Smoothwall Firewall project

Monday 9 March 2009

My love/hate relationship with my Apple Nano

I'm going to start to tell you what I really like about the nano, and then I will divulge what annoys me about it.

Apple to be fair have done a really good job of closing the market off for their MP3 players, to such an extent that when I looked around there were only a handful to choose from. I do think though that the design of these little units is very user friendly, and would have been on the short list anyway.

I wanted one that would fit easily into my top pocket, hold several albums , and it must work with Linux. The nano fitted the bill on all these counts, and I haven't been disappointed. The screen the unit offers is bright and easy to use, the software is fast and allows you to select the artists/albums with ease. The battery life is extremely good, to the extent I have never run out of power, which was a frequent occurrence on my iriver H20. It also works perfectly with several Linux music programs, I happen to use Rythmbox.

Some additional benefits that I didn't look for or expect when I bought it, were the large array of Apple compatible docking units that you can buy to plug your ipod into and play music around the house. I have subsequently purchased a Gear4 docking unit which works a treat with the little unit, and has a marvellous little remote control. So all is sweetness and light you would think.

Alas no. As someone who uses open source whenever I can , it annoys me that this machine doesn't natively support all the codec's that I want to use, so I have to encode everything as an MP3. This is not the end of the world, but Ogg Vorbis is just better, so I'm having to downgrade the quality to fit the device, which is not the way this should work. It is always worth remembering that the MP3 standard is not an open or free one, so I have to pay for a program that allows me to use these files.

As a Linux user, I'm locked out of the itunes phenomena , so I have to either buy CD's and encode them, or I can now use Amazon to buy my MP3's. Not the end of the world, but it shouldn't be like this. Why should a company who has a virtual monopoly on this market be allowed to lock certain types of user out. I believe they should not be allowed, but as always the European legislators seem to allow American mega companies to get away with murder, until someone screams loudly enough. We only have to look at the current browser investigation, years late, to see how little is done in an appropriate time frame.

I know all of the previous business reason's behind the decision for locking out Linux, but now Apple are moving their music DRM free, there is no obvious reason itunes could not be ported to Linux, so I can access all the music they have to sell. This is beginning to look more like a desire to keep Linux out of their OSX market, something that should not be allowed. If they want to sell their products in Europe, they should be forced to sell on all the platforms Europeans use, not just the ones the North Americans use.

So living in the real world I have to put up with the current situation, not one that I enjoy, and one I would like to see come to an end, but I'm not holding my breath. Pragmatism , though despised by many philosophers, seems to have it's place when wishing to listen to music on a digital music player.

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