iTunes Purchase

When I got the iPod I also had to get Apple’s iTunes (well, not really; I wound up sticking with Windows 98 and using Ephpod to get songs onto the iPod, but I did set up a Windows 2000 hard drive and load iTunes on it).

After a number of weeks I finally got all the security patches in place for Windows 2000 and felt like I could take iTunes for a spin on the internet and download some songs. 99 cents per song is really pretty reasonable. I’ve bought entire albums before because they had 3 good songs. The problem with downloading is you don’t actually have something to hold. I think that tangible ownership is an important part of having music, but maybe I’m just old fashioned. Cover art used to be giant and double albums (and plenty of single albums) would open up to even bigger artwork in the middle. CD covers just aren’t as impressive though some of the disc graphics are kind of neat.

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Dish Network PVR

This is a response to a person on AMUG who was thinking about buying a PVR and asked for advice . . .

I bought a Dish PVR 500 (or 501?) a couple of years ago. It’s the greatest thing since color. It records about 1 hour per gigabyte. Mine has a 40 GB drive in it and that’s really plenty. I’ve got stuff on there I’ve saved for months (if you don’t protect a show, then the oldest shows will automatically be deleted to make room for new shows when the hard drive gets full) and not watched that I could get rid of if I needed the space. Now they have much bigger hard drives so I don’t see that as being a problem.

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iPod Accessories

Tidbits this week and last week had gift ideas for iPod owners.

http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=07480

Since I don’t know any iPod owners except for me, I bought myself a gift (in ultra-violet):

http://www.radtech.us/podsleevz.html

The Tidbits guy likes it because (among other things) it takes some of the sensitivity away from the buttons.

One other accessory that is pretty neat is podlet that you connect to the top of the iPod that receives signals from a remote control. So that way you can hook up the iPod to your stereo and then skip forward, back, pause, control the volume, etc. with a remote. This guy suggests connecting the iPod to . . . . a PAL for a dynamite portable audio system. And he has a picture of it (the trouble, as he points out, is that while you can control the iPod from across the room, you can’t actually see anything on the display from across the room):

http://www.danfrakes.com/writing/images/TidBITS/iPodTivoliNavPod.jpg

It’s as if there is complete closure in the world. No doubt he has some way of turning the iPod into an Apache server so he can host Movable Type web logs too while listening to Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman.

Netflix epilogue

I cancelled my Netflix membership after 4 months (see original post. My plan wasn’t to stay subscribed to it for long, just long enough to get caught up on watching a lot of movies. I was happy with the service. It rarely took more than one work day for movies to make it from me to them or vice versa. So if you were really diligent you could watch a movie just about every day.

Really the limiting factor is how much time you have to watch movies and how many movies do you really want to see? If you start picking marginal movies then you will procrastinate watching them. Or if you have a busy life you won’t be able to watch them.

Anyway, I was able to watch 13 movies in August, 12 in September, 11 in October, and 7 in November. For $20 a month, plus tax, that comes out to about $2 per rental. I think I only returned one movie that I decided I just wasn’t going to watch, plus a couple that I didn’t watch all the way through.

For the newest hottest movies, you may have to wait a couple of weeks to see them. One in particular, The Italian Job, had a “long wait” on it for several weeks. But most of what I was looking for were movies that had been out for a while and they were available as soon as they worked their way to the top of my queue.

It’s a neat concept and it works great for a few months.

Follow-up: Two years later I tried Netflix again