Sunday, September 28, 2008

My first iPod

(I apologize for the blurry low quality. My wife took my digital camera to Korea with her this weekend to shoot a friend's wedding and I was left with only my cellphone camera, but I suppose it's better than nothing.)

I picked up one of the new 8 Gig Nano iPods this weekend. I am loving it so far. I sort of wish I'd have splurged for a 16 Gig but they were all on back order for about a month, whereas the eight gigabyte models were in abundance. However, now I'm entirely tempted to buy a Generation 2 iPod touch. Maybe as a Christmas present perhaps?

What is impressive about this new nano though is that it does video, also has the genius feature which is pretty handy for mixing up your tunes and picking songs which go well together. As far as I can tell "genius" works within the genre of the music type, or else according to date, and mixes songs together and creates a playlist which acts sort of like a top 20 radio hits chart. It works nicely but is still not a full substitute for your self created playlists. However, after a few updates Genius may be the must own feature to have. Also, the nano comes with that whole gyro thing, and there are some interesting rotation and tilt games available for it, as well as the new iPod Touch.

The nano screen is perhaps too small for watching videos properly, but I loaded some sexy Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi and Madonna music videos onto it and I must say the bright vivid screen is as crystical clear and high def as anything I've seen--it's just small. But I'm not complaining because I didn't buy the iPod nano for watching videos on, it's just a perk that it can do it.

Also I had to go with the blue. The purple was so tempting, but due to it being sold out everywhere I ended up going with my initial instinct and got the blue. The blue shines so nicely and the metal casing is entirely sturdy. I'm really impressed with this device so far.

The one downside is not the nano's fault but iTunes, which took over 24 hours to convert my music library into Apple's music format. Since I have not previously owned an iPod and had no reason to download iTunes until now, my entire library needed to be converted, and even just one song is surprisingly--even exceedingly slow to transfer. I know my supercomputer isn't at fault, since it has more than enough oomph to do the job, so all I can figure is that iTunes itself is slow as hell. But I left my PC on overnight and a whole day later I had songs ready to transfer over. I've also spent about $50 just buying music videos at the iTunes store to put onto my nano to show off to my students this week.

In the end I'm highly satisfied and very pleased with my new toy gizmo. If I do end up getting a new iPod Touch later this year you'll be the first to hear about it here.

Sports Festival 2008, Fall is Approaching, and other news

And they're off! Another Undo-kai (sports festival) is successful! Actually, this would be the first successful one in three years. The past two years involved getting rained out, broken bones, and heat stroke. This year there were only two minor injuries, muscles pulls, and well... more heat stroke. I also got sun burned.

Sports festivals are great because it gets the students back into shape immediately after a month long summer break. Many of the students fatten up over winter and then play video games all summer, so this athletic event gets them back into tip top condition. It's quite noticeable in the girls who she a lot of their chubbiness and become slender young women. My third year junior high school students, which are the equivalent of Freshmen in high school according to American school year and age, have begun to sprout up and turn into young adults. Having an athletic event like this really tones their muscle structure and changes many of their childhood bodies into young adult ones. Since it's a mandatory school festival all students are affected by it and the change is noticeable across the board.

Last year you might remember that I participated in the dance competition and exhausted myself thoroughly. This year, since we had more students, the slots were all taken and I was free to be a spectator. I opted to film the events and roam around as the official camera man, chat with my students, and enjoy the fun. Although, I probably could have used the good physical conditioning, I didn't mind being leisurely this time around.

This years sports festival came and went and fall is upon us. The weather is rapidly cooling down and I'm still happily married. How about that? It was wonderful since it didn't rain us out this year, although I got pretty sun burnt. My student became extremely excited by the fact that I turned a bright pink whereas they typically darken into a proper island native. There was never a moment they neglected to inform me of my intense color palette and also were curious as to how painful it was. Luckily I slathered on SPF 50 at least six times and wore a towel around my head for half of the day, so only my neck got really burnt. But all in all I made it out without any itching or rash. It took me about a week to darken, but then my students were even more excited by the fact that I was two-tone.