The remote control, which uses IR is very stylish. It has an iPod Shuffle look and feel and a set of controls set in
a circle that resemble the first iPods, but are marked differently. The on-screen menus for Front Row are also
iPod-like. One nice touch is the way Front Row blurs out the menu screen on a DVD (You know: ?Operation not permitted?)
and puts a standardized iPod-like menu over it. My one gripe is that it?s not always clear which button to push on the
remote: plus or minus, fast forward or rewind, or something else? The Apple rep told me to press Menu to select the
video player from the main Front Row menu. Whoops - you have to press Play (>). Yes, even six buttons can be
confusing at first?unusual for Apple.
TV shows on the iMac are a grainy 320 x 240 that looks better in a small window than full screen. It?s not a TiVo
replacement, let?s be clear. It?s more like the BitTorrent copies of The Daily Show - a way to catch shows you?d have
to miss otherwise, and definitely more reliable than streaming. It?ll be a good alternative to needing to plop in front
of the boob tube once more shows become available. The iTunes interface is a lot more consumer friendly than finding
and downloading torrents. What it needs most are more shows!
The underrated announcement of the day is iTunes gifting. Those of us who are always evangelizing new bands or
you-gotta-hear-this songs to each other now have an easy way to push tracks on our friends and vice versa. Good thing
the recipient has to accept the gift, or I?d be jamming everyone?s libraries with Goldfrapp already.
Our correspondent Paul Boutin would like to thank
Splunk (maker of network indexing software) for giving him the day off.