Wherein “art” equals “compromise.”
My new iPod nano showed up today and, as expected, it’s quite a rad little machine. It’s tiny and lightweight, has a huge (well, relatively huge) screen and has enough capacity that I can actually put all the music I really want to listen to on it in a go. That’s good! It’s also a garish shade of metallic orange. That’s good, too, in a tacky sort of way.
But it also has some issues, all which stem from Apple’s continuing mission to disregard its own well-established user interface rules in favor of neat-o features. For starters: turning the device sideways causes it to switch into “cover flow” mode, which lets you thumb through album covers. It’s very slick-looking, but it’s also completely useless, because it prevents you from adjusting the music’s volume. So, unless the iPod is in an upright position, trying to change the volume will cause you to jump to another album. Great! And then there’s the pervasive album-shuffle flaw they introduced with the iPhone/iPod Touch, wherein it’s becoming increasingly difficult to shuffle music by album. The new nano lets you set the system to shuffle by album, keeping music together…but when you actually do shuffle, either with the menu or the silly new “shake to shuffle” accelerometer gimmick, it ignores your preferences and mixes songs without regard to album connections. Every time I mix music, I have to go in and reset that preference manually.
These are, of course, minor issues. But that’s the problem! Apple used to be good at getting the little things right. Sometimes it was all they did right. Yeah, maybe the hardware was overpriced and the operating system was a crashy piece of crap, but at least when everything worked it always worked exactly what you wanted. There was profound consistency within Apple’s design so that everything worked reliably and uniformly. It was great. Now they’re all successful and popular and have grown lazy and complacent and fail at their former specialties. Shameful.
So, uh, I guess the solution is that everyone needs to buy Zunes for a few years to knock Apple down a peg so they have to try harder. Like Avis!
Anyway, enough crankiness. The last big batch of games I’m trying to offload is up on eBay now. Very exciting! I’m really looking forward to being done with this grand sell-off process. The folks at the post office, I think, are getting tired of seeing my face.