Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting rid of annoying mouse cord overhang (ipod nano 6g review too)


I love my Logitech G500, and the braided sleeving on the cord is pretty cool. I recently started using a sliding keyboard tray (new desk) and noticed that now my mouse cord hangs down and if I make any sort of vertical movement, the following happens:

It frays the braided sleeving and is annoying, obviously. I taped the cord up under the desk surface, but that didn't allow much play: I had to constantly adjust for the perfect amount of play for the most neutral mouse moving. By the way, if you're thinking "why not just get a wireless mouse?", I have two, and they both suck in comparison to this mouse, and I can't justify a new one just because of this little issue. I'm also notoriously worrisome about batteries and think about them constantly when using wireless mice.

While browsing the dollar store recently I happened upon some little hooks and thought, "PERFECT -- and cheap". It is non-binding, smooth, and I can easily remove the cord when I want.


Also, after years of being an Apple-hater, I turned out to need (exercise) an mp3 player, and my cousin just had an extra ipod nano 6g laying around: she won it, but she has an iphone already. I've actually won an ipod shuffle before, and sold it. My mother won a nano 4g and gave it to her brother... It's like they're attacking my family.

After getting over my hatred and reluctantly installing itunes (seriously? no drag and drop or standard MTP support? I NEED itunes to use this crap?), I had an ipod nano 6g with my music. I almost returned it after I found out I couldn't sync music without itunes, I have memories of friends with itunes and seeing 3 apple-related processes with it closed, something like 5 when it was open. I caved and installed to my non-primary laptop, I almost virtualboxed just for itunes.

The screen is incredibly nice, the pixel density is surprising, making for a surprisingly sharp picture. I can actually tell the compression/low-res of some album art on the screen! And I mean low as in ~150^2 pixels. For some reason, however, you cannot set a wallpaper different from the provided stock-wallpapers, which is completely idiotic unless I'm missing some setting.

I'll admit, I'm guilty of looking at them before: I'm a sucker for album art, and the UI displays AA while playing just like the Windows Media Player 12 it doesn't support... I also saw the watch-bands on some tech blogs and thought: wow, that is nifty, perfect for running as well, because the clip seemed flimsy and would not hold it in place anywhere on my clothing if I were to run with it. I thought maybe I could do similar:

My mother got me the star of david bracelet when she went to Israel, I found that it worked somewhat well, but it was loose and the styles clashed.

I later bought a cheapo watch just for the continuous-strap band, and, presto! Not... clashing, very secure, and easy to remove/put on thanks to the hook/loop.


The interface is surprisingly easy to use, as I had an aversion to touchscreens prior, and was looking at the Clip+ for fulfilling my jogging-companion needs. I wanted to be able to do certain things without looking at the device, and with the latest firmware, I could "next track" (the action I do most often, second only to volume adjustment) with a double tap to the power button, which tripled as a hold switch, and there are dedicated volume buttons. To "next track" I can shake-to-shuffle as well, since I'm always in shuffle mode anyway.

Navigating lots of music on the tiny screen was another aversion to a tiny player I had, but the hold-for-alphabet-browse feature let me get past that: one can hold a finger on the right side of the screen while browsing to slide to a certain letter.

Regarding file formats, I really wish I didn't have to let iTunes convert my wma's to INCREDICRAPPY mpeg-4 audio files. Also, it wouldn't even consider my oggs. Really. That's how much they hate open source... that they don't profit from (since their computers are pretty much on FreeBSD). I nearly uninstalled/smashed the ipod at that point.

The pedometer seems to work, and I suppose will be a nice way of tracking my progress (oooohhh I see some graphs in this blog's future).

The radio works well, although reception is a bit hard to get sometimes depending on the headphones.

The concern I have that killed my last player was a worn jack, worn from abuse and several headphones. The left channel was extremely intermittent and unreliable. This unit's jack seems solid enough, but only time will tell.

The sound quality is decent. Bass is exaggerated for the bass-heads (I'm guessing at least half of the userbase listens to primarily hip hop), and so is the treble. As a result, the mids seem just a tad recessed in comparison. It's slight enough for me not to care, I guess I'm not an audiophile anymore.

Overall, I love the hardware and most of the user interface, but I still hate the software and company. I didn't even know what jailbreaking was until I had this thing, and now that I do, my opinion of Apple is even worse in that regard. I can at least sleep at night since I didn't directly give Apple a dime.
Other than that though, it is a great jogging companion, especially with the watchband.

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