Guest post: Jean-Louis Gass?e looks into Apple's MobileMe launch misfire and whether Apple can run a worldwide wireless data synchronization service for tens of millions of users. The essay was originally posted on Monday Note.Simple is hard. Easy is harder. Invisible is hardest. So goes one of the many proverbs of our computer lore. As Apple found out last month with the MobileMe launch misfires, the lofty promise of "Exchange for the rest of us" translated into a user experience that was neither simple nor easy--in a highly visible way. Four weeks later, the service … Read more
It's always tough to come back from vacation, especially on a Monday, which is already a day of dread in its own right. So much to catch up on. So. Much. E-MAIL. But, on this Monday, there is a bright spot, which is that I received plenty of compelling questions and comments for this column during my absence, and I appreciate every one of them. This week, I've decided to focus on a couple of relatively simple items because (a) my brain is still out of the office and (b) I think the simplest tidbits can be the … Read more
Sometimes, a travel-friendly MP3 player just won't satisfy all of your portable entertainment needs. For those who watch tons of video on-the-go, a dedicated PVP with a capacious screen is a necessary investment. Find some of the longest-lasting options below. Also this week: get those iTunes purchases playing on both a Mac and a Windows machine.
Q: I am big fan of CNET--I think you guys give the best reviews for a wide range of products. Coming to the topic: I already own a 4GB Creative Zen and I really like the player--I bought it on your advice mainly. … Read more
After Friday's iPhone delirium, I'm going to take the helm of the iMania and steer it in a slightly different direction: toward the iPod Touch and the latest release of iTunes, Version 7.7. Namely, let's address whether there's a noticeable difference in screen and sound quality when it comes to the Touch, other iPod models, and the iPhone. Also, should someone who has been using the same version of iTunes for five years upgrade to the latest software?
Q: I am thinking of buying an iPod Touch but have a couple questions. First, I heard … Read more
By far the most difficult (read: impossible) question for me to answer is: what is the very best MP3 player/headphone/iPod speaker/etc? That's because there is no single device in any given category that is perfect for every person. There is a healthy handful of MP3 players that I think are excellent, but finding the right device for an individual has a lot to do with personal preference and requirements. I can, however, tell you what I would buy for myself. Also this week: how to judge the best time to buy a new MP3 player.
Q: … Read more
Consider yourself warned: The following post is not for the squeamish. It's time to clean the wax out of your earbuds. Yes, it's gross, but if you have the style of earbud that gets inserted into the ear canal, it must be done. Otherwise, wax can build up on the outer speaker and affect sound quality, and it may actually seep in and damage the inner workings of the earpieces. It's also not a bad idea to disinfect the sleeves from time to time. Find out how to do both below. Also this week: Your iPod isn'… Read more
Is it just me, or do tech gadgets break down way too quickly and easily? I swear every cell phone I've ever owned starts petering out about the 372 day mark with sharply declining call quality. Then, there's the screen and processor problems with MP3 players after about two years. One reader said that even some expensive headphones are calling it quits way too early. I may as well start driving a Fiat (again) and get it over with. Also: I may not be the FCC's biggest fan, but I'm not one to encourage illegal activity … Read more
Although there are plenty of fabulous MP3 players out there, no one device is perfect. For years, I've kept a list of dream features, many of which remain unchecked. One of these is support for every single audio codec, from Apple Lossless all the way down to WMA Lossless. A tall order, but one that would not be unappreciated by others, such as one reader who would like a non-iPod MP3 player that supports Apple Lossless. Also this week: do lanyard-style headphones for the later-generation iPod Shuffle exist?
Q: I'm looking for a new MP3 player. I use … Read more
Yes, the name of this column is changing once again, but don't hate me because I'm fickle! Because, well...I'm not. In fact, CNET's all-encompassing Ask the Editors feature is moving to Crave, meaning we're standardizing the naming and format across categories. But don't worry: it's still MP3 Mailbox in my head. That means you can still expect to see this column every Monday (that I am in the office), and it will continue to be packed full of digital music tidbits. Also, the "MP3 Mailbox Monday" keyword linking at the … Read more
After enjoying a brief hiatus, MP3 Mailbox Monday is back--and back to basics. Perhaps one of the most confusing things about portable music devices is audio format compatibility, and yet this is an elemental feature of any player. So which format works best? It all depends on the user, but one of the answers below will help you sort it out. Also, learn how to burn MP3 CDs in iTunes and find out possible reasons for your MP3 player only playing tracks in alphabetical order.
Q: I'm sure that you've answered this question many times, but I'll … Read more