News and views about the iPod and other interesting tech trends.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

From the not-quite-apples-to-apples department:

After Sony introduced its new group of portable MP3 players, Apple has fired back at the electronics giant, saying Sony is unfairly claiming a high song capacity on it's 20GB player, using a marketing gimmick instead of a true "apples to apples" comparison (sorry, I couldn't resist). Sony's claim of 13,000 songs (on their 20GB player) is based on encoding of 48kpbs, which is much lower (and reportedly sounds much worse) than the de facto 128kbps compression standard. More common compression would yield about 5,000 songs on both Apple's and Sony's respective players.

It is interesting to note that, yet again, Sony seems to be pushing their proprietary format (this time, the MiniDisc format ATRAC3). In order to use their players, users must convert their (unprotected) WMA, MP3, or AAC files to ATRAC3 (with an ostensible loss of quality) to store them on Sony's players. I do not think that any Sony player can truly be considered an "iPod killer" until it allows people to transfer their music collections natively onto Sony players. If the iPod taught us anything about consumer electronics, it is that simplicity is a good thing.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

From the free-as-in-Amway Department:

Macworld UK is reporting about an iPod 'pyramid' scam. Often, it involves spending money to put your name on a list (perhaps spending $40 on something like, say, a cell phone signal booster or by signing up for offers like credit cards). By signing others up (undoubtedly with the people spending more than the price of an iPod), the iPod (or other free product) is supposedly shipped to the participant. These "pyramid schemes" are preying on the popularity of the iPod (and especially the iPod mini) to make the owners insane amounts of money. As a rule, just about the only people who make money and/or "profit" from these such schemes are the people up top. Just a reminder that there is no such thing as a proverbial free iPod most of the time. I would point people looking for a free iPod to iTunes for the time being. While the chance to win an iPod is slim, its more honest than what these people are doing. I also recommend that they try to save up and buy it from the iPod Store or the iPod mini Store (both sponsors of this blog).

Offending sites include, (not a pyramid scheme, but reportedly a scam nonetheless),, FreeSlide,, and others. Many users have also reported the scam being advertised in banner ads online and also on eBay (as reported here), the latter most likely due to aggressive pyramid underlings desperately trying to get enough users to sign up to get them a free item. Caveat lector.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

From the free-as-in-beer department:

The Register is reporting that Apple is giving away free iPods to celebrate its upcoming milestone of 100 million songs sold on iTunes. The article also mentions the widespread rumor that Apple is readying a 60GB iPod in the near future.