Posted at 5:01 PM ET, 03/ 6/2008
New Head of NTIA
The door at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration keeps on revolving. Yesterday, President Bush nominated Vice President Cheney's head of policy, Neil Suryakant Patel, to be Acting Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce. Patel will replace Merideth Attwell Baker, the interim head since last November, who is charged with the $1.5 billion subsidy program for the transition from analog to digital television in early 2009.
Baker has talked about leaving the NTIA for months and is leaving the bureau "to pursue other opportunities," according to a spokesman Todd Sedmak. She became the acting secretary after the departure of John Kneuer, who left last November for the private sector.
Patel, 38, comes from Vice President Cheney's office, where he was the assistant to the veep for domestic and economic policy. In his role at the White House, Patel served as the primary advisor on all domestic and economic policy issues including energy and the environment, healthcare, finanancial services, transportation, international economics and technology and telecommunications, according to a biography by the vice president's office.
Before joining the administration, Patel served as assistant general counsel at UUNET Technologies, one of the first commercial Internet service providers. At UUNET, he worked on policy issues including e-commerce, internet taxation, and internet security and abuse. After graduating from Georgetown University Law School, Patel worked at law firm Dechert Price & Rhoads.
Immediately after the announcement, Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner McDowell released statements in support of the appointment. Industry representatives such as Verizon also applauded the appointment.
Posted at 1:32 PM ET, 12/24/2006
iPod vs. Zune Review Database
Here's what iPod and Zune owners have to say about their mp3 devices, as culled from comments to Post I.T. Perhaps their experience can help you make a shopping decision. I've weeded out the obvious plants from Microsoft and Apple marketers, pimping their products and bashing the others, but there's no guarantee I got them all. These read like unalloyed, and useful, reader reviews. The time references, such as "yesterday," refer to the period around the Zune's release in November.
* I've got a 30G video ipod (I guess that's fifth-generation). Had it about a year; it works fine. Never had a problem. I've got plenty of video on it, and I find the screen pretty easy to watch. I've never had any significant problem with iTunes -- the biggest problem I ever had was when they added album art, and the new version locked up when updating my album art -- several times. The ONLY feature on the Zune that interests me is the FM radio, and I've never understood why the iPod doesn't have it.
* The reason that the iPod has been able to penetrate the market is because the iPod is, by and large, a wonderful piece of electronics. It isn't perfect, but neither is much else in this world. I have two fourth-generation 40GB iPods, and I'm not willing to trade them in for anything else quite yet - certainly not for the Zune.
* I had an Ipod that I bought refurbed from apple, it died about 2 weeks after I bought it, after arguing with thier customer service they replaced it with a new one. I am very satisfied with it and even bought a Sony car stereo with an Ipod interface. I use it mostly in my car through the interface.
* Count me as another happy iPod user. I've got a 2nd Gen 10 Gig (that I'm constantly juggling songs on when I find new stuff that I need to shoehorn onto it). Other than it getting a little flaky when I loaded a Linux OS onto it a couple of years ago to play some games (I reinstalled the software and all was fine), and a battery that drains too quickly in cold weather (I've gotta get a car charger), it still works like a champ. Apple has added a few welcome software features since I've owned it as well, including a better shuffle option and podcast download support. But I'll buy a new one in a heartbeat when it dies so I can watch movies and TV shows (ripped and purchased from iTunes) and have a lot more songs in my pocket and car.
* I've had a iPOD Gen 3 for about 3 years now and it has been great. I've replaced the battery myself- no big deal you can get a replacement off ebay for $15.00. I've encountered no problems with the unit;nor have I had to replace it. My wife as a Nano and it holds up very well and sounds good. Don't use iTunes use EphPod to manage the transfer of music to/from your PC and IPod.
* I bought a Zune yesterday from Wal-mart and I already started loving it. I owned two iPods for almost 3 years and I hated them. I had lot of problems with it. My first one went dead after one year. The second one I had to go through lot service calls to make it work. I spent almost $600 for the piece of crap for just three years. I think it is too much. I hope Zune will keep up to its hype. Even though I don't like some of its features, I still like it overall look and feel. Even I dropped it into the floor once and it worked like charm even after that.
* I got my Zune midnight on Nov. 14. Have been using it for a while and I have to say that it is a wonderful product. Yes, it's thicker than the iPod but it is not thick and clunky.
* I purchased a Zune yesterday, and I LOVE it. I am a wedding photographer, and the ability to carry around alot of photos to show brides is very nice. Also, the resolution and clarity of the display is perfect. Very crisp, colorful, and clean. Also video playback is very nice. The FM tuner's very way cool, especially since I like to listen to NPR. Also, the music library is very easy to use and very intuitive. The only current drawback is the Zune Marketplace store. Once they get that going, it will be able to completely compete with the iPod.
* My daughter bought a Zune yesterday. She said she had a hard time deciding whether to buy the iPod 30gig or the Zune. She had been holding out for Zune. When she bought it, she said she didn't like it. She said she thought was "clunky" and "ugly" compared to her friend's iPod 30g. She returned the Zune within four hours of purchasing it, in exchange for the iPod, which she appears to be happy with.
* I got my Zune on Nov. 14th and it's my first mp3 player. I have had no problems with my Zune thus far. Everything installed and worked flawlessly. And despite being slightly larger and heavier than the iPod, it still fits everywhere I've put it and my legs don't feel any extra strain when carrying it. The difference is insignificant. Overall, my experience with it thus far has been positive. My only nitpicks are that the PC software is not very intuitive and should have been integrated with WMP. The player itself is great.
And from owners of other mp3 players:
* Just switched my wife from iTunes/iPod to a Sandisk with Rhapsody. Not only is it totally easy to use, but I'm saving so much money now! She used to buy a few albums a week from iTunes and listen to them once or twice, now we pay $15 a month and she can drag and drop anything she wants to.
Plus it has a radio and plays videos. She loves it and it's cheaper all around.
* Ho hum... tired of all the hype. Itunes? Zune? over-rated hyperbole as far as I can see.... I prefer simple little players like my Creative Zen (straps to my wrist, has an FM tuner, and records off the air) and my RCA Lyra (holds 4 gigs, all that I need, for less than $50, and is super-thin)... if I want music, I still buy the CD's and rip to high quality mp3's... hate services with their special licenses, lack of backup, rip-off policies, bloated software, low-res mp3's... all of my players plug into some nice thin-film amplified speakers... what more do I need?