Gadget week #5: Video iPod

I received one of the new video iPods as an early Christmas present, and I’m loving it. Although I loaded up a bunch of music that I’d ripped for my previous MP3 player, I mostly use it to listen to podcasts and audio books. There are a few video podcasts that I’m watching on it; although the screen resolution is great, I’m unlikely to watch anything as lengthy as a TV program. I’m starting to like the iTunes interface; I was using the much simpler iPodder (now Juice) for podcast subscriptions previously, but this has the advantage of easily synching them up with the iPod and doing a whole lot more than iPodder does. Earilier this week, on the subway coming home from a client, I watched the daily 5-minute video podcast from Rocketboom, then listened to a chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Cool.

The down side: the control to scroll through the menu lists is a bit jumpy sometimes, making it hard to land on the right item. More importantly, however, there is a weird interaction with my new Blackberry: when I have them tucked side-by-side in my handbag, the iPod volume changes (usually increases) when the Blackberry transmits or receives data. I originally thought that there was a fault in the iPod, but noticed that it was actually a device interaction one day when on the subway: as soon as we hit an above-ground spot on the line where the Blackberry could send/receive, the iPod volume changed. I’m guessing that the Apple engineers never tested for that. And one last complaint: why can’t they use a standard USB cable instead of one with a proprietary connector at the device end? Even the Blackberry uses a standard USB cable with the mini-port at the device end, but Apple has created one more piece of cable on my desk.

That’s it for gadget week — see you in the new year!

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