Archive for November, 2007

2am blue jeans


and more from November 25th, 2007.

New iPod owners 101


I haven’t blogged for ages, I’ve been super busy at work and super tired at home. I know, I know – it’s very common for me to power-blog for a few months and then disappear for another few. Bad blogger. Bad, bad blogger.

A few things have happened recently, but the sad truth is that my purchase of an iPod nano 8gb is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in my personal life in the past month (that, and Felix and I celebrated our two years anniversary, which I forgot on the day of). This new device is replacing my Rio Carbon 5gb, which was my homage to the father of MP3 players (the rio, not the ipod). Alas, it was not meant to be. It’s screen was monochrome, it couldn’t play video, it was old and uncool. Out with the old, in with the new.

In the “earlier days”, I was very much against the idea of buying an iPod. Poor device support and no DRM aac playback support on Linux were extreme deciding factors for me. Since then, these have been implemented on Linux, Apple has started selling DRM-free music and I have switched to a Mac.

So now that I have an iPod, how do I what do I do with it?

Software

Besides iTunes, there are some other pieces of must-have software for iPod owners, especially those with a video-enabled iPod. Handbrake allows you to rip and convert DVDs for your iPod in one click, iSquint converts videos in other formats for use on your iPod and TubeTV downloads and converts Google Video and Youtube videos into iPod format with one click. Join Together converts your audiobook MP3s into a single file and into a format which iTunes/iPod recognize as an Audiobook.

Another interesting piece of software is Senuti (that’s ‘iTunes’ backwards) which allows you to grab the songs off of your iPod on any computer.

You can also Sync your Google Calendar with your iPod by subscribing to your personal Google Calendar ical address with Mac OS’s iCal application. You can subscribe to all of your calendars this way and they will all be synced to your iPod.

You can find more iPod-related software for OSX at iusethis.com.

Getting (DRM-free) music

Emusic is by far the largest online store for drm-free music from independent artists internationally. If you have less of an eclectic music taste (and live in the US), you might want to try Amazon.com DRM-free music store. iTunes store now has iTunes Plus (internal iTunes link) which offers DRM-free music, but only works in the select countries where iTunes operates.

Subscribing to Podcasts

As far as subscribing to podcasts on a mac to sync to an iPod goes, iTunes is the leader of them all, simply because it provides tight iPod integration and syncs Podcasts to your iPod automatically. If you’d like to try something else for a change, Juice (formerly iPodder) has been around since dinosaurs were podcasting. It’s OSX interface is ooogly, but it works.

There is loads more software out there to manage your music, movies, podcasts and audiobooks on the iPod, these are the ones I can recommend from personal experience. What software have you been using? Drop a suggestion in the comments.

Review of Trattoria da Rocco in Hamburg


HamburgRestaurantsItalian & Pizza

Eating at Rocco is one part military, one part Italian. Let me explain.

Our party of 17 which reserved a week in advance was ushered into the doorway, given glasses of Prosecco and made to wait around in the blistering heat and bad air (perhaps the restaurant aims to recreate the environment of an Italian summer) due to a reservation mixup. Eventually, we did get a table, not before we witnessed the waiters raising their voices at each other on account of the mistake.

After being ushered to our table and handed water and wine (which was dangerously drinkable), the waiters took our order. So far, so good. And then we waited. And waited, and waited.

And waited.

A good hour and a half later, our meals arrived. At this point, the waiters, about 3 of them, fought over who could announce the dishes loudest. "NUMBER 31!!!" "PASTA SCAMPI NUMBER 17!!!" "AAAAAALSTER WASSSSSSERRRR!". Running between tables and just missing my forehead multiple times, eventually we all got our orders. This entire ordeal was extremely unnerving – the last time I remember such behavior was when my boot camp commander ushered us though the mess hall kitchen to mop the floor as quickly as possible before shooting range practice. It is just lucky, then, that during this hour and a half of waiting we were constantly being topped up with more wine. If I wouldn’t have been so tipsy, I would have probably been slightly more agitated. To Rocco’s defense – there were no mixups in the dishes. With a party of 17, that’s pretty impressive.

The food was moderately good. I’ve had better Italian food elsewhere, however the Rocco chefs deserve a thumbs up for throwing in more than two bits of Scampi. Unfortunately, the type of experience I had at Rocco needs to eventually result in nothing less than excellent food. Which it wasn’t.

I probably won’t return to Rocco, even with a smaller group. There’s something to be said about military inspired experiences, and the will to avoid them as much as humanly possible.

Check out my review of Trattoria da Rocco – I am liron – on Qype

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