Is anyone else a cranky stick-in-the-mud like me?

A coworker came in today with his new iPod and was showing off how really “coooool” he thought it was. I took one look at it and dismissed it as trendy pseudo-stylish nonsense that will date itself in mere months. Apple has this tendency to concentrate rather too much on style as though that actually matters - and alarmingly it seems to most people it does.

Not to me, I think style is overrated and often over-emphasised, especially when it’s to the detriment of practical useability (though I’m not sure if the iPod fits in with that because I have never used an mp3 player and likely never will).

So am I being a complete cranky bastard, or do I have a point? Is there too much “style over substance” in commercialism today?

Well, for me, if I am going to be paying a lot for something, I want to be able to take pleasure in both the functionality (i.e. does it do what I want it to do) and the feeling of using it (the style, the design). Sure, for some people the style can outweigh the functionality, but I don’t think that’s the majority. Basically it’s Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.

And there’s no reason something can’t be functional and beautiful - Alessi, Stark etc all demonstrate this - Alessi’s lemon squeezer excepted, but it’s still art.

Oh, and yes, I love my iPod - both for what it does, and for the simple joy of using it. :slight_smile:

Well, I have very little use for style over substance, but I think the iPod is one of those rare gadgets that actually is enhanced by the designers’ stylistic sensibilities, because they’re driven by the “less is more” principle that makes many of Apple’s products simple, intuitive, and sometimes even powerful. You can do an astonishing number of things with the iPod’s control wheel, and the lack of clutter means it’s not only simple to learn, but there’s also less crap to break. A lot of the wildest bleeding-edge gadgets are often little techno-puzzles, totally overboard on bells, whistles, and buttons that confuse and distract more than they enhance (the Walkman was an iconic exception). Very little bang for the bling. So if you were complaining about one of those sorts of annoying techno-ephemera, I’d be in complete agreement. In the case of your disapproval of the iPod, it may be a kind of soft Luddite approach that is not uncharacteristic of the cranky stick-in-the-mud who may miss a good thing even when he sees it, because of passing summary judgement. I think people who like music may find there’s a lot to like about the iPod, because it gets right out of your way and helps you enjoy what it was made for: Listening to music.

In my experience, people who dismiss the iPod as “style over substance” haven’t actually used one.

When I look at the byzantine controls that get passed off for consumer electronics these days (I’m looking at you, TV remote control), I wish more stuff was designed as well as an iPod.

Hmmm… I like my pda. It plays music. I have a 1gig card, which fits lots of music on it. The ipod is $439, and my pda was $500 second hand, but it can do SO much more. (Play movies, word processing, acting as a remote, accessing the net…) It’s like a baby computer really. It’s just not very pretty. So, yeah, I’d say they’re overrated.

At least specifically with respect to the iPod, it’s one of the most remarkably useful and impressive consumer products ever designed, absolutely light years beyond anything else (when it was designed; other stuff is catching up.) They absolutely are deserving of the hype.

I don’t notice that things are any more dependent upon style than they ever were, generally speaking.

As to your specific questions, since you admit to the fact that you don’t know anything about iPods, you could not have had a valid point. Ignorance isn’t a point of view.

I wasn’t dismissing the iPod outright, I was annoyed that my coworker thought it looking cool was a valid argument to have it. Which in this specific case perhaps it is, if it’s really as intuitive as others have said.

My Dell Axim X30 was delivered this evening. Style and substance!

Yes you are being a bit cranky, but we all have a little crank in us. I find myself slipping into crank mode whenever my coworker parks himself at the chair next to my desk and starts rambling on about his kids.

Back in the seventies Triumph (British car maker, long out of business) ran a car ad with a picture of a TR-6 and the tag line “Beauty is a function of how beautifully it functions.”
IMHO this applies to the I Pod. The damn thing just works. Pick one up in the Apple store, and it is very intuitive as to how it operates. Takes maybe 3 minutes to master.
Try that with a cell phone, any cell phone.
FTR I go get grumpy about style over substance, but I don’t think the OP has the correct target.

I understand your crankiness. I feel the same way about cell phones.

I probably roll my eyes 20 times a day from all my co-workers using their phones, talking about using their phones, looking at their phones, playing with their phones, turning off their phones, turning on their phones…Enough already!! :rolleyes:

I’m still not real sure what an iPod is. I know it’s computer related but that’s about it.

I’m a stick in the mud when it comes to designer brands. If you buy it because it’s a better product, fine, but if you buy it because you just want some stupid label attached to your butt, okay, but don’t expect me to consider you to be very bright.

Style over substance is bad. Style in addition to substance is good. Style that arises from substance, is great.

I bought an mp3 player a while back, and while I ultimately went with the Dell DJ, the stylishness of the iPod was a big point in its favor.

Sure, I could go through life only buying things that were necessary, functional, and utilitarian, but what the hell fun would that be?

At one point I was very seriously considering purchasing an iPod. I happened to be at a Best Buy and took a look at their selection. I picked one up. Five minutes later I put it down in frustration because I couldn’t figure out how to do a damned thing with it.

Now I see someone has mentioned a “wheel”? What’s all that about? I kept trying to find up/down/left/right buttons of some sort and nothing seemed to work. Every now and then the menu thing would just jump around and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing to cause that. Maybe I’m just dumb.

The circle on the front is a touch-sensitive wheel. It doesn’t actually rotate, but if you dial your finger clockwise or counterclockwise around it the menu selection changes.

It’s a very nice interface because once you know how it works you can dial fast. I have 1500 songs on my iPod but it typically only takes me a few seconds to dial up a particular song.

Yeah, I have to agree with the people who are saying that the iPod isn’t just flash. It’s totally revolutionized how I listen to music on a daily basis. I’d pretty much stopped listening to CDs because I’d gotten tired of dragging them back and forth to work with me. With the iPod I have all the music I like, on demand, all the time.