Home > The Wasted Time Review > The Wasted Time Review: iPods.

The Wasted Time Review: iPods.

Because I am finally doing an iPod review, I will show Marketing Genius to this world, by placing in bold the new Macintosh products set out launch this year. And all I request from Macintosh is that they send me gobs and gobs of money. I’m waiting…

Well, the new year is here, I after a full week am recovered from my New Years ritual of “drinking until I call ex girlfriends in the middle of the night,” and am ready to get back in the saddle, getting back to what I do every year around this time (ignore my iResolution and piss off people on the internet). I wanted to do another online series this week, but due to technical difficulties (New PS3) I was unable to actually sit down and watch a series. I had considered at this point on just making a silly excuse on why there was not going to be a new Wasted Time Review this week and going to play more Playstation, when I saw it.

Nestled in between my laptop and my mouse, with my iLighter and pack of cigarettes on it; strictly reserved for atrocious video waiting times, or more accurately atrocious videos: my iTouch. I use my iTouch a lot: I take it to work, to my girlfriend’s house, to my friend’s house, and I always keep it on hand when I am watching videos. This form of iPocket entertainment has become a good escape for the more boring parts of my day to day life.

So, besides being the ultimate fueler for ADD, and no doubt directly responsible for any increase in iRitalin sales lately: what could one say about this product? Sure it’s entertaining to have, but what would anyone want it? Well, it’s got apps of course! Wondrous Glorious Apps. But, before I get into this Marketing Pitch, let me do my no doubt tired out iBackground Check, where I explore where this hunk of plastic and stainless steel came from.

Macintosh

Just 10 years ago, the idea of having a Mac was laughable. Windows 2000 was still big, Microsoft had the niche in the PC gaming and programming, while every other technological industry was lining up to put Bill Gates sweaty sack in their mouths. Steve Jobs, whose balls at this time were surprisingly dry, decided to get into the niche market of mp3 players; enter: the iPod.

The original iPod was boxy, frustrating to use, and offered little more to the industry than a video screen for watching movies, and a new medium known as a “podcast.” A podcast (in case you spent the last five years under a particularly large iRock) was, I believe, originally intended for announcements, but expanded into it’s own kind of radio, and station for new, independence musical, comedic, and news talent. This and the iPod Apps is, by my belief, by far the biggest contribution Steve Jobs (seriously, doesn’t that sound like something you’d pay $75 for in a back alley?) has ever done. I honestly like this format and what it’s turned into, but more on this later.

The worst part about this clunky heap of plastic and iPlexy glass (that is destined to be on the business end of a hammer 20% of the time), is it’s controls. The original iPod was frustrating as piss to use because of this

This seemingly innocent set of simply explained iControls here gives you the feeling that this is a simple device. It gives you the security of knowing that even the technologically naïve mind could definitely wrap their head around this. It does this of course to disguise the fact that it was designed by Satan and Stalin, drawn up by Hitler, comprised of broken promises and children’s iTears, and above all produced by the Stevejob.

These controls were horrid. In order to scroll you had move your thumb around the outer circle. To select you press the inner circle. Ok… straight forward… too bad the scrolling feature seemed to believe that is was stuck in an ice level on Mario, because given the slightest temptation is would click it’s merry way down to ZZ Top, when all you wanted was that Bob and Tom sketch where Donald Duck’s getting an iBlowjob. These quick buttons displayed sleekly on the wheel may look harmless and innocent but if you try to use anything but the menu, be prepared to be ramped into the highest level of pissed off you’ve ever been in your life.

The worst part about the original iPod was the test of endurance and iWit that was turning the fucker off. Yes, they made it so difficult to do the most basic function of the machine, that I believe it is amongst the qualifications in MENSA to be able to shut one off in front of one qualified witness. You had to flip it to hold, while holding menu, wait three seconds, flip it off hold, run the wheel counter clockwise, cuss at the son of a bitch for not doing it the first time, try again, stand on your head for 30 seconds, enroll into college, receive your Masters iDegree in micro technology, then go cut down the largest tree in the woods…

… with an iHerring.

But, all this said, I actually enjoyed having one. When you got in zen with the crappy controls (I call it “N64 Mode”) it actually was pretty nifty to have movies and music on the go. But when the hard drive failed (suspiciously a month after the warrantee expired), I realized what this was. This was a big consumer iMonster, bent on taking every free penny and nickel from its owners. Since I had more important things to blow my money on (like alcohol and weed) I didn’t want to give into anything that would obviously take over every bit of my life and slowly degenerate my health, like apple seemed to be bent on doing.

So I abandoned the iPod for years, and never thought twice about it. During this time, the iTouch was beginning to hit the shelves. A piece of technology that was revolutionary to anyone who hadn’t heard of a Palm Pilot.  The afterbirth of this Stevejob was, of course, the iPhone. For the purposes of this review I will being referring to these two in tandem, for the iPhone is simply an iTouch with a WiFi connection and an overprice subscription to Skype.

I hadn’t really considered much about the massive orgy made to impress the New World Emperor: the Stevejob (and no, I’m not letting go of that joke). I, essentially, didn’t care about the PC vs Mac debate, because well, the PC was cheaper and that’s what I had to work with. So when I received an iTouch for Christmas a couple years ago, it felt like receiving one of those pamphlets that those people in really nice clothes, seemed damned and determined to have me throw away for them.

When I began to sort through it, I had this feeling that this was some sort of iBrainwasher, which might have been true, because I was enjoying the iFuck out of myself. This little thing was cool! The touch grid was compact, but had a fine touch tolerance so was wasn’t pressing three fucking things, when I just wanted to get the fucking search menu. It was intuitive to use, came stock with an accelerometer so you can watch movies, or play games on either side you turn it. The controls were mind-blastingly intuitive, it had a simple back button, and to turn it off all you have to fucking do is hold the button down, and slide a bar.

(Cue Hallelujah Chorus)

Ok, now that I’m done geeking out, I’m going to start talking about the actual features of the iTouch/Phone. At the bottom of the touch screen holds your four hot keyed essentials, Music, Videos, Safari and (of course) the App Store. The Music and Videos are what you visit when you want to– I don’t know– do what the thing was originally supposed to do: listen to the Doors and watch iPorn. The Safari is for when you wish to surf the internet (presumably because you’ve watched all the porn in your video section) and the last one is the Apps Store.

What kind of Apps do these people have? Well it turns out they have an App for fucking everything.  There’s accounting apps, cheat code apps, flashlight apps, free audiobook apps (which is pretty fucking cool); there’s even an app that you can take a picture of your eye, and it can perform an eye exam! Fuck Off! You mean to tell me that I don’t need an optometrist, when all I need is an iDoctor?

All this said, I really like this feature. These apps really turn out some interesting innovations, especially (not surprisingly) in the gaming department. First, I need to point out, any handheld system that is willing to support an app of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and fucking Shining Force has won points in my book. But even some of the games that come exclusive on the iPod are great.

Pocket God is an entertaining iGame that is less about being an omnipotent and just god, and more about dicking around with your worshipers, and killing them for your amusement (so more like a real god). This game is just ridiculous. At any time in the primary island you can summon the wrath of the Tiki from Brady Bunch and they all fall in black dust onto the ground. My favorite method of killing my very loyal subject was either summoning King Kong, or Sharks With Lasers attached to their heads.

Another notable game was Galaxy on Fire II, A member of the sadly dying Space Dog fighting games. This game was immensely fun, and had surprisingly intuitive controls. The game is about a dogfighter marine Keith T. Maxwell, who copies his dialogue from James Bond, while being the blandest creature in this Universe. Keith is caught in a freak accident that flings him 60 some odd years into the future… Don’t ask me why… and find out that an enigmatic race called “the void” has invading the universe with wormholes from “who the fuck knows where” and want to destroy the galaxy because “who the fuck cares?” The next part of the game is a cleverly hidden tutorial until you’re off to fight pirates, while collecting their loot and mining

My first investment in this game was a tractor beam, because fuck the mining mini game (Killing people and taking their stuff was easier). Mining was an essential part of the game, at one point it is a fucking story mission where you have to mine crystals while void ships are carefully aiming their weapons straight up your iShithole. The mining part wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t a frustrating touchscreen event where the Stevejob seems to have interjected and forced the makers of the game to deep throat his touch screen interface until they gag out this piece of garbage. But beyond the obnoxious minigames and its repetitive missions, the game was pretty fun.

The game runs off of a fine difficulty curve, but seems to have the fetish of forcing you to grunge around for hours. The game’s dogfighting style never seems to lose its thrill and appeal, atleast until you install a shield. You see, in the future, all people but your character are idiots, and don’t understand the premise of a fucking shield!( Even when they’re offered in every goddamn station) The game is pretty challenging until you get this nifty gun called the RapidFireHeatSeakTargetUpAsshole Laser gun, which at this point the game is officially over, baring a couple hours of grunging.

The game ends with a love scene somehow forced out of these pictures and text boxes and a bra floating in the depths of space, in which I have to ask, where the fuck did this come from, and what did this sick fuck do?

In summation on the games section of this article: If you were to ask me about iTouch/Phone games my response is that they are far, far better than that its predecessors, the iPod games; and when asked about those games my response is to punch you in the iTesticles for reminding me of them. All and all, I like the App Store for the same reason I like podcasts. It gives time for new talent to get their name out there, and make a little money. While this most of the time ends up with some over processed iCorndog covered in shit and splooge, this sometime cranks out some pretty fun and entertaining apps. I personally like the trivia apps for particularly boring parties (like the ones I throw).

The next thing I’m going to mention is of course the podcasts. Podcasts can be downloaded at the iTunes store (conveniently located on the first screen of your iTouch, and impossible to erase). These range from video downloads, to pure audio, and have a variety of fucking everything. You can get audiobooks, stories, political updates, political talk radio, updates at fucking CERN, the first seven episodes of Dragon Ball Z: Abridged! I have a podcast meant to teach my Japanese, though all it seems to accomplish is bore me with dialogue that makes Dora the Explorer look edgy.

So I guess my opinion of the iPod is pretty clear: I like it. I would recommend an iTouch (if you have the money) and the iPhone (if you’ve had the lobotomy). The iPod has created two new mediums to promote and for good artists to get their start (which is always a plus in my book). It has fun and interesting apps (and believe me, I haven’t even scratched the surface), and besides the fact that it just feels like stepping in line to give Stevejob an iMouthhug, I still have fun with it, and I use it every chance I get. So I guess I will say that you will have fun with it, if it doesn’t make your iMouth sore.

______________________________________________________

Jack “Aperio Contra” Shawhan. Satire Writer, iCritic. The Wasted Time©.

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