I freely admit that I’m a gadget guy. I’m a sucker for the latest mobile phone, PDA, portable music player, home entertainment component, whatever. However, more often than I’d like to admit I find that the devices that I once so coveted soon become the adult equivalent of the GI Joe with the missing arm — buried on my desk somewhere beneath the much cooler toys. Call me fickle, but I can’t help it. Sometimes the bloom just falls off the rose and it turns out the attraction was purely physical; the gadget and I never made a true connection.
One such gadget affair that ultimately went south was with my Rio 900 MP3 player. The biggest problem was that it had only 256 megs of RAM, and changing the music contained within was a bit of a chore, so I had to choose carefully which few songs I wanted occupying its precious RAM. Frustrated by these issues, I found myself eying Apple’s iPod in all its silvery-and-white-gigastorage goodness. Soon I found myself having that “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation with my Rio and forking over the bucks for a 15 gig iPod.
Six months later I’m pleased to report that I my iPod and I are still quite the item. Not only has it not been relegated to the Old Toys Home, but it has totally changed the way I listen to music. No longer am I concerned with what 20 songs I want to listen to over and over again on that trans-oceanic trip — I literally have my entire music library available to me at all times! Of course, trying to manage 2,470 songs from a little hand held is a bit overwhelming, which is where iTunes comes in. By automatically synchronizing not just music files but also play lists and other artifacts, I can use the big screen on my PC for all of the complicated setup, and the fruits of that labor are pushed to my iPod automatically just by connecting it to the computer. Now instead of decided what 20 songs to play repeatedly until I’m ready to go postal, I’ve become obsessed with play list organization — creating play lists to suit all my moods so that good music is just a couple of wheel clicks away.
I now look at my non-iPod-owning friends with a mix of amusement and pity. Just last week my brother-in-law mentioned he wanted to go to a record store to buy some newly released CD or other. “A music store?” I exclaimed. “Who still does that? Don’t you know you can get the music cheaper and faster online at the iTunes music store? If you must, you can then even burn it onto a CD.”
“Really. Of course, you can always drive to a strip mall, subject yourself to the latest in thrash-rap played too loudly over the store’s sound system, and deal with some brain-pierced clerk, only to find out they don’t carry the CD you’re looking for.“
“Tell me more about your iPod.“
“You can’t have mine, but I’m sure there is an iPod out there that’s right for you.“