Scott Hanselman

Brilliance - How do you JUST KNOW a product is going to work? The AirPort Express

June 15, 2004 Comment on this post [4] Posted in Musings | Tools
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Wow, brilliance in engineering, and in marketing.  Allow me to gush if you haven't heard.

The AirPort Express - reasons it's freakin' brilliant:

  • Noone saw it coming.  Surprise is everything.  Don't show me a product.  Lie and say it doesn't exist.  Tease me, baby, tease me.
  • It's a wireless/wired network bridge. Holy crap, I can take it to a hotel and make their crap wired network a wireless one.  Or I can make an instant wireless network in a conference room with one wired connection.  That's hot.
  • THE BIG ONE: It makes MY MUSIC "just an audio source."  I can plug it into the wall and to my receiver, and think of all my music (upstairs on the 250gig drive) as just being there.  I'll move my iPod dock BACK upstairs where it belongs and
  • It supports features lesser companies would have punted on.  Optical?  Flippin' optical output.
  • It supports making your USB printer available wirelessly.  Just a nice little bonus, if you had any doubts.
  • It's all ONE PIECE.  This is where the brilliance in engineering comes in.  It's not a box with a dongle and a transformer.  It's all one unit, and the whole thing is smaller than your average wall wart. 

This is a Leatherman Tool for the geek, and it fits it your hand. 

P.S. Microsoft seriously needs to rethink their Media strategy.  I literally GUFFAWED out loud as I was starting to install Windows Media 10, and I noticed that it supported a dozen MP3 players, and NOT my iPod!  Sorry, didn't install it. 

P.P.S. You notice how you can't find ANYTHING in the Windows Media Player menus?  Like, you literally need to click EVERY TAB to find (or not find) the option you need?  But, I've never open the iTunes preferences.  Never needed to.  Hm.  Good design, anyone?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 16, 2004 3:10
Damn shame you can't stream audio to multiple Airport Expresses at once (at least as far as I can tell). That's the only thing missing. Multi-room audio, baby, that's what I want.
June 16, 2004 18:45
That does look like a cool device, I am going to want wireless in my new house soon so I need to start looking a little deeper.

I agree with you that WMP 10 seems to be crap thus far. I though for sure that iPod support would be there, but maybe it's not just MS' fault. Apple doesn't always play that well with others either.
June 18, 2004 21:05
Speaking of WMP10, I wonder if it would be possible to write a plugin for WMP that would output to an Airport Express. Apparently it just uses Apple's lossless encoding format over the Ethernet, and then decodes that format and plays it, so it sounds like it would be necessary to encode WMP audio in the Apple format. Nothing we will see from MS any day soon, but hopefully some 3rd party developer?
June 21, 2004 23:53
Just a couple of disconnected comments here,

1. I guess Apple is not betting on PC's or other multifunction device taking over all the entertainment aspects.

2. I guess I would have to find a spot for my USB printer somewhere near or in my entertainment center.

Any thoughts?

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.