Sunday, April 30, 2006

Owning an iPod is a part-time job...

If you've owned anything electronic, chances are pretty good that you've uttered the following phrase at some point in your life: "It just quit." Well, that happened to my iPod last week. Here are the realities of owning an iPod.

I chose an iPod because it sounded better than everything else on the market. I bought mine the week before the Gen4 iPods came out - July 17, 2004. Then I took it back and bought the Gen 4 version. Right away Apple charged me $50 for the exchange. So when they asked me what my ZIP code was, I gave them the real one: EIEIO. And to our surprise, the system took it!

I spent hundreds of hours ripping my collection of CDs at 128kbit, because that's what Apple sells. Then I spent hundreds more hours ripping at a higher quality after finding out how terrible they really sounded at 128kbits. Then I spent hundreds of hours renaming my collection when I found out that the hardware wouldn't display the artist and title at the same time unless the artist name was in the title of the MP3. Then I spent hundreds of hours renaming them back to the default when I learned how difficult it was to maintain an alternative namimg scheme as I ripped the new CDs I bought.

Then I started listening to it. Those earbud things were the first to go. I bought a set of Sony studio monitor phones and it sounds incredible, but they make me look like a roller disco reject. I added a class A headphone amplifier and it sounds even better and makes me look even less cool. But damn it sounds good. And when I listen to it, I'm measurably happier than when I'm without my tunes.

Then my PC crashed and I had to reinstall. There's no (usable) way to export iTunes custom configuration. I didn't have time to go through adding everything to iTunes and renaming everything, deleting duplicates, etc. So for at least a year, I had the same set of tunes on my iPod and no way to add new CDs to the iPod.

Then about a month ago the stack of new CDs became too great and I went through the 100hr ordeal of importing everything, renaming it, deleting duplicates. Then I went to sync the iPod, and in the last year, it developed bad sectors and wouldn't sync. No problem, I scanned it with my PC, marked the blocks bad, then reinstalled firmware, software, and it synced, and I once again had up-to-date tunes! And they sounded great!

And for a month I was happy. And then one day, without being dropped or abused in any way, it just quit! There was a sad pod icon, then it started chattering, then it formed a line in the LCD, and no form of reset would bring it back.

It died 4/26/2006. I never had the problems that others reported with low battery life or scratches. I got about 21 months of use out of it, at a cost of $24.99/month. I spent at least 400 hrs of my life managing content and troubleshooting problems. That's a part-time job.

I may buy another one after they stop using hard drives and gain much larger screens, but right now, they're just not worth it. Rest In Peace EIEIPod.


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