As I was shopping for Christmas presents last year, I picked up an iPod for myself. Yeah, I bought myself a present. My short-term plan was to get my CD music compiled in one handy device. It’s getting to the point where even CDs are messy.
Then there are the albums from the dark ages, most of which were only played once (recorded to cassette tape) and then put away. My long-term plan includes converting the stacks of vinyl records we own into digital and then into something like, say, an iPod?
In theory, it was a good plan. My iPod of choice was the Classic 120 GB, with more than enough room for my eclectic taste. However, some plans are slow to come to fruition. My new iPod then proceeded to spend the next eight months on my kitchen counter unopened.
I’m no stranger to technology; after all, I’m on the World Wide Web. My kids have had iPods for years, as well as the iPod gadgets like docking stations and car converters. I was amazed at my son’s. We drove all the way from Michigan to San Francisco and never heard the same music twice, with more to spare.
Nor is it a fear of the unknown. I’m pretty handy with gadgets and hook up computers and remote controls with ease. No, it was the amazing lack of documentation in the little box that contained my iPod.
There was just one small slip of paper (in four languages) directing me to a Web site for downloading the software, nothing else. What? No owner’s manual? No basic set-up cheat sheet?
I recently purchased a small Nikon digital camera that contained so much back up material it took me a weekend to decipher. You’d think an iPod would contain a bare amount of information, like on the box perhaps?
A couple of weekends ago, I finally broke down and decided to figure it out. One cannot have an expensive device like an iPod Classic sitting around as a paperweight. It’s just not right.
The software download was easy enough. Depending on your computer and your connection, it can be swift. Through trial and error (and an emergency phone call to the Number 1 son), I was able to figure out how to get the music from my CDs and into the computer.
As far as I can tell, that’s the most time consuming part of the process. Many of the CDs I dug out of dusty boxes in the garage were unlabeled. For these, the software only distinguishes them by track number. With no playlist I had to listen to a lot of tracks to figure out which ones I wanted and which ones I didn’t. Then I went back and labeled everything; not difficult but time consuming.
I was able to load my son’s music and video of his performances. I’m not one who carries family photos, but I now have an entire Prokofiev Piano Concerto to use as a brag book.
The entire process took two full weekends, and might have taken longer had I more CDs.
Satisfied with what I had so far, I moved my attention to the iTunes store.
Repeat after me: “kid in a candy store.”
The iTunes store contains not only popular music, but also has a decent collection of long gone classic rock and roll, new age and ethnic music. (I told you my tastes were eclectic.) There are also videos, TV shows, podcasts, games, movies and audio books.
Now I know how my daughter could empty out an iTunes gift card in seconds. It’s easy to go nuts when the tracks are $0.99 each. Full albums go for $9.99 and up.
I considered downloading a movie, but with my eyesight did not think I could enjoy watching video on such a tiny screen. Movies are also expensive, around $20.
Audio books were no bargain either. Most were in the $15 and up range. My jury is out on audio books. I’ve tried them on CD, but find my attention wandering. This dinosaur likes to feel the heft of a book and physically turning the written page, as well as paying less than a king’s ransom for a book.
Many podcasts, however, are completely free of charge. There are an entire set of podcasts dedicated to learning foreign languages.
My shopping trip complete, I began downloading and synced up.
I used my iPod for the first time during yesterday’s flight to San Diego. It was nice. The graphics are amazing and the sound was clear and pure. It was far better than listening to the squabbles of four siblings fighting in the row in front of me.
Now if I could only figure out how to work the volume…