Last fall, rumors flew fast and furious that Steve Jobs had a big iPod announcement in the works. Lead runner in the rumor race was an iPod that would store and play videos. As it turned out, TV fans were disappointed when all Steve had to offer was the iPod photo and (oh, yeah) the biggest rock band in the universe. In his January editor’s note, Jason Snell asked you what you thought: Should Apple do a video iPod? Is the photo version good enough? And you said:
iPod Photo: Your Turn
Maybe it’s anti-Apple to even think it, but I think the iPod photo is way overpriced for what it does. Maybe some folks can use all that storage. But for me, my year-old PalmOne Zire 71 does fine, and it was half the price of an iPod. It plays MP3s; has a nice, high-resolution screen for sharing photos; plays videos; and holds my calendar, contacts, Web pages, and games. Sure, the SD flash card can’t hold as much as a 20GB (or bigger) drive—but how much do most of us really want to carry around? I work with professional photographers who store photos on regular iPods while on long shoots, so the photo version’s screen might be helpful for them. But they carry PowerBooks for editing, anyway. For my money, a good PDA will give more bang for the buck than an iPod of any flavor.
When the first iPods came out, I was one of those people who thought, “All this hoopla for an MP3 player?” As we’ve since learned, the iPod was a stroke of genius. I’ve personally bought six iPods for myself or as gifts. That said, I don’t feel any real excitement about an iPod photo. A hard-drive-based digital music player was a no-brainer: everyone from baby boomers to teens owned a portable CD player. I just don’t see the same need for a device that stores and transports photos.
I see two problems with a video iPod: the content availability you mentioned, and the screen. You can’t comfortably watch a feature-length movie on a 2-inch screen. Perhaps something half the size of the 12-inch PowerBook would be welcome, provided it’s also half the cost or less.
Apple should add more utility to the iPod photo before tackling the video market. Specifically, the company should optimize the iPod as a storage device for the new high-megapixel cameras. For someone in the field shooting at a high resolution, such an iPod would be a great (and relatively cheap) storage device—especially if you could then iSync the photos directly from the iPod to your Mac over an Internet or wireless connection. You’d shoot, store, iSync, delete, and start shooting again.
Should Apple do a portable video player? Yes! As a student filmmaker, I could use one to carry my movies wherever I go. I could just plug it into any screen and let people watch my short productions—it’d be an on-the-go reel.
Two things I wish Mac developers would implement: I get really tired of trying to turn off my system, only to have it ask me whether I want to save the Clipboard’s contents. I wish I could just select an option somewhere that would tell the Mac that I never want to save the Clipboard’s contents before shutdown. (Or better yet, it could just save that stuff to disk by default. With today’s multigigabyte drives, why not?) Second, how often do you send an e-mail message but forget to attach the attachment? Every e-mail client should be able to scan for the words
in the body of an outgoing message; if it finds one of those terms in a message but doesn’t detect an attachment, it should then ask you if perhaps you’ve forgot-ten something.
Lose the JPEGs
Byron C. Kort
Your article “Picture Your Perfect Camera” (
) neglected to point out just how lossy JPEG files are. Depending upon compression, JPEGs throw away between 30 and 95 percent of the pixels that the camera captures. After reading your article, many buyers might think they could blow up JPEG images without losing image quality. But you can do that only with Raw or TIFF images.
OS 9 Debate Continues
In the article “So Long, OS 9” (Mac Beat, January 2005), Glen Turpin of Quark claims that OS X offers “access to the lower levels of the system, which enables us to provide a quicker application.” Ha! I work in catalog production, and most of my team still uses XPress 4.11. I can tell you from daily experience that XPress 4 running in Classic mode
outpaces XPress 6 in every task, from opening and closing a document to printing and creating PDFs. Perhaps
should run some benchmark tests to check Quark’s claim.
More Web Tips
You didn’t mention my favorite new tip for searching the Internet in your “Untangle the Web” article
): when you want to learn how to do something (for example, how to perform red-eye reduction in Photoshop), add the word
to your search. Following that example in Google, you’d enter
“red-eye reduction” Photoshop tutorial
for a tutorial on that subject.
Robert Ellis’s review of Microsoft Virtual PC 7 (
) left out one major drawback that the new version has: users with DSL connections that don’t have static IP addresses can’t access certain Web sites from virtual machines. In version 6, Connectix (the program’s former developer) solved this problem by providing an AppleScript that allowed the user to switch between Shared Packet and Shared Socket networking. Microsoft omitted this script in version 7, making it impossible for a great many Virtual PC users to visit the company’s own Web site, among others. (The version 6 script is not compatible with the new version.) To date, Microsoft has offered neither an explanation nor a promise of a fix.
Even in this “everything’s-on-the-Web-already-so-why-would-I-need-a-print-magazine?” era, print magazines such as
are still useful. I’ve subscribed since 1985, and reading each issue cover-to-cover is still a high priority for me. Although I keep up with current Mac events on the Web, I invariably learn something new—several new things, in fact—from each issue of
I value good writing, good editing, and attractive presentation—always have—and I find those attributes in spades inside every issue of
They’re much harder to come by online.
Peter N. Lewis
I got my first Mac and my first issue of
in February 1984, less than a month after the now famous Super Bowl ad had aired. I still have both. I find something useful in every issue of your fine magazine, but the January 2005 issue has outdone them all. By the time I was finished tearing out the articles I needed, articles I wanted to give to my clients, and articles I wanted to file, there was darn little left for land-fill. Now that’s conservation. Maybe you should just perforate the pages at the binding.
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In “Inside the iPod Photo” (Digital Hub,
), we stated that the iPod photo wouldn’t fit in the Sonnet PodFreq. Sonnet has since announced a version that will hold the iPod photo.