There’s been a number of new applications and services recently that are looking to extend the usefulness and fun of iTunes. I’m always looking for new ways to have a better iTunes experience. With that in mind, I thought I’d provide my thoughts on these new iTunes extensions. After the jump, you’ll find my thoughts on Qloud, The Filter, and Qloud.
When shopping for a MP3 player, I originally wanted a tiny flash-based one for when I go on early morning runs, since hard drive-based ones tend to skip when there are sudden movements. However, when I saw the iRiver Clix, I realized that I won’t be running all the time, so I might as well be able to enjoy it for when I’m not exercising.
The iRiver Clix (MSRP $199.99) features the ability to play music in these formats: .mp3, .ogg, and .wma. On top of that, it features the ability to play video, show pictures, and let you play Flash Lite games. It has a rather large (for a MP3 player) 2.2″ LCD screen that is quite bright, and which can display 260,000 colors. Additionally it has a built-in FM tuner, so you can listen to local FM radio stations.
It charges up the lithium-poly battery via the USB 2.0 cord, and a single charge can bring you between 10-20 hours (20 hours if you’re listening in the worst possible audio quality, don’t use the LCD screen much, and other best-case scenario variables.) You can expect around 13 hours of playtime for the average listener, less if you watch videos often and use an aggressive equalizer setting.
My old earphones, Shure E2c, gave up the ghost after 2 years of extensive use. It served me well, but I want headphones that actually last. So thus my research on the net brought me to the purchase of the Audio Technica ATH-A500, which is only made in Japan. Word is that it is great for gaming, having a soundstage that is great for closed circumaural headphones. Along with the headphones, I also invested in the Headroom Total Airhead headphone amp.
One thing I pride myself for is making informed decisions when buying stuff I want. Having the internet at my disposal, I can find what is the best bang for my buck. With that said, here’s a number of products I’ve bought that has made a difference in my life, and has me very appreciative of them.
- Audio-Technica ATH-A500 headphones – These hi-fi headphones truly make music, games, and movies pure auditory bliss. Everytime I put the soft velvety strap over my head, I’m so impressed with the sound and impact these cans have on my ears. Music sounds crisp, games are more visceral and immersive, and explosions in movies rattle my skull oh-so-sweetly. Only available in Japan, it’s worth importing and plugging it into a quality headphone amp for maximum glee.
- Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard – I’m a typing mofo. Conventional keyboards are fine, but the ergonomic shape and feel of this Microsoft keyboard has given me more comfort, and speed than any other traditional keyboard can do. Well worth the investment, especially in the long run to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Icemat glass mousepad – I’ve worn out to death so many mousepads; whether it’s made of cloth, plastic, or metal. Cloth pads don’t track that well and have too much friction. Plastic wears out too quick, and metal has an adverse effect on optical mice. The Icemat is made of glass, never wears down, and is super-slick. Since it’s black glass, optical mouse don’t have a problem with it. Sure, it’s a little pricey for a mousepad, but I’m going to have this pad forever. That’s well worth the investment in the long run, if you ask me.
- Dell 2005FPW 20.1″ Widescreen LCD monitor – (Now updated by Dell to the 2007FP) It’s huge, it’s bright, feeds me eye candy, and goddamn if widescreen movies don’t look so glorious on it. It blows away most any HDTV on the market today, plus gaming in widescreen is the icing on the cake. For productivity, I can have more windows open, more data presented, and design websites faster due to all the extra space. Colors are vivid and bright, text is easier to read, and the USB ports on the side are very handy. I don’t see myself upgrading to a bigger/better monitor as long as this baby is alive.
- Wusthof Grand Prix II knives – For cooking, chopping up veggies and slicing meat is much easier than any other knives I’ve used. They stay sharp longer, so they require less sharpening in the long run. Also the Grand Prix II series have very comfortable handles, and are well balanced. I don’t see myself needing any other knives for as long as I have these knives in my collection. Even cutting the tough acorn squash isn’t an exercise in frustration and sweat anymore. Not to mention if you accidentally nick yourself, you’re more likely to heal up faster due to the knives cutting cleanly (dull knives leave nasty, painful jagged cuts.)
- Swedish Penis Pump – Hold on, wait a tic … what the … ?? Honestly, that’s not mine!