Saturday, August 18

Another Gadget to Lust After

I've been happy with my new iPod for the most part- a recent overnight session at The Salt Mines gave me ample opportunity to appreciate having a personal music supply during the wee hours of the morning when it was better to keep to one's self while working or just wasting away the hours to the sunrise. It certainly got me thinking about any possible replacements for my XDAIIi. Yeah, yeah... I knew I said that I'd be keeping my Pocket PC phone- and I probably will, at that. But still, once I really get used to the idea of having my media mostly in my iPod, it would be nice to have a smaller phone instead of the large PPC sagging at my belt.

I've already talked about the O2 XDA Flame in the past, but come on- that thing makes my XDA look as light as a runway model. What I am looking for is a phone that doesn't compromise on size as much as capabilities and feature. And I think I found one that fits the bill swimmingly.

My next phone?

It's the Sony Ericsson W960, a Walkman smartphone with a lovely, 2.6-inch 256K-color TFT Touchscreen (only slightly larger than the iPod's screen). This latest Walkman phone seems to have it all- 3G, WiFi, 8 Gigabytes of flash memory, 30fps video-playing capability, 3.2 Megapixel camera, FM radio, Symbian UIQ OS for apps and games, PIM features... and man, it even LOOKS slick and sexy. It's no wonder though that this phone is Sony Ericsson's answer to the iPhone. Certainly, the Apple device has a bigger and better screen, but the W960 has phone features that the neophyte designers at Apple didn't throw into the iPhone, as well as support for 3G. So if I was actually given a choice between the W960 and the iPhone, I'd probably choose the former.

Perfect, isn't it? Well... no. The wrinkle is, well, that the W960 isn't here yet- it's still coming, but it should be here very soon. Which means its probably expensive, which should mean I will have to wait a bit until I get it so prices go down a bit. If it comes out later this year though, it should make for a wonderful Christmas gift for myself. Heh. We'll see. Later this year, then.

Monday, August 13


Last Saturday, I went ahead and became one of the Pod People. Yep, I finally got myself an Apple iPod, after all this time. Well, what can I say? The device is damn sexy (got the black version) and the scroll wheel is addictive to use, if a bit daunting at first. Strangely enough, I wasn't able to sync my Pod with all the gigs and gigs of songs and videos I've been stockpiling for the past couple of weeks right away since my PC's video card picked this weekend of all weekends to DIE. So I had to go the next day to V-Malll and get myself a brand-spankin' new 256 MB Asus Videocard. Once installed though, it was all a matter of plugging in the Pod and getting down to business.

I still think that iTunes is quite a hassle- I actually had to attempt syncing twice after a botched step caused my music to vanish. I really think that the Drag-and-Drop ease of managing files and stuff in Windows devices beats out having to bother with an middleman app anytime in the week and twice on weekends. It's irritating to have to segregate your videos to just either Movies or TV Shows or Podcasts, and nothing else. I hate that you can't hear anything from the Pod without the earphones. And I really miss having a wallpaper or theme to stare at lovingly at the Home Screen. For these reasons, I guess I'll always keep my XDAIIi (or a Windows PPC Phone of some sort) handy.

On the plus side, once I got past some hiccups like un-copyable files and the synching process stopping several times, it was easy as pie to get my stuff onto the Pod. After all was said and done, even with almost 3000 songs, 600+ video podcasts and 40 episodes of Avatar, I still had over 40 gigs of space still left over. Well, I'll leave that for another day.

Lost on the iPod.

One of the cooler things I did with my Pod was install about a dozen games, including this pretty cool Lost game which puts you in the sodden shoes of everyone's favorite Foxy shipwrecked neurotic doctor. The game is pretty complex and far more advanced than I thought possible for the iPod, and supposedly takes you through the series' storyline for quite a bit, up to the castaway's encounter with the invisible monster, the discovery of The Hatch and encounters with The Others. The graphics are quite surprising and cool, but I'll try to save this for a rainy/boring day.

That said, the iPod's screen is simply amazing. Even at 2.5 inches, the screen is damn gorgeous and videos are as crisp as Pringles potato chips. The detail, frame rates and color of the MP4 vids is astoundingly good. I only wish it was easier to encode these H.264 format vids (it's not entirely foolproof with Super) and that iPod-ready shows and movies were easier to find. I still won't be watching LOTR on the Pod, but stuff like TV shows and anime (english, preferably) should be fine.

I'm still in the throes of early honeymoon period bliss with my new toy- I expect I'll be searching high and low for a nice bag for it I can clip to my belt so it'll be easier and safer to bring along. There are things that I will still look to my XDAIIi for, but the iPod has now become part of my world.

Or perhaps, I have become part of the iPod's world..?