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Friday, September 09, 2005

iPod nano

Sometimes I think that the Apple designers have it easy. It really doesn't take much to replicate an iPod's success, just make sure that you have a technology department that enables you to make things smaller, thinner, better. When you look at clean lines it usually means that for a designer, he doesn't really have to do much. No complicated curves or anything of that sort, and that's what good design is all about, eliminating everything that's unnecessary until everything becomes clean, pure.

And so they made the iPod nano. I once told myself that the next iPod I buy will be one that can play DVDs, but thinking of it, ripping a DVD isn't an easy task, well yeah it IS easy but it simply takes too much time. On further thought, no matter how much I liked a movie I probably wouldn't watch it all the time so portability isn't really such a big deal. So it comes down to just this, music, and that's whats ensuring the success of the iPods. Sony has created its own range of Walkmans that I must say look pretty cool even without a color screen, but the eternal problem with Sony is they name all their devices in numbers and letters, and quite frankly, I can't be bothered remembering any of it. Probably at one point, yes, it was the futuristic thing to do, but now, common sense will tell you to give it a name so that people can call it something human.

The iPod nano is unbelievably small, and I believe it. By just looking at the measurements this thing will definitely fit anywhere, and being a flash player it will never skip, and I reckon that parts failure will definitely be reduced as compared to harddisk MP3 players like the iPod mini. Available in white or black (Love black), and in 2 or 4Gbs, you can hold a sizable amount of music in there. In the CNET Asia site one of the cons listed was that it would be great for newbies but 4Gb might be a squeeze for experienced users. Experienced?! Its an MP3 player! But their reviews have that sort of mentality where every device has to have to best specifications just because its possible.

What I believe is that although they could have done it, it defies the purpose of the device itself. Think about it, every device is created for a target market, as long as the target market buys into the product, the product will sell itself, and thus the task will be deemed a success. Would iPods have gained a more significant market share if they packed it with an FM radio? I hardly think so, but I suppose they could generate a slight increase in sales from the folks who listen to the radio. The fact remains that they have successfully marketed their product nevertheless.

I nearly purchased an iPod mini due to its size, but nothing seemed to propel me to do it, but the nano with its color screen, that I can work with. I'm already envisioning it lodged in a coffeetable playing hours of music, if only I can figure out how to fit a subwoofer into the enclosure. Ah, technology allows for much creative freedom, and I like seeing it go further every now and then. iPod nano scores a 10 in my books for its design, simplicity, color screen, dock connector (for vast array of accessories), flash storage, and its size definitely. I's only 1/3 the size of my phone, and I thought my phone was slim!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


We've known it for a while now: the fact that we have counterfeit currency in circulation. We hold it in our hands, and we feel that its different, and of course the ever present frustration when the autopay machines (like I always say, it ain't auto when you're the one doing all the work), refuse to accept the RM1 coin no matter how you try to drop it in the coin slot. Its funny when people (including me) try to do it anyway just to please our curiousity: drop it fast, drop it slow, add some force, push it in diagonally.

But of course we already know that these machines have been programmed to not accept your coins anyway, so it isn't a big surprise that Bank Negara Malaysia declared that the coins will therefore cease to be legal tender by year end. What do you really expect when you make that kinda announcement? Pure chaos. How these people are handling simple situations like these really dumbfounds me, there isn't a three-pronged approach to reap back as many coins as they can get before they announce. Nothing. Its just -we're taking it back, you have about 4 months, good luck.

Naturally vendors will cease to accept any form of RM1 coins, as some already have done so way before the announcement. What does this mean for the average Malaysian citizen? We are just regular folks, earning regular (and non-increasing) salaries, with the prices of everything going up, now we have less money to spend. It isn't because the average Malaysian isn't working hard enough, some of us work several jobs keeping it together so you can pay off the bills, but its mismanagement of the elements that weave the fabric of our society.

Newspapers report that one po' folk went to the bank with RM100 worth of coins and only got RM70 in return, is it his/her fault that it was counterfeit? Who really should be punished? Apparently the sentence is dropped on the bearer of the fake currency. What of the kid who saved for years in his piggy bank that consisted only of RM1 coins because 'sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit', but apparently that won't hold true anymore, because by the time this poor child gets his coins rechecked he'll notice that for some strange reason quaint practices such as keeping a piggy bank doesn't work anymore.

As for me, I have to feel like a thief everyday trying to clear my RM1 coins. Buying nasi lemak and pretending its the only cash on me, or paying the toll with it, that kinda thing. But the real question is, why do I even have to feel like I'm in the wrong?