Saturday, April 01, 2006


Recently I received one of those e-mails that said "Take this Survey for a Chance to Win an iPOD". Normally an e-mail like that would hit the trash bin faster than you could say left click. For some reason this time I began filling out the survey. I hit submit when I was finished and summarily forgot all about it in a nano second. Lo and behold two weeks later I get an e-mail that said "Congratulations You Won an iPOD!"

Now how cool was that? Prior to that I had never given an iPOD a second thought. While I would have loved to have one as I had been an early adopter of the whole MP3 paradigm the cost of an iPOD seemed ridiculous to me. Besides my wife bought me an MP3 player last year for $39.95 and it worked fine. Well, let me tell you the iPOD is an excellent piece of machinery. In form and function it is sleek and elegant. The minimalist controls make it virtually impossible to get it wrong. There is a thumb slider on and off switch on the back and on the front a very smart circular control panel that has a Play/Pause button in the center and Next/Previous - Volume up/Volume down buttons around the circumference. Perhaps the best feature is the rechargable battery that gets it's power directly from the PC via the USB cable. Yes, that means no adapter and no trips to the store for an over-priced AAA battery.

Equally impressive is the iTUNES software that comes with it. While I have only explored a few aspects of the progam I can tell you it is also a fine piece of software engineering. It can survey your computer and collect all your audio files and organize them in a logical and coherent presentation. Depending on how anal you are you can catalog your entire music collection with excruciating detail. Me, I just want the artist and the song title, everything else is a bonus. Mind you, there is a lot of tedious renaming and organizing on the front end after "ripping" a CD into MP3 files before sucking them into iTUNES.

So now that I am a fan of the whole iPOD thing a recent headline in the paper caught my attention. Apple to add Volume controls to the iPOD. I thought - what? - iPODs already have a volume control??? Apparently the Apple Corporation has been hit with lawsuits by unscrupulous lawyers claiming their clients have received hearing damage from listening to iPODs. I'm kidding right? No. As the young girls would say "OH MY GOD!"

Frankly, I don't know what to say except that lawyers and their get rich quick clients are simply out of control. Is it any wonder that the cost of everything keeps going up and up. The fact that Apple Corp. actually went back to their engineers and had them build in volume limiting controls says a lot. Surely in todays environment they had to do it, but honestly, they had to be besides themselves with incredulity. I mean c'mon, if it's too loud press the Volume down button. If you are too stupid to figure that out you probably should be institutionalized and forced to wear a helmet ( but, then again the helmet maker would be sued too since those little iPOD ear-buds fit right through the ear holes on the helmet).

It's when we hear things like this that I start humming that old tune Its' the End of The World As We Know - and I Feel Fine!



TJ Willms said...

The volume level of an Ipod can reach an excruciating 120+db and cook your little eardrums. Apple engineers should have known that they were exposing the company to litigation when offering a device to the public that can rival a jet engine for sound output. As someone who works with engineers daily I have seen that for all of their technical brilliance they can be incredibly stupid people.

The shysters weren’t going to overlook a little detail like that when it carries with it the potential of being an “income generator” for them. These lawsuits are not the only strange legal quandary facing Apple computer corp. recently the nice folks at Apple records (of Beatles fame) have filed suit against them for violating some agreement the two companies engaged in the past.

The old adage that tells us “If you build a better mouse trap the world will beat a path to your door,” takes on a whole new meaning if you should happen to get too successful because your own customers will turn on you. Just ask Bill Gates.