Wednesday, January 11, 2006

iPod iSsues

OK, so I love my new iPod, even though I still doofily keep calling it a Walkman. However, I have noticed a few small issues, which, because I am an ungrateful old fart, I will whinge about here.

1. The clickwheel. Is it just me, or does it seem to be oddly sensitive in some areas at some times, and less so at others? I thought it was pretty cool when I first started using it, but now I can't figure out why at the beginning of my subway ride it wants me to only use the lower right quadrant and at the end it favours the top.

2. Earbuds. They are not made for the disorganized. I've already lost one of the foam covers after two days of use. Also, I keep pulling them out to find the wires I carefully wrapped around the iPod are now tangled. Why? Lastly, although the sound is pretty good, they are not made for small ears. They constantly pop out of mine, so I will have to go buy old-fashioned headband-style headphones pretty soon.

3. Finally, but most importantly, DRM. The Apple folks really make it hard to use anything but iTunes. Before I got an iPod for M, I had assumed I'd get an MP3 player that basically worked like a portable hard drive. However, since M wanted the iPod and it did seem elegant in terms of everyday use (plus easier to find), I thought I might as well ask for one so we could share software. Previously, I'd had a Napster account through which I could download unlimited tunes for a $10/mo flat payment (some tracks cost an additional $.99, but those are the minority, by far). The tunes have Napster proprietary digital rights. What I'd do is convert them to MP3s so they took up less space and could be moved to any MP3 player. BUT, now that I've got the iPod, I have to go through lots of steps to transfer this already-purchased music to iTunes. Not only that, but I can't transfer anything when my Internet connection is down, which has been most of the time of late, due to some cable probelms at our place (don't get me started - Time Warner NY is driving me up a frickin' tree).

So, here I am with hundreds of songs that are just sitting on my computer and can't be loaded to the iPod. I'm also mad at Napster, the whole music industry and all corporate soft and hardware developers about this. It's not that I'm not willing to pay something for the music - I just don't want it to be exhorbitant amounts or multiple times. Bottom line is: there should be an easy standard for purchasing any music and transferring it to your player. Who says competition is always good for the consumer?

Anyway, now that I've vented my spleen, I have to say it's a nice experience to be able to listen to music to and from work again. I haven't done it in so long that it feels like a huge novelty to me, and I find myself bopping to the music until I remind myself that no-one can hear it but me. I know everyone in the world but me has now had an iPod forever, but since it's my first I feel like I've finally joined some cool club, or something.

Also, I like to just hit "shuffle" and get a surprise mix way broader than I ever could on a CD player. It's interesting to monitor just how different I feel about my surroundings depending on just what song comes up, acting as a soundtrack to reality. I find it much easier to love my fellow New Yorkers when they're wrapped in a calming acoustic gauze of Sarah Harmer, for instance.

I'm still an old fart, though. I will not listen to the thing on too loud a setting - what if I should blow my ears out or get mugged because I'm not paying attention? Plus, I don't want to become one of "those people" whose music plays so loud thorugh their headphones that you can hear every note and lyric from across the train car. What are headphones for, anyway? Why not just carry a boombox, ya dang whippersnappers? Here's a hint: if your music is so loud that it isn't completely obliterated by the howl of the trains coming through the 66th Street 1 station, you're going to go deaf. It's just a question of when.

Now move along and don't bother me. I've got to figure out how to tape the LPs from my thingamabob to my doohickey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog .If you fast forward through your playlist, Ipod batteries will need to fill its cache more frequently, thus accessing the hard drive more often and using more power. This will decrease overall battery life.