Thursday, November 20, 2008

iPod Blues

I think my iPod is dead. Long live my iPod!

This is a picture from Keri and Noah's wedding. It was March 2005, and this was the first trip that my iPod went on. I purchased it very shortly before that trip, after seeing the wonders it could perform. See, I often struggled to figure out which 24 CDs I could bring in my Case Logic whenever I traveled. I mean, how can you commit to just 24 CDs? What if you leave the wrong one home? The iPod was going to change all that.

So after much consternation, I went out and spent $300 on a 20-gig iPod classic. At that time, I think you could only get a 20 or 40 gig model, and I figured 20 would be enough for me. Now, for some reason, I have become a bit of a cheapskate as I have gotten a little older. Of course, when it comes to food and booze, this is not the case (the more expensive the drink, the more likely I am to buy it), but for material goods, I hav discovered that I have a very hard time spending money. STrange, but true. So that $300 was a pretty big deal to me at the time. I remember going in Best Buy to get it one time and leaving without it, I just couldn't pull the trigger. But in the end, I made the purchase, and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.

I used to joke that the iPod changed my life. Well, I told people it was a joke when I said that, but the reality is that it did change my life. First of all, loading the iPod with all of my music was a terrific way to spend a month. I had a great time going through all my old CDs. I was sad when I had imported my last one. The ability to carry my entire music collection with me wherever I went pleased me very much. And playlists? I have made and saved more playlists than I care to admit. If a person could invent a reason or theme for a playlist, I did, and made the list. (Then I would go around and tell everyone how great the playlist was of course).

It wasn't long before my iPod went everywhere with me. I listened to it everyday at work. It provided the soundtrack for our living at home as well - why try to pick 5 CDs for the CD player when you can shuffle every song you own? In many ways, it became a very important part of my life. I remember being at a cabin one time for a guy weekend, and someone was looking at my iPod - scrolling through it. I felt as though they were going through a diary of my most personal thoughts. This person was making fun of me a little bit (I have been known to drunk download a bit), and it was as though he were insulting the essence of who I was.

So when my iPod starting acting up a couple of months ago, I was a little bit alarmed. I had never had a problem with the battery or anything - it had performed beautifully for me ever since I bought it. But it was starting to skip songs, end songs early, and just act strangely in general. I restored it, reloaded it, and it was better for awhile, but then a couple of weeks ago, I think it died. It won't play any tracks anymore, and when I try to connect it to my computer, the computer randomly turns off rather suddenly. That's not good. SO I am fearing the worst.

I have been trying to convince myself that the iPod is just a "thing", and not really part of me. It seems so materialistic to talk about a piece of electronics "changing my life" or "making me happy." But the more I fight that feeling, the more real it becomes. I miss it - not like a person of course, even I am not that shallow. But I miss the freedom it gave me, the power to pick whatever I was going to listen to whenever I felt like it. To be honest, I had been thinking about getting a new iPod sometime anyway. I had long since filled up the 20-gigs of space, and everytime I buy more music I have to remove some other music from the iPod, and that just doesn't feel right, since one of the greatest features of the iPod is that you can carry ALL your music on it.

But it is money to spend, after all, and I don't like doing that. Is it worth it? Will I get the use out of it? Even though you can get 6 times the storage capacity now (for 83% of the original price), it is still a lot of money. So I decided to break it down, to prove it to myself:

Original iPod
Purchased: 3/1/2005
Cost: $300
Total number of days in operation: 1310
Estimated average hours of play per day: 5.5
Total number of hours played: 7205
Average Song Length: 5 minutes
Total songs played: 86,460

Cost per day: $0.23
Cost per hour: $0.04
Cost per song played: $0.00347

Yes, it was less than 1 penny for every song I played on that thing. So that does it. The iPod does not make me a better person. It does not complete my life. But it is cool, I do like it, I use it every day, and it is totally worth it. So I am going to go get a new iPod tomorrow.

Plus my wife will be happy because now I can stop talking about it!


ArtShare said...
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Jonathan Hamilton said...

Just tried to comment but it was f*ckin' with me. So, I can only offer my condolences/congratulations on your iPod dilemma. The iPod changed my life too. I really only listen to records at home with some cd's thrown into the mix but the iPod is on for walking the dog and working on house, pretty much every day. I'm still on my first Gen. iPod though Em. is on her third somehow. I now have Pandora Radio on my iPod...a whole new aspect of 'made-for-you radio' (which is how I thought of the iPod shuffle function). Rawk on!