Is There Anything To Rival The Ipod?

The name iPod has been synonymous with digital music players since the 3rd generation iPod was launched three years ago but is it really the best product on the market today?

Some in-depth research showed that there are in fact a few companies that have developed and manufactured digital media players that have features to rival even the newest iPod.

The iPod video from Apple
Multimedia player with an internal hard drive, the largest of which is 60GB.
2.5? full colour screen.
Dimensions ? 103.5 x 61.8 x 11mm.
Weight ? 136g
Uses iTunes software which is available for both Windows and Mac computers.
Music, photos, video playback.
14 hour battery life for music playback and 2 hours for video.
Uses iPod click wheel to navigate menus.

This is just one of the iPod models but there are a number of other models available, all of which have different features.

The Zen vision:M from Creative
Mp3 player, photo, video and FM radio receiver with an internal hard drive, the biggest of which is 30GB. This holds 15,000 songs or 120 hours of video.
Has a full colour screen the same size as the iPod video.
Dimensions ? 104 x 62 x 18.9mm
Weight ? 163g
Works with Windows XP but not Mac software.
Similar battery life to iPod video.
Scroll mouse used to navigate very easy to use menu system.
Has ability to record FM radio and can be linked to the TV using AV cable (not included).
Comes with added extras including an AC adaptor and a protective case.

As with Apple?s iPods, Creative have developed an entire range of media players that have a variety of features and cater for all budgets.

The AV500 Mobile DVR (digital video recorder) from Archos
Multimedia entertainment system with an incredible 100GB memory.
Video, music, photos and it has the ability to record straight from the TV or computer.
4? high resolution full colour screen.
Dimensions ? 76 x 124 x 18mm.
Weight ? 255g
Works with Windows 2000/XP and Mac OS 10.2.4 or higher.
15 hours battery life for music playback and 4.5 hours for video.
Music downloaded from Microsoft PlayForSure websites.
Also incorporates FM radio and Dictaphone.
Built in microphone and speaker.

The Archos AV500 Mobile DVR is admittedly a bit more expensive than the other two examples (which are very similar in price) but its extra features make it an exceptional buy.

So if there are other media players to rival iPod why is Apple still commanding the market? Apple and iPod are such big names that people tend to go for what they know to be popular and successful so even though some of Apples adversaries are now making quality products with even more features than the iPod nobody really knows about them?yet.

Piano Buying Guide – Another Two Tips

The Pitfalls of Buying Your Piano Online

Recently, people have been purchasing pianos through online piano brokers and through ebay. I see major problems with this. If a so-called broker who calls himself a dealer, is selling pianos to consumers and does not have a physical facility or a complete operation with experienced and dedicated people who care about their product and customers, stay away! This is bad news! I will go into this further in a moment. As far as shopping for a piano on Ebay, I have spent some time looking at it and I am still not convinced that it is a reliable way to go, notwithstanding all the evaluation mechanisms that are built into their system.

As I have mentioned above, pianos are old world technology and always will be old world technology because the piano design and mechanism is from the 19th and early 20th century. I am not saying that the technology of producing pianos is exactly the same as was used in the 19th or 20th centuries. In many cases, you have factories in Japan, Korea and now in China that are producing pianos with robots. However, somewhere along the way you need experienced crafts people to iron out the kinks and make sure that everything is working correctly and there are no major screw-ups. We assume this has been done in the factory but as I have mentioned above, you need craftspeople associated with and working for established dealers who will make sure that there are no problems with their instruments before they end up in the consumer?s homes. The process of Tuning, Regulating and Voicing a new piano immediately prior to the sale of the instrument is called Dealer Prep. The more prepping that is performed at the dealership, the better for the end user or customer.

The Last Key – Buying Your Piano From Reputable Dealer, Avoiding Getting Ripped Off

How to find a reputable piano dealer? I get asked this question all the time, and here are a few things to look for in a piano dealer:

* Store has been in business a number of years
* A member of the Better Business Bureau. Serious businesses, especially those interested in customer service, join the BBB.
* The store is a licensed, certified dealer of the particular piano you are interested in. That means they have worked with the piano’s manufacturer so they know how to correctly prep the piano for your use.
* The person you talk with knows the product inside and out, and has personal experience with the product (actually played it and knows the action and sound of the piano and how it compares to other pianos.)