Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
fub

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iPod madness

Everyone and their brother seem to buy an iPod. Frankly, I don't see the appeal of buying a substandard product that leads to vendor lock-in and further DRM nightmares.

But most people seem to disagree with me.

The most-cited reason to buy an iPod is the design. Apple has a name for cool design of their products. And while I am not fond of beige boxen, I find the Apple designs uninspiring at best. Also, and perhaps this is some weird habit of me that is not shared by the majority of buyers, I buy an appliance to fulfill a specific function. It's great if it looks great, and design is allowed to up the prce a bit, but if I have to choose between a beautiful, crippled product or an ugly, fully-functional one, I choose fully functional 100 times out of 100.

Yes, I know, weird.

Last week, I read an article on Joel on Software, a blog about software development from a managerial viewpoint. Quite interesting, and this particular article focussed on whether ten cheap programmers could replace one genius programmer. Joel says that is not the case, because the cheap programmers will never hit 'the high notes' -- that is, they will never achieve the brilliance a good programmer could, not even as a collective.
He illustrates this with examples from music (are ten cheap opera singers that can't hit the high notes better than one diva that can?) and design. Yes, of course it's about the iPod and how sleek and beautiful and perfect it is.
The next thing you know, he tell us how wonderful it is that you can't change the batteries of the iPod yourself -- there is no battery cover, and you have to pay Apple $66 for the privilege of using a screwdriver to change your battery for you (because, you know, no user-servicable parts inside!).

Excuse me? Anyone knows that the battery is the first thing to go in mobile media players. So why would you want to buy an expensive player that makes it impossible to exchange the batteries yourself? Why is that good? Why would anyone want that?

It is just completely beyond me. I guess it's a good example of how people that you consider to be pretty intelligent in one field sometimes say the stupidest things in another field. Sure, be happy in your designed world, surrounded by overpriced gadgets that limit your abilities, getting all of your stuff from a single manufacturer that is willing to DRM your ass into compliance, one that doesn't seem to find your rights as consumer too important. Heck, use the Apple design EVERYWHERE if you want.

Meanwhile, I will pay considerably less for things that have more features, and that respect my right to use the technology I buy in the way I want.

If you're in the market for a portable media player and only know the iPod, do yourself a favour and take a stroll through Anything but iPod.
Tags: drm, technology
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