Saturday, June 18, 2005

iPod Linux

I took iPod Linux for a spin yesterday. It's pretty nonintrusive. Everything works normally (my songs and Apple's OS stayed intact). If I hold down the rewind button while my iPod starts, Linux boots. If I want to get back to Apple's OS, I simply hold down the menu and play buttons to reboot. iPod Linux widens the game selection. It includes a pretty decent Tetris clone and chess. I remember back in high school when we'd hack our TI calculators and program games in assembly language. The ingenuity of the TI hacking community (both software and hardware) was and still is pretty amazing. For example, even though the screen was monochrome (like the iPod), TI game hackers simulated multiple shades of gray by turning pixels on and off at varying rates. It appears some of the iPod Linux graphic demos use the same trick (the spinning cube for one). The TI games are surprisingly rich and professional, a lot of fun. Hopefully the same will happen with iPod Linux games. iPod's Linux's scroll wheel driver is definitely a lot more bare bones than Apple's. Just from observation, it seems Apple accelerates the scroll speed the faster you spin the wheel. This makes scrolling large lists a lot easier. It also seems Apple's a little more forgiving of rolling fingers. Under iPod Linux I often find that I over or undershoot my selection by one. Using Apple's OS, I can navigate effortlessly. Apple's attention to detail at every level really makes the iPod great.

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