Apple iPod Nano Review

Yes you read the title correctly, I have an Apple iPod Nano. I recently won one with one of the affiliate programs I participate with and just recently got it in the mail. I thought I would give my impressions of the only Apple device I own.

First impressions were good. The device is small but the touch screen makes it easy to navigate around. My seven year old son even had no problems finding his way around on the little touch screen. Unfortunately my good first impression of the Apple iPod Nano did not last long.

I don’t use iTunes, I had hoped to die before ever having to use iTunes. I have my music collection all nicely sorted and managed on my Ubuntu desktop. I have regularly loaded my kids other MP3 players with music by simply hooking the devices up to my desktop and copying over the folders they wanted. It is simple, takes roughly 30 seconds and they are off listening to their new music. Not going to happen with the new iPod Nano.

Hooking it up to my Ubuntu desktop I was able to see the device but I quickly learned that the newest iPod Nano is not supported by my favourite music manager on Linux. Apparently the iPod Nano does not actually scan its internal storage for music but has some kind of database that needs to be updated and it can only be done at the moment by iTunes. Can you hear me swearing yet? Trust me I was.

I can live with the fact that I have to connect the device to a computer to copy music and photos on to it, but being forced to use iTunes was almost to much. I love my son, however, who decided this new device was now his, so I booted up my Windows virtual machine, downloaded iTunes and began the installation. After over an hour it had finally finished installing and scanning all the music and I was able to copy music on to the iPod. That went fairly smoothly. iTunes is a bloated piece of crap but at least it worked. I was able to get the few kids albums he wanted onto the device and some photos.

I gave it to my son and he gladly went off and listened to some music. A little while later he came back to me and asked how he could watch the latest movie I had loaded onto his other MP3 player on the new one. I told him he couldn’t because it could not play videos. He then decided I could have the iPod Nano back and went and watched the movie on his older $25.00 MP3 player.

If you use iTunes to manage your music I guess using an iPod is not a large step. If you happen to already have your music collection organizied the way you like it and have no need to ever use iTunes never buy an iPod Nano. I have since loaded it with all the music the kids like and keep it in the car to hook up to the car stereo. This way I don’t have to put more music on it very often.

It is unfortunate that Apple feels they have to lock people into using iTunes to be able to do something as simple as putting music on a simple MP3 player. A task that should have taken me 30 seconds to do with a $25.00 MP3 player took me close to 2 hours initially with the iPod Nano.

Using the iPod Nano made me appreciate wirelessly connecting my Android devices to my network and loading music. It is so much easier and better than how Apple does it. Do iPhones have to connect to a computer to load music? If they do, what a waste of time.

I would never have bought it but winning it was nice and it confirmed to me why I never bought any kind of iPod in the past.

Netflix Comes to Canada

I have known for a little while that the Netflix movie service was going to open up shop in Canada. In the US Netflix is similar to Zip.ca here in Canada, you can choose movies and they will mail them to you. Actually it is really the the other way around, Zip.ca is similar to Netflix since Netflix started in the US before Zip.ca opened up here. The big difference between Netflix and Zip.ca is that Netflix offers streaming movies. Streaming movies straight to my living room is the service I was hoping for when I signed up for Zip.ca. Zip.ca announced a streaming service almost a year ago, but it has still not materialized. The day that Netflix finally opened their doors here in Canada and announce streaming movies is the day I signed up and cancelled my Zip.ca account. Zip.ca is a decent service for DVD’s by mail, but I see no reason anymore why I need plastic discs to watch a movie. Here are my impressions of the new Netflix in Canada streaming service so far.

The Good
Streaming! – Finally a streaming movie service in Canada. It is ridiculous that there are still services and DVD rental places moving plastic disks around. This is the way movies and TV on demand should be delivered! If the movie studios want to reduce piracy they need to make it easier to watch their content. Netflix provides an easy to use, instant streaming service. Before Netflix in Canada the next closest way to do this was to torrent the same content.

Wii, PS3 Support, Netflix Enabled Devices – There are lots of Netflix enabled devices available and most probably support Netflix Canada. We have a Wii and just got the disc the other day to use Netflix on the device. It is easy to use. While those that love their high quality 1080p HDTV might laugh at the quality the Wii puts out, it is decent enough to watch.

Windows and Mac support – Instant streaming to a Windows or Mac computer is simple. For those people that already have a media computer hooked up to their TV this will be the best way to watch Netflix.

The Bad
Microsoft Silverlight! I am sure Netflix has a good reason for this, and it probably has everything to do with DRM. Honestly though, Microsoft Silverlight SUCKS! My one Windows computer that is in our kitchen for everyone to use just chokes and dies when I try to play Netflix on it. The machine is not that old, and does most things fine, but Silverlight causes it to crash and become unresponsive 98% of the time.

Windows and Mac Instant Streaming Only – Linux does not get instant streaming and probably has everything to do with DRM. This is an inconvenience but it will stop me from watching TV and movies at my desk.

No Android app – This is not surprising since Linux is not supported. Would be nice to have with the Samsung Galaxy Tab coming soon, and me thinking of getting one. 🙂

Selection – Their movie and TV selection is not full of all the latest and greatest. If you need to see the latest DVD release the day it comes out, then Netflix is probably not for you. But then again none of the DVD by mail services are really for you.

Affiliate Program – I have heard good things about the Netflix affiliate program, even though it is part of the Google Affiliate network. I wanted to join, but was turned down. I guess I do not get enough traffic. Just wanted to mention it since it just kind of ticked me off that they turned me down.

The Ugly
DRM – This is probably why there is no Linux support. Also the reason I cannot use my WD TV HD Live to stream Netflix. There is a WD TV HD Live Plus that does support Netflix, but from what I have heard so far Netflix Canada is still not actually supported. I will put up with this kind of DRM more than if I was buying a disc simply because the service offers unlimited streaming.

Overall
Netflix will not be for everyone, but it is a great service for those that want quick and easy access to TV and movies. Anyone that has ever gone to the video store with kids should get this service. No more screaming and arguing about what to rent, or maybe that is just me and my kids. The Netflix instant streaming is perfect for me and our family. While we stopped going to the video store when I signed up with Zip.ca, now with Netflix I no longer need to find movies to have queued to mail to us. I just browse and click. As their selection improves this will be the only way to rent movies soon.

If the movie studios are smart (and I doubt that some are) they need to realize that their DVD sales will never go back up to where they were and they need to get on Netflix instant streaming. The cost of Netflix is low and the fact that you can watch it instantly is better than downloading a movie (not that I have ever done that). If there is a movie or TV show that I really must have I will still go and buy a plastic disc of it, but I would much prefer a digital copy that I can just play.

The price of $7.99 in Canada for instant, unlimited streaming is nothing and it is faster and cheaper than the local video store. Not to mention you never have to worry about returning a movie or going out in -30 Celsius. If you add it all up it is probably the greenest way to watch a movie, but that is a whole other post. Enough writing, I am off to go watch another movie on my Wii.