A few weeks ago, Dave Winer pointed to Robert Scoble's observation that podcasting doesn't require an iPod. True enough. My newest toy is a MuVo TX and, on a flight yesterday, I had a chance to make a head-to-head comparison between it and InfoWorld contributing editor Paul Venezia's 4G iPod. Conclusion: less is more.
The iPod is a joy to use, and the scrollwheel is an awesome UI innovation. But every time I've tried an iPod, the thing that's stuck in my craw is the dependency on iTunes -- an application that I don't much care for, because it has its own ideas about how to store and manage content. When you mount an iPod volume in order to use it directly, you have to root around in hidden directories.
A flash-memory-based gadget like the MuVo is close to being just dumb storage, and I kind of like that. The innovation required to automate delivery of RSS enclosures to the device is hardly worth talking about: fetch files, copy them to the device.
The lightweight, solid-state nature of the device appeals to me too. Clipped to my running shorts yesterday, the MuVo was barely noticeable. I haven't tried an iPod mini yet, maybe it passes the jogging test too, but a fullsize iPod clearly wouldn't.
Of course I'm lucky enough not to spend a lot of time commuting. And wherever I go, there's the wireless Internet. So I don't need a large, expensive, and complicated cache. For me a small, cheap, and simple one is better. Less really is more.
Pervasive connectivity is the wildcard, as always. When the network reaches everywhere, evolution will tend to favor cheap general-purpose caches over expensive special-purpose ones.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/10/21.html#a1099