Griffin SmartShare Headphone Splitter (Updated)

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Date: Friday, January 27th, 2006, 09:11
Category: iPod

griffin_smartshare.jpgLike any good mobile technologist, there’s a few stock items that I carry everywhere in my PowerBook gear bag. One of them is a headphone splitter so that I can jack a friend into my iPod or PowerBook during air or train travel. This little doodad can be found for about two bucks from Radio Shack.
Griffin Technology has a new spin on an old favorite. I’ve been playing with their just-announced headphone splitter called SmartShare ($20) and it’s different that the run-of-the-mill “dumb” splitter. SmartShare gives you independent volume control on each channel. This way you can jam the latest house track from Deep Dish while your mate keeps it on low.
The SmartShare is available now for pre-order from Griffin.

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Tune Into Your World, Tune out all Others

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 08:00
Category: iPod

An article in The Orlando Sentinel by Linda Shrieves (“Tune into your world, tune out all others“) asks if the iPod generation has effectively isolated themselves from society and potentially done irreparable harm to their communication skills.

When he left his home in Orlando, Fla., to attend New York University, Dante Lima quickly discovered a terrific use for his iPod, the portable music player that he and most of his fellow college students wear.
While walking down the streets of New York, Lima has found that when he wears his iPod headphones — known to iPod aficionados as “ear buds” — he can walk past the throng of sidewalk hucksters without being bothered.
“If you want to get away from them, just start listening to your iPod,” says Lima, 20. “They don’t approach people with headphones on.”

Read the rest of the article in The Orlando Sentinel.

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iPod Audio Tours Gaining in Popularity

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 06:43
Category: iPod

A story in the Washington Post by Anne McDonough (“Hear Here!“) discusses services by SoundWalk, AudioSteps and TalkingStreet that offer museum and neighborhood audio tours in MP3 format for between US$12 and $35 each.

Soundwalk tours include familiar neighborhoods, which become even more so after walking them with an insider. A walking tour of Little Italy, for example, is narrated by “Sopranos” cast member Vinny Vella. Writer Paul Auster narrates a walk through Ground Zero. Auster augments the walk by talking with historians, a poet and Mohawk ironworkers who helped build the World Trade Center. A woman talks about the phone message she received from her husband there; standing not far from where he died, you hear him saying goodbye.
Outside the tourist haunts, you can, for example, follow the voice of hip-hop veteran Jazzy Jay through the Bronx. Or tour Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in the company of Joseph Piekarski, a Lubavitcher.

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Retractable iPod Sync Cable

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2006, 20:18
Category: iPod

radtech-retractor.jpgWhen it comes to accessories, I’m all about saving space. Cables are the bane of my existence and I try to carry as few as humanly possibly. One of the few that makes the cut is my iPod sync cable because, unfortunately, I’m addicted to bass and have to update my iPod music frequently.
One of my favorite new doodads is the Retractable iPod sync cable (US$10) from RadTech. It’s available in USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and to quote Swingers this thing is money, baby. It’s quite simple, you grab either end and pull when you want to use it and pull again when you’re done. No more pesky winding! And when you’re a cable freak like me, this is no small feat.
Oh, that sweet case on my iPod nano is the new Iconz (Bart Simpson edition) US$25 from ExtremeMac. They’ve got a couple dozen cool designs ranging from Star Wars to Batman to Scooby Doo and they’ve got them for the iPod video too.

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Why the Current iPod nano Won't do Video

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Date: Thursday, January 5th, 2006, 00:08
Category: iPod

In my ZDNet blog article “Top 10 things Apple could announce at Macworld Expo” I speculated in #3 (1GB iPod nano) that “Apple will also add video support to the nano line via a firmware upgrade to boost sales of TV shows and video content.”
While this sounded good at the time, reader Eugenia Loli-Queru proceeded to burst my bubble. It appears that the 75MHz, single DSP nano, doesn’t have the juice to decode real video. The iPodlinux Video Player only plays raw AVI files.
For more on Eugenia’s technical explanation on why, click through…

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Adobe iPods Pilfered

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Date: Wednesday, January 4th, 2006, 11:41
Category: iPod

Adobe had such a great year that they decided to reward their employees with a free iPod Shuffle. Each one came engraved with the words “Adobe 2005: Thanks for a Record Year!” on the side. The only problem was that half of the shipment went missing while on the boat from China. So if you see a Shuffle with these words on it, you know where it came from.

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Leak is in the Air: Bluetooth Headphones?

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Date: Saturday, December 31st, 2005, 13:31
Category: iPod

dandelion-250.jpgThe Apple Japan Web site has a little teaser for their New Year’s Special t-shirt design that depicts an iPod nano dandelion with iPod earbuds as the wishes.
The caption reads “Luck is in the Air” and a pair of the headphones are suspiciously detaching from the rest.
Could this be a hint of an upcoming wireless Bluetooth headphones for the iPod? Or even an iPod with Bluetooth built-in? Tough to say, but it’s great fodder in the build up to Macworld, no?
The t-shirts will be given out to the first 1000 visitor of each Apple store on January 2nd.
(Thanks Digg)

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Ask PowerPage: iPod Video Battery Life (Updated)

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 09:00
Category: iPod

ipod-low-battery.jpgDear PowerPage:
Are you seeing/hearing complaints about battery life in the new 5G iPod’s? I’ve recently upgraded from a 3G and the expected 15 hours playback just doesn’t seem to be happening no matter what I do (current configuration: backlight set to 5 seconds, only playing music, and no photos/slideshow).
I think I’m getting in the neighborhood of eight hours play time on a “fully” charged battery.
I haven’t performed a test (welcome your suggestions) but I’m seeing battery life issues similar to my 3G. I have thought about letting it charge overnight (to fully charged status), turning it on as I leave for work, and check it when I return to see if its still playing (I actually tried this today while at home 12/28 and the iPod went to sleep instead of continuing to play). Typically that’s a 12-13 hour window. If Apple is basing their 15 hour battery life claim on use without the backlight, shuffle, or the click-wheel, that’s borderline fraud.
I regularly use the iPod while riding my bicycle indoors on a stationary trainer for an hour to 1.5 hours at a time. As of this Sunday at 3pm (12/11), the iPod had been charging for at least 18 hours. I selected the same playlist I always do of 150 songs, the shuffle setting was already active, backlight timer set to 5 seconds, and after approximately 75 minutes of playing time, the battery status had decreased approximately 15-20% (a visual estimation). There was a noticeable gap from the little + nub to the point where the battery still showed “juice.” During such use, I do not skip songs and just let it play as it sits in a jersey pocket on my lower back.
In using it while at work, I haven’t tracked the use/charging as closely, but I think it needs to be charged about every other day if I use it for 2-3 hours while working, put it to sleep, then use it again the following day for another 2-3 hours. The battery icon will be red by the time that second session ends. During these sessions, I will skip multiple songs at a time, pause randomly, and typically set it to shuffle the entire music library.
I have even seen the battery meter immediately start to reduce after pulling it off of an overnight charge, turning it on, playing 3-6 songs (again, randomly), but then activating the backlight (by just touching the wheel) to see what song is being played. I’ve also seen the + nub empty completely upon activating the backlight in such situations, and then refill as it turns off.
Did you find it odd that nowhere in the quick setup guide did it tell you how long to charge the iPod? All it tells you to do is to plug it in. I had to search on the Apple Web site and found instructions stating that a 3-hour charge brings the battery up to 80%, and 5 hours would fully charge it. So, I let mine charge initially for 5 hours, the icon on the display said charged and displayed the plug icon, so I started using it. And it ticks me off to no end that it only supports USB transfers – what a crock!
Jason Kazee
Lexington, KY
I have a iPod video 60GB, but haven’t ever got around to timing the battery run time. Any PowerPage readers out there with a 5G iPod video care to share your experiences with battery life? Post your results in the comments below. -Ed

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The In-Dash iPod II (Updated)

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Date: Wednesday, December 28th, 2005, 14:00
Category: iPod

ipod-to-car2.jpg
Todd Schneider submits his photo of his iPod setup in his car. iPod w/ steering wheel controls, Treo 650 w/ Bluetooth NAV, Bluetooth wireless phone interface.
Click through for all the deets…

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iPod Stocking Stuffers From Griffin

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2005, 08:50
Category: iPod

griffin-itrip-auto.jpgThere’s nothing like the last minute. If you’re still looking for something for the iPod owner on your list, you should take a look at two new offerings from Griffin.
- iTrip Auto (US$69.99) is a combination of two of Griffin’s most popular items: their famous iTrip FM modulator, which lets you broadcast your tunes to any nearby FM radio, and an integrated auto charger. iTrip Auto uses the audio line out from the iPod’s dock connector and volume is controlled from your car stereo controls without having to adjust it on the iPod.
iTrip Auto also includes selectable LX and DX modes and US and International tuning modes. The usual caveats apply here for FM transmitters: make sure that there’s an available FM frequency to use. Large cities have many FM broadcasts which can make it difficult to find an open channel.
griffin-airclick-dock.jpg- AirClick Remote Control is a US$39.99 remote control for the iPod that allows you to control it via a gorgeously simple remote control. I’ve written about the AirClick USB here before and gave it a PowerPick award because it’s simply the best way to watch and control DiVX movies in VLC on a PowerBook connected to your TV.
Snap the AirClick onto the bottom of your iPod then connect it to your home stereo system and control it without having to be in sight. It’s a must for parties because AirClick’s RF signals travel through walls and allow you to control it from up to 60 feet away.
Because their new accessories are designed exclusively for the iPod’s proprietary 30-pin dock connector, they’ll work with any iPod from the 3G on up to the most recent nano and video models.

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