Monday, February 15, 2010

iPod Touch

Part of my job driving busses is driving activity trips. These are longer trips (sometimes overnight) where I drive the students to some activity (sports, museum, etc) and then bring them back.

I've been longing for something to take with me on these trips so that I can having something to do while waiting for the kids to finish what they're doing and return to the bus.

There were essentially three choices, Nintendo DSi, Playstation Portable, or the Apple iPod Touch.

My four main objectives with one of these devices were: music, movies, games and internet.

I went with Apple's 8GB iPod Touch for the following two reasons.

Music: All of the music I currently own has been purchased through the iTunes Store. Which means that most of it has digital copy protection which prevents you from playing it on non-Apple devices. The DSi doesn't play music at all to my knowledge, but the PSP does; but I wouldn't be able to use the music I already own. So there's one notch for the iPod.

Internet: The iPod Touch offers as close to a real web experience as you can find on such a small device. The Nintendo and PSP -- from what I understand -- only offer stripped down browsing capabilities. Not to mention the many apps you can download for the iPod that allow you to have great access to your favorite web sites on the smaller device.

Now for some review notes.

I had reservations about the kinds of games I would be able to get for the iPod, but a couple days use quickly put away those fears. The games that I've tried have been very well done and work wonderfully.

A couple of game suggestions: Bejeweled2, Blackjack World Pro, Warheads, and Skee-Ball.

As I said above, the internet experience on the iPod Touch is very nice. Most of my internet activity is centered around a few web sites. Primarily Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

Gmail and Google Reader have web sites optimized for the iPod that are very slick and work very well.

Facebook has its own free app you can download that I like very much. In fact, I had pretty much quit using Facebook before, but I've really come to like it again since getting the app.

Twitter has a good mobile web site as well, but I highly recommend AteBits' application Tweetie 2 if you do a lot of tweeting. It's a very well-made program.

Flickr I'm a little torn on. I've got their free app, and I've used their mobile site. And I keep going back and forth between the two. I can't decide which I like better. And it's not really because they're both really good. They both have some real issues as far as I'm concerned. They do work, I just don't care -- yet -- for how they work.

My one big gripe -- and to me it is a big gripe -- is that my iPod does not have a camera on it like the iPhone. The case has the cut outs for it since they apparently use the same shell, but they just won't put one in. My digital P&S is a pretty tight fit for my pocket so I don't always carry it with me, and I'm always seeing stuff I wish I could shoot a picture of. A camera in my iPod would make me very happy.

So why didn't I just get an iPhone? I'd get my camera, and I'd be able to access the internet anywhere I had cell signal, I wouldn't have to hunt up a wifi hot spot. I didn't get the iPhone because it requires a two-year contract and the iPhone plans start about $60 per month. I'm simply not willing to pay that much money per month. Wifi hot spots are everywhere nowadays, I don't need to have constant access to the net.

And when I can't find a hot spot, that's what the music, movies and games are for.

I chose the 8GB over the faster, larger capacity models because I simply don't need the speed or the space. The $100 I saved getting the smaller iPod could buy a lot of music, and I don't mind not being able to put my entire library on the thing at once anyway.

When Apple announced their iPad a couple weeks ago, that put a new kink in my decision making process. But ultimately I decided that I wanted something that would go in my pocket.

So that's that. I really like the thing. It does take a bit getting used to. But it works very well for what it does. I really should have bought one of these things a long time ago.

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