No Apologies for the Delays

February 7, 2005

Music, Technology

OK. It’s been a few weeks since I launched this site. And a lot has happened. But if I don’t write it down when it happens, then why write it down later? Well, I won’t answer the rhetorical question myself. Here is what’s going on…

Last week, I finally received my iPod Shuffle. I had ordered the device the day that I launched this blog. I could say that I waited for my Shuffle before I resumed blogging. But that would be a lie.

First Thoughts on the Shuffle

Wow. Small, clean and crisp look, good sound. Five years ago, I bought a Sensory Science (long since out of business). It had 128MB of flash. It was extremely expensive then. And I did use it for a couple of years. But it was large. And the means to move data were crude. So when the Shuffle got announced, I decided to drop the $149 for the 1GB version. I am storing ~260 songs on the device. I have turned the flash drive on, and then off. It’s not that the flash device doesn’t work. It works great. But I want to use the device for sound first. I can already tell that that I will probably dedicate 25-50% of the Shuffle for file storage. But that will wait.

What were the downsides? First, the headphones didn’t work well. The left ear bud was woefully underpowered. So I called customer service at the Apple Store. Here is a synopsis that I sent to them:

Folks, you’ve hit a home run with me. I had to wait for the Shuffle. OK. It’s a popular product. But customer support was magnificent. I can’t tell you how much more I think of Apple because of my customer service experience. I want to thank the agent on the phone. I want to thank the agent’s management for instilling such a wonderful customer focus in their employees. And I want to thank the executives who have chosen to invest in the customer experience as an integral piece of the brand experience. For years, I have felt that the Apple “cult” was somewhat corny and kitschy. But after working (even briefly) with Apple’s customer support, I am now more willing than ever to consider Apple products as replacements for other products. Thanks for being competitive where it counts – in the customer experience. This is what brand identity is all about! 🙂

Second Thoughts on the Shuffle

Now that I have the new ear buds, I still think that the bass experience needs help. So I decided to use a little “coin of the realm” to boost the experience. I wasn’t about to buy something too expensive. After all, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money since I already had spent a few shillings on the Shuffle itself. So I went ahead and plunked down some change on Griffin EarJams. I should see them in a few days. But these gizmos are “inside the ear” resonating chambers. They fit over the existing Apple ear buds. But they are inserted into the ear canal itself. While I’m a little concerned about that, I’ll be careful when I use them.

I’ll report more on them once received. But for now, I just love the Shuffle. So I’ll spend the next few days learning more about iTunes. As a devoted Linux user, I am troubled that I am using a Mac OS/X app that’s been ported to Windows. But I’ll survive the humiliation – if y’all promise not to tell anyone!



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