Friday, July 3, 2009

The Little 'Pod That Could

I picked up the new iPod Shuffle a couple days back and I must say: Apple sure can make some good hardware. Always sleek, always sexy, and, 60% of the time, always expensive.

I've been playing around with this little machine for a few days now and here's my thoughts on it thus far.

The new iPod Shuffle is awesome in many ways. The small form-factor makes for a discreet package that can be clipped anywhere. With no controls actually on the device, you'll never have to pull it out. I bought the Silver model because it goes with more of my clothing than the black (yes, I based my decision off of fashionability).

The VoiceOver functionality is sweet when you have no screen to look at and forgot the name of song you're listening to. Having no visual aid was always a setback for the Shuffle to me; but with this new addition, I instantly found it appealing. The ability to use playlists is a big plus, along with 'podcasts' and audiobook entries. This gives the Shuffle a little more 'order' than its random-oriented predecessors.

But is it too small? For a guy like me (who's washed and dried his electronics many a time), this can be a problem, although with an $80 price point I'm a bit more careful.

Another thing is that I've always had a strong disliking of Apple headphones from the very beginning. Now, my hands are kind of tied with the proprietary ones provided. Don't get me wrong, though: I love the way the controls are built into the headphones; just not the headphones themselves.

Although the whole VoiceOver idea is great, execution is a little hit or miss. For one thing, the voices are a little muffled, making for quite a few "huh?" moments where I'm forced to decipher what I just heard.

The song/artist language detection is a little spotty as well. I use this iPod for mostly Japanese music, with song and artist names either in Japanese or English or a mixture of both. The thing is, if the song name is predominantly Japanese, it'll read the artist in Japanese, making for some weird names if the band uses an American-oriented title. Same with English. If I could offer a way to make the VoiceOver feature better, I would say they need to make it so that the iPod reads the song and artist names independently of each other and then append the appropriate language to each.

Although it has a few drawbacks, the new iPod Shuffle is a good buy in my opinion, offering a sleek design, cool features, and a pretty good amount of space (4GB) for someone looking for something discreet/non-flashy. The stainless steel clip brings it up to 'iPod Classic/Touch' status for me. This device gets the job done, and then some. In my opinion, the price is a bit high, but hey, you're paying for the brand...

And the little Apple stickers that come with all their products.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Channel 191

I moved from California to Georgia when I was about eight years old. I was a regular kid, playing sports and trying my hand in every hobby there was at the time (including Beyblades). But it wasn't until around age 11 that technology came knocking at my door. You see, there was this channel...

Channel 191 (Dish Network). I sat there in amazement as I saw a guy installing something on his Xbox, putting games on the hard drive, and playing them without the disks. To this day I attribute my love for technology and gaming to this one moment in time and space: An episode of “The Screen Savers” with Kevin Rose softmodding his Xbox with EvolutionX.

I softmodded my Xbox, I bricked it. I secretly swapped it out with a friend's Xbox who didn't have a power cord. I bricked that one too. I came upon a third one and...Success! 80GB softmodded Xbox with a shit load of anime. I was on my way. My hunger for tech was always satisfied by the ever present TechTV. It gave me the push I needed to later build my first computer at age 14 and repair PSP screens (I kept sitting on mine). By then, I was fully entrenched in the "Geek Lifestyle" (do I smell trademark?).

TechTV changed my life. Period.

The Screen Savers, X-Play, Filter, and Icons, among others. These shows were what shaped me, what brought me home everyday after school to plop down on the couch and watch. I absorbed everything that they broadcasted, although most of it I vaguely remember.

But wait: who are you? G...4? What is this G4? Merger? What is “merger”?

Just as fast as TechTV came into my life, it was taken right back out. Things were changing. Shows were seeming a bit off and new hosts were coming in that I didn't like all that much.

And then people started leaving. Kevin Rose, Leo Laporte. I stuck around with Sarah Lane even after they changed the name to “Attack of the Show” (OMG WTF). But when she left and two all new hosts had pretty much taken over, the channel was lost. G4TechTV soon gave way to G4TV--the most disgusting, SpikeTV-esque television programming to ever crawl out of the Comcast hole.

Cops? Cheaters? Random Japanese game shows? What happened? Before I knew it, the channel had morphed into some hideous, non-Tech monster that makes me cringe every time I scroll over it in the TV Guide.

TechTV vanished and along with it some memorable shows and people. But there was some good to come of it, with Kevin's Digg and Leo's TWiT.

I guess this could be taken as some kind of weird farewell post to a long gone television channel, but I feel it necessary to thank those who helped in making me the person I am today. Every time I think back on how I got to this point in my life, TechTV instantly stands out as the deciding factor.

So thank you TechTV hosts and staff; you were the catalyst that turned me into the loner, sun-hating technophile that I am today :)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Birth of a Blog

This is the first post of my blog. This is the second sentence of the first post. And this is the 19th word of the first paragraph. Epic.

Hello all and welcome to my blog on gaming, technology, and anything else I can think of, including but not limited to, Japanese, kitties, and Star Wars. My name's Adrian and I'm 17 and I'm a Computer Technician at Computer Arena in Roswell, GA.

With this blog I'll talk about games I'm playing (Dawn of War 2, CS:S, etc.), my job and workplace, which is awesome by the way, and my thoughts on technology hot off the press (or maybe just a few weeks luke warm). Really, anything and everything will be talked about and as time passes, this blog will get through its already inherent identity crisis.

So for now, thanks for stopping by and check back periodically to catch the awkward rantings of Adrian (and friends).

Live long and Prosper (just saw the new Star Trek the other day...).