2005-08-15

Hardware: MP3 Player and USB Hub

Ok, I’m pretty torqued off at myself right now. I was trying to copy my (very wordy) post to finish it offline, and accidentally hit paste instead of copy… ~argh!!!

So, I am trying to keep up my rep as a tech fanatic, but, I have been doing rather poorly at that lately (I don’t even have a desktop pc at home, and my quest for a convertible tablet pc here at work isn’t going as quickly as I’d hoped), but, with a 12 or so hour flight coming up at the end of this month, I’ve finally justified the cost of an mp3 player for myself. I’d already spent some time cruising some sites trying to familiarize myself with what is available (best buy and amazon for example).

This Saturday morning, I packed up my 2 year old (note for next time, I should have brought some duct tape to keep his hands off the electronic goods) and went up to Best Buy to make my final decision.
What do you need to consider when purchasing an accessory like this?


Size – Common ranges appeared to be from 512mb to 20gb
Additional Features – Games, contact lists, display screen, color screen, jpg viewing, etc
Looks – Size, shape, color, accessories


I figured I did not need anything more than 6gb, more likely less, and, in syncing up during lunch today, I saw that I had about 4.3gb of music on my pc. I ended up with the 4gb size, and just removed a few ‘I couldn’t care less’ albums and was good to go. 

4gb is advertised as providing 18 hours of music.

I knew I needed to have a display screen. I drive myself nuts when listening to music and I can’t recall the name of the artist or the song title, so I HAVE to be able to see the information. I could not really care less about having a color screen. While I would gladly take an mp3 player which displays pictures on-screen, I am not willing to pay more for it.

Okay, I put this at the bottom, but, we all know… cool sells… 
That’s why we are nerds, not because we care about the technical advances each electronic device represents, but, just because it looks neat! So, the display screen, hard drive size and wide availability of accessories had just as much to do with my decision to buy the iPod mini as the fact that it comes in a metallic pink color with a white holster.

Shuffle sure keeps you on your toes. The last song was by Willie Nelson, the previous was AC/DC. This is why I love technology, because I have ADD! ~ponders~ or, perhaps I have ADD because I love technology... hmm.

Once I made my purchase (an extra $50 gets you a 3 year warranty, which includes the replacement of batteries, which cost about $65 from Apple and I’ve heard they might only be good for about 18 months. EDIT: 6 years later, my battery has still not failed, what a waste of money that warranty was.), I got home and unwrapped the box like a kid looking for the chocolate bunny rabbit in his Easter basket. Oh, yeah.

I don’t like to look at the instructions when I am trying something new. 
I like to test how intuitive it is. I figured out pretty quickly that pressing the center of the little round keypad turns the device on and selects menu options. It took me a little longer to realize that you move up and down through the menu by moving your finger around lightly in a circle. Clockwise for down and counter-clockwise for up (I wonder if it is the same for iPods sold south of the equator?).

The menu was simple to navigate, and I set up my clock, etc with little trouble.
 

Coming into work today, I installed the interface software. You use iTunes (or a program like YamiPod) to move music from your cd’s to your hard drive and from your hard drive to the iPod. It took me a little while to figure out how to add my mp3’s to the library, then a little longer yet to figure out how to remove tracks from the library (unchecking them doesn’t do it, you have to right-click and select ‘clear’). Plugging in the iPod automatically starts the synchronization process. You can use the iTunes player to set the sync options for the device; syncing everything on plug in, or syncing only certain playlists. That was not too hard even for me to understand.

I am pretty happy with the purchase (I wouldn’t have minded paying less, but, that goes for all things, I suppose), it is cool and was pretty easy/intuitive to set up. I also got the armband to wear my iPod while I’m out jogging, so, no bulk or skips like from the cd walkman, or flipping cassettes.

Which brings us to our next dilemma, as I photograph my iPod with my digital camera and want to upload the photo as I’m syncing my music library! I need more usb slots, since I also have my thumb drive, printer, external dvd-rom, and the lesser-used iPaq and metapass vying for top spots. Most new pc’s have more than 1 usb drive, mine actually has 6. Four are in the back, and two are recessed into the front of the machine. The front access are obviously my favorites for the smaller peripherals.

Even worse is my laptop, which has only 1 usb port, which prevents me from using my scroll-mouse in conjunction with anything else (thumb drive, external cd drive, printer, etc). ~argh!~ So, I went to Radio Shack and purchased a 4-port usb hub for about $10. It plugs in with a flexible extender, which should prevent interference with my power cord (an aggravating problem with my jump drive).

So, my craving for a new toy has been satisfied for now (twitching subsides).
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