Eclipse MP3, slick iPod Shuffle knock-off.

Recently my trusty Creative MuVo mp3 player has been having a tough time with AAA battery life. I use this player for working out and long runs because I know that I will inevitably crush one of my iPods — and that just can’t happen. It is simple and holds an hour plus long playlist. The now constant battery changing is cumbersome. In service since at least 2002, if not earlier, it has had a good solid run.

About a week ago, I found myself in Staples with a large-ish reward coupon. Recycling ink cartridges there really does add up. So I took a chance on the Eclipse MP3 CL2, a 4 GB “old” iPod Shuffle knock-off. I have to say that I am pretty impressed with my impulse purchase. It is a nice little player for workouts. USB connection and a rechargeable battery. 4 GB memory put the old iPod Shuffle to shame. Worth checking out.

Eclipse MP3 CL2

Worst Christmas Album Ever…

Before elaborating, I love the Beach Boys. They were a big part of my childhood summers and one of 3 cassette tapes that were allowed in my Mom’s yellow VW Bus.

That said, their take on traditional Christmas standards is terrible. As children, my siblings and I were forced to listen to this terrible, terrible album. As we got older, copies would go missing only to be found. Later, copies were thrown into the Mississippi River only to have new tapes re-purchased. A few years ago, a CD copy showed up in my stocking. It ended up being left at the in-laws. Even “Little Saint NicK” sounds better when covered by the Muppets. Beach Boys are summer. Christmas is Christmas. So have your self a merry little Christmas, forget this album.

The Wilco Lesson

I have been a fan of Wilco back to my post-college years in my hometown of Chicago. That is many, many moons. More than I like to count. Wilco is a talented band and has a dedicated fan base. Very dedicated. I received this e-mail from their list last night. Their new forthcoming album has been leaked. They are not trying to stop the leak of their new album, but steaming it themselves as well. Wilco is encouraging those fans who downloaded to to make a donation to one of the band’s favorite charities. Being a fan and knowing Wilco fans, this will work. Give them what they want and get something in return. Classic negotiation.

The Wilco Lesson: Know the customer. Make the extra effort and they will too.

Here is the e-mail:

Well, we made it nearly a month with copies of Wilco (the album) floating around out there before it leaked. Pretty impressive restraint in this day and age. But the inevitable happened last night. Since we know you’re curious and probably have better things to do than scour the internet for a download (though we do understand the attraction of the illicit), we’ve posted a stream of the full album at . Feel free to refer to it as “wilco (the stream)” if you must.

We also have our usual guilt abatement plan for downloaders. If you have downloaded the record, we suggest you make a donation to one of the band’s favorite charities, the Inspiration Corporation — an organization we’ve supported in the past & who are doing great work in the city of Chicago. Information and donation button here:

That’s all. Enjoy the stream. Tickets for summer shows, etc. Note that we’ll be holding a free online midnight screening of the “Ashes of American Flags” film this Friday night (at both midnight US Central time and again at midnight Pacific). So get the popcorn or whatever together and be sure to log on and tune in on Friday.

Wilco HQ