Apple iPod Mini vs. Creative Zen Micro

Click here to see a side-by-side photo of the Apple iPod Mini and Creative Zen Micro. Listen | Subscribe Widgets

Background music: Magnatune artist Curl, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0. The track is Pure Mix 1 from the album Inner.
A comparative review.
Price: roughly same per GB.
Size: similar. Zen is shorter and fatter. iPod fits in your pocket better.
Display: Zen is physically smaller, but also has smaller pixels, more lines (three vs. two on the iPod), and a few more characters per line.
Headphones: suck.
Formats: mp3 in common.
Media management: both have multiple options.

  both have decent navigation, by playlist or ID3 tags
  Zen can bookmark mp3s.
  Zen can record from an internal mic.
  Zen has FM radio but reception isn’t so good.
  iPod now has a separate area for podcasts.
  iPod has games.
  iPod clock is smarter (syncs against PC).


  Both have the single most useful control, a lock.
  Zen has a hyperactive backlight (good or bad depending)
  Zen is 100% touchpad, easier to screw up. iPod buttons == good.
  Easy to screw up on both, but your’re more screwed on the Zen.
  Fast forwarding slightly easier on the Zen.

Manufacturing quality: iPod wins, but too small a sample.
Overall: iPod wins

Due to general sluggishness we’ve moved some of the Sourceforge-hosted parts of the iPodder Lemon website to a hosting service. The speed increase is dramatic. Check out: the support forums and developer blog. One nice thing about the setup is that php/mysql hosting is such a commodity that finding a host and moving things over was a breeze. One downside is that the phpbb forum and wordpress blogs don’t know about each other, so we have to deal with separate accounts. If you need to go beyond a single vertical app and get real integration, you might want to check out OpenACS.

Back on the iPod

After a couple of months in Creative Zen-land I’m back on my iPod. The audio on the Zen keeps cutting out, I think because of a short somewhere inside. RMA in hand (that’s “return merchandise authorization”), the Zen is going to meet its maker for repairs or replacement. So I’m back to the iPod, and ready to do a comparative review. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a podcast! Should arrive some time tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Something very, very loud flew past our Somerville home around 7pm Eastern. Military plane? Update: According to eclecticavatar on LiveJournal it was four planes, a recruiting stunt for the National Guard. That and an inadvertent attempt to induce heart attacks in the metro area population who had no clue what was going on. Thanks to John Sequeira for the pointer.

Here’s a comment I made in an outgoing email. It’s a conclusion, the beginning of an essay I might write one day, and something I’d be happy to be convinced is wrong, given all of the resources the world is pouring into persistence systems: “My experience with OO is that ‘objects shouldn’t also be data’. The temptation to throw away SQL is just too high, and people tend to implement very boring things because a SQL join, the source of many of the more interesting things you can do, is too ‘advanced’.” Two-way joins are in fact pretty commonly supported, but this is still baby steps in terms of SQL’s full power. And of course many (most?) persistence engines have an escape hatch where you can write your own SQL, but once you buy into the design philosophy of these persistence tools, escaping to SQL feels wrong.

On the ride home yesterday, two fire trucks pulled up to a house, one on each side of Columbia. They left a car-sized gap for traffic to get through, but it was too small for a bus, so we waited. After a while I decided to bail out and walk the rest of the way. About five minutes into the walk it started to drizzle. About a minute later it started to rain, and a minute later it started to really pour. It was about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and I was wearing sandals, so I kept walking and let the warm rain wash over me. I got totally soaked. It was great.