Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

When will the iPhone get features other phones have had for years?

Monday, October 20th, 2008

The iPhone’s success is somewhat in spite of itself. Sure, you can access all kinds of applications that do all kinds of things, and they’ve really gotten a few things right, like (IMHO) the phone interface, but some of the things it lacks are starting to become embarrassments.

For example, for what, exactly, is the bluetooth interface intended? Probably 98% of the people who even know what bluetooth is and care that the iPhone has this support want to use it almost exclusively so that they can use their bluetooth headsets. Where I live, the law forbids using a phone while driving unless you have a hands-free capability (a.k.a a bluetooth headset). Unfortunately, the iPhone does *not* meet the need here, because there are NO VOICE COMMANDS! Sure, there are some cars that will take on some of that responsibility, and there are headsets coming out that have the commands built into them, but having this built into the phone is, imo, the right way to do this. I shouldn’t have to be in my car, or need a particular headset to get this feature.

Also, there is no MMS support on the iPhone, and the AT&T hack to work around this limitation might actually be *worse* than just having no solution at all. MMS is used to send and receive photos (among other things, like longer text messages and even video) on your phone. Again, lots of phones have had this for several years now. What happens when someone sends a photo? Well, AT&T stores the photo somewhere, and sends you a text message with a link to a site, and a username and password to use to access the photo. The username and password are both jumbled bunches of characters, and you’re supposed to stare at this text message for an hour until you can commit it to memory, and then click the link and go log in to see the picture. You can’t *do* anything with the picture, mind you — you can look at it, and then you can close your browser. I just tell people who want to send me stuff that the iPhone doesn’t support it, because it basically doesn’t.

There are other annoyances as well, like the inability to read email in landscape view, the crippled map application (ask in the comments if you want more on that one), and the App Store closes just because you initiated an upgrade (forcing you to go back into the store manually if you, say, have more than one app to upgrade), and more!

I bought my iPhone before the 3G came out, but the 3G doesn’t address these issues either. I’ll probably get a new phone in about one year from now, and if these issues still aren’t solved, it is not likely (given the rate that competition is catching up to the other *useful* iPhone features) that I’ll get an iPhone. So if you’re thinking about developing an app for Android, do it!

Is it time to switch VM apps on OS X?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Thought I’d throw this out to the lazyweb for advice. I’ve been running OS X as my primary desktop OS since I got my macbook pro around May 2006 or so. I installed Parallels as soon as I found it, and it was great. I still have it installed. However, I’ve found two issues with Parallels in the past two years:

1. There’s no kind of easy upgrade path for existing parallels users that I can find. Their web site is a mess, (like most software vendors, oddly) and there’s no upgrade license that I could find.

2. It’s non-trivial to install of versions of linux that are released after the version of parallels you’re trying to install to, for whatever reason.

I remember having issues with installing an Ubuntu version, and a CentOS version, both newer than the parallels I had installed. Then I upgraded parallels, and they installed fine.

So today I tried to do the impossible: install CentOS 5.2 on a build of Parallels from March 2007. I get a kernel panic, which I remembered a hack for (add “linux kernel agp=off” to the boot: line), but even that didn’t have any effect. Guess I just pushed the limit too far this time.

So, since there’s no upgrade license to make it cheaper for me to stay with Parallels, I have no particular reason to stay loyal to them. However, I cannot find a single mention of Linux on VMWare Fusion’s web site (?!), so….

What’s everyone doing about virtualization on the OS X (Leopard) Desktop?

Useful stuff – 2008 – first half

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Having a Google account is sometimes useful in ways you hadn’t planned for. For example, at a few different employers I’ve been at, I’ve had to prepare for reviews by providing a list of accomplishments to my supervisor. One decent tool for generating this list is email, though it can take some time. Another useful tool is the Web History feature of your Google account.

Though this isn’t necessarily indicative of everything I’ve accomplished in the first half of 2008 per se, it’s definitely indicative of the types of things I’ve generally been into so far this year, and it’s interesting to look back. What does your Web History say?

  • Gearman – this is used by some rather large web sites, notably Digg. It reminds me a little of having Torque and Maui, but geared toward more general-purpose applications. In fact, it was never clear to me that PBS/Maui couldn’t actually do this, but I didn’t get far enough into Gearman to really say that authoritatively.
  • How SimpleDB Differs from a Relational Database – Links off to some very useful takes on the “cloud” databases, which are truly fascinating creatures, but have a vastly different data management philosophy from the relational model we’re all used to.
  • Reblog – I found this in the footer of someone’s blog post. It’s kinda neat, but to be honest, I think you can do similar stuff using the Flock browser.
  • Google Finance APIs and Tools – did I ever mention that I had a Series 7 & 63 license two months after my 20th birthday? I love anything that I can think for very long periods of time about, where there’s lots and lots and LOTS of data to play with, where you can make correlations and answer questions nobody even thought to ask. Of course, soon after finding this page I found the actual Google Finance page, which answers an awful lot of potential questions. The stock screener is actually what I was looking to write myself, but with the data freely available, I’m sure it won’t be long before I find something else fun to do with it. I’m not a fan of Google’s “Feeds” model, but I’ve dealt with it before, and will do it again if it means getting at this data.
  • Bitpusher – it was recommended to me as an alternative to traditional dedicated server hosting. Worth a look.
  • S3 Firefox Organizer – This is a firefox plugin that provides an interface that looks a lot like an FTP GUI or something, but allows you to move files to and from “buckets” in Amazon’s S3 service.
  • Boto – A python library for writing programs that interact with the various Amazon Web Services. It’s not particularly well-documented, and it has a few quirks, but it is useful.
  • OmniGraffle – A Visio replacement for Apple OS X. I like it a lot better than Visio, actually. It has tons of contributed templates. You shouldn’t have any trouble making the switch. A little pricey, but I plunked down the cash, and have not been disappointed.
  • The Python Queue Module according to Doug – Doug Hellmann’s Python Module of the Week (PyMOTW) should be published in dead tree form some day. I happen to have some code that could make better use of queuing if it were a) written in Python, and b) used the Queue module. I was a little put off by the fact that every single tutorial I found on this module assumed you wanted to use threading, which I actually don’t, because I’m not smart enough…. though the last person I told that to said something to the effect of “the fact that you believe that means you’re smart enough”. Heh.
  • MySQL GROUP modifiers – turns out this isn’t what I needed for the problem I was trying to solve, but the “WITH ROLLUP” feature was new to me at the time I found it, and it’s kinda cool.
  • WordPress “Subscribe to Comments” plugin – Baron suggested that it would be good to have this, and I had honestly not even thought about it. But looking around, this is the only plugin of its kind that I found, and it’s only tested up to WP 2.3x, and I’m on 2.5x. This is precisely why I hate plugins (as an end user, anyway. Loghetti supports plugins) 😉
  • Lifeblogging – I had occasion to go back and flip through some of the volumes of journals I’ve kept since age 12, wondering if it might be time to digitize those in some form. I might digitize them, but they will *not* be public I don’t think. Way too embarrassing.
  • ldapmodrdn – for a buddy who hasn’t yet found all of the openldap command line tools. You can’t use ‘ldapmodify’ (to my knowledge) to *rename* an entry.
  • Django graphs – I haven’t yet tried this, because I’m still trying to learn Django in what little spare time I have, but it looks like there’s at least some effort towards this out there in the community. I have yet to see a newspaper that doesn’t have graphs *somewhere* (finance, sports, weather…), so I’m surprised Django doesn’t have something like this built-in.
  • URL Decode UDF for MySQL – I’ve used this. It works really well.
  • Erlang – hey, I’m game for anything. If I weren’t, I’d still be writing all of my code in Perl.
  • The difference between %iowait in sar and %util in iostat – I use both tools, and wanted the clarification because I was writing some graphing code in Python (using Timeplot, which rocks, by the way), and stumbled upon the question. Google to the rescue!
  • OSCON ’08 – I’m going. Are you going? I’m also going to the Oregon Brewers Festival on the last day of OSCON, as I did in ’06. Wonderful!
  • Explosion at one of my hosting providers – didn’t affect me, but… wow!
  • hypertable – *sigh* someday…when there’s time…
  • Small-scale hydro power – Yeah, I’m kind of a DIYer at heart. I do some woodworking, all my own plumbing, painting, flooring, I brew my own beer, I cook, I collect rain in big barrels, power sprinklers using pool runoff to give my lawn a jumpstart in spring… that kind of stuff. One day I noticed water coming out of a downspout fast enough to leap over one of my rain barrels and thought there must be some way to harness that power. Sadly, there really isn’t, so I did some research. It’s non-trivial.
  • You bet your garden – I also do my own gardening and related experiments.
  • RightScale Demo – WATCH YOUR VOLUME – a screencast showing off RightScale’s features. Impressive considering the work it would take me, a lone admin, to set something like this up. The learning curve involved in effectively/efficiently managing/scaling/monitoring/troubleshooting EC2 is non-trivial.
  • Homebrew Kegerator – Maybe if this startup is bought out I can actually afford this thing to put my homebrewed beer in. The 30-year-old spare fridge in the basement is getting a little… gamey.
  • The pound proxy daemon – I use this. It works well enough, but I’ve crashed it under load, too. I’ve also had at least one hosting provider misconfigure it on my behalf, and I had to go and tell them how to fix it :-/
  • Droid Sans Mono – a fantastic coding font. Installing this font is in my post-install routine for all of my desktops.
  • Generator tricks for systems programmers – David Beazley has made available a lot of Python source code and presentation slides from what I imagine was a great talk (if you’re a systems guy, which I am).
  • The Wide Finder Saga – I found this just as I was writing Loghetti. There are still some things in Mr. Lundh’s code that I haven’t implemented, but it was a fantastic lesson.
  • Using gnu sort for IP addresses – I’ve used sort in a lot of different ways over the years… but not for IP addresses. This is a nice hack for pulling this off with sort, but it doesn’t scale very well when you have millions of them, due to the sort utility’s ‘divide and conquer’ method of sorting.
  • Writing an Hadoop/MapReduce Program in Python – this got me over the hump.
  • Notes on using EC2/S3 – This got me over some other small humps
  • BeautifulSoup – found while searching for the canonical way to screen scrape with Python. I’d done it a million times in Perl, and you can do it with httplib and regex and stuff in Python if you want, but this way is at least a million times nicer.

Well, that’s a decent enough summary I guess. As you can see, I’ve been doing a good bit of Python scripting. Most of my code these days is written in Python instead of Perl, in part because I was given the choice, and in part because Python fits my brain and makes me want to write more code, to push myself more. I’ve also been dealing with things involving “cloud” computing and “scalability” — like Hadoop, and EC2/S3. I haven’t done as much testing of the Google utility computing services, but I’ve used their various APIs for some things.

So what’s in your history?

Do I Even Care About the iPhone 3G?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Steve Jobs is one of the best presenters you could ever hope to see. He’s great at tapping into that part of your brain that makes you just want whatever it is he’s holding. But this time, it was a little different.

You see, I already have an iPhone. I bought one in February. I didn’t buy the very first model that came out because it was lacking some stuff that was really important to me – most notably, it only had Apple apps, which was severely limiting, and IMAP support was limited to Yahoo! accounts, which was absurd. With those two obstacles out of the way, I found it useful enough to spend my employer’s money on, but not my own. In the end, it was a business decision, and I still think an iPhone is a better deal than a Blackberry hands down. Especially the new 3G, which has addressed some “enterprise” concerns. Thing is, I don’t care about any of that.

I want some really really really simple things that I haven’t heard anything about, and I want one thing that is perhaps slightly harder but essential.

The slightly-harder-but-essential thing is voice commands. I can hardly believe that we’re on the third generation of a phone without having voice commands. You can get a $30 Nokia made in 2002 that has voice commands for crying out loud. Without voice commands, it’s unclear to me how this phone is useful in a hands-free environment at all. Have I missed a feature somewhere? Is there something I can plug my iPhone into while I’m driving that will parse the voice commands and do the right thing with the iPhone? I know that if you have an Acura TL the car itself parses the voice commands, but I don’t know if there’s some generic thing that *doesn’t* cost $40k that’ll do the same basic job? Anyone?

The other stuff consists mainly of small application features:

  • The ability to bookmark or otherwise somehow save “Directions” in the Maps application. This way, if I’m driving, following the directions in Maps, and need to search for a gas station or coffee shop, I don’t then have to go back and punch in the information again to get my directions back.
  • Why the heck doesn’t mail let you read in landscape mode?!?!?!
  • I’d *REALLY* like to be able to send and receive photos in text messages. I don’t use it often, but when you need it, you need it.
  • The ‘.com’ shortcut should pretty much *always* be visible on the keyboard.
  • Make email alerts a per-account setting instead of only alerting for the default or for all accounts or whatever it is the iphone does now. Let me treat email accounts like phone contacts and assign different alert settings for each account just like I set different ring tones for different contacts.
  • Let me bookmark phone numbers so I can just hit a button on my home screen to dial them (in the absence of voice commands).
  • Make the bluetooth support do some neat trick that’ll make it be actually worth turning on.
  • I do a lot of system administration, and I’d love a usable, locally-installed ssh client that I don’t have to perform surgery to install. I don’t want to hack my phone, really. I also refuse to use a web interface to access an ssh client. If you’re doing that, stop right now, and go change every password you have.

On the development front, it would actually be really nice if they supported maybe *one* parsed scripting language for iPhone development. Even if they did like AppEngine and provided a somewhat stripped version of Python it would be something I could use. But that’s a rant for another day. :)

Funny what you learn about yourself when you buy an iPhone

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Not ripping off xkcd - this is seriously the best graphic I\'ve ever generated.

This is *not* a ripoff of xkcd (though I read that regularly, and so should you) – this is seriously the best graphic I can come up with, and it does the job. Yesterday I looked at doing all kinds of stuff to my iPhone. I wanted to see if I could get Python and a full-fledged Django installation on my iPhone and create the first web 2.0 application created completely from the bathroom. Just kidding, but I wanted to do some pretty evil stuff. Turns out that, as of now, there isn’t a clean simple way to get a lot of stuff to work without hacking the iPhone in some way, or resorting to things that are completely ridiculous. I’m sorry, but there has to be an easier way to get SSH and a terminal on there. It’s just not that critical right now, and this thing was damned expensive.

I decided to wait it out and see what comes our way over the summer.

Ubuntu 8.04 and Python Editors

Monday, April 28th, 2008

So I updated one of my laptops to Ubuntu 8.04 pretty much as soon as it was available. I’ve been using my MacBook Pro laptop for everything for probably over a year now, because I grew tired of the hobby that *is* running Linux on a laptop and getting everything to work. I’ll note that I *do* run Linux on every server I maintain that I can think of :)

The first test for this laptop was wireless. I bought this laptop (Lenovo T61) specifically because it got rave reviews for its Linux compatibility. I was careful to order the laptop with the proper video and wireless chipsets that had the best support. However, 2 things annoyed me so much that I went back to the MacBook for everything:

  1. Wireless hung, and hung often, and in a way that it was unrecoverable.
  2. Lenovo put the Escape key in the worst place they could possibly put it, especially for a Vim user. Changing the key mapping caused issues with other apps, and configuring the key mapping inside .vimrc doesn’t help on the 30 other servers I use it on (ssh’d in from this laptop) :-/

Really, it was the wireless that did it. I work 100% remotely on everything I do. So, 8.04 seems to have fixed the wireless issues. The next thing I wanted to do was check out all of the Python IDE/editors I couldn’t use on the Mac (or, not easily). So I used Synaptic Package Manager to install all of the ones I could find. I’m sorry to say that I personally had Problems with most of them:

  • DrPython launched fine, but using the file browser to open a file resulted in…. a no-op. I’m sorry, but an editor needs to be able to open a file.
  • PyPE failed to launch altogether! It looks like it’s going to open, it spins for 5-10 seconds, and then just disappears. No window is ever shown, but a tab does appear in the bar on the bottom of the screen.
  • Pida allows you to choose an external editor, so I chose Vim, and that kinda worked, but I really just want the key bindings, not the whole editor, and there’s no option to use some default built-in editor that has code folding and autocompletion and stuff. It appeared to me to be so close to gvim that I decided to skip it. I tried to stick around and give it a chance by reading the docs, but alas, the only thing under “Help” is “About”. Seems there are still a number of open source developers more concerned with getting credit than getting users.
  • Stani’s Python Editor looked pretty nice, but I couldn’t find any easy way to change the syntax coloring, and while there is a manual, you have to donate to get your hands on it. This is nonsense. If you want to sell some kind of advanced documentation, fine, but you can’t expect me to donate to a project that I don’t even know if I want to use yet! “Please pay me so that you can see if this product fits your needs”…. it just doesn’t work that way. What you’ve done is given me a product that is complex enough that you pretty much need a manual just to get started, and then deprived me of that. Why not just give me the manual and a 30 day trial, after which I have to donate? I’d have no problem doing that if I planned on keeping it around. In fact, that’s how plenty of Mac applications work. I’ll pay for software that does what I need, but this game that’s being played is just offensive.
  • Eclipse with PyDev, I can use this, but I don’t like it a whole lot. The good news is that there’s an SVN plugin (subclipse), and a plugin for vi keybindings if I want to pay for it (it’s only $20 – not bad if you use it a lot). The interface is a little clunky to me, and there’s no easy “change your syntax color scheme to this” type functionality. If you want a dark background and light colored text, you actually have to go to one place to change the background color, the color of the line numbering area, etc., and then go to another place to change the colors associated with the different elements of your particular language. That’s annoying for two reasons: first, it’ll take forever to get things the way I want, and second, if I installed this on another machine, I couldn’t just move over some kind of theme file and have my settings ready to go (as far as I know).

In the end, it looks like my three favorite editors are still Komodo Editor, JEdit, and Vim. What’s your favorite Python editor for Linux?

Hadoop, EC2, S3, and me

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

I’m playing with a lot of rather large data sets. I’ve just been informed recently that these data sets are child’s play, because I’ve only been exposed to the outermost layer of the onion. The amount of data I *will* have access to (a nice way of saying “I’ll be required to wrangle and munge”) is many times bigger. Someone read an article about how easy it is to get Hadoop up and running on Amazon’s EC2 service, and next thing you know, there’s an email saying “hey, we can move this data to S3, access it from EC2, run it through that cool Python code you’ve been working with, and distribute the processing through Hadoop! Yay! And it looks pretty straightforward! Get on that!”

Oh joyous day.

I’d like to ask that people who find success with Hadoop+EC2+S3 stop writing documentation that make this procedure appear to be  “straightforward”. It’s not.

One thing that *is* cool, for Python programmers, is that you actually don’t have to write Java to use Hadoop. You can write your map and reduce code in Python and use it just fine.

I’m not blaming Hadoop or EC2 really, because after a full day of banging my head on this I’m still not quite sure which one is at fault. I *did* read a forum post that someone had a similar problem to the one I wound up with, and it turned out to be a bug in Amazon’s SOAP API, which is used by the Amazon EC2 command line tools. So things just don’t work when that happens. Tip 1: if you have an issue, don’t assume you’re not getting something. Bugs appear to be fairly common.

Ok, so tonight I decided “I’ll just skip the whole hadoop thing, and let’s see how loghetti runs on some bigger iron than my macbook pro”. I moved a test log to S3, fired up an EC2 instance, ssh’d right in, and there I am… no data in sight, and no obvious way to get at it. This surprised me, because I thought that S3 and EC2 were much more closely related. After all, Amazon Machine Images (used to fire up said instance) are stored on S3. So where’s my “s3-copy” command? Or better yet, why can’t I just *mount* an s3 volume without having to install a bunch of stuff?

This goes down as one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever had to set up. It kinda reminds me of the time I had to set up a beowulf cluster of about 85 nodes using donated, out-of-warranty PC hardware. I spent what seemed like months just trying to get the thing to boot. Once I got over the hump, it ran like a top, but it was a non-trivial hump.

As of now, it looks like I’ll probably need to actually install my own image. A good number of the available public images are older versions of Linux distros for some reason. Maybe people have orphaned them and gone to greener pastures. Maybe they’re in production and haven’t seen a need to change them in any way. I’ll be registering a clean install image with the stuff I need and trudge onward.

Got a new iPhone

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Yeah, I dove into the iPhone after seeing Steve Jobs’s keynote where he talked about all of the new features. When I first saw the iPhone, I had no real interest in it, because I didn’t like the idea that the only apps I could use were those deemed worthy by Apple. I tend to like Apple’s applications, but to pay all that money and have zero say in the matter seemed… wrong.

So far, I have to say that I’m really happy with the iPhone, thanks in large part to the ability to run some non-Apple applications. Those of you who have read my blog for some time will remember my whole crazy time management setup post where I go over how I use Google Calendar and Remember The Milk and stuff. I don’t yet have iCal on the iPhone syncing with my Google Calendar, but I do have Remember the Milk installed and running like a champ. I’ll get around to the calendar stuff soon and let you know if I hit any snags.

The email application works just the way I want it to, which is to say I can get it to alert me to new messages just like my old Blackberry did – with a subtle vibrate+tone. The great new thing about the new iPhone email application is that I can use IMAP with GMail instead of being forced to have a Yahooo! account to take advantage of this feature. Far as I can tell, you can use the IMAP feature with whatever IMAP server you want. I’ve already used three different servers, including GMail.

The phone functionality of the iPhone are, to be honest, nothing to get excited about. The interface features are kinda nice. It’s easy to use speakerphone and add contacts and stuff, but aside from this really cool hack I found (and use), there’s no way to do ‘speed dial’ that I can find. In addition, I think the iPhone is probably the only phone on the market to *not* have voice commands — so you can’t rely on a bluetooth headset for complete hands-free operation of your iPhone while driving. This is *really* bad for me because starting Saturday, New Jersey will start enforcing the ‘no handhelds while driving’ law. No more warnings. If you get caught now, it’s $100 fine.

Yeah – I live in New Jersey. We all have to live somewhere :-/

So… has anyone done any Python coding on/for the iPhone? If it’s running OS X, it should be there, right? Let me know if you’re doing anything cool with it – I’d love to see a writeup in Python Magazine about it.

Dear VirtueDesktops Guy

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Note: if you’re a Leopard user wishing Apple’s Spaces was never invented, and you’d pay to have VirtueDesktops back, please leave a ‘me too’ post in the comments!

UPDATE: See this link to make Spaces not *completely* useless: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2008021122525348

Please pick development back up for VirtueDesktops. Apple’s spaces not only falls short, it totally sucks. I would be willing to pay $20 for VirtueDesktops on Leopard right now, and I know a whole bunch of other people would, too. Everyone I know who used VirtueDesktops in Tiger and is now stuck with Spaces says they hate it. I have pretty much stopped using any kind of desktops at all because Spaces is just frickin’ unusable.

I’m not even requesting feature enhancements. If it crashes or spaces out, or locks up my machine, ok – I’d like that fixed, but feature-wise, VirtueDesktops is great as-is, and kicks Spaces’ buttocks. With spaces, I can’t label my desktops, and Spaces wants to flip back and forth between desktops every time I switch application focus because it doesn’t understand why I’d ever open firefox on two different desktops. So, whereas in VirtueDesktops I could be on a random, empty desktop, click the firefox icon, and get the top menu to change to firefox, doing the same thing in Spaces brings me to whatever desktop Firefox is open on. From there, I can launch a new firefox window, then go to the stupid desktop viewer and drag the new window from one space to another.

C’mon man, this is no way to be productive. Help us out.

I know, I know, I can start VirtueDesktops using sudo or chmod the binary, and probably come up with more hacks as Apple changes more stuff out from under me, but it’d be way nicer to have VirtueDesktops back in a state where it (for the most part) “Just Works(tm)”. Also, not everyone knows what ‘chmod’ is :-)

If it’s not worth your time, then take away the donation thing and replace it with a charge-per-download thing for $20.
Please?

Blogged with Flock

My New iPod

Monday, September 24th, 2007

My wife and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure why. I think it started because, for the first couple of years we dated, we were a few hundred miles apart, so we couldn’t. Now it’s just tradition. Anyway, to make up for it, we go all out on our anniversaries. We had several anniversaries before we were married, but this is our second wedding anniversary, and my wife got me at 160GB black iPod Classic 😀

This is the exact model I wanted. I did not want the iPod Touch. I think the iPod Touch is an insult to my intelligence to tell you the truth. I don’t know why Apple thinks I’m stupid enough to not realize that the iPod Touch is going to magically grow a phone over the next year or two. I don’t know why they think I should spend more money to get 1/10 the storage capacity of the iPod Classic.

The real kicker is that the iPod Touch, which has 1/10 the storage capacity of the iPod Classic, has a direct line to the iTunes Music Store, but the iPod Classic – the social icon around which people build their identities these days, and which has 160GB capacity, doesn’t. Seems like Apple could just put a wi-fi radio in the iPod classic, give it a direct connection to the music store as well, and watch the kids stand around on the playground listening to each other’s tunes and downloading a copy of their own for $.99. Hell, Apple could probably eat 75% of the cost of the data connection, further subsidize it through deals with the ISP, perhaps a small fee built into the initial cost of the iPod, or a $.05 surcharge on songs downloaded directly to the iPod or something, charge the customer *once*, for the iPod instead of a monthly data transmission fee or whatever, and still make money.

For $50 more than the 16GB Touch, you can get the iPhone. It only has 8GB capacity, but replaces two gadgets you may carry around all the time. Your phone, and your point-n-shoot digital camera. I’m not a fan of Apple’s stance toward users who would like to run software not made by Apple on the hardware they allegedly own, but if we’re just talking value and comparing the devices in their line, I have to believe the iPhone is a slightly better value than the iPod Touch.

Anyway, this was really meant to be a glowing review of my iPod Classic. It works wonderfully. I’ve already loaded a few months worth of home brewing podcasts, all the music that I care about (for now – more coming), a bunch of photos of my wife and daughter and stuff, and I’m all set to go. My wife must truly love me. At some point I hope to figure out why. :-)