Why there's a cult market for really old iPods

A growing community of music fans and makers love the old iPods that Apple discontinued years ago. When their devices die or need better batteries or more storage, they send them to people like Manuel Mantecon (aka Pichi) who refurbishes them in his North Carolina bathroom workshop. From OneZero:

Pichi said that he’s not that technical or “geeky” but got into iPod modding after his own iPod Classic’s battery died. He couldn’t find anyone to replace it for an affordable cost and felt like he was getting ripped off, so he figured he could do it himself. “I got my iPod wide open there looking like busted spaghetti with wires poking up everywhere,” he said. “So I just started messing around with it and changed the battery myself..."

The more popular modifications are relatively simple: updates like adding more storage or battery life, or installing firmware that allows for customization of the user interface or downloading games outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Few iPod modders are injecting the music players with wild features or stark new aesthetics...

They want to play an old game. Return to a better digital sound. Or just to preserve a time when your playback device didn’t also store thousands of unread work emails, a million pings from the group chat, hourly spam risk calls, and targeted ads.

"Classic iPod Hackers Say There’s No Better Way to Listen to Music" by Melanie Ehrenkranz (OneZero)

image credit: Chris Harrison (CC BY-SA 2.0) Read the rest

Apple deleted files that I owned without telling me. It was inevitable, but I'm still pissed.

I've been using iTunes Match since the service launched in 2011, and it's been nothing but great until now. At the time, I had a personal laptop and a work computer, along with an iPhone that maybe held 16 gigs. The fact that I could just upload my extensive music library up to Apple's servers and stream or download any of my songs onto any of those devices at any time was a game changer. I'm one of those people who still likes to buy music whenever possible (maybe it's karmic, and I'm hoping someone buys my music some time, too), so I've continued to use the service, downloading my preferred albums at any given to listen to on-the-go instead of dipping into my data plan.

Honestly, the only quirk I discovered with the service was a blessing in disguise. iTunes Match will upload any of your music, but if matches something that already exists in their library, they'll let you download the corresponding high-resolution audio files. I had a lot of shitty CD-rips from high school that were suddenly returned to their high-quality glory, and freed of those obnoxious data squelches on the high end.

That is, until the other day. When I had a hankering to listen to "I Don't Want To Be An Asshole Anymore" by the Menzingers. 'Cause it's great song!

Except it wasn't there. In fact, the entire album was missing from my library. I own the entire Menzingers discography — purchased music! — and Rented World was now completely gone. Read the rest

Auction of early Apple memorabilia owned by the company's original product design engineer

Jerrold C. Manock, Apple employee #246, is auctioning off his personal collection of Apple memorabilia and historical items. Manock started at Apple in 1979 and led the industrial design of the Apple II and the first Macintosh among other products. Along with Manock's offerings like the Steve Jobs-signed contract for the Apple II project, a 1983 Mac 128k with an "in appreciation" plaque, and Apple beach towels, the auction includes other people's items like a working Apple-1. Online bidding is March 5 to 12.

Apple memorabilia auction (RR Auction)

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Sales of Apple Watches eclipse watch sales of entire Swiss watch industry

Sales of Swiss watches are declining, and sales of Apple watches are rising steeply. This must be a surprise to the makers of Swiss luxury watches, who lifted their imperious snouts in disdain at the cough-drop shaped Apple Watch when it first came out. From Enrique Dans's piece in Forbes, titled, How Apple Killed The Swiss Watch Industry:

In 2015, the year the Apple Watch was launched, LVMH watch division president and Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said the Swiss industry was not afraid of Apple’s new product, because it could not be repaired in a thousand years or eighty years, nor inherited by children, nor would it ever become a status symbol. As is always the case when disruption occurs in an industry, traditional competitors are not able to see the threat, and continue to try to analyze it according to the variables that were important yesterday.

Dans writes, "As soon as you start using the Apple Watch, you realize one thing is clear: the rest of your watch collection will live on in a drawer from now on."

Photo by Chris Abney on Unsplash Read the rest

China virus outbreak may impact Apple iPhone if China extends Foxconn factory halt

Coronavirus, which WHO declared a global health emergency, threatens to disrupt Chinese manufacturing

The deadly virus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China continues to spread and claim lives around the world. At this time, still, the vast majority of infected patients and deaths are in mainland China, Hubei province.

The epidemic is also impacting business, finance, and technology production in China.

Apple's iPhone production relies in part on a Foxconn factory that has been shut down by the Chinese government.

If the halt is extended, Reuters reports today, this could impact iPhone production, availability, and sales. Read the rest

Why I won't buy an Ipad: ten years later

Ten years ago, Apple released the Ipad. I was in a hotel room in Seattle, jetlagged and awake at 4AM while my wife and daughter slept. Read the rest

If you are a Mac user, here's how to avoid the most common kind of malware

Mac users are getting hit with Shlayer, a malware that installs an “Any Search” bar on their computer, reports Lifehacker. Read the rest

Google spent ~$150 million on US lobbying over last decade, followed by Facebook at ~$81M, Amazon almost $80M: Federal filings

'Federal disclosures filed late Tuesday reveal Amazon and Facebook each spent roughly $17 million to battle back Washington in 2019'

Trump and Apple's Tim Cook to meet at Davos

Impeached phony president and utter turd of a man Donald Trump will attend a breakfast meeting on Wednesday at Davos with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Reuters reports. Read the rest

When FBI complained, Apple dumped plans for encrypted iPhone backups: Report

No encrypted iCloud backups for you, citizen!

Why AG Barr's use of Pensacola shooter case to rebuke Apple is so suspicious

FBI needs to be able to hack into your iphone, Trump's sham AG William Barr says

The lost Apple Store design of the 1990s

In the 1990s, Marc Newsom designed the Apple retail store concept as imagined in this presentation video by Me Company. Read the rest

Rating the 30 most evil tech companies

Slate compiled a list of the 30 most evil companies in tech, starting with Mspy (#30) all the way up to Amazon (#1). I weighed in on Oracle (#17, "It takes a lot to make me feel like Google is being victimized by a bully, but Oracle managed it") and Apple (#6, "Apple won’t spy on you for ads, but they’ll help the Chinese government spy on its citizens to keep its supply chain intact"). Read the rest

Apple Rac: rack-mounted Mac Pros now on offer

The rack-mounted version of the expensive and handsome new Mac Pro is now available, starting at $6499. You can configure yourself a model up to $54,547.98, rack not included. Read the rest

This app turns your iPhone into an iPod

Rewound is a free iPhone app that simulates the iPod Classic click wheel interface. How did its creator Louis Anslow manage to get it approved for the App Store? From 9to5Mac:

The app used some tricks to get through the App Store review process, which generally prohibits the use of images from Apple products or interfaces. It works just like any other third-party player created for Apple Music and you probably won’t find it in the store as an “iPod Classic simulator”.

That’s because the app comes with normal control buttons by default. The secret is in a function that allows users to add any type of image as a player skin. When you add the iPod Classic theme, which is not included in the app, it hides the buttons so it can be controlled by the virtual Click Wheel.

Download Rewound from the App Store and then grab the skin from 9to5Mac or elsewhere. Read the rest

2019 was the year of voice assistant privacy dumpster fires

2019 was the "I Told You So" year for privacy advocates and voice assistants: the year in which every company that wanted you to trust them to put an always-on mic in the most intimate places in your home was revealed to have allowed thousands of low-waged contractors to listen in on millions of clips, many of them accidentally recorded: first it was Amazon (and again!), then Google, then Apple, then Microsoft. Read the rest

Debullshitifying the Right to Repair excuses Apple sent to Congress

Apple's response to the Congressional committee investigating monopolistic behavior by tech giants contains a chapter on Right to Repair, whose greatest enemy is Apple -- the company led successful campaigns to kill 20 state level Right to Repair bills last year. Read the rest

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