I hate the little white cable ! : Syncing content wirelessly.

Nov 02

Let met start off by saying that i am NOT a morning person. Well , not in the strictest sense of the word. I like to get up early, because I quite frankly love the calmness of dawn, but i’m not the super-productive hyperactive Knightwise until right before the moment I need to leave out the door. With a life that is highly mobile, and an appetite for consuming podcasts, audiobooks and screencasts while on the road ( the screencasts not while driving of course) its important that all of my “portable devices” are not only charged up, but also are “synced up” with the latest content that I want to consume.

Procrastinating the start of a busy day over the last wisps of my hot coffee, I sluggishly sigh while looking at the portable devices that still need for mentioned treatment. Having the batteries “charged” up is not always an issue, for I have charging facilities in the car and am never far from a wall outlet, but “syncing them up” with fresh content is the task I dread (and procrastinate) the most. Both my Ipod Touch and Ipad, whose great ability for connectivity have cost me a fair amount of money are sprawled on the kitchen table .. Waiting for .. THE CABLE.

Yes, in an age where blue-tooth, wifi and 3G connectivity is almost omnipresent on all my devices, i’m still stuck with the fact that I need to MANUALLY get up from the table MANUALLY walk over to my mac, MANUALLY plug in the devices, MANUALLY download new podcasts and MANUALLY sync them over before I can leave. In a hyper-connected wireless world, I am physically WORKING for my technology in order to connect them via a CABLE to my computer. As nostalgic nightmares of ipacs (yes I-PAC’s not PAD’s) claw their way into my consciousness and drag me back to the late 90’s, I wait impatiently for the stupid cable-sync to finish. Being the procrastinator that I am this part of my morning ritual always ensues JUST before I need to leave and when i’m late for work I blame it on the stupid cable.

This little piece of ‘technological drama’ can of course be blamed entirely on the ‘padded cell’ of the apple-ios-Itunes ecosystem. Why in hells bells cut the Ipod and Ipad’s “loose” from their cables and let them preform podcast (and content) syncs and updates WITHOUT the blasted little cable ? Why in earth let these (expensive) devices be “un-crippled” and stretch out their wireless wings ? Because Apple does love to herd their consumers BACK to the cesspool that is called ‘itunes’ for their daily feeding.  If the latter application is not lagging behind while ‘updating your genius results’ to the apple cloud, then you are probably being bombarded with crap from the “PING” service. Whoever told Steve Jobs that a stressed up Knightwise who is going to be late for work thanks to Itunes silly cable-sync would be potential buyer for lady Gaga’s latest vocal orgasm, should be shot. ( Then we should bury him, wait for the zombie apocalypse, let him rise from the dead and then shoot him AGAIN)
I know Itunes is made to “sell music” but for crying out loud : I can buy new music over the air, why can’t I update my podcasts in the same way ?

This little frustrating issue has been the major show stopper in my decision to buy a new Ipod 4G. As mentioned before the device has an excellent camera and microphone and thus turn it into a great “content creation device”. But on the other hand, to use it every day to listen to my podcasts and stuff (just like I’m doing with my old 1g ipod touch) .. i’m not really sure.  What a paradox. I’m buying a mini tablet (calling the Ipod touch an MP3 player is beneath its abilities) for the sake of content CREATION rather then content CONSUMPTION (what the device was built for).

Since i’m not one to spend my time on the apple forums bitching about the fact we still need to sync with a cable, i’ve been looking around at other solutions on “automating” my content gathering and syncing WITHOUT having to leave my steaming cup of coffee. The Ubuntu server that sits in our living room is going to be a key player in this process. The fact that its on 24/7 and hardly uses ANY power is a big upside. The fact that I can tell it to do just about anything automatically using ‘crontab’ is another added bonus. The fact that you can quite easily make a very simple “script” that downloads podcasts and syncs them over to whatever location ( a usb stick or a mass storage device like … my android phone) is another bonus. Like a big box of lego sitting in the room (but without an instruction booklet) the whole setup glares at my creative brain and beckons for a solution.

So, over the next week or so i will be working on a fully automated “podcast download-and-sync” solution that retrieves, sorts and synchronizes my weekly dose of podcasts to one of my portable devices. The main hurdles are : Do so completely automated and if possible, do it completely wireless. The one nightmare scenario I DONT want to go through again is having to WAIT while a syncing project that i had to initiate MANUALLY completes before I can leave. The one thing i want to do is : Wake up, have ALL of my content downloaded, have the content FILTERED (delete the old crud, copy only the newest) and synced up with my mobile player WITHOUT having to interact with it.  . I shall tame the Itunes dragon and have technology working for ME …instead of the other way around… in no time.

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