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  • Another Day on Earth

    • 10 out of 10
    • Brian Eno
    • In his first proper solo release since 1996's relatively cold "The Drop," Brian Eno has constructed a whimsical and ecclectic masterpiece which is arguably one of the year's strongest records thus fa
  • The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway Cast)

    • 10 out of 10
    • Jason Robert Brown
    • The soundtrack to this moving off-broadway musical is heart moving. The lyrics follow a couple in a relationship for five years, one point of view going forward in time, and the other tracing time fr
  • Playing the Angel

    • 8 out of 10
    • Depeche Mode
    • Oddly enough, Playing The Angel is a return to form for Depeche Mode, even though it may well be argued that they never truly deviated from their roots in their more recent offerings. In the

  • The Printz

    • 8 out of 10
    • Bumblebeez 81
    • Part white rap, part alternative, part pop, and part rock, the Bumblebeez grabbed a hold of me with "Pony Ride," and didn't let go.

      This group does a marvelous job of moving seamlessly be

  • Zooropa

    • 10 out of 10
    • U2
    • This record is perhaps U2's finest hour, yet it has been forgotten as a strange by-product of the ZooTV tour's overload, and is generally regarded by most fans as a poor effort. It is this sentiment t

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Microsoft Teams with Philips, Creative, Samsung to Create ‘iPod Killer’

Microsoft has joined forces with Philips, Creative and Samsung in a bid to create the fabled "iPod killer." In reporting that news, technology news site Softpedia wonders "How should the ideal competitor for iPod look?"

Of course, as writers Alexandru Macovschi and Tudor Raiciu note, "there are hundreds of sites and forums on the Internet whose main topic is what should be changed or added to iPod." Ultimately, however, as they also point out, MP3 players with such features -- video capability, a larger screen, a radio function, etc. -- have failed to defeat the iPod, so there must be something more to the phenomenon.

They write: "The only problem everyone fails to see is that iPod's success has nothing to do with hardware or with software." No matter what this Microsoft-Philips-Creative triumvirate comes up with, they won't unseat the iPod because, as Mr. Macovschi and Mr. Raiciu explain, "the iPod's success is due to marketing strategy and historical conjuncture."

Essentially, the iPod came along shortly after Napster went under, "meeting the requirements of millions of users that had filled their hard drives and CDs with hundreds or even thousands of MP3s downloaded off Napster." Ultimately, they write, "iPod is the result of a once-in-a-lifetime moment, which cannot be recreated even if they add two wheels and a 5TB hard drive."

Instead, the companies searching for that proverbial iPod killer "can either support cell phone producers to launch as soon as possible models with large capacity hard drives that have insanely low prices, or give their money to charity for better purposes, such as curing cancer or helping third world countries."

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