Yes, more SpamSieve flattery

Away from home, on the annual Christmas trek, for four days. Mailsmith is left humming along on the Cube, pulling mail every few hours. Upon the return home, and subsequent email check:

  • Total number of messages moved to Trash by SpamSieve:over 1,200
  • Total number of false positives moved to Trash: Zero
  • Total number of false negatives left in active mailboxes: Zero

Yes, yet another shameless plug for a friend’s software, but it’s worth every penny, and pays for itself in time saved.

Wal-Mart music store

Jeff Knapp writes in to MacInTouch with his experience with the new Windows-only Wal-Mart music store. It seems that one can use a Mac to view the store, register, and even download files. The no-Mac clause comes in the form of the DRM being used by Windows Media Player, as Mr. Knapp was unable to play any of the songs he downloaded. He summarized:

The user experience (non-compatibility issues aside) is OK, not great, but OK – certainly not the smooth, fluid experience iTMS is. Even if it were Mac compatible, I would be reluctant to use it because of this intrusive, “phone home” thing that appears to be happening. Otherwise, I see no reason to want to use it over the iTMS other than price.
That, and it is Wal-Mart…

Yeah, a standard port would have been nice

And now we have experienced the other druther of the 3G iPods: the non-standard dock connector. I get to work today, pull out the new iPod, and then realize I have no dock here and I left the FireWire-to-dock cable at home, connected, appropriately enough, to the iPod dock on my desk. So the old 5 GB iPod, which was still in my bag, is happily pumping out tunes now…

New iPod

So I had long ago outgrown my original 5 GB iPod, but I lived with moving music off and on to it from my Mac as my tastes dictated. An early Christmas present from my wonderful wife, however, has yielded a 40 GB third-generation iPod. Now I have to grow in to the new little white wonder on my hip–I only have about 15 GB of music ripped to MP3 format.
Using iSync, my latest “phischpod” carries my contact and calendar info, and I’ve started playing around with the Notes function. I do miss the input ability I had with a Palm device, and I know I’m not alone. I lived in the Memo function of my Palm, so maybe the Belkin Voice Recorder would help alleviate the input druthers of the ‘Pod.
In other news, I am waffling over how to sheath my iPod. It will either be this or that. Thoughts and comments on this issue are welcome.

SpamSieve makes the MacInTouch poll

Just as I mentioned that I would like to have voted for SpamSieve for the MacInTouch Reader Choice Poll for 2003, so does Ric Ford go and allow readers to vote for third-party software. So I got the chance to vote for Michael’s software after all.
With that, congratulations are in order to Michael for being a runner-up in the Communications category of the refreshed list. Kudos also to one of my other favorite developers, Brent Simmons (and his wife, Sheila), for the runner-up spot claimed by another awesome piece of software, NetNewsWire. It’s the only way to read RSS feeds on the Mac.

Microsoft’s next monopoly

MDJ has a dead-on assessment in today’s issue of how Microsoft is seeking to co-op the online music market:

Nonetheless, even more companies are jumping into the fray, helping Microsoft’s attempts to portray its completely proprietary and highly-restrictive Windows Media format as “standard” and QuickTime as “proprietary.”

[…]

The proliferation of “music stores” pleases Microsoft greatly. The company wants to point to about a hundred different services, all selling songs at US$0.99 each, and say that 9 of them use Windows Media and only one does not – iTunes Music Store. This is how new monopolies are born, and Microsoft doesn’t even seem to be leveraging Windows to do it. The company simply added capabilities for highly restrictive and revocable rights into Windows Media, and content creators are flocking to it, pleased at being able to keep purchasers from using their songs or video how they please.
Fortunately, Apple has all the bulk of the mindshare right now when it comes to buying music online. Magazines, polls, sites, et al are lining up to declare the iTunes Music Store or the iPod as product of the year, or including them in some sort of Top 10/20/50/100 list. Not to mention that while files downloaded from the iTMS do contain a form of digital rights management (DRM), said form isn’t anywhere near as restrictive as that of the Windows Media format. Not to mention that what some of the other online music services are peddling are nothing more than revamped subscription formats.
People who buy digital music don’t want to subscribe to it. They want to buy it, download it, pop it in to a MP3 player, burn it to a CD, and get on with their lives. They don’t want to keep paying for the same song again and again. This is the life those services trumpeting WMA are trying to lock consumers in to.
Personally, I haven’t bought anything from the iTunes Music Store. I like my CDs, with a physical item that contains the mastered AIFF files. I like my liner notes. I like being able to rip my CDs at any rate I wish, rather than have to take the rate an online service delivers in. The dirty secret of the iTMS is that you can pay just a couple of bucks more for a full album from Amazon and get all of that. Michael and I have had variations of this conversation on more than one occasion, and he is of like mind.
That said, if I were an online music buying fiend, there is no doubt it would all be from the iTunes Music Store. Best selection, even if it’s not complete. For a DRM system, it’s pretty fair. Quite simply, it’s the best, Chairman Gates can’t stomach that, and Matt D. & company take Microsoft to task over it.