The latest iPod experiment from Make’s Phillip Torrone is the iPod VR: a video iPod hooked to a pair of VR glasses.

Torrone says it works well, especially for long videos, and would be the thing to use on airplanes, if he weren’t more interested in seeing people’s reactions.

There’s more to come. He writes: “And as soon as I get time, controlling iTunes and iPods with a VR glove!”

Webcam Watching For Signs of Bird Flu



Over at Low End Mac, Belgian Koen Bogaert tells how his two pet chickens are being watched the world over via webcam for signs of bird flu.

Bogaert has a Mac-powered webcam inside the henhouse where his two chickens, Thelma and Louise, are currently quarantined.

“Since Europe is under the threat of the bird flu, Thelma & Louise became the symbol of the fight against the forced quarantine and massacre of domestic birds,” he writes. “Newspapers, radio, and television are all bringing Thelma & Louise into the picture, and thousands of visitors are watching these funky chicks daily.”

Here’s the Thelma & Louise webcam.

IBall IPod Speaker



Oregon Scientific’s iBall is a $300 wireless speaker that streams music from a dock up to 100 feet away.

The dock also charges the iPod and can sync it with your computer. On the other end, the speaker acts as a remote control for the iPod.

It’s a clever device with a clever name. Let’s hope it sounds good.

Tunewear’s BoomTune also caught my eye. It’s a $40 tripod speaker system that plugs directly into an iPod headphone jack. It’s also a clever design, and Tunewear says it “booms,” though I doubt that.

Websites At War — BuyMeAniPod Hijacks SmashMyiPod Traffic



Two iPod-related websites went to war on Wednesday afternoon, with one trying to hijack the other’s visitors.

Buy Me an iPod .com briefly hijacked SmashMyiPod.com’s traffic — if you visited SmashMyiPod.com at about 4PM PST, you would have been redirected to Buy Me an iPod .com.

The hijacking was only possible because SmashMyiPod.com contained hidden code to Buy Me an iPod .com that was intended to overwhelm and crash the site, according to Travis LaMarr, Buy Me an iPod .com’s webmaster.

LaMarr, a 19-year-old student, said there was a link to his site hidden in an iframe on SmashMyiPod.com that was visible only when viewing the site’s source.

As a result, visitors to SmashMyiPod.com were served the contents of Buy Me an iPod .com, but never got to see the site. The tactic was intended to eat up Buy Me an iPod .com’s bandwidth and crash the site, LaMarr claimed.

Why would SmashMyiPod.com do this?

According to LaMarr, the site is unhappy with accusations he made calling the gadget-smashing project a “scam.”

“I call them a scam as everyone else is,” said LaMarr by IM. “I’m guessing (the iframe is) a way to sabotage me.”

So LaMarr added a script to his site that hijacked visitors to SmashMyiPod.com. The script worked only as long as SmashMyiPod.com contained the hidden iframe link.

The iframe has been removed, but can still be found in Google’s cache of the site. The redirect still works, and the hidden iframe can be seen if you view source and search for “buymeanipod.”

LaMarr said he found the hidden link when his visitors jumped overnight from 100 to 10,000 a day. He said he sent SmashMyiPod.com e-mail asking for the hidden link to be removed, but didn’t get a response.

“Yegor Simpson,” a 19-year-old student who runs SmashMyiPod.com, admitted inserting the link, but said he hasn’t received any e-mail asking for it to be removed.

“I got no e-mail from him,” said Simpson in an e-mail to me. “I did ask him to get rid of the scam comments about my site, he didn’t. So I’m doing it for him.”

LaMarr said he’s happy to get a link from SmashMyiPod.com, but he’d like one visitors can actually see.

“Hey, I’m all for the free publicity — 10,000 hits in a day (is) not bad. But no one can see it. I’d be fine with it if they posted a link to it, but they won’t.”

Wireless ‘Phones for ITunes Phone?



Engadget got its “sweaty paws” on the next version of Motorola’s iTunes phone — the SLVR L7 — and it looks like it’ll pipe music through wireless Bluetooth stereo headphones.

“… it has Bluetooth, a VGA digital camera, and a TransFlash memory card slot for storing up to 100 iTunes tracks, but there is one real surprise: the phone doesn’t have a headphone jack. Seems a bit odd for a phone with iTunes, but we’re hearing that Motorola will offer Bluetooth stereo headphones.”

One Million Porny IPod Downloads



Quick update concerning porn on the iPod. Last week, Suicide Girls launched a weekly porny-podcast, SGTV. I wrote cofounder Lauren Suicide asking how it was going. She replied:

“everything is going great with the new SGTV stuff! In 24 hours after the launch we had 500,000 downloads of the new featurettes, and then the three days after that we had one million downloads, which is huge.

It’s been pretty consistent since then, I think we’ll do a million downloads/week average. The other cool thing is that after we launched SGTV we suddenly shot to #24 on all of itunes podcasts for the radio show we do on Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles.”

Actual IPod Baby



Talking of iPod babies, on Monday (Halloween), Nick Fruhling sent an email:

“This is me and my son Felix this morning going into the office…”

“I was Steve and he was a shuffle, if you can’t tell.”

Competition: World’s Cutest (iPod) Baby



IPodMyBaby.com is running a contest to find the World’s Cutest Baby
and the top prize is a family of iPods: a video iPod, a Nano, a Shuffle, “and much more,” according to the site.

IPodMyBaby is the baby-clothing operation of iPodMyPhoto.

The rules are:

“In order to participate, the baby must be photographed wearing the iPodMyBaby Click Wheel Outfit or the (newly added) Click Wheel Long Sleeve T-shirt. Submissions must be sent to ipodmybaby@gmail.com by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on December 15th, 2005. The winner will be determined by our celebrity panel of Judges. Their decision will be final.”

The contest opens today, and I’m one of the judges — bribe details to leander -AT- cultofmac.com ;-).

SmashMyiPod Responds — Where the Money Went



Apparently Yegor Simpson of SmashMyiPod.com didn’t get a note I sent him a few days ago asking why he smashed an older, cheaper iPod and what he did with the extra money he raised.

(I know e-mail isn’t reliable but there’s no other contact details in the Whois database or on the web that I could find).

Simpson sent a note earlier today in response to yesterday’s post, accusing me of fabricating “lies” about his project. He wrote:

“Everything I need to say has been posted on my site. I didn’t receive any emails from you other than the initial interview questions which I answered.

Where is the base for your hypothesis that we scammed everyone? We bought a 4g ipod, since video (5g) wasn’t available at the time, and smashed it. I agree video sucked, but we didn’t scam anyone.”

I wrote back saying I didn’t make anything up, and that I noted widespread suspicion about why he bought and smashed an older iPod. I also asked what he did with the extra money that was raised.

Simpson replied:

“So your sources for the story were comments posted by ipod fans on engadget? Talk abou solid, unbiased info….. I hear ipod video screens cause impotence and hair loss.


Ipod cost us $365 cnd. That’s due to the unexpected “student discount” of $50. We planned for $415 cnd, which was the price on their site (including 15% sales tax). We raised $550 usd “on paper” but you forget that paypal takes a large % of especially when you have a lot of small payments. In the end we got about $120 cnd of usable surplus, which I used to pay the hosting bills.

The only “pocket money” I’m making from this is coming from the ads.”

Wu-Tang’s Apple Shout Out



Wu-Tang’s new album — Think Differently Music; Wu-Tang Meets Indie Culture — is the oddest homage to Apple I’ve ever seen in pop culture. It’s so cultish, it’s disturbing.

The title borrows Apple’s “Think Different” advertising slogan, and the cover image is Wu-Tang’s symbol remixed with Apple’s old rainbow-stripped logo.

At first, I thought it was phony — a fanboy mockup — the kind of desktop wallpaper you’d see at The Apple Collection. Perhaps it’s ironic, but I don’t think it is.

According to an Amazon reviewer: “Wu Tang Meets Indie Culture is a compilation album put together by Dreddy Kruger, an affiliate of the Wu Tang Clan and a part time rapper … The concept was bringing Wu Tang affiliated rappers/producers and the best of the hip hop underground together for some crazy collaberations (sic).”

A lot of rappers are big Apple fans. There are more shout-outs to Apple in hip-hop than any other music genre. The Coup’s “Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Granada Last Night,” for example, goes: “Microsoft muthufuckas let bygone be bygones / but since I’m Macintosh imma double-click your icon.” Gunshots.

Still, this is weirder than that. If anyone knows what’s going on here, please post an explanation in the comments. I’m pretty sure you guys know more than I do.

(Via MacFeber and TUAW)

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Instead of dressing up as an iPod for Halloween, this iPod was dressed up for Halloween — as the Grim Reaper.

It must have been hacked for the screen to display the reaper’s face. He’s quite a friendly little fellow, for a reaper.

Update: Reader Trevin Ward in the comments suggests something that never occurred to me: that the iPod is an iPod photo. No hacking required!

Apple Sells 1 Mill Videos



Apple has sold more than 1 million videos in three weeks through the iTunes music store.

“Selling 1 million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. “Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods.”

The ITunes store offers about 2,000 music videos, popular TV shows and shorts from Pixar.

In 2003, when the iTunes store launched, it sold one million songs in its first week.

IPod Smashing Video Not Very Smashing



Yegor Simpson, the 19-year-old student behind SmashMyiPod.com, has finally posted video of his iPod smashing — but it’s not worth watching.

About 10 minutes long, the first nine minutes is the deadly-dull documentation of Yegor buying the iPod at an Apple store.

The last minute or two concerns the actual smashing, but there’s not much joy in it. Simpson and a friend first try to smash the iPod inside the Apple store, underfoot, but are escorted out. They finish the job on the sidewalk with a hammer. It’s pretty joyless.

To refresh: Simpson raised more than $500 in donations to buy and smash an iPod. He promised to post video for the jollies of everyone concerned.

The actual smashing happened last week but until now was no video. Simpson did post pictures — but of an older $300 iPod, not a brand new $500 one. This raised a lot of suspicion he was pulling an elaborate scam.

“They collected $400 (+$151 extra) and spent it on an iPod 20GB???” noted one skeptic among many at the Engadget blog. “How stupid. They probably already owned the 20GB, smashed it, and bought a brand new 5th gen for themselves. Anyone that donated is officially a sucker.”

Over at TUAW, there was a similar note of suspicion: “The guy had a destroyed 4G, got the $400, and got a new 5G,” wrote one commentator. “He smashed up the 4G good and is laughing all the way to the Apple store with a new iPod.”

Scam.com says it was an “obvious scam.”

Simpson didn’t respond to a request for comment. But in the video, you can see him buying a new iPod for yourself.

Meanwhile, Simpson is full steam ahead with his other smashing projects: SmashMyXBox, SmashMyPS3, and SmashMyRevolution.

IPod Party Animals



Not surprisingly, there’s a bunch of iPod-inspired Haloween costumes popping up after this weekend’s partying.

The one above, found on Flickr, is fairly typical. But look at the one below; here’s a party attended by a silhouette, an iPod and Steve Jobs. Now that’s a freaky party!

Video Podcasting’s Own Cartoon Network



Cartoonist Fred Seibert, the brains behind a string of hits on Nickelodeon, including number one show The Fairly Oddparents, has launched his own cartoon network for the video iPod — no network or cable required.

Channel Frederator offers a handful of short animations every week as a video podcast. Billed as “Straight from the interweb,” and formatted for the PSP as well as iPod, the site says:

“We really love cartoons and the people who make them. Because of our day job, we see lots of excellent stuff that never gets seen by most people. Channel Frederator gives all cartoons a shot at being shown to the wired world’s masses. And if we can spread the love – or at least spread something – then we will. ”

I watched a podcast and thought it pretty good. The first cartoon was charmingly inscrutable and the second boasted great production values, fast-paced storytelling and a Shrek-like wit. The third, well, er…

In the world of Japanese anime, Central Park Media is podcasting anime trailers and full episodes (promised “soon”) for the iPod and PSP.

Steve Jobs, Dark Lord of the Sith



Every year Forbes pokes fun at captains of industry by turning them into Halloween masks. This year, Steve Jobs is cast as Darth Vader because of his recent turn to “the dark side.”

Steve Jobs as Darth Vader. Net worth: $3.3 billion. Source of wealth: Apple Computer and Pixar. Steve Jobs was the chosen one who promised to make things right in the computing world. But as time passed, his hunger for power took over, leading him to sue hapless bloggers and embrace dark arts, like digital-rights management.

Fixing a Broken Power Adapter Tip



Apple’s PowerBooks and iBooks are generally well-made, value-for-money machines, but they suffer from a critical design flaw — the tip of the AC power adapter is prone to breaking off inside the power port.

It’s a costly and time-consuming repair, and it’s almost impossible for owners to fix themselves. I know, because it’s happened to me three times in the last three years.

The last time was just last week, and the story of how I fixed it is a saga you can read after the jump. Long story short: I finally dug it out in a frenzy of rage and frustration that almost ruined a $2,500 computer.

FrontRow and PhotoBooth on BitTorrent



Apple’s FrontRow and PhotoBooth software are both available on BitTorrent, even though they’re supposed to be restricted to the new iMac.

It took about two minutes to find and download PhotoBooth. Thirty seconds later I was snapping fun pics with the kids using a PowerBook and an iSight camera.

FrontRow, which allows you to control your music, photos, and DVDs from the couch, has been hacked so that it doesn’t look for the iMac remote control it is supposed to ship with. Instead, the hacked version works with any keyboard. I got it running on the PowerBook and a Power Mac G5.

In fact, FrontRow is pretty useless without a remote, but I hooked it to an old Keyspan external USB remote-control, and it works perfectly, though it is slow to load the music and video libraries.

There are also reports of it working with bluetooth keyboards and the free Romeo remote-control software (which is compatible with a limited selection of Sony Ericsson phones and the Nokia 3650).

Update: The DVD player in the hacked FrontRow doesn’t work — at least not for me. Too bad.

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Quick IBelieve Update



Designer Scott Wilson, the brains behind the $13 iBelieve iPod-crucifix-lanyard, said it celebrates both Jesus and the iPod.

Asked if it was genuinely Christian, or a comment on the popularity of ipods, Wilson replied:

“It is both. People will see what they want in it. They may want to visibly show their faith in a more fashionable way. The intertwined meaning is what is interesting. I think we are obsessed with objects today and none more than maybe the iPod. The idea was too funny, controversial, sad, not to visualize.”

See IPod is Bigger Than Jesus?

Apple May Face Legal Action Over Eminem iPod Ad



Left: Lugz; Right: Apple.

The growing spat over Apple’s new Eminem iPod ad, which appears to have been ripped-off from a 2002 spot for Lugz footwear, may result in legal action, according to the New York Times.

“We’re going to take all the steps we need to protect our rights,” a Lugz spokesman told the Times.

“We’re very upset,” Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and principal at Lugz in New York, said in an interview. “The look and feel are awfully similar.”

“We think very highly of Apple,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We don’t understand how this could have happened.”

In response, Apple’s ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, has issued its first statement about the ad.

In the statement from TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group, the agency described itself as “dedicated to creating original ideas.”

“We do not plagiarize, borrow, or steal them, and have a strict policy of not accepting third-party ideas in our creative process,” the statement read. The agency’s Playa del Rey, Calif., office has long created campaigns for Apple including award-winning ads that carried the theme “Think different.”

… But in its statement, TBWA/Chiat/Day said, “We can assure you that the ‘Detroit’ spot was created without any reference by TBWA/Chiat/Day to the ‘Arrow’ spot.”

“Our intention was to develop a campaign that was a natural and independent evolution of the ‘Silhouettes’ campaign,” the statement read. “Any similarities between the two spots are regrettable.”