Blown away!

Filed in Entertainment Ind., General, Music, TechnologyTags: , , ,

I'm blown away by the Apple iTunes system.

I'm getting myself organised for a musical future, and part of that involved converting and importing into iTunes all of the Karaoke VCDs and DVDs we have in the house. When the tracks become part of the system, they're easily accessible, and they'll get listened to. The process of converting and importing the Karaoke tracks took three days of AppleScript scripting to automate and process, along with lots of Chinese typing, but I now have more than 700 karaoke tracks; both audio and video; in my iTunes library. Being a perfectionist, I then proceeded to correct the data for the tracks in my library, and create playlists (unrated, not played within the last month, ≤xGB) that I could use on our Apple TV and iPhones.

Did I say iPhones? Yep! I've waited more than a year for Apple to release the iPhone in Hong Kong, and I was registered with Hutchison 3 in both the local store and the online database weeks before the official launch. Even though we can't really afford it at the moment (who can?), we went ahead and purchased one white 16GB and one black 16GB, two colours so that my wife and I wouldn't accidentally pick up the wrong phone. Before buying the phones, I calculated the Total Cost of Ownership for the All-You-Can-Eat package. It comes out to HK$12,000 over two years per phone which is a lot of money, but not as expensive as the TOC in some other countries. The HK$12,000 included an upfront payment of $6,000 including the 'iPhone' cost, the 'Plan Prepayment' and the first month's subscription fee; ouch!

The iPhone is so cool. It has its bugs but the current functionality is great, and the potential is simply awesome. When comparing the iPhone to other 'smart' phones, people need to remember that the iPhone is not so much a phone as a portable computer with added phone functionality. It's a completely new paradigm. For the purposes of this article though, I'll only describe one function; Apple's included Remote application.

Here at home, we have two desktop Macs, one Apple TV, two portable Macs, and now two iPhones, and iTunes is completely interlinked through our wi-fi network. It's incredible. At this very moment, my iPhone is controlling the iTunes library on my iMac which is broadcasting the music through the Apple TV connected to our hi-fi system! How cool is that??? I could remote control the Apple TV directly but I don't get to set ratings while connected to the Apple TV, only when connected to an iTunes library on one of the Macs.

Life is suddenly becoming so much more musical ;-)

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18 Responses to “Blown away!”
  1. Relax says:

    I think the user interface of iPhone is sleek and sexy and juicy.

    Apple products have superb GUI and design. Maybe the design is greatly influenced by steve jobs' religion (he is a zen buddhist)

  2. 河國榮 says:

    thank you Caroline for letting me know about the problem with comments. it's fixed now. you can leave as many comments as you like ;-)

  3. Pegasus (Caroline) says:

    iPhone 3G上市後
    這是我看過最全面 最完整 最"有用"的user's experience/feedback!

    感謝分享~~

    BTW, 雖然用意不是為了show off lovy dovy...只是為了怕拿錯電話
    but I do consider it's SO ROMANTIC to use the same phone with the loved one...but with different colour...so nice...envy you!!!

  4. Dami says:

    Hi, just found out your blog today.
    I am one of your fans in Malaysia and had been watching many drama series performed by you in TVB for many many years, well, I guess it is at least 20 years!! Just drop a few words to say hello to you. Even though it is nothing to do with iPhone.

  5. yinyin says:

    wow, you are such an apple fan~~~
    hehe till today i still yet havent have any apple product~ Man, may i should start to tidy up the files in my computer~

  6. Roger says:

    Hi, how you doing?

    Althought I don't own the 3G version but I have to say that I;m enjoying this new 2.0 firmware with the app store. Have fun with the phones, 2 years is a long time to stick to the same phone.

    Roger.

  7. Jean says:

    Heya!

    Was very tempted to get one when we were on holidays in Singapore but was put off by the mobile fees for internet surfing in Australia so decided not to for now.

    :)

  8. trays says:

    你好~我是你的支持者!!!
    我細細個已經睇你既電視劇~~睇到依傢大個女~~
    多謝你o係電視陪我成長咁多年

    多謝

  9. Joel says:

    That sounds like a whopping amount, and I wonder how many in New Zealand can afford it even 5 years later? The catch sounds like an engineer's dream though: a fully automated home-based computing and entertainment complex.

    I wonder if we will arrive at the day ehwn we can integrate the automation functionality with home appliances as well?

  10. Hon says:

    Can you read Chinese?

  11. Philip Edwards says:

    Hi greg,

    We grew up together in the Katoomba, attended the same church etc. I was trying to get in touch with Marny. Could you please send me either her details or pass mine along please?

    Good to see how well traveled and sucessful you have been.

    Regards, Philip Edwards

  12. Raye says:

    Hello. I'm your fans. Actually my english is not very well but I would try to write you in english.

    I always listen to podcast recently since I bought an iPod. I also have the feeling that iTunes is really friendly. Fortunately, I listened to your interview in a podcast channel through iTunes.

    I like your acting very much. Hope to see you in many media more than TV-set. Support you always.

  13. Richard Lai says:

    I can't agree with you more regarding the TCO compared to other countries - like you, I also did some calculations to see the difference between the UK and HK, as I live in both countries.

    However, what shocked me was that UK's cheapest unlimited plan is almost as good as HK's. It's all laid out on this table:

    http://www.xanga.com/richardlai/664925664/iphone-3g-prices-comparison-hong-kong-vs-us-vs-uk-vs-germany.html?

    Just thought I'd share this with you as you're an Apple fan.

    Speaking of which, I'm waiting for the Centrino 2 MacBooks as I'm needing an upgrade for better video editing (I'm still a PC guy!).

  14. Richard Lai says:

    "UK's cheapest unlimited plan is almost as good as HK's"

    By "almost as good" I mean "almost as affordable".

  15. gabe says:

    Just for sharing, I created a itunes based media center system too:

    http://gabefung.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/20080324/

    Hopefully someday we can stream video and music from iTunes library to iPhone... that would be huge!

  16. 河國榮 says:

    hi Gabe.

    that's already possible! look in the iTunes App store for a program called Simplify Media. it allows you to stream your iTunes library over the network (cellular or wifi) to your iPhone. it won't stream video though. that's the only catch.

    cheers,
    Ho Kwok Wing

  17. Stephen says:

    I'm an Mac user as well since late 2007. Glad to be part of this community. Ok...I've just calculated my TCO of my iPhone 3G in Canada. Are you ready for this? It should be approx HKD $17,839.49 for a 3 year contract with the monopolized GSM cellular provider here. The price includes tax and a system access fee (aka money gouging you for using my service). Anyway, I have unlimited incoming calls, a data plan of 6 GB per month, 200 outgoing minutes, and 1000 evenings and weekends outgoing minutes with free call display.

    Anyway, I've been looking for a chance to confirm the following concept: In HK's Apple online store, I noticed that the iPhone 3G could be bought online and once bought, one could take it to any cellular carrier to engage in tariffs. So, this means I could purchase one and take it to the service provider of my choice?

  18. 河國榮 says:

    hello Stephen.

    $17,xxx!!! Wow! that's expensive. when we were in Vancouver, I used the iPhone and Google Maps to get around. it was great, but I couldn't afford the data roaming charges so I just loaded all of the necessary maps whenever I was in wifi range; hotel, restaurants, etc.

    from Apple's store:

    iPhone 3G purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 3G and connect to iTunes 8 to complete activation.

    so I guess, 'yes', you could use the iPhone with your current provider. the question would then be whether your provider has 3G capability using the iPhone wireless standard to get the higher access speed.