Archive for August 2007

iPod shuffle design – pretty, but very very flawed.

I’ve had two of the new-generation iPod Shuffles now – the ones with the integrated clip. I won’t be getting any more.

The old-style Shuffles were a masterpiece of design. Small enough to carry with you everywhere, yet large enough to hold comfortably. The supplied neckstrap was fantastic – having it hanging under a shirt meant it was invisible, yet the controls were easily accessible. The inbuilt USB plug made recharging trivial – where can you go where you don’t have access to a USB port? It also made syncing trivial, and made use as a thumb drive painless. It had no moving parts (except the little ball bearings that held the cap onto the box).

The new-style shuffles have given me nothing but grief. They’re too small to hold comfortably. They’re so small it’s easy to miss them when checking pockets before a wash – fortunately, they also survive being washed quite well. The built-in clip is just a bit too small and a bit too powerless to be useful – it’ll clip nicely to a belt loop on a pair of jeans but that’s about all. They don’t clip well to waistbands, they don’t clip well to anything at all, really. Mine was usually clipped to pockets or waistbands or to parts of my bag – and constantly falling off, or being bumped off, because the clip didn’t hold very well.

The most fatal flaw of the design was exposed last night. Unusually, I’d actually put it onto a belt loop, so the clip was holding well. At some point, I must have brushed past a wall or something. It clearly wasn’t much of a brush, as I don’t remember feeling anything – but it was enough to pull the body of the Shuffle back as far as the spring would allow – and then further, bending the back of the clip, and eventually ripping it off my belt loop entirely.

Because this model doesn’t have an inbuilt USB port, I need to put it in its dock to charge or sync it. This has always been a pain: I’ve had to carry that bloody annoying little dock with me everywhere, just in case I want to change the music on the iPod. It’s now even more of a nuisance: because the clip is bent out of shape, the Shuffle won’t fit in the dock, so I can’t sync it or even charge it.

So, my first shuffle got washed, then later got lost, both times because it was so small and light that it’s amost impossible to tell whether or not it’s in a pocket, even when you’re specifically checking pockets to see if it’s in there. My second one got its integrated clip bent out of shape, and now can’t sync or charge.

I won’t be buying another.

Headline of the day

Strangest headline seen in my Gmail today:

Hrm, I thought that was a feed, not an advertisement.

Ruby, in two sentences or less.

From Kerry Buckley’s blog

I found a partial solution in PHP, but decided to roll my own in Ruby anyway.

It took a few hours longer than I expected (the documentation for Net::HTTP could be better)

Those two sentences sum up everything I’ve heard about Ruby.

Zooming User Interface – spotted in the wild

Lots of blah blah about new interfaces and stuff. I’m not in the mood for writing much at the moment, so please fill in the blah-blahs for yourself.

You know what a zui is, of course, but you’ve probably never seen one in the wild.

Well, welcome in the most innovative website design I’ve seen in a while. Yes, I was shocked that it came from McDs too.