Friday, February 05, 2010

Got an iPod Touch

Yeah, paid €279 for a 32GB iPod Touch 3G. Although I've only had it a few days, I'm very impressed with this little machine.
I have a browser (Safari, of course), Gmail, Stanza for book reading (actually this is one of the best things about the iPod Touch and there are thousands of great free books here), Dropbox, Google Earth and all Google Apps, Wikipedia, Tweetdeck, YouTube, a lot of free news sites (BBC News, Sky News, NYT, FT Mobile), Fstream for streaming radio and much more.
For music, you just move your mp3 files to iTunes and sync them you your iPod Touch.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake many years ago of ripping almost all of my large CD collection in Windows which left me with a huge amount of .wma files.
Luckily, in the Mac, I can use All2MP3 to convert these .wma files to .mp3. This works really well and it's free.
For movies, .avi files need to be converted to the mp4 files acceptable in iTunes. I use a free utility called DVDVideoSoft Free Studio which seems to only work in Windows.
This has worked perfectly for me although it can take 2-3 hours to convert a 700MB .avi file to .mp4.
I get at least 10 hours of battery life from my machine and I honestly have very few complaints.
A possible complaint is that LastFM mobile is only available in three counties (USA, UK and Germany). So although I've been a paying subscriber to LastFM since they began to charge, as I'm not in any of the three counties I'm not supposed to use LastFM on my iPod Touch. This is despite the fact that I can happily use it on any of my three other computers.
You know, I have no problem sticking to the rules when the rules make sense. But, for cryin' out loud, this just sounds crazy.
Does it make sense to anybody?
In any event, there is, of course, a work-around as described here to get over this annoyance. Of course, I'm not suggesting you should use this but you need to be aware of how inventive some people can be.
One problem that I haven't yet overcome is my ability to listen to BBC Radio 4 on the iPod Touch.
Yes, Fstream can handle BBC Radio 4 but I've tried 8-10 different urls and although all start streaming without problems, after a minute or two, they stop.
Of course, as I'm not in the UK, I can't use the BBC iPlayer. But, radio is available in BBC iPlayer even if you're not in the UK, right? Well, yes, as long as you're not using an iPod Touch.
Nevertheless, Fstream does stream BBC World Service radio without problems.
Did I mention that you can make phone calls from the iPod touch? Using Skype mobile and the 32GB iPods microphone (I think the 8GB version doesn't have the mic), perfect calls can be made both to Skype computers or to landlines or mobile phones.

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