Shuffling Along

Apple is the only company I know that can consistently get buzz from crippled (yet stylish) products. Need an example? Take the iPod Shuffle (please… ba-dum-tish). Looking to capture the low-end media player market, Apple introduced the flash-based Shuffle without a display.

Like Apple’s one-button mouse, using the Shuffle is simple. Want to know what song is playing? Just listen. Want to know what song will be playing next? Wait and listen. Want to select a different song? Push the buttons and listen. It’s the MP3 player equivalent of the weather rock.

Rather than be embarrassed, Apple is increasing the lack of control and calling it a feature. Apple brags that iTunes can randomly load songs from your library onto your Shuffle. After all, why be surprised merely by the order of songs when you can also be surprised by what songs are on your Shuffle?

With the Shuffle’s 240-song capacity, random music programming could make sense for a generation that’s been trained to thumb its way from one crappy reality show to the next six-pack ab-exerciser infomercial. Don’t like the song Shuffle chose for you? Click!

So, do I hate iPods? No, as I wrote earlier, I received a 20-GB iPod for Christmas and still love it. I’ve been cruising the iPod sites looking for ways to integrate the iPod even more into my life. Necessary additions seem to be some way to connect to my home and car sound systems. I’m not concerned whether I should have waited for Apple’s next insanely-great product. Should I ever have Shuffle-envy, Mark Husson has lobotomy instructions.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

As I start to write it’s a little more than two hours until next year. It’s been nearly a week since my last posting. Let’s recap.

On Sunday, I officially entered the world of iPod. After ripping and transferring all of my CD’s, I have a 20-GB iPod that’s twice as big as necessary. Time to get some more music… I enjoy having all my music at my fingertips. Not having mastered the skill of creating multiple play lists, I’m enjoying listening to my entire library in shuffle mode. Never know what’s coming next. Quick tip: if you have an iPod, you need Anapod Explorer from Red Chair Software. Anapod makes it easy to have more songs on your iPod than on your PC. This won’t be a problem if you can dedicate 20 GB to your music library; I can’t.

Just a few days after my first post on earthquakes, the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami struck south Asia. The current death toll is 124,000 and expected to rise. The earthquake still shows as a large circle on the IRIS seismic monitor, but it will soon be replaced with a purple dot, indistinguishable from the many already showing. The earthquake doesn’t yet show on the USGS list of significant earthquakes, but when it does, it will not be the earthquake with the most loss of life. That horrific honor goes to a quake on January 23, 1556, in Shensi, China. Amazingly, there are a few more with at least 200,000 fatalities.

Ironically, on Wednesday, we went to the OMNIMAX theater at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon, and saw Forces of Nature.

Just yesterday, Suzi and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Only those who have never made it beyond their honeymoon would believe me if I claimed the last 20 years have been without trouble. Nonetheless, the years have been much better than I deserved. Thank you, Suzi. Here’s looking forward to 20 more!

I haven’t written New Year’s resolutions for years. This year won’t be different. Meet you in 2005!