Saturday, October 27, 2007

Deal of the Day

Deal of the Day, or Sale of the Day, websites are springing up all over the net, with some variations on the theme.

The first one I came across was woot!.com which is regarded as the best and most popular.Basically woot! sells one item a day, anything from computers to flashlights. Sometimes the items are new, other times they are refurbished. There is also a quirky funny story about the item on sale. Some people wait up until midnight (which is when the next day's item is put on sale) just to see what it is going to be. Some items sell out quickly (the woot website has stats), and others don't, but a lot are sold, like the refurbished 30GB Microsoft Zune MP3 Players on October 15 - over 10,000 units were sold in one day. From what I've seen woot's prices are good and I haven't had any problems with items purchased from them.

And the other sites? Squidoo has short descriptions and links to many sites (but for some reason maybe blocked by overzealous corporate website blocking software).

There are also several Roundup sites, like Deal of the Day Tracker and Bargain Jack. I would advise shopping around before buying anything on these bargain websites.

Since I have not had any dealings with any of these websites other than woot!, I would recommend checking out reviews and approaching any purchases with the normal caution you would use for other internet purchases.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Really Secure

This week I signed up on one of the Sandisk user forums. The password format they wanted was ridiculous - I'm used to providing one with alpha characters and a number, but they also wanted at least one uppercase letter and one lowercase one. I can understand requiring a tough password if Credit Card or other sensitive information was being stored, but this was a user forum, and the most sensitive information was my email address.

Anyway, I complied, then had to laugh, because they sent me the confirmation email with my userid and password in plain text. Really Secure!

Monday, October 15, 2007

iPods Hidden Feature

There is a feature on iPods which I haven't found on any other MP3 Player. It is auto-bookmarking, something very handy for Podcasts or Audio books. (Actually it is only hidden because it is not advertised or shown on any menu).

Basically if you play anything and then pause and exit through the menu, when you next play that particular track it will start off where you left off, even if you have turned off the iPod in between. This is handy for me since I listen to multiple Podcasts, and often don't finish listening in iPod one session (quite often I get home before an episode of "Buzz Out Loud" finishes). I can then finish listening to it later. It also works for videos.

Before I get howls of protest from fans of other MP3 Players - apparently if you are listening to a track on most non-iPods and just turn the MP3 Player off without pausing first, it will resume when you turn the player on again - I got this tip from CNET's "MP3 Insider" Podcast, and have tested it on a Creative Zen V Plus. I also know that the Creative Zen Vision:M allows you to set bookmarks in audio tracks and videos. It is possible that the whole Creative line has this feature.

Now my disclaimer - although I own a couple of iPods, I also own or have owned 3 iRivers, 2 Creative Zens and even a Sandisk Sansa. So I would suggest that anyone in the market for an MP3 Player shouldn't just buy an iPod without checking what is available out there, and buy based on what their requirements are. The Portable Video/MP3 Player Reviews at CNET are a good starting point. Then there is and anythingbutipod.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My new toy - the iPod Touch

No, not me (unfortunately), but Dominic, a Site Administrator of dapreview - a website which reviews MP3 Players (aka DAP - Digital Audio Players). He mentions it in his post My new toy - iPod Touch. also reviews iPods, but are more focused on the wide variety of other Digital Audio Players.