Now, I’m not saying I couldn’t benefit from a bit of this but, well, good grief.
Correspondents in London
UK-based Selfridges has opened an iPod school an upmarket part of London, even though the manufacturer does it for free in its shop just round the corner.
Clueless music lovers who have embraced the trendy new technology but not the know-how can pay 65 pounds ($150) for a 40-minute lesson at Selfridges, on the popular Oxford Street shopping haunt.
A Selfridges spokeswoman said the one-to-one "iPod Survival" sessions, to be launched later this month, have been set up in response to customers who are baffled by the devices.
The lessons, which include subjects like using iTunes, installing and deleting videos, creating playlists and downloading Podcasts, are given either in-store or on a home visit.
Selfridges set up a so-called SpeedPod service in December last year, in which CDs are loaded on to the music players for a fee.
The service’s manager, Kristina Rate, said the tutorials were set up in response to consumer demand, particularly from children and the over-40s.
"Our guys basically know everything about it by really being interested. There isn’t such a thing as an iPod school or an MP3 player course," she said.
The tutorial, however, costs nearly as much as the cheapest iPod – the iPod Shuffle – which retails at about 69 pounds in Britain.
A short walk to manufacturer Apple’s Regent Street store will also save the uninitiated money as iPod workshops there are free.
Troubleshooting and tutorial pages to help with iPods and iTunes are also available on the US computer giant’s web site.
I started my computer this evening to see what witty comment had been made about my failing to read the iPod manual only to find that WindowBlinds wouldn’t start properly. When I tried the old trick of ‘select something different and then go back to what I wanted’ in the Display Properties it crashed and sent an error report to Microsoft. Nothing new there but the dialogue popped-up to tell me that there was more information available; I expected it to be ‘error caused by a device driver’ but instead it said that I could have a virus. WHAT?! So, out with Norton Anti-Virus and a full scan which found six infected files despite the real-time scanning running constantly. Not happy.
Anyway, apart from that, the Microsoft crash analysis system took me to this page, which was nice. Looks interesting even if I haven’t tried it yet because I’m still doing a full spyware scan. If anything remarkable takes place while I’m trying it out, I’ll remark on it.
Today seems to be a back-slapping day for the iPod round here. I actually discovered this next feature a while ago but I’ev only just gotten round to mentioning it. I’ve been asked (by Steve) if, when playing video, the iPod can pause it and let you do something else. Well, at the time I said that I didn’t think so but I had only bought it that day so give me a chance! Anyway, the actual answer is yes, it can. It looks like it can save the current postion for multiple video files. Whether it can store a different position for each file or only the last few, I don’t know.
I’ve got to say, I disagree with the opinion that the iPod Video is no good for video. I think the original statement, that video is a sideline for a device that is a music player is about right. I watched dl.tv at the gym today and could see everything perfectly well. Obviously a fold out eight inch screen would be great but that just ain’t gonna happen.
The Creative Vision:M just leaves me cold, better codec support or not.
So I’m sat here listing to my iPod, cursing it for not having a shuffle-within-a-playlist option, and I go into the settings menu to turn of the repeat mode which was replaying podcasts that I’d just listened to (it repeats all the tracks in a playlist and if you’re up-to-date on your podcasts that might be only one file) and I notice that there’s a shuffle option which is turned off… I switch that on and now tracks in my playlist now appear in random order! You can shuffle either songs or albums which means it either plays random tracks or chooses an album and plays all the tracks in it before moving to the next album. That’s pretty good! So it seems that the iPod does do proper shuffle, at least, the latest one does. So, d’oh! I’m still going to blame apple though; if they’d included a printed manual I’d have found that. 😉
The other problem I’ve been having, the one with iTunes claiming that my iPod has been used with another library has, I think, been fixed by plugging the iPod in, NOT starting iTunes, starting the disk management console (right-click My Computer and click Manage) and choosing a different drive letter for the iPod to use. In my case, I chose drive U: which is far enough away from the top of the alphabet to not get affected by plugging things in and using virtual drives. So far, it’s working but if that is the solution, it’s not the kind of user friendly thing you’d expect to have to do, is it? Of course, as I said before, most people won’t be adding and removing drives (virtual or otherwise) on a regular basis but that’s not really the point.
Still, if it’s now working that’s close enough. I can’t agree with this ultimate digital music player tag that the iPod has managed to grab for itself but it’s getting better. RTFM!
Lately I’ve been trying surfing the web from my phone, a Sony Ericsson Z600, which isn’t a ‘smart’ phone though it does support java. Listening to the Chris Pirillo Show today I heard an interview with Opera, the web browser people, who were talking about a new product called Opera Mini, now I’d seen that on the opera site at http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/operamini/ but I thought it was their smart phone browser. Wrong! It’s their dumb phone browser which lets most java capable phones surf using a version of their software. I’ve just installed it and so far it seems to work well. I’m still suffering from the small screen and the relatively slow GPRS connection but I’m not going to fix either of those without a new phone and a new contract. So, Opera Mini, breathes new life into <cough> classic tech.
By Jonathan Bennett, Builder UK
Builder: PHP developers from the UK and abroad will gather in the capital to discuss technical issues, in what should be a friendly and relaxed environment
The UK will get its first dedicated conference for PHP developers next month when the PHP London user group stages PHP Conference UK 2006 at the Keyworth Centre in London. The conference, taking place on 10 February, will include talks on a number of PHP-related topics by coders from around the UK and Europe.
The list of speakers includes Matt Zandstra, author of Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, Harry Fuecks, author of The PHP Anthology and Christopher Kunz, a contributor to the Hardened-PHP project. Subjects include AJAX, the Dependency Injection pattern and RAD using PHP.
Read the rest of this story on Builder UK, ZDNet UK’s site for developers.