I got some new toys as presents - the ubiquitous iPod Shuffle, and a Roku M500 network music player.
Well, strictly, speaking, they're not *my* toys - they belong to my daughter, but since she's unlikely to blog about them, I thought I would.
The Roku came first (note to Roku - I get the whole "Rock You" part, though I tend to read it as "row kew". But can you come up with a better name than "M500"). We plugged it in, hooked up the cables, put in the wireless card, and powered it up. No joy. A bit of experimentation showed that it would work downstairs close to my wireless hub, so it was off to computer stop for a new access point. I ended up with a linksys wireless router, which complicated the setup since it didn't get along well with my SMC barricade, but after I got it setup, I put it in bridge mode (ie not routing), and it worked fine. I installed the Microsoft music sharing software, the Roku booted up, found it, and was playing in seconds. Nice product. I paid a little under $100 for a new one off Ebay.
The ipod was another story. I've read several times how good the out-of-box experience is with the iPod. All I can say is, it must not have been on a windows machine. Insert disc, start installation. Takes *minutes* to get the the installshield wizard, which then installs drivers and software. Plug in the iPod, windows auto-recognizes it, and then the installer sits there for about 3 minutes until it finds it. Installation finishes, reboot, system hangs. Try again, same result. The iPod does not get along well with the BIOS on my machine (could be the ipod, could be the machine). Finally get it booted, start itunes, it checks for a new version, and we get to go through a slow download and the whole installation again.
Finally get into iTunes, and have to figure out the interface. It's not tough, but it's definitely not windows-standard.
Yuck. It's not hard to have your install program check for a new version so that you don't have to install twice. Nor is it hard to build something that's windows-compliant.