though to be fair, our PC has loads of extras, and, besides, we needed a PC).

I have great hopes for Pages; longstanding readers will know that I sulk endlessly about both having to layout our fanzine in Word because we can't afford three copies of a proper DTP programme, and not having a decent Mac programme for things like Christmas Cards. Pages appears to be aimed squarely at both fanzines and families; but we'll see; the real test will be whether we can develop a template for Plokta in it. It's part of a mini-productivity package called iWork; no spreadsheet for some reason but it includes Keynote as well. And iLife has had lots of upgrades too; GarageBand now does multitrack recording and extremely cool realtime music notation; iPhoto allows you to print a cute pocketbook of photos to carry around with you or send to Grandma, and iDVD has some new cute themes. Not too pricey, five apps, and of course free with your Mac mini or other new Mac.

And apparently all this stuff will be in shops in the next couple of weeks. Now, where did I put that credit card?

Posted by Alison Scott at January 11, 2005 11:45 PM


Note the tradition downfall of real-time notation systems -- brutal honesty.

"No, really, that was four notes in that bar. I think. And where did that sharp come from?"

Posted by: Erik V. Olson at January 12, 2005 01:39 AM

mmmmm... New Apple goodies....

Pages sounds good, will have to investigate that myself.

Posted by: Dop at January 12, 2005 09:50 AM

Hey Alison and greetings from Fiji .. sure I am curious how you found my blog :)

reading 'this is the best upgrade for your PC, keep KB, mouse, monitor and throw rest away' had me laughing in tears ...

I have not written that on my blog, because then people will point out my substance abuse issue with all things apple... but I paid my 50% deposit at the local apple dealer here in Fiji yesterday (because of the far away island location i pay quite some extra on import tax and shipping and such) ,, and later last night I ordered the 1 GB shuffle, have it send to a friend in the US and he will ship it to me ...

i hate you apple !!! whaaaa

need to read more of your blog .. just saw the entry about dancing mats ... i used to play Dance Dance Revolution as my only game on my PS1 ... have not played in a while though

Posted by: Peter Nacken at January 13, 2005 09:58 AM

oh .. and how exactly can one connect the macmini to a TV set ?


Posted by: Peter Nacken at January 13, 2005 10:00 AM

Peter -- found your blog I think from technorati. You attach a Mac mini to a TV using a DVI to S-video & composite adapter, which Apple sells; you'll also probably want audio cables. And if you're a serial Apple abuser then you should definitely check out the iProduct.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 13, 2005 10:12 PM

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