… or “Why I am never on the same conference circuit as Nicholas Negroponte”
Despite writing on an O’Reilly medium, I must make a confession: I have a very spotty track record of appreciating the potential of certain things in geekdom. Some examples:
Apple had to forcibly ram iChat into my hands before I would see the point of Instant Messaging. Before iChat, I looked on the IM scene as a smattering of half-hearted clients ported from Windows, annoying smilies and absurd acronyms. iChat at least fixed the first of those three problems but it took me a long time to see why IM was even worth considering. Similarly, I didn’t ‘get’ The Matrix until it had been out on DVD for about three years. I only started using Wikis this year. I’m slow sometimes.
I also completely misunderstood the point of Podcasting when I first heard about it. I even blogged some sarcastic words about the whole concept but, when I actually sampled the content, I found it strangely compelling. Suffice to say that Podcasts now occupy about half of my iPod and are by far my main reason for continuing to be interested in iPods.
Before I get too down on myself, I’ll note that there are some other things that I picked up on way ahead of most other people I know. I got my first CD-R drive in 1995, I still have MP3s I encoded in 1996. My personal blog - although that word didn’t exist back then - has an archive stretching back to May 2001 and over 3500 posts. All that, and I’ve been a Mac user since I was in school :-)
However, I have a new confession to make. The very night before Steve Jobs introduced the 5th generation iPod with its well-documented video features, I was openly deriding the very idea. I was staying with a friend in Cupertino and we were sitting around talking about what the next day might bring.
“I don’t know why everyone keeps banging on about a video iPod”, I asserted. “It seems like the dumbest idea in the world!”
I’m here to tell you today that I was wrong again. I’m now seriously considering purchasing a 5G iPod and, again, it’s the so-called “indie” content that’s justifying it for me. Video podcasts are really fun! I’m really enjoying both Diggnation and Rocketboom at the moment.
I don’t own a TV, don’t watch TV and I’m enjoying the BBC’s general radio output less as time goes by. The fact that I can get content that I’m interested in, store it and take it with me to use whenever and wherever is so very compelling.
Here are some relative numbers: I consume the updates to 260 RSS feeds every day. I subscribe to 11 podcast feeds, but just the two video podcast feeds that I mentioned before. I read the RSS feeds almost as a background activity. I make time for some podcasts and listen to others as I work. I have to explicitly set aside time to watch a video podcast - time I can’t easily spare in the course of a normal day.
That said, there are many times in my life where downtime is forced upon me. I do a lot of air travel for my day job and those hours spent in departure lounges and in the air are easily filled with audio podcasts - I can only imagine it would be more enjoyable to watch videos at the same time.
Let’s face it - the iPod technology is great, the user experience is nearly perfect, but content remains king.
Like the new iPod? Hate it?