Friday, October 14, 2005

New iPod – Say Hello to video

Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t Apple just announce a new iPod about 6 weeks ago? Yes they did and they did it again! The large iPod has been replaced with a new model that emulates the appearance of the new Nano. The new large iPod is 2.4” x 4.1”. Both the 30GB and the 60GB are thinner, coming in at 0.43” and 0.55” in thickness. Both have a 2.5” color screen. No change has been made to the click wheel, which, in my opinion, is the best physical implementation, especially when compared to earlier generations. Battery life is up to 20 hours.

So, what can a 60GB iPod hold? It can hold 15,000 songs with full-color album art and up to 25,000 photos. Oh, and then there’s the potential to hold 150 hours of video! OK, so how do you get the video to your iPod? Simply go to the iTunes Music Store (using the new iTunes version 6.0) where you can download music videos, video podcasts, short films from Pixar and television shows! As of today there are 6 shows available, including LOST and Desperate Housewifes. The cost is $1.99 a show and each show will be available the next day following the broadcast. Good-bye VCR and Tivo and Hello iPod.

OK, what about quality? Glad you asked – H.264 video, up to 768 Kbps with 320 x240 resolution at 30 frames per second. It can also handle MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 mbps with 480 x 480 resolution. And you connect the iPod to a TV via an optional s-video cable. Going to the neighbor’s house for dinner? Just stick your iPod and s-video cable in your pocket and share your vacation pictures and video via their TV. Now the only question is which will make them more jealous – the vacation or the iPod?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sir Paul

I need to share an incredible experience last Monday, September 26th. Patti and I attended the Paul McCartney Concert. For me it ranks as the best concert I've ever seen. The opening act was a bit disappointing. It consisted of a DJ spinning Techno samplings from Paul McCartney's hits. It wasn't my cup of tea. Then a slide show appeared with Paul during the narrative. It consisted of his early days. What I always find appealing is his modesty. Here you have the wealthiest, most successful musician on the planet and he comes across like your friend down the street.

Paul began playing at 8:30 and continued without a stop until approximately 11:15. His vocals are still strong and only show the sign of aging in a few spots. The special effects were great. The effects weren't over done. They had loud bangs followed by five big balls of flame at the back of the stage. This appeared during Live and Let Die. There were also sparkler effects and colored flames at other points in the show. The colored flames appeared at the side and front corners of the stage. The colors were solid red and then solid green. I don't know how they did this but the colors were quite vivid.

Paul sang virtually every hit you could think of except When I'm 64. I assume he's saving that one. And, of course, he sang Yesterday.

Now a word about cost. I purchased the tickets from Ticketmaster minutes after they went on sale. The final cost was $140 per ticket. I bought two. Parking was $25. Food at the new Garden in Boston was $13 and 5 beers cost $30. Three shirts cost $112. Total - $460. I don;t know about you but I think this is outrageous. That kind of expense limits me to one large concert a year, maybe. Don't these people know that I would go to more concerts if they cost less?!

Now I have to admit that I'm spoiled. On the weekends I work as a bartender at the Sit N' Bull Pub in Maynard, MA. I see live music by decent bands in a small casual night club. The cover is $5 to $35 depending upon the band, with the average in the $7 to $10 range. Local bands include The Love Dogs, The Fools, Fat City, Peter Wolf, Bruce Marshall Band and BeatleJuice. It's a great deal.