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Handhelds Hardware

Can Open Source Outdo the IPod? 484

CHaN_316 writes "Wired is running an article entitled, "Can Open Source Outdo the IPod?" Asking the open source community to help them compete with the iPod. From the article: 'Consumer electronics manufacturer Neuros Audio is tapping the open-source community to convert its upcoming portable media player from iPod road kill into a contender [...] To get the ball rolling, Neuros recently opened up the firmware code for its Neuros 442 portable media player, which is set to launch in January [...] Neuros' hardware design is complete, comprising a Texas Instruments dual-core digital signal processor, a 3.6-inch, 65,000-color TFT display and a 40-GB hard drive for recording video from a TV or home entertainment system. But the company has left a little something -- mostly user interface tweaks -- for the volunteers.' Is this a good idea or a mere publicity stunt?"
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Can Open Source Outdo the IPod?

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  • Synergy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:19PM (#13936058) Journal

    Why is it that people don't "get" this - it's not sufficient now to simply make an MP3 player that "does more", or even is as easy to use as an Ipod. You need the whole shebang - the store, the presence on the desktop, the device itself, the ease of transfer between computer and device, the chic design, and good marketing/PR. Hell, there's probably loads more too.

    Apple have a history (and therefore a lot of expertise) in "doing it all". They design their own hardware, write their own OS (*), develop their own apps, do their own marketing (the 'reality distortion field' effect :-). They do it all, just to make the whole experience as unified and simple for the end-user as possible. They grok synergy.

    Coming up with an ipod-killer that could make *coffee* (+) wouldn't break the grip of Apple on this market now - it'll take a multi-vectored attack to shake their dominance, and no open-source project has the resources that Apple have in the focus areas that are needed. Open-source has manpower and skill, not billions of dollars in the bank. Apple have a fair amount of manpower and skill too...

    I think Neuros will gain *some* benefit from this - it's a positive move for some people, but they're still fighting over the scraps in the remaining 10-20 percent of the market that *haven't* converted to Apple yet. Also it's cool to have legitimate access to something like this - I'm sure the OS community will come up with more uses for the Neuros device than Neuros ever thought of. I'm not *against* Neuros, I just don't think it's a disruptive idea.


    (*) Yes, I'm aware that they didn't completely design the OS, but they have contributed a good portion of it, and most of that in the user-visible areas.

    (+) Yes, I'm aware that making coffee wouldn't be a useful ipod feature - think of the leakage - but I'm making the point that features alone aren't as valuable as they were when the market was nascent.
  • More "Skins" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MLopat ( 848735 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:20PM (#13936068) Homepage
    Oh great, just what we all needed more skins for a media player. That's essentially what this project amounts to.
  • Re:More "Skins" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:22PM (#13936100)
    "We'll do all the features, then we'll let the open-source community do the UI & polish. They just *ROCK* at that stuff."
  • Re:Synergy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:24PM (#13936115)
    More than anything, I think it's about the marketing. Apple did what nobody else was able to do - they made having an MP3 player cool. Once the iPod came out, MP3 players went from strictly being geek toys to being something that EVERYONE wanted.
  • Even if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CupBeEmpty ( 720791 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:24PM (#13936118)
    ...it is a publicity stunt I don't mind. We could use more publicity stunts like this.
  • Re:Yes (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:25PM (#13936129)
    Because a "mere publicity stunt" cannot be something more, by definition of the word "mere".
  • Not likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phpm0nkey ( 768038 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:25PM (#13936136) Homepage
    Two features make the iPod a killer app for me: the scroll wheel, and smart playlists.

    Simple as it may seem, the scroll wheel is possibly the most ingenious user interface mechanism of the past 10 years. I can pull up a list of 500 artists on my iPod and navigate to any one in a matter of seconds. Apple's patent on this design virtually ensures that every "iPod killer" will end up as "roadkill".

    iTunes, on the other hand, can be copied. Apple's player is great at managing very large music libraries (10,000+ songs). Apple's Smart Playlists are as close as any software gets to letting me run SQL queries on my music library to generate playlists. I form playlists based on the play count and rating. So far, I haven't found any other music library manager that lets me get this specific, this granular with my collection.
  • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:26PM (#13936146) Homepage

    The iPod is successful NOT because of technology, or nifty programming tricks, or being able to play every free codec in existence, or what have you.

    It's successful because it's stylish, because it's simple to use, and because -- and this is the only reason I use mine instead of having it sit in the junk drawer with my last 2 mp3 players -- because the software you use (iTunes) to sync with the device is USEFUL in it's own right.

    Really, the key for devices like this is how well the software on the host device works. iTunes is good enough that I was using it to manage my music before I even had an iPod. Does it do everything under the sun like foobar2000 (which is what I was using before iTunes)? No. But it does the core tasks well enough that I find it very useful.

    The usefulness or lack there of of the host software is going to determine how useful the Neuros product is. If it shows up as a drive, and they expect me to "manage" my music or video by copying over music out from underneath my music management software manually, I'm sorry, but it loses.
  • Comment removed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:26PM (#13936149)
    Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • by CaptScarlet22 ( 585291 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:26PM (#13936152)
    Until the iTunes music store is wiped off the face of the earth, the IPod will remain supreme.

    If you want to buy songs from the iTunes music store, you need an IPod...

    Plain and simple.

    Open Source will never change that.

  • It's not that easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:29PM (#13936187)
    It's not just a matter any more of coming up with a better ipod than ipod. You've also got to come up with a better iTunes than iTunes. You've got to open a music store. You've got to have all the accessories that iPod has. You've got to have the distribution channels and the brand awareness that Apple now has. You've got to have the economies of scale to buy components cheaply that Apple has so you can sell it at a reasonable price.

    Oh yeah, and building a better iPod than iPod isn't that easy either.
  • UI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doyle ( 620849 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:30PM (#13936194)
    But the company has left a little something -- mostly user interface tweaks -- for the volunteers

    From most of the OSS projects I've seen, the UI is the last thing I'd let them tweak. ;)
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:30PM (#13936201)
    I'm sure OSS can create some extremely clever UI and firmware features, but that's not what's needed. The answer to the ipod killer question is "yes" only if OSS developers somehow understand and implement the wishes of the broader iPod-loving populace. If they create an iPod with a vi or emacs-style interface, the unit will be loved by geeks and hated by 98% of the general public.

    Who's ready to grep their music?

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:39PM (#13936298)
    I can pull up a list of 500 artists on my iPod and navigate to any one in a matter of seconds.

    Funny- I find it takes 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds of:

    1. Start scrolling rubbing my thumb around the wheel
    2. It's not going fast enough down the list, so try to scroll faster
    3. iPod's "scroll acceleration" kicks in. A second or two later, I'm at the end of the list.
    4. Cuss.
    5. Go to step 1.

    Ever tried to change the star rating for a song? It's far too sensitive.

    Ever tried to switch off your iPod by holding play down- but slide your finger ever so slightly, so the iPod thinks it's a scroll and completely ignores the button press?

    Sorry. I liked the scroll-wheel-plus-4-buttons MUCH better. Apple's current design is the equivalent of iDrive, wherein they try to accomplish too much with one control. Same goes for the stick control on Sony Ericsson phones...I can't believe how many times I try to push DOWN on the stick only to have it go to the SIDE...

    Also, I'm pretty sure the Slashdot Groupthink doesn't like patents. The concept of turning something to select from a list is about as old as the first radios.

  • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guitaristx ( 791223 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:39PM (#13936301) Journal
    As funny as the parent is, it's a sad truth. Most people who look at the open source community don't understand that open-source programming pays the bills for some people. If Neuros wants open-source components for their media player, and want it under a specific timeline, they have a few choices (notice that their current behavior is not listed):
    • Write it themselves, and open-source it.
    • Pay someone to write it, and open-source it.
    • Hope that someone in the software community writes a near-enough piece of software that can be made to work with their media player inside the time frame that they're looking for....(wait for it)
      and open-sources it.
    For some reason, some people still seem to have the idea that open-source development is free.

    Everyone, repeat after me:
    Open-Source Software does not cost money.
    Open-Source Software development does cost money.
  • by colin_n ( 50370 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:41PM (#13936319) Homepage Journal
    I think that Steve jobs is not motivated by greed. He is motivated by ideals. Steve Jobs wants to create the best "widget" (replace widget with Computer, Portable Audio Player, Animated Movies) and this is demonstrated by Pixar creating a movie a year whereas Dreamworks is churning them out. Steve Jobs wants his products to be the best...
  • by Paul Slocum ( 598127 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:44PM (#13936347) Homepage Journal
    I love Rockbox, but it has a lot of shortcomings. Although it has tons of great features, as is, it wouldn't stand a chance against the iPod IMO. Aside from being way behind and still not supporting some of the most basic iRiver features (like recording), the user interface is terribly sloppy in a lot of areas. It took a lot of hassling and arguing just to get them to do away with the painfully slow "read as you go" directory handling. The interface is improving, but it's a got a long way. Fortunately they're writing it so that it can easily be ported to other devices.

    The primary problem is that open source developers design their UIs from a stubborn programmers "least common denominator" philosophy. They have to look up the word "intuitive" if you mention it. It takes a lot of arguing to convince them of the most basic User Interface 101 pricipals.
  • Re:Not likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:47PM (#13936382) Homepage
    Can you have a playlist of all songs in your library, over 2 minutes and under 5 minutes, by an artist with a name containing a 'Q', rated over four stars, in the dance genre or the hip hop genre, that haven't been played in over two weeks and have been played more than 27 times, with a bitrate over 96kHz, added to the library after June of 2004 ?

    This is what I think makes iTunes + iPod the best, being able to manage a large music collection in very powerful ways, with ease.

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:49PM (#13936400) Journal
    [sigh] No, I didn't say that. You just said that.

    Show me a single open-source project that goes from end-to-end (source to end-user) and gives you a seamless natural way of doing "it" (whatever 'it' is) like the [itunes store][mac or pc][itunes software][ipod device][ipod interface] does. And it does it well, even under extreme loads like several thousand songs - the click-wheel made sure of that. There's nothing that Open-Source does like that. Not one thing comes to mind. Linux ? You must be joking! Apache? Yeah, right! Both of these are aimed at highly technical and able people. My sister (and you'd have to know her!) has an Ipod!

    Open source is excellent at doing a task. "We want an OS". Great - here it is. "We want a webserver". Cool - here you are. As a paradigm it's less good at the whole shebang. It's a cog in the wheel, not an end, in and of itself.

    I should probably point out that I've been using Linux since it came on floppies, that I ditched a DECstation 3100 to run it on an early '486. That I set up one of the earliest webservers (on the ditched DECstation, actually) in the UK - when you had to email CERN to tell them there's a new webserver in the world. I'm familiar with open-source, have used it, have contributed. I'm in no way a foe of open source. I just don't think it's a panacea.

  • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:52PM (#13936429) Journal
    Like most things, it will only be a matter of time before Steve Job's greed and closed circuit mentality has them loose market share.

    Ah...but that isn't Steve's way. That may have been Apple's way in the past, but Steve doesn't let Apple rest on its laurels. Remember when the first iMac came out? It was a big hit. He didn't just be happy with the gum drops though while imitation after imitation came out. He came out with the new iMac. And then the completely redesigned iMac again.

    He did the same thing with the iPod. The iPod came out, competitors gunned for it. Then came the Mini. Then the Shuffle. Then the Nano. Then the Video. When everyone thought HD based mp3 players would give way to flash-based ones, they came out with one. Apple isn't resting and that's how and why they own the market right now in that particular field. And as far as computer market share goes...yeah, Apple f'd up back in the day. But since Steve has took the helm and decided not to ride the success of any one product, they've been doing fairly well for themselves.
  • Compensation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dslauson ( 914147 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:52PM (#13936432) Journal
    What I would like to know is what does the open source community get out of this? I mean, yeah, it would be cool to have an OSS ipod competitor, but if it still costs me $300 even though I helped write the software, what's the point?
  • Re:Propriatory (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:53PM (#13936438) Homepage Journal
    The reason why Apple has always managed to do so well is becuase they have (until tiger) been almost exclusively proprietory. If you build your own hardware, you can build software that works perfectly on it. Since everyone using your software has a precisely defined piece of hardware (that you built) you can eliminate a huge range of issues (drivers, drivers, drivers...)

    But at the same time you create a situation where there is one sole provider of the hardware/software for the consumer. Look at the pain you have to go throw to get that iTunes downloaded tune to play on a rio, check out the pain of using non-iTunes software to interact with the iPod. (note: I had an original run iPod, things may have changed significantly since mine passed on)

    Its for that reason that I find it ironic that there are so many slashdoters who are fans of Apple/iPod when they are just as controling as Microsoft.

    Ahh well, just my little rant.

  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:54PM (#13936448)
    Sorry, but open source players don't care enough about the stuff that makes Apple successful - polish and design.
  • Re:Synergy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:55PM (#13936462) Journal
    Apple did what nobody else was able to do - they made having an MP3 player cool.

    Neuros players are "cool", too -- for people who think tinkering with your MP3 player is fun. For the market of people who want to be following message boards and constantly updating their firmware, it's the best thing there is. It's silly to think, though, that that market has much room for growth.

    For my part, I've been moving away from Linux and more and more onto OS X because I'm tired of needing to treat having a working computer as a hobby. The last thing I needed from an MP3 player is a *new* hobby.

  • by daeley ( 126313 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:56PM (#13936470) Homepage
    Steve is pissing off the owners of the music he sells (talking bad about them in the press over and over is a big mistake), and they are ACTIVELY looking to others to replace him. He is giving them money now, but others can do that, all he has done is effectively made enemies of the companies he relies on to make the iPod a success.

    Nice troll, dude, but you conveniently left out the reason they're pissed off at him -- because they want to raise the prices of the music downloads, and Apple refuses to. If he were motivated by greed in this instance, he'd jump all over that and get a bigger piece of the pie.
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:01PM (#13936500)
    Ah jesus, here we go...

    You're right on one thing, it won't last forever - nothing does. However what does Steve's greed have anything to do with this issue? Also, I seriously doubt the iPod is just a cool trend. Sure, some kids definitely have them for that, but I also know a lot of over-30 folks who have them in the car, home, pocket, etc - I don't see that as a trend.

    Personally, I think the iPod software is great. Both Creative and Sony had players out before the iPod and they were crap. Their interfaces sucked and Apple was able to marry the scroll wheel with easily navigation. So far, neither Creative or Sony has showed anything interesting, nor will they probably in the near future.

    As for the iTunes store and Steve pissing off the owners of the music, I think you referring to the music and media cartels, right? Hmmm...
    And making some missteps, that must be, what...? 1 mil videos in 20 days? Or is it over 1/2 billion songs? Or some other nook that's not been reported on yet.

    Look, I love 'open source' just as much as the next guy and my livelihood actually depends on it. But just because some group of people sprinkle the magic dust on [insert app or device here] doesn't mean it's gonna rule the streets. It's so obvious sometimes that the OS and even M$ communities are so focused on their one way (M$ dominating everything and playing w/nothing and OS re-doing everything M$ does for free) of the world that to them, it's impossible that something 'not invented (or copied) here' can be great.

    Honestly, I don't care much for Jobs, but I tip my hat to Apple pretty much every time I use one of their products. They understand design and implementation almost better than any tech company out there. Sure, they're not perfect, but their stuff just makes sense. This is coming from someone who took a long time to give up Windowmaker and whatever the latest and greatest Intel/Amd box of the day was. I hope some OS player will see some success, but it won't happen soon, just look at Windows vs. GNU/Linux/Gnome. You're assuming the mass of people give a shit about OS and the Windows monopoly just shows they don't. So, you can pretty much apply the same rule to the iPod for the foreseeable future.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:03PM (#13936522) Homepage Journal
    That CEO has a bad attitude, but even worse flamebait comes from Richard Doherty, principle analyst for research firm Envisioneering:

    "... right now any innovation only belongs to a half a dozen companies."

    What a moron. If he considers a corpse of patent lawyers innovation, he might have a point. If he wants features and convenience, he has no clue.

    KDE and other have it all gpl'd and ready for anyone. Playing, ripping and portability, it's all there.

    For ripping, there's the easy "abcde" program and KDE's Konqueror. It just works, no further effort required. If you don't want to buy your music in a box, you can go get it for free at Magnitune [magnatune.com] and other Creative Commons sites that save you the trouble of ripping.

    For play KDE alone have three excellent programs, Juk, Amork and Noatun. Noatun, while older, is my current favorite. It's network aware, as most KDE applications are, supports all sorts of playback including video, does shuffle and more. Can your music player sftp into your homebox? Outside of KDE, there are reliable standards like xmms, which also does network playlists, videos and all that.

    My laptop coupled with a fm transmitter and a cheap fm equipped digital music player runs rings around a DRM'd ipod. I get a real keyboard, full screen to drag and drop my music around and have to be at my desk anyway. Why limit yourself to 40 or 60 gigs when you can see your biggest, fattest network box? When I want to go portable, I can drag a few hours of random music onto the player and walk off.

    Music is the past, others are already living in the video future. Open Zaurus has been doing video streaming through the network for years.

    So, the work is already done and Neuros is not so dumb to ask for help doing it. For the price of a few devices, they can have the best music / video player in the world. I imagine the experiment will be educational for more than the CEO.

    If they are smart, they'll ship it with a Mepis CD to fix the end user's computer too. It's not like you can support a decent device on Windoze these days. Plugging cool portable devices to Windoze has like trying to put coal into your Ferrari for years now because Microsoft breaks what's not Microsoft.

  • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:11PM (#13936592) Homepage Journal
    I had a little 512 flash player (I think a Memorex, or some such) before I got my 4G 20g iPod. Even with such a small music capacity it GOT really tedious to pre-plan what I wanted to hear for the next day, or whatever. I don't really have the time to go through 3k+ songs, to pick what I want to hear. Sure, it only takes 45 min, but that is 45 min I could be doing something productive, or fun, rather than trying to pre-anticipate my erratic musical taste. ("hmmmm, weather says it might rain today, perhaps I should listen to the beatles? Or is Dead Kennedys more rain music?")

    About two years ago I switched over it iTunes, since I got sick of messing with tags and directories. I guess it is just me, the busier I get, the less I want to slave over my technology. I really like dragging a file into iTunes, and having it show up on BOTH my mp3 player AND my library. Simple as that. Nothing more.

    And Smart Playlists are just bloody awsome. Easy to use, but powerful. I wish they had slightly more options, but... hey.

    If not wanting to spend an hour or so messing with files when I don't have to an idiot. I'll proudly wear that badge. I like things to be easy, and convenient.

    Then again, thanks to iTunes (not iPod, that came later) I bought a Mac, and love it. Keep your work, my computer does what it wants, with no maintence from me. The less time I waste making things work, the better my life becomes.

  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:13PM (#13936613) Homepage

    I concur—it's the marketing. iPods are remarkably overpriced and underfeatured for what you get compared to other portable digital audio players. But everyone knows the name "iPod" because of the TV and print ads.

    Even things Apple initiated, like the protocol behind what free software users call "ZeroConf" (what Apple now calls "Bonjour") aren't present in iPods despite the nice service it could help provide to iPod users—with wireless communication hardware built into a portable digital audio player, one could share audio clips, playlists, images, and so on just by being physically near them or on the same local network as them.

  • by Jerry Rivers ( 881171 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:18PM (#13936652)
    "Its MP3 playback is far superior to the iPod."

    Please explain how this is possible.
  • Re:Synergy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by another_mr_lizard ( 608713 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:41PM (#13936806) Homepage
    Uhh have you ever been to an Ipod message board?

    The thing is, most iPod users have never been on an iPod message board....
  • Only someone who doesn't own an iPod and is rather jealous can say such a thing. I used to think the same thing, until I saved up some cash and bought an iPod. Let's dispel a few myths here.

    First, the iPods are among the lowest-cost music players in the industry. The 30GB Dell Digital Jukebox (the cheapest, crappiest equivalent) is $260 + $20 tax + $10 shipping = $290, only $9 cheaper than the iPod (no tax, free shipping). It has a black and white screen, it looks ugly, it doesn't play video, and it's a lot larger and heavier than the iPod. That's without even taking into account the iPod's awesome user interface. For instance, it's the only player that I know of that starts playing music as soon as you hit the play button -- without waiting to boot up or fill its cache. It has the most pleasant, easy-to-use navigation system I've ever seen in a portable device. It has the best sound quality of any player in its class. The main reason for its success is great engineering.

    They are certainly not underfeatured. Yes, they don't have useless features like an FM tuner (which would have increased the size, decreased the battery life, reduced the sound quality, and made it more expensive). If I wanted to listen to radio, I would have bought a radio and saved about $295. I can't think of any other feature it lacks. It has video (including video output to a TV), it has top-notch audio. You can even use it as a portable hard drive, and unlike the Windows Media players, it doesn't have any of that DRM bullshit (unless you buy stuff from iTunes).
  • Re:Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nihilogos ( 87025 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:46PM (#13936840)
    Why can't it be both?

    I think one of the first rules of journalism is to introduce false dilemmas whereever possible. I think the reasoning goes as follows

    1. Introduce false dilemma.
    2. Polarize the public, creating tension and anxiety.
    3. ???
    4. Profit.

    It is also used widely by politicians, e.g. "You're either with us or against us", who I think employ identical reasoning.
  • Re:Synergy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by another_mr_lizard ( 608713 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:48PM (#13936865) Homepage
    and most importantly, ogg

    Yeah most, importantly ogg. Because everyone has oggs coming out of their ass. But thats right, they dont. Outside of the geekworld ogg doesnt matter, really it doesnt. Great codec that it is I dont know of any ipod owner that isn't a geek that even understands what an aac or mp3 is - why are they going to care about ogg?
  • Re:Not likely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_kress ( 99356 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:09PM (#13937434)
    Sure it can. I nest playlists all the time. You build up two anded playlists and or them together, or is it the other way around. Anyway it works fine.
  • Re:Synergy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sco08y ( 615665 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:23PM (#13937534)
    Uhh have you ever been to an Ipod message board? Talk about constant firmware updating...

    On the Mac, Software Update grabs the latest iPod firmware updates automatically. Not sure how it goes on Windows, but if I were Apple I'd make iTunes grab firmware updates on the PC side.

    Many users have had horrible results with the updates btw leading to non-functioning sytems, missing libraries, and no internet access.

    If an iPod firmware update crashes your system, kills your Internet or deletes system files I think PEBCAK.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:53PM (#13937679) Homepage Journal
    "so why exactly do i want to pay $1 for a song that isn't even in full quality,"

    because I only want that 1 song. As far a quality goes, I listen to that music on the road, so background noise is a far bigger hit to the quality.
    Now, If I was sitting in a room with no background noise at all, listening to a pair of 500 dollar speaker, and had never heard anything over 90 db in my life, than yeah, I might notice a difference.

    "that i can burn to as many damn cds as i want i'll pass."

    Never been a problem with me and itunes. But if it was, I could use different cd writing software.

    "umm maybe i dont spend enough time with my tv remote or something, but it took me a few minutes to figure out how to even use the scroll wheel on my brain dead little sisters ipod mini,"

    ummm... maybe you are the one that's brain dead.

    "Of course every moron i know"

    birds of a feather, eh?

    "i gladly inform them that ipod is a brand not a device category, and that ipods suck and lock you in to doing all sorts of crap that is totally unneeded."
    man, you must be ajoy to tlak to.
    so, do they get the same tired speach when the ask for a kleenix? People know it's a brand, but people idenitfy with brands. Perhaps you should consider just saying "no, its a T10, and i like it better then the iPod for these reasons..."

    "and that ipods suck and lock you in to doing all sorts of crap that is totally unneeded. "

    name three things?

    "music management software? show me one that doesnt screww things up someway or another and i might consider it."

    here is one: iTunes. Keeps all the files centerally located, and lets you make play lists that point to the files, instead of keeping lots of copies all of the place. The smart playlist is pretty well done. I saw this as a computer file control nut. I like controlling my files, but after months of keeping a close eye on what iTunes does, I believe it is pretty reliable.

    "And why would i want to buy a player that is all about vendor lock-in??"

    really? I listen to thing on my iPod that I don't get from the Apple store. If you mean hardware, then that applies to almost ALL devices.

    "but it plays ogg, which is good coz i've benn ripping my cds to ogg for about 3-4 years now"

    ah. your rant was just an excuse to show your ogg leetness. I see.

    "and in the end i have it to play MY music"

    absolutley, and I am not saying don't buy whatever meets your need. I am saying don't make crap up, or spout off about slomething you don't understand. It makes people not want to buy the product you like to show them, and it makes people think ogg is just a format for people who have a need to be different at any cost. Which does ogg exactly no good.

    three things:
    1) I own a iPod Mini
    2) I didn't have much desire for one, but it was a gift.
    3) I was very sceptical of the iPod hype.
    4) I am very happy with my iPod mini
    5) I haven't owned any Apple harware since the Apple IIc. so I am not exactly the Apple fan boy.
    6) Learn what a newline is.....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @11:05PM (#13938054)
    When the open source community gets done, Neuros Audio will be left with a hand-held device that will do everything but play music well, and will have an interface that sucks. The device wil undoubtedly have software do do everything from simple calculations to developing software in Linux emulation mode. But it still won't play music any better than anything that works with either Windows or Mac.
  • Re:Synergy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Senjutsu ( 614542 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:18AM (#13938444)
    The only reason that Linux would become a hobby is if you felt a need to update things that don't need updating continually. Similarly, I have a hacked Xbox and the version of XBMC I have on the thing is like a year old, but it works just fine and I haven't been having problems with it. This player with some [working] OSS on it would be the same story.

    Or until one of the bugs in the perpetually-in-beta desktop environments, graphics drivers, media players, office suites, email clients et al bites you in the butt and causes you to need to try to upgrade to the latest version, which half the time, despite being available from the developer, hasn't been repackaged by the distro maintainer (or been released into the stable version of the package repository), leaving you in a situation where you either sit around waiting with unusable software, hack around with the config files to enable installing unstable packages (and risking further breakage through installation of unstable dependencies, because every bloody version of every bloody app wants it's own point revision of one of the multitude of GUI libraries, XML parsing libraries, etc, etc), or bypassing (and therefore rendering irrelevant) your package manager and building it yourself. And then tomorrow you do it all again when one of the other buggy progs bites you in the butt and ...

    Yeah, those were fun times, and every bit as easy as how I have it now with OS X, where I download the app from the dev and drag a single file to wherever the hell I want, knowing full well that it's dependencies are a perfectly standard set of libraries that came with the system, and that it will have the same interface as everything else. Not.
  • by tfoss ( 203340 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @03:15AM (#13939110)
    It probably makes sense for those that owned and understood the jog wheel version but as a johnny-come-lately, it is confusing at best.

    Yeah, I can't count the number of people who just haven't been able to grasp the whole 'move your finger in a circle' concept.


  • by jeriqo ( 530691 ) <jeriqo.unisson@org> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:13AM (#13939637)
    Can Open Source Outdo the IPod?

    (...checking open source user interfaces screenshots...)

  • Re:Synergy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by benjaminchoate ( 593966 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:08AM (#13939759)
    I think the parent has hit the nail on the head, and Wired has missed it. I don't believe that Neuros is trying to be an iPod killer. Neuros doesn't have to be an iPod killer to be successful. If the Neuros becomes the 'must-have' mp3 player of geeks, then IMO they have been successful. Capturing a majority of market share in their niche will likely make them a healthy profit considering the modest size of their company. They will be able to feed their families, pay their mortgages, buy their toys, and continue to build new and improved "must-have" toys aimed at the geek/tinkerer.

    Open-sourcing their firmware and inviting modifications is a great way to win the hearts of their target market, as well as improve their product.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup