It's actually interesting when you do something or look at something with very low expectations and they surprise you. I had this happen to me twice yesterday in completely different things:
1. Tchaikovski's Nutcracker: Talk about over-played pieces, especially during holiday season... So yesterday I went on a concert with the Seattle Symphony and they played excerpts from the Nutcracker. So, not only it was a piece I just heard too many times to be excited about, but they were doing one of my pet peeve: only playing "selected parts" of it. Yes, I know the nutcracker is not that "consistent", but in any way... It was actually a very good performance. Conducted by Rossen Milanov, the guest conductor for the concert, it was like listening to professionals do something that you've only seen done by amateurs. And note that I've watched the Nutcracker at the Teatro Colon before. Everything was in tune, note transitions were precise, and specially, note duration and dynamics were very noticeably clean. Very interesting.
2. Amazon's Kindle: Yes, I don't have one and don't plan to buy one any time soon (well, it's sold out right now anyway). I have been hearing about it for quite some time and when it released I have to say I wasn't very impressed. It didn't seem very user-friendly. But one thing dawned on me when I was comparing it to the best seller in this industry, the Sony Reader: it has a much larger selection and, more interestingly, it's a self-sufficient device, much more like a book. In the other readers you had to really buy your book on the computer and then connect the device to the computer to upload the book to the device. With the wireless option in the Kindle, this is gone. And that's what probably will be the winning feature.
The new iPod touch, with WiFi, has also the same behavior of being able to buy and get music without needing a computer. But it is missing the "free wireless" component and the fact that music you want to accumulate much more than books. So you will quickly hit the barrier of the device size.
Anyway, it's time for me to go for a long day today.