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Last week I made the transition from a point and shoot to a digital SLR camera. After reading many reviews and articles I decided to purchase a Nikon D40.Overall, this camera has been amazing. It exceeds everything that has been said about it and has gotten me more into photography. I have been reading and learning more about the technical aspects of photography and overall it has been an excellent experience.If you have been thinking about purchasing a dSLR, I strongly recommend going to a store and trying them out. Make sure and read reviews to find one that is right for you. I can’t really give a recommendation as this is my first and only dSLR, but I can say that I have been more than happy with my new camera.The site that has helped me out the most on my quest for a dSLR has been KenRockwell.com. The site has great reviews on cameras and also provides excellent user friendly guides on how to access the basic functions of various cameras. The author has written some excellent articles on photography and is overall an excellent resource.If you want to check out the photos I have been taking with the camera, they can be found on my flickr site with the tag Nikon D40. Also go and check out the article I wrote on YourWeb about flickr.

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The Zune.

I really really wanted the Zune to be outstanding. I wanted the press to get a hold of it and actually dub it the device that will dethrone the iPod. This has not happened. It hasn’t necessarily gotten bad reviews, it is just good. I was actually a little bit puzzled that my fellow Mac fanboys do not share my disappointment that the Zune was not the iPod killer.

Why do I want the Zune to be amazing? It is quite simple actually. If Microsoft made a product that the media was raving over, what would Apple do? They would make the iPod better by leaps and bounds. Apple wouldn’t sit around as their “golden child” got trampled by a competitor, they would go out and make it regain its throne. I am not saying that I am not satisfied with the iPod by any means, I just think that Apple can do better. I feel like they have a lot of cool things that they are planning to do with it but are holding out so they can release it in a steady stream and gain more revenue. This isn’t wrong from a corporate standpoint, but it doesn’t really benefit me the consumer.

So far it seems like the Zune isn’t necessarily bad, it just has some broken features. The biggest example is the wifi. It is an excellent idea but the limitations cripple it. I understand that the restrictions are in place to keep the record labels happy, but I believe that they could have made the restrictions a little more laid back. Also it could have been made a little bit more viral, they could have allowed you to re-share songs. That ways if “friend A” gives me a song that I like then I can pass it to “friend B” so that he can get a taste of it as well. Also it would have been neat if they could not only have done sharing but also a broadcasting type of thing. This way if you and your buddies are taking the train or something somewhere you could all tune into one Zune as if it were a radio station. One major thing that the Zune is lacking is Podcast support. I am a huge fan of podcasts and believe they are an excellent source of entertainment. The mere fact that the Zune does not support podcasts is a deal breaker for me.

Overall I think it is a good thing that the Zune has come in to battle the iPod, it will help force Apple’s hand to put more neat idea’s into the iPod. I am hoping that they incorporate the wifi functionality except do it better and hopefully include what I said above. Also, Apple could adopt a better interface to compete with the one on the Zune. I like the minimalistic one but it is starting to show its age. The form factor of the iPod is fantastic. I don’t want them to change the metallic back and polycarbonate front that they have used for so long. They can change up the screen layout and do some interesting stuff with the clickwheel, but in general I want it to remain the same. The last main difference means very little to me and I think that Apple’s approach is the better one. That is the built in FM tuner. I don’t need to have radio on my iPod and would personally like it to stay the way it is without it. Apple offers the FM radio add-on for those who want it and I think that is the way it should stay. That way people that want it can have it and it doesn’t add bulk to the iPod for those of us who don’t need it.

Overall I think it is good that the Zune has been brought into the market. It will force Apple to keep innovating and make the iPod better. As always, Arstechnica has done an outstanding job reviewing the Zune. You can find their review here.

So I have been planning on writing this post for about 2 weeks now. Finally I have the time to type up my thoughts on the rumored iPhone. In case you haven’t heard about it, a lot of the rumor sites and Mac bloggers have been repeating rumors that Apple is going to release a phone with a built in Mp3 player, similar to the Motorola phones. It is being hyped up to be this great amazing product and a lot of people have been saying that they want one. To begin with I want to say that I do not want it, well the way people say it is going to be. I do not want a phone/music player, it does nothing for me. If I want to listen to music I have an iPod. The nano is small enough that it is almost un-noticeable in my pocket. Also the iPhone will either have a very small song capacity or it will be huge. I want my cellphone to be smaller than it is now, not bigger. Also there is the thing about battery life. I want my cellphone to last 2-3 days without having to charge. If I have in on and am listening to it that will kill the battery life. A phone’s battery life varies on how you use it. It has a shorter battery life if you are constantly making calls and longer if it is sitting idle. Now think if you constantly use it to play music, your battery life will be even shorter. I have had my iPod die on me a few times and it is not a fun experience. It would be 10 times worse if my cell phone died. During the day I am not near my phone charger so it would just be an incredible hassle. There really is no benefit to me in having a music player/phone. Plus it would cost more.  On the other hand…

I wouldn’t mind if Apple released a cell phone that was not also a music player.  I am not happy with the cellphones on the market today.  Very few of them have bluetooth and even fewer sync naturally with my Mac.  If Apple created a phone it would do both of these things plus have a nice UI and more.  What I want is a good cellphone that works and makes me feel good the same way my iPod does.  Is this to much to ask.  Apple doesn’t even have to be the one who makes it, I just think they are the ones that could.

All that being said, iPhone is a no in my book unless they have a cheaper model sans music player.

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