Song of the month: Holocene - The song I can't get enough of lately is Holocene, by Bon Iver. I have nothing insiteful to say, nothing mind blowing, just that...

THE Lowly Peon

My New Toy 
03 July 2011, 12:01am

Daisy and I were getting pretty frustrated with our first generation Apple TV. It was a good idea, I think, and executed the way Apple would — very simple, very elegant, and easy to understand. However, it froze all the time, often disconnected with iTunes (its source), and would sometimes take several minutes to respond.

So we decided to get the next generation, for a mere $99 (minus 5% cash back! Thanks Discover!). And boy was it worth it.

I remember when I first read about it, I was bitter that there was such a huge improvement over the one I had only just bought a few weeks before (and for quite a bit more money, too). Because of that, I didn't read too much about it.

It's amazing. So much better. One of the main reasons we got this one is because our TV has been having issues with streaming Netflix*, and the Apple TV does it just right. It's fast, responsive, and displays much more relevant information.

One of my favorite functions is one I never expected to care about that much. You can stream tons of kinds of content from an iOS device. I figured this would be nice at parties to show people a photo or something on a big screen. But I've found it's really just a better way to do anything. Want to listen to some tunes? Start up your iPhone's iPod and play it through the TV. That way, when you leave, you can keep listening. Just came back from a run and don't want to stop the album, or find where you were? Just change the speakers and it starts instantly where you left it. Works for video too. (And YouTube, etc.)

Also nice is that it will display your photos as the screen saver. Before it showed album art, which was fun but got boring. Especially when it disconnected from my iTunes and only showed one or two albums a million times at once.

And it's tiny. And cheap.

Anyway, I'm happy we got it. Well done, Apple.

*It was strange, and both Sony and Netflix couldn't figure it out. Netflix seemed to think that the last episode of Family Guy we had watched was in volume 8, so it always showed us volume 8. The episodes were in a list, and at the bottom of the list was a "see more seasons" button. But the last few episodes aren't available on instant queue yet, so we couldn't get to the bottom of the list. So we were stuck with five episodes and no way to watch any of the seasons we wanted to. Sorry, Sony.

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