The Best iPod Case

Some of you might know that I recently purchased an iPod. I look after my gear, period. I believe in cases for everything. It should look as good today as it did 12 months ago, or close to it. It can be done if you get the right accessories! One thing that there is a lot of for the iPod – accessories… and how. But I found by far the best case you could ever want for your iPod.

When I took possession of my iPod I got a fairly inexpensive silicon sleeve for it. Just until I found what I wanted, because the one you get with it is crap. There was nothing in the shops at the time being straight after Christmas. The silicon sleeve was and is okay. But there are a few things against it.

  • Have to remove the cover to dock the iPod
  • Absolutely minimal to zero impact protection
  • Zero screen protection

A permanent solution was required. It had to be functional and yet provide great protection. I plan on lugging it to work each day and I do have children, anyone that has kids knows where I am coming from.
I was in the Apple store today looking a few options for cases and a dock. I saw one case that looked good but the price caused me to think twice, $45.00 AU is a lot to pay for a case. So I went away and thought about it. I went back later in the day and I am very pleased I did. The iSnug case is the holy grail of iPod cases by a long way, for me anyway.

iPod Video Case by iSnugThis is a complete package and the cost is well worth it even cheap. I purchased the “iPod Video Case” which includes:

  • “Bullet-Proof” Shield
  • All leather iPod Case
  • Travel Case
  • Lanyard
  • Micro-Fibre Cleaning cloth

All of these items work together to provide total coverage for your iPod. The whole front of the iPod is covered with the bullet-proof shield. Clear and dead easy to apply, use the cleaning cloth to smooth out the application, worked a treat. Second the leather case can be used on it’s own. It has a belt loop and an anchor point for the lanyard. The only thing exposed is the wheel and the screen. But remember the shield has that covered as well. Now the absolute knock-out. The travel case has a recessed space for the iPod, leather case and all. Plus a cut out for your headphone lead. On the flipped lid there is a compartment for accessories, bonus.

So basically, it is a case in a case with a cover. You can use them separately or combined for travel or throwing in your bag for work. Knowing that the whole lot is protected. Base what you use on where you are and what you are doing. Very, very cool. Also great is the fact that the bullet-proof cover does not impede placing the iPod in a  Universal Dock.

On the negative side I can only think of two. One is the fact that being leather it is a bit more bulky than otherwise. But hey it is leather! The second is the fact that the cut out for the phones does not suit right-angled plugs. I bought a nice pair of after market phones for my previous mp3 player that cut out most ambient noise. But some handy work with a razor blade should fix that problem and it is not that bad in the first place so I might not bother. A third might be that it is black, for the white lovers out there. But my iPod is black and so are my headphones, so suits me.

I would highly recommend iSnug cases for your iPod. These same cases are available for the Nano series and your accessories, plus lots of other great products from the Handstands Company. That is if you are as fussy as I am about keeping your stuff in good nick. the $45 bucks (AU) was a steal. One last point, I am pretty sure that the “bullet-proof” cover won’t stop a bullet…

Handstands iPod Accessories Screenshot

This is a glowing review, that is because this product is the best I have seen and I am very impressed. I have not been payed or recieved goods to write this review.

No Pretty Lights

The other day I went to town the other day and bought a USB hub. So I looked around Harvey Norman and chose one that was compact and reasonable “cool” looking. I found one and purchased it. So I hooked it up that night, but only used it a day or so later. This thing was so cool. When you powered it up it had these very nice blue lights at the front for each port. They were that really great looking iridescent blue. Great I thought…

So a day or so later a hooked up the MP3 Player to transfer about 200 odd megs of podcasts and when I did that, I noticed something was a bit amiss. The transfer was as slow as a wet week. Turns out that the damn thing was a USB 1.1 device! I assumed that it was a USB 2.0, nothing on the box and since that’s the standard these days I thought that would be the case. Wrong. What it took was a hunt on the Internet to get the specs on it and there it was. But I was surprised to find that there was nothing on the box or in the documentation. So I waited for about 10 minutes while it transfer the files…

Yesterday I went back to the store and hunted for another USB hub. I found one. It is pretty basic and the only cool thing about it is that it is aluminium! The only light on it is a red one, at the back to say it is on. Bummer. Yeah sure this one is 2.0 compliant but I can tell you this hub is boring.

So I concluded that I want the one with the cool lights without the slow speed! I think also I am more disappointed that the cool lights had to go back and I have a boring alloy Hub. So I like things to look good and be functional, I am disappointed in myself, I always thought that I did not mind what something looked like, as long as it did the job! Seems not.

Capitalism in the Face of Content

I have often thought about this issue and I think it has even come up on Global Geek Podcast. How are all these lovely looking “Web2.0” websites going to make money? At this present time most of these sites look great, they have minimal advertising; if any. They look a million dollars due to the sleek web design and neat Ajax applications that they are employing. Or to use what has become a social term: these sites look very “Web2.0”. But today I see that this is changing.

Shoutwire is what people would term a “Web2.0” site. It is an on-line community that works a little like Digg in that news stories are submitted by the community and are “shouted” or “liked” by the users. In this way articles get X number of “shouts” which promotes that story up the ladder. I guess that you could say it a form of voting. Users can submit comments and have discussions about the stories as well. Great idea, news that the community decides is important gets promoted and read by more visitors to the site. There is also an RSS feed that you can subscribe to for the front, page much like Digg. The site when I joined was slick, pleasing to the eye and easy to use and it was fun. Although being a new site at the time the community was small. I don’t know how big it is now but if they continue wrecking their “look” they are going to scare people off in droves.

I had not visited Shoutwire for a while and I had some time free so I decided to swing on over to their site. To say that I was appauled is an understament. Sure there were some sort of syndicated adverts along the top, making up part of the header. Fine, a lot of sites have that or something similar. But the wart on the face of beauty was an overly large, flashing, obnoxious, irritating, badly placed advert right in the middle of the submitted article pane, right at the top. Absolutely disgusting.

Shoutwire Screen Shot[Click thumbnail for bigger image] Not only does this make the once slick site look cheap; it was also probably one of the most badly placed ads I have ever seen, but yes, I noticed it. I hated it, I am not even sure that I want to go back and I most probably will not. In addition to that is the fact that the type of advert that the editors (or whoever decides this stuff) have used; just does not look like it belongs on the site. It looks like they were desperate for money so they stuck up whatever they were offered. I don’t care if this type of advertising works, if it was me making these decisions it just would not have happened. It would be like a flashy magazine like Vanity Fair placing ads that you might see in Picture Magazine (Australian soft porn magazine) in the featured story. I am not sure if they realise that is how the selection and placement of advertising comes across or not but I would be interested to find out what other people think. There is another “choice” advert along the right side of the main page but at least it is not in your face. But it is one that I would not have expected to see, it just does not fit with the “flavour” of the site.

That said I have always maintained that these flash sites that we are being spoilt with are going to change and some like Shoutwire for the worse. The services and the nice looking sites, to say nothing of the bandwidth do not come for free. Something has to give here for them to be able to continue to operate and maintain the services that they offer.

We are going to see some things happen. These sites that promote traffic are going to have to decide how they tackle the revenue problem. Decide to fall on their sword and die a dignified death. Or they advertise. The only other alternatives is to charge a subscription to be able to contribute to the site or perhaps to even enter it. They would have to be pretty confident of their product for that to occur. But I can see the advertising thing happening. But please do it with class and good taste, Shoutwire is a great example of what not to do.

One nasty trick that some companies might be considering is that of building a user base that is highly involved and somewhat reliant on what they offer, like Odeo for example, then start to charge people to use it. I am not saying that I have heard that Odeo is considering doing this but I must say that if I would suspect a site for maybe doing it, it would be Odeo. You ask why I hear. Well; what Odeo are doing is transferring heaps of data in the form of podcasts and sent odeo messages to their user base and anyone else that wants to just listen to podcasts. That aspect alone would be costing them a lot of cold hard cash. Up until this point in time I have seen no advertising, except for themselves. But then again they might get their funding from somewhere else I don’t know.

Another site that comes to mind is YouTube, again huge bandwidth, big dollars, huge active user base and to top it off they are as popular as you might be able to get. Are they loosing money? I know they were for a while but they might not be now.

I would pay for both access and use of a site if a few conditions were meet. One is that I would have to rely on the service that they were offering and it would have to be good and reliable. Or alternatively I would have to very much enjoy being a part of that community. Secondly, I would expect that a subscription was payed in lieu of having to put up with Odeo Logoobnoxious advertising. For example, if Odeo said to me that I would have to pay to be able to recieve Odeo messages into my inbox for the podcast, I would agree to it. The reason being is that the service is a great one, it works, it is reliable, it is of high quality. But I would expect this fee to be reasonable as well, I won’t pay through the nose either!

So it remains to be seen if companies and websites will maintain the look and feel of their websites while meeting the need to raise revenue in order for the site to exist. I can see the need for both. But what I do not see the need for is the example of Shoutwire. It will be interesting to see what route these companies take over time as the pressure increases with more competition. Given Shoutwire, I am sure some will opt for cash and capitalism over content. In the meantime I am going to Newsvine, they look like they are doing something right.

Odeo Respond, Download Link Returns!

As posted yesterday it appeared Odeo had decreased it's functionality of the "send me an Odeo message" by not allowing users to download the mp3 of the left message. Well there has been a great response from Odeo with emails and even a blog comment. All is restored in the Odeo universe.

Odeo Download LinkBiz Stone who works for Odeo left a comment on the Rail yesterday that indicated that the omission of the Download link on the web page was a bug and implied that they were unaware of the problem until I had blogged about it. So great I found a bug! The emails that were recieved were also prompt and promised a resolution. The action by Odeo to resolve the issue has been excellent. When I logged onto my inbox this afternoon, the download link is now present and accounted for. Everyone breath a sigh of relief. I am yet to see if the enclosure in the RSS feed from the "inbox" has been fixed as well but I am assuming that it has.

I commend Odeo staff on their excellent response time and the fact that they responded at all. They could have easily just resolved the problem and pretended that it did not happen. Great work Odeo, we still love you 😉 (In a nice blokey type of way…).

In fact I am not really sure how Biz found my humble blog, and if he is reading this then I wouldn't mind knowing. The other thing that I was curious about was if the staffers at Odeo patrol the BlogOsphere looking for tags and posts regarding Odeo, to see what people are saying and suggesting. I know that one suggestion that I made in the past was implemented, so that was cool.

Thanks Odeo keep up the good work.