Simon Willison’s Weblog


Early adoption, and Airport Express cut-outs

3rd August 2004

I don’t know quite how I did it, but in the past 48 hours I’ve become an Apple early adopter. I spent the weekend in Minnesota, where a visit to the Mall of America (aka Unholy Temple to Consumerism) resulted in a visit to the Apple store, and a visit to the Apple store resulted in a shiny new fourth generation 20 GB iPod. Of course, the seven and a half hour journey back south would go so much faster with an iTrip to play with, so I picked one of those up as well.

The Apple store also provided me with the most intensely Apple moment of my life, when I overheard a store employee in a blue t-shirt, with blue hair, holding a blue mini iPod, telling a customer: “Oh, and of course there’s the ’cool’ factor”.

The iPod is a lot of fun, especially now that I’ve enabled it as a hard drive (through an option hidden in iTunes for some reason) and started messing around with it at the command line. Here’s an iPod tip: if you want to access the music files stored on the device, open up a terminal and cd to /Volumes/iPod/iPod_Control/Music. The Finder won’t display the files (presumably as a nod to the music industry’s legal eagles) but you can still get at them using good old fashioned Unix commands. The next step is to set up some kind of automated backup script for all my other important files.

Another iPod trick for the thrifty: if 20+ dollars seems too much for a case, a sock makes an excellent low budget alternative.

Gadget number two was ordered nearly a month ago, but arrived this morning: an Airport Express. If Gartner thought that the iPod was a corporate security risk they’re going to have a field day with this thing: it’s the size of a power brick, and setting up wireless access to a network is as easy as plugging in an ethernet cable and hooking it up to a power socket. It’s an instant network hole in the palm of your hand.

Mine’s now doing service as a wireless speaker cable (to a set of JBL Creature Speakers), and have actually just started randomly cutting out. Here’s hoping it’s just a temporary glitch. I’m also crossing my fingers for Apple to release a software update that lets me channel all of the sound output from my laptop through the Airport Express, rather than just music from iTunes.

Actually, the random cut outs are getting really irritating now. Any other early adopters experienced this problem?

Update: Turning off the “Use Inteference Robustness” option for my AirPort card seems to have fixed the cut outs. Update a few minutes later: nope, they’re back with a vengeance. Not good.

This is Early adoption, and Airport Express cut-outs by Simon Willison, posted on 3rd August 2004.

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