My Mac Life

(or, “How an iPod Changed My Perspective on Technology”)

A topic I’ve been meaning to espouse on for some time is exactly how I’ve managed to go from being such a die hard geek to being somebody who enjoys using Apple’s technology (not that the two are mutually exclusive).

A close friend of mine has taken great joy in telling people how my views on technology took a dramatic shift shortly after I got an iPod, and of course while that may sound overly simplistic, it’s essentially true.

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The Battle of the Bitrates

How much is enough? Or, to put it another way, how much is too much?

As I had discussed in a previous entry (see What the Market Will Bear), I firmly believe that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to audio equipment, and there are many self-proclaimed audiophiles out there who simply buy expensive equipment just to somehow prove their “audiophileness.”

Well, the same can also be said for digitally encoded music. At what point do bit-rates yield diminishing or even completely insignificant benefits?

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Video Content: Simple or Free?

Faultline, TV to iPod, PSP conversion tools spill onto the market:

The upshot of this is that any business models that rely on selling copies of previously televised TV shows, such as Apple’s sale of Lost and Desperate Housewives, is doomed to failure. Why pay for that content when it can be extracted for free?

This interesting article in The Register makes the point that Apple’s current iTunes-based distribution model is ‘doomed to failure’ as tools now exist to transfer recorded video content to the iPod.

However, this statement misses one very important point: That of the balance between simplicity and cost.

Apple has always been a forerunner of the principle of simplicity in technology. In short, this would seem to mean that they recognize that technology should do what it is designed to do in the most user-friendly and simple way possible, and that it should simplify our lives rather than complicating them with more bells and whistles.
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What the Market will Bear?

Today’s economy has produced a myriad of wild and wonderful products that enhance our lives and provide more opportunities for leisure, and in some cases are just plain fun.

However, somewhere along the way, we have gone from reasonably priced items that provide actual value for money into the realm of the strange, esoteric, and just plain ridiculous items that are priced up in the stratosphere. In this realm, I cannot possibly see any relationship between the selling price of such items and the actual value that they provide.
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Etymology of an eBay Scam

(or, “eBay ain’t what it used to be”)

Like most other computer geeks, I signed up for an eBay account a few years ago, and did a bunch of casual buying and selling on eBay. At the time, eBay seemed like a wonderfully utopian idea: The evolution of a good old neighbourhood flea market with the far-reaching power of the Internet and, for a while, it certainly was.

But something has changed in the intervening few years. The ethically challenged among us have figured out that they have the potential to make fast and easy money by preying on the naive and unsuspecting.
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