Couple of weeks back Apple released their iTunes version 8.0 update, and I have had some time playing around with it. There are good news and bad news, well perhaps not bad, but definitely quite intrusive.

What’s good? Genius – automatically generated playlists. I have been a keen last.fm user for a couple of years and now finally iTunes has incorporated a similar feature akin to Amazon’s “You might also like…”. You choose a song you fancy and press the Genius symbol in the bottom right corner and boom you got yourself a playlist based upon that song. So far I’m guite pleased with the results. Possibility of saving the playlist adds to the joy of it. The same feature exist in the latest iPhone update as well which gives you the possibility to create Genius playlists on the fly. Sweet.

What’s bad (or at least intrusive)? Apple logs your listening habits in order to create more accurate playlists. I’m naively fine by that as I hardly can think of any reasons why Apple would blackmail me based upon my musical fancies on a late Saturday evening. But hold on! It’s not exactly blackmailing, but more similar to a friend pushing cd’s for sale on a party (which can be annoying). The Genius bar on the right in the iTunes app window forces “Buy” arrows in your face. Buy, buy, buy! This could easily been done less intrusive and annoying. I like the “Reccomendations” feature and get ideas of other similar artists, even though this often can be rather off as music is a matter of taste and not always necassarily genre and tag words.

So, Apple: Fancy the automatic last.fm-style iTunes’ Genius feature, but tone down the preassure of purchase please. P for peace.

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I fought the hopeless war for many years. Not until 2001, when I realised I had survived the omnious Y2K and found myself in Tokyo, I bought my first mobile. I cannot say I haven’t looked back since, because I have. Mobiles have been bought with various user experiences. My very first phone was a Japanese KDDI black clamshell phone with color screen and the thrill of receiving my first text is a bit embarrasing today. The vivid memory of a vibrating phone on my desk in that student’s dorm still rings true to a lost soul of modern communication technology.

Sony Ericcson has been my preferred choice of mobiles after returning to Norway and the 21st century. Even though I did not keep a mobile in my expat year in Italy which brought misery to my employer. Enter iPhone last month.

When I first read about the iPhone first generation when it was released in the States I wasn’t truly convinced. I felt skeptical of having my iPod turned into a mobile and having all my stuff in one place. I’m not too forgetful, but I’m skeptical – that’s all. My SE k810i almost had it all, it didn’t take the place of my iPod, but there was no real reason why it couldn’t even though the interface was a bit cumbersome.

Nevertheless, I received my much anticipated iPhone 3G one month ago and now I feel I can review it properly. First of all, it’s a good telephone. Calling works fine. But there are so much more. Rave reviews aside, my disappointments are few and far between and they add to the list already mentioned by others.

Copy-and-paste
Forwarding and sending SMS to more than one recipient
MMS (not a big deal really)
Video (my SE k810i was fabulous at this and I can no longer produce my documentaries)
Battery time (greatly improved with the latest update)
Add telephone numbers from 1881 directly to the Address book.
Play music using Airport wirelessly to my home stereo (very strange…)

That’s about it, and as others have pointed out and which has been proved to some extent with the battery issue, all of the issues can be fixed with an update.

So, what good about it?

App Store and all the apps (Shazam, Evernote, Nearby, 1881 etc.)
Interface and usability
Safari in my hand – fast online experience
Accelerometer
Photo viewer – slick and extremely userfriendly
iPod (especially Cover Flow and Genius playlists)
Drag-and-drop desktop items
GPS – not state of the art, but great for my treks where I live
Mobile Me synchronization – no more trouble syncing mobile/laptop/web

All the different apps are both very useful and fun. The main thing is that it does not feel like a mobile, but rather a pocket browser with mobile and iPod capabilities. I can definitly live with that, and it’s hard to think that I would ever return to a different phone anytime soon.

A cool, nifty and useful feature in Mac OSX Leopard is the Screen Sharing app. It’s a bit hidden away for some reason, but a well known feature in iChat. Screen Sharing in Finder let’s me access my stationary Mini Mac in my livingroom from my Macbook laptop. This is particularly useful when I need to print out, get or move files from one computer to another. I know I have the possibility to wirelessly print from Macbook over my local network using my Airport Express, but that has been slow and not very convenient the few times I have tried it. (With more persistence and patience perhaps..?)

I am a fond user of Leopard’s Time Machine feature and by using a MyBook external drive I backup all my valuable files form both my Macbook and my Mini Mac and lost files are easily fond and restored by both using Time Machine and drag-and-drop form one computer, but accessing data on both. Screen Sharing is simple and a visual toolfor the slow-witted like myself.

Time Capsule and Airport Extreme Base Station would help me making these task even more streamlined and simple, but that’s not within my budget yet.

Expert Village, a how-to-video website, has a good tutorial on how to use Screen Sharing.

More info on how to utilize Screen Sharing at Macworld.


Swansong
Originally uploaded by mortsan.


A friend of mine once said that one day there will be no need for men because women will be able to reproduce without us. A-magasinet had a feature article this weekend on how Norwegian men’s sperm has an increasingly difficulty to deliver the goods sort of speak. It’s sad, but true. Evolution is slowly wiping us out.

Let’s enjoy the last years, boys.