New iPods, new iTunes

The new iPod U2 Special Edition, iPod Photo, and iTunes 4.7 are out. The U2 iPod was widely leaked and so there are few surprises, except maybe its release 3 weeks ahead of The Complete U2, and the fact that it won’t be pre-loaded with the band’s albums, rather coming with a $50 coupon for the boxed set. Smart money says the Complete U2 will cost rather more than $50…

The iPod Photo is more of a surprise, but only because the rumor sites appear to have been correct for once. I rather like the form factor and the idea of bringing my photos around with me in easily-previewable form, and even the concept of being able to hook my iPod up to a TV with a video cable. I think that the boat was missed in one area: the iPod Photo should have a built in USB connection so that you could transfer photos straight from most digital cameras to your iPod’s hard drive. It’s also interesting that iTunes will be used to sync photos to the iPod, rather than iPhoto, but I suppose it saves a considerable amount of development effort to just reuse the existing sync code in iTunes rather than developing it again in iPhoto—then having to release bug-fixes for both apps for sync problems down the road.

Regarding iTunes 4.7: the only new feature on the Mac platform, if you don’t have an iPod Photo, is the ability to find duplicate tracks. This would have been a useful feature. Except that the criterion for “duplicate” is apparently same artist and song title. What about an artist who recorded the same song in the studio and live—in very different versions and with very different run times? At the least you’d think that run time would be included in the criteria—with a one- or two-second window to account for variations in ripped vs. downloaded versions.

Nice catch-all: Bush campaign emails show up at anti-Bush site

Wonkette: Bush letters sent to the wrong e-mail address. Wonkette points to the Dead Letter Office at Apparently some people on the president’s staff can’t tell .com (the reelection campaign) from .org (the protest site). As a result, there are a ton of interesting emails that have accumulated in the catch-all mailbox at, including one staffer making the career-limiting move of observing how good he would look with First Daughter Barbara Bush (load the page and search for Barbara).

The only potential smoking gun I can see on the page is the thread about The Middle Eastern American National Conference endorsement of Bush, in which the draft email has several signatories’ names missing, with the note that the names are being scrubbed by the campaign and that “we need phone numbers, city, states.”

Get the story straight

A rare glimpse from the New York Times on how the response has evolved on both sides to the missing explosives from Al Qaqaa. Josh Marshall has been tracing the emerging storylines as well, including the emergent “they were gone when we got here” theory which seems to be discredited by the facts.

In this case, one might well ask, with Pilate, “What is truth?” In this case, the only truth appears to be: The Bush administration and its proxies have known about the missing explosives for almost 18 months and haven’t done anything about them. Now that the story is breaking, based on the October 10th letter from the Iraqi interim government, the administration is falling all over itself and can’t get the story straight about what happened and why it hasn’t acted.

Leaving aside the other issues in Iraq, this is a simple failure of competence by the incumbent leader of the western world.

Alas, John Peel

BBC: Legendary radio DJ John Peel dies of heart attack at 65. Peel is one of those tastemakers who would be famous even if you only knew him through the sessions that artists recorded on his show. I’m much more inclined to pick up a “Peel Sessions” recording from a band than another live show, just because I know the performance is going to be astonishingly good (witness: Bauhaus, Joy Division, the Birthday Party, New Order, Tim Buckley, Stiff Little Fingers, PJ Harvey and Stereolab, Gang of Four, the Cure, Happy Mondays, the Buzzcocks…)

As tastemaker and enabler of amazing sound, there are few DJs who could even think about filling his shoes today. (And I think that they all work for KEXP.) Via MetaFilter.

Standards and stardust

It’s very easy for an obsessive organizer type to get lost in iTunes. All those data fields, some of which are rarely filled in—take “composer,” for instance—mean there’s always something to look at in a spare minute and to try to populate. So I was delighted to find possibly the last resource I’ll ever need for composers of popular standards (as performed by jazz singers and instrumental artists): Todd’s Lyrics and Links. In addition to lyrics, he also lists composer, lyricist, arranger (where appropriate), and the whole shebang is organized by performer. I recognize a work of obsession when I see it. My hat’s off, Todd, and thanks.