I was away for a while.  Had chrimbo, et al, & then went to aussie for ~3 weeks in january.  makes me a slacker.  After i came back i had a week in the office & then did a course with some folks from Wharton last week.  That, & disappointing snow, have displaced my ability to blog.  i know there were 10s of thousands of you in the blogsphere just salivating on my next missive...

I guess you'd be dead to be in the Microsoft world to have missed the wired article on how it's a faux pas to have an iPod in Microsoft http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,66460,00.html.  I don't think it is.  Tonight i got my 4th iPod - a shuffle.  Nice valentines present from Mel, especially when at a dinner last Friday i dissed it as the wankers ipod.  Its not like i am in a totally ipod as my music player world - i have a Creative Zen which kicks the iPod ass in a couple of areas (see below). the Zen ui is not as pleasing (in fact there are some functions that it's almost like they were being cruel) & there seems to be no way to remote the functions (like this thing).  The have white ear buds so you can look as cool as an iPod user, i guess.  I also have the Phillips Nike player - don't use it that much any more, but i did. 

I think the shuffle will be good for snowboarding - i have been worried about taking some big hits & breaking the disc - solid state could be better. 

It's my 4th iPod.  My first I left on a plane back from Australia a couple of years ago. That shows either I am an idiot or united can never return cool lost property. I also got Mel a pink mini iPod - she likes it & it suits her. 

The one thing that is missed in all this cross cultural sniping about the iPod vs. Microsoft is that it's a pretty good windows app (it could be better - for example handle multiple sessions in fast user switching...) - it doesn't leak if it has been running for a while (I didn't do a trace, I should have before I said that), has some good extra functions (their use of extended properties, while a little funky for me is good ui for a novice) & is pretty easy to use. 

My Comparisons:

Packaging: The true place that apple need to be congratulated on is the experience of buying an iPod.  i was wishing the Zen had as good an experience - with an iPod, you get so much feeling that its a great purchase by the packaging - it hangs together so well, you feel like it was (almost) worth spending the money. While the iPod is an A++ in that area, the Zen has everything mounted in a cheesy recycled cardboard thingy, that while I agree with politically, looks like some hippy dead user chewed up & spat out molded to form.  Winner: iPod

Design: I am a wallpaper reading amateur here - lets not even pretend, apple wins.  the zen is pretty good & a little smaller, but no where near the iPod.

Connectivity: The iPod uses both firewire (ok, ok, ieee 1394) & usb 2.0 - i tried both (seeing i have both on different machines - for anyone researching - go firewire.  Their usb implementation shows they cared more for the other.  The Zen has USB 2.0 & their implementation is much better - also you can do it directly from media player which some people choose .  i think this ends up having the ipod at b & zen at b-

Power: The iPod has famous discussions about the batteries dying - we'll see in about a year.  The Zen has a replaceable battery & a spare supplied - both apparently with 12 hours life.  the winner here has to be the zen

number of songs per gb: the iPod uses mp3 or aac - the zen uses wma - the number of songs i get on will always be the killer - i think the Zen wins here.

UI - lets be real - the iPod kicks ass  & the zen is kinda hard - i just can't get used to the slide-y thing in the middle - i always go by what i want.  the iPod wins for sure.

Online: itunes is pretty cool - other services are catching up, but itunes is the winner.

Other functions: the iPod has a load of addons.  the zen it has an fm radio (which is awesome for working out seeing my gym transmitts the tv on fm).  the ipod wins here hands down, but who the hell wants a knitted sock for their mp3 player? 

So there you go, a ms guy says his ipod is better.  however apple better watch out - being flavor of the month is fleeting & the things they hold their hat on as competitive features are not all that far ahead of their competition.  We've got to do a better job with our partners.

/i
p.s. I got a new car - a Land Rover LR3- which has an aux input to the stereo & i can use this thing to
get a line out (as opposed to a normal audio out which sounds lower fidelity to me) & it sounds awesome.  Because there is no real way to remote the controls, i have to run the little remote thingy out of where i keep the ipod.  This makes the ipod a much better choice than the Zen for my car.  the Zen is a much better choice for working out.  right thing for right job. 

p.p.s. ok, I have to ask this – why is apple seen as the politically correct company when they are farming out their production to China?  Doesn’t anyone else think this is weird?  I remember having a discussion with some people I know who were in the WTO protests here in Seattle a couple of years ago – I asked them why they were wearing gap. Old navy & burton clothes – obviously, some things are not correct to question because they have not talked to me soon.  If you are protesting about globalization, support it with your own money (here is my plug for the best tshirts around – American Apparel)