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New family members

I picked up a new George Foreman grill last night. Anyone who has known me for the last year or so knows how much I love these things, and not having one for about a month wasn’t a lot of fun. I don’t really like cooking meat (hamburgers or steak, mostly) any other way, other than outdoors, and so having a Foreman grill back in my life really diversifies my meal choices.

In other, more expensive news, however, I also picked up an iPod Touch. After only owning the thing for a couple days, let me just say this: it’s a good thing I’m too poor for an iPhone. I see the appeal: having an iPhone basically gets rid of your boredom forever. No matter where you are, whether it be stuck in traffic (I wouldn’t use my iPhone while driving, but some do), waiting for a table at a restaurant, or even waiting in line somewhere, you never have to be bored. I felt like making an iPod Touch commercial only two days after I bought it – in fact, the only things dragging the iPod Touch/iPhone down are the Draconian App store and the inability to sync over the air. Other than that though, this is a platform which I admit (begrudgingly) is on its way up.

Somewhat differently than most, however, I’m using my iPod pretty much the same way I used my old Palm Vx and iPAQ Pocket PC: as a PDA. I don’t actually sync any music to my iPod Touch (I have my other two iPods for that), and I only sync video because of the ridiculously gorgeous screen (seasons 1 and 2 of The Office, wherever I go). The rest of the space on the iPod is reserved for applications.

If the App store has done one thing right, it’s that it has generated huge interest and excitement for the platform. There are already hundreds of thousands of apps available, many of which are executed beautifully: Facebook, Mint.com, and my little VLC remote control are among my favorites. I wish Apple would allow other ways to distribute apps, though.

Now all I need to do is decide on a name…

A startling revelation

So normally, I bring my trusty iPod video to work. It’s to keep me entertained, keep me busy, and keep me focused. And plus, the rest of the development team brings theirs too, so peer pressure. Today, however, I forgot my iPod.

I went to the next best thing, Yahoo! Radio. (I can’t believe this is the next best thing. Please, somebody invent something better than this.) For those of you who don’t know, Yahoo! Radio is basically free streaming music online. There are a bunch of different “stations” to choose from, but they try to push you to create your own station so it can mold to your tastes. As I would find out, though, the taste-molding leaves much to be desired.

So I fire up my “custom station”. First song that comes up is “Spilt Needles” by The Shins. It’s a good song, one of my favorites on my iPod (in fact, it just misses my Top 40 Played playlist). Maybe today won’t be so long after all.

Next song: *N*Sync. SKIP. Britney Spears. SKIP. Rihanna. SKIP. (And Yahoo!, I explicitly remember telling you I’m not a fan of this new urban music, what the heck are you thinking?) Usher. SKIP.

I’m fed up at this point, so I go to one of the pre-chosen stations, the “Classic Rock” station. I didn’t skip another song for at least two hours. I got home tonight and downloaded like 10 new songs. And it was then that I came to my startling revelation:

What the heck have you people done with popular music?

For every Maroon 5 of this generation, I guarantee you I can find at least a Bachman-Turner Overdrive of the “classic rock” generation. My point is that today, music is wildly worse than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

And I think the reason is simple – people like mediocrity. That’s why MySpace, the iPhone (any Apple product, actually – they may look sexy but they can’t do half the stuff other products can do), Hannah Montana, American Idol – it all sells.

Do yourself a favor: tune into some classic rock on Yahoo! Radio. It’s free, it’s great music. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll get a couple Creedence Clearwater Revivals in a row, or maybe experience the epicness that is “Free Bird”, or maybe see a million faces and rock them all with “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

P.S. Yes, I know I have an iPod, when I just said it was mediocre. Well, I stand by it. See this entry for some more criticism, or ask me how much I hate iTunes. I have an iPod because at this point, no one has done better at selling mediocrity to the record labels. The iTunes Music Store has all of the music.