By John Gruber
Shortcut is project management for software teams. Try it for free.
See news item that Dell has released a new flash-memory-based music player to compete against the iPod Shuffle: the Dell DJ Ditty.
Note that no picture of said Ditty accompanies news item.
Note that no picture of said Ditty appears on front page of dell.com, even after several reloads to cycle through random promotional images.
Search for “ditty” in text of front page of dell.com.
Note that “ditty” is not found.
Begin to suspect that even Dell is not very proud of this device.
Note prominent and primary emphasis on luscious product porn of new iPod Nano.
Hop back to dell.com and search for “Ditty” in site-wide search box.
Note footnote attached to claim in “Product Highlights” that the Ditty can pack 220 songs into 512 MB of memory, roughly twice the songs Apple claims can fit on a 512 MB iPod Shuffle.
Follow footnote to see explanation that this storage estimate requires encoding songs as 64 kbps WMA, which bit rate is half that of Apple’s default of 128 kbps AAC, and roughly equivalent in fidelity to that of transmissions carried over tin cans and string, but which, perhaps, is not a dirty marketing trick, but, rather, a fair assessment, considering that anyone with such profoundly bad taste in industrial design who would consider purchasing this device probably also has such bad taste in music as not to notice that their 64 kbps-compressed songs sound like mush.
Sit back and recall, with tremendously smug satisfaction, a decade’s worth of tech industry punditry holding that superior design would never get Apple anywhere, and that Apple should instead, you know, be more like Dell.