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    © 2014, Joseph B. Wikert
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May 07, 2005


Naba Barkakati

Joe, Did you discuss/observe any book or topic trends in your sales conference? As for MP3 player, I bought my daughter an iPod when they first came out (along with a Powerbook, which she wanted instead of a Windows PC) and she likes it. According to the Yahoo Buzz game, iPod has the most buzz among all MP3 players, iRiver is a distant second. Maybe you should check out the iPod.

Brad Hill

Buzz is just buzz. The iPod is extraordinarily overrated. Nothing wrong with buying one, of course, if there's something about it you prefer. Just know that feature by feature, and dollar by dollar, the iPod is soundly trounced by several competing devices. It is an unpowered, underfeatured device with an attractive interface and must-have brand clout. Expect to pay a fortune on accessories to bring it up to spec with standard features on other devices. Look at iRiver, Creative, and Samsung. If you're in the market for a flash player (no hard drive), your choices expand dramatically, and the iPod Shuffle is even more of a loser than the Apple hard-drive products.

Joe Wikert

There really weren't any broad discussions of hot topics/trends at the conference. We tend to focus more on the upcoming titles, getting the sales force everything they need to get great placement, etc. We have a separate editorial board/proposal meeting where we sometimes discuss trends.

I'm fascinated by the iPod, but I look at it mostly as a fashion statement. I'm simply too cheap to pay a premium for something like this when I can get more storage capacity from someone else at a lower price. For example, I bought my son a Creative MP3 player for Christmas. It's a 40-Gig device so I don't know if he'll ever fill it up. I think I paid about $250, including a 2-year, "no-questions-asked" extended warranty. I can't touch a 40-Gig iPod for that price, let alone the warranty. He loves it, and I'll probably get one for myself before too long. I'm more likely to go for the 30-Gig version, since that seems like plenty.


The ipod is pretty lousy as a podcast player. No good bookmark feature. No good way to read show notes. Skipping around is limited to how efficient you can get with the thumb wheel.

That's not to say that there's any players out there that are good for podcast playing. I think that "podcast players" haven't really been created yet. It's not the same thing as just an MP3 player. The MP3 players out there are really more geared toward being portable radio/jukeboxes. I want something that's more like a portable audio book, or collection of short stories. I need to scan things as interesting and come back to them later. Or mark certain points in an hour long stream that reference the interesting bits I want to go lookup on the net. I don't want a jukebox, or a party list, or any of that stuff.

I'm talking about an application, not a piece of hardware. But in order to create new applications to choose from you need a platform that allows you to install software, such as a PDA. It's annoying to swap out SD cards, this is true. But it's also annoying to have 50 new podcasts on your ipod and spend 20 minutes of your 45 minute commute saying "" and trying to figure out where the 5/6 version of Daily Source Code is the most recent, or if there is a 5/5 in there someplace that maybe you started listening to but didn't finish.....

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