another ipod convert

That’s right, I’ve joined the masses. I bought an ipod nano (4gb) the other day, and I gotta say, I’m hooked. The thing that I actually like the most about this thing is the firmware. In my opinion, user interfaces should serve one noble purpose in this world: give me what I want now, slave.

My little nano fits that bill and a whole lot more. Well, not that much more, really. It displays the shiny album cover when I play music, which is nice because I can stare at the tiny screen and listen to the music at the same time. I think it’s impressive. I think it would be even cooler if I could browse by album cover art.

The only problem I’ve had with it so far is iTunes. My review of that software can be summed up in one simple sentence: “grip, it ain’t.”

First of all, it encodes the files on the fly, so I can’t stick them in one after another and keep them ripping in a queue. I’m sure there’s much better software to rip them, but I compare windows like running into a burning building — get what you need quickly, then get the crap out of there.

Secondly, by default it rips to only 128kbps AACs. That’s quite too low for my sophisticated music tastes which range from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to “The Brave Little Toaster.” The stereo output on the ipod is quite nice, but at that bitrate it seems like a lot gets cut off, and it sounds muffled.

I played around with the very limited options, and changed it to do VBR at 256 kbps instead, but it still wasn’t sounding as great as I imagined the legendary AAC would. So, I pulled it out of my Windows box, popped it back on Linux desktop, fired up gtkpod, and started copying over my MP3s. They sound much better, so I’m happy again.

I gotta say that gtkpod is a cool little app in its own right as well. I must be getting old though, because it took me about half an hour just to figure out how to copy music over. I kept thinking you put it in the “Local” and then it would sync to the ipod. Ah, well. It definately takes longer to copy files over than iTunes does, but at least I don’t have to move my MP3s around different computers just to transfer them on there.

Overall, I’d give the ipod a thumbs up, even though I’ve spent more time writing this post than actually using it. I’d definately recommend one.

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