iTunes' Genius: A Smart Move by Apple

I just upgraded to the latest version of iTunes today. In recent times it hadn’t been too exciting to do this, since most of the upgrading had had to do with support for iPhone, etc.

But today, I was gladly surprised to find a very nice new feature, called Genius:

The premise is simple yet powerful. You pick a song in your library and (after iTunes has indexed your library) click on the Genius button in the bottom right corner. What results is a very effective playlist that starts with the song you picked, followed by recommended songs based on that song and your past listening habits.

Though it hasn’t been too well received by some iTunes users, to the right of the new playlist is a sidebar with a list of tracks from the iTunes store that you can click on (so they are focusing the experience down to the track level with this, more than they were with the Mini Store that stayed at the album level).

One thing still missing from the whole equation is discussed in this post in Wired, where one of the co-founders of Last.FM points out how there is no connection to friends and others, like they or enable through their platform.

Although they are a bit late to the game, nevertheless it is nice and VERY smart move by Apple. It should be interesting to see how this plays out in the midterm, specially for other companies in this space.

The line to get the new iPhone

Call me boring, if you want. I have a hard time feeling so strongly about any piece of new technology (the new iPhone 3G included) to stand in line for hours, to get a chance to buy it.

Friday, we saw the line shown in this photo outside the Apple Store in Palo Alto. Saturday, we saw a comparable line outside the Apple Store in San Francisco by Market Street…

Why Apple Stores Rock!

(Tip: it’s not just that they all look extra-cool… though that helps!)

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I had a major hiccup with my Mac Book yesterday. Something happened during the most recent Software Update which I was unaware of until I shut down the computer (a couple of nights ago). When I went to turn it back on, it wouldn’t go past the startup screen (we saw the Apple logo come up and then it showed the blue screen that follows… and then nothing else).

Lucky for us, I realized this was happening while we were at the Apple Store in Palo Alto. I spent a while looking at this and learning from a great guy called Tom, who used to be a SysAdmin in the Bay Area for over 20 years and now helps people in the Apple Store. šŸ™‚

After we determined that it was beyond his ability, I made an appointment with the Genius Bar for later. Within 30 minutes (it took that long due to the diagnostic tool), we knew what was up and the solution: the OS had to be reinstalled. The genius helped me copy my whole user folder, to make sure all my data was saved and I came back for the machine and started the Leopard installation process at home.

Before I left the store, I got a new external drive, one that REALLY feels robust (on the outside it’s just the same structure of a Mac Pro): a 500GB G-Drive, so we can use it as a drive for the foundation. Although I had my own personal drive I was using for Time Machine backups, I realized I should be ready with another drive that I can have set as a bootable drive, in the event something like this happens again.

I am now almost back to where things were (in terms of data and applications) before the issue. I am honestly not upset but thankful: the people at the Apple Store really were great, knowledgeable and patient.