Thursday, April 26, 2007


iPod's are taking over to the point of exclusion of everything else! Shudder-shudder-shudder! About a year ago, when I went to Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku to buy a sound file player that would play OGG files, there was a pretty even mix of things from different companies, but when I went back to the same store last week, I was shocked (shocked!) and dismayed (What?! Why? Oh no...) to see 95% of the display space taken up with those bloody iPods.

"You can have anything you want - so long as it's an iPod. Green, blue, pink, large, small, etc. anything you want! iPod accessories, cute little cases, matching Nike shoes.... What? You don't want to buy an iPod? But... but... that doesn't make sense! They're cute, everyone wants one and it's the only thing we sell! Monoculture! It's the 21st Century way!"

I'll go back and pester the staff about the lack of machines that will play OGG files - they must have some hiding somewhere off in the corners away from the prime display space mainly taken up with the bloody iPods and their bloody cute accessories, but the only thing I saw while walking through was a couple of models from Creative (that are nice, and work fine for MP3 files, but don't play OGG files, unfortunately).

As I wandered around feeling shell-shocked (the owners of the Sanshin Building are planning to smash it to bits and Apple is seemingly driving all sensible audio file players into oblivion), I remembered meeting a friend at the Bic Camera in the old Sogo Department store building by Yurakucho Station and seeing that they had more OGG-playing models than I've been seeing at Yodobashi Camera, so I rode the Yamanote Line over there... and walked in horror through another large and obnoxious display of bloody iPods, finally finding that they still have some machines on display that will play OGG files, as follows:


- SIREN DP-200 / DP-300


- iriver

I bought a SIREN, but haven't had a chance to try it out yet. I'm happy I could get a player that allows me to just load in files in a format that I like and then listen to them without mucking up my computer with rotten proprietary software and still won't play the type of files I want to use, but I'm worried whether that type of player will continue to be available in the future.

Monoculture... What's going on anyway? Is there only room for one operating system, one audio file player, one type of glass & steel sealed-box high-rise building? Is there no room for alternatives to a certain monopolistic software company, no room for something other than an iPod to listen to audio files electronically, no room for a classic 1929 building with possibly more character than any other building in Tokyo?

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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