Saturday, May 24, 2008


While I'm at work it's a rare sight to see me without a pair of headphone shoved into my ears. I'm always listening to something, music, a tech podcast, or Howard Stern. For the longest time my listening device of choice was my good old silver iPod shuffle.

The iPod shuffle is a great MP3 player. It's cheap, it's light, has great sound quality, and runs off it's own internal battery. It's a very simple device. It has no display, has no built-in radio or anything like that. But that was okay. I didn't feel the need for it to do anything else.

Then I got an iPod Touch for my birthday. This little device is quite versatile. In addition to being an MP3 player, it has a large touch-enabled screen, a web browser with built-in wi-fi access, plays video files, it even has one-touch access to YouTube and the iTunes store. It was great for watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica on my train ride home after work. It was, that is, until I dropped it in my driveway on a rainy day and didn't discover it until later that evening. It was no surprise when I tried to turn it on and found it unoperable. I shook out the water. Put it in a bowl of uncooked rice (the rice draws the moisture out). I even threw it in the dryer. Dead. No response from either of the buttons. So much for that.

Having been spoiled by this thing I still wanted to be able to watch videos so instead of buying another one at $250 I opted for a less expensive iPod Nano. It had a smaller screen and didn't have that nifty web browser but it was about half the price. I still mourned the loss of my Touch, but the Nano was good enough.

In the meanwhile I was still using my Shuffle for music and the Stern Show, but when my laptop was stolen the Shuffle's charger was taken along with it. Replacement chargers run from $20-30 so I figured why not buy a refurbished Shuffle from the Apple store? With tax it would run about $42. I would get a new charger along with a new set of headphones (Apple charges about $20 for them), not to mention a new Shuffle. So now I have an extra Shuffle. This one's purple.

I was recently reading an article about reviving dead iPods. The article suggested that a dead iPod might be brought back to life simply by leaving it on the charger for 24 hours. But there was no way this trick was going to work on my water-damaged unit. Not a chance. But what did I have to lose? It had been sitting in my drawer for months. It couldn't be any more non-functional. What could be the harm in just leaving it plugged in for a day? To my wonder and amazement as soon as I plugged it into the charger the screen came alive with a graphic indicating it was taking a charge. As soon as it hit a full charge I immediately plugged in a pair of headphones, and what do you know? It was working again!

Let's take a little inventory here. I started out with my old silver Shuffle, added my Nano, got my purple Shuffle, and now my back-from-the-dead Touch. I've got four iPods now. Four. What in the hell does one person need with FOUR iPods? I have given each one their own job, as if they were infielders on some absurd electronic baseball team. The silver Shuffle is for Howard Stern, the purple Shuffle is for tech podcasts, the Nano is for music, and the Touch is for web browsing and movies. Now I don't feel complete unless I bring ALL FOUR to work with me every day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Random Ramblings

We went to the March for Babies and we marched our 5 kilometers. It seemed much longer than I thought it would, but I checked the route that I normally walk my dog and it's exactly the same distance. Perhaps it's just because I was just unfamiliar with the route that made it seem so long. But anyway, we got a good workout and we got our t-shirts, raised a few hundred dollars for a good cause, so I'm pretty satisfied with the whole experience.
Funny thing happened after the walk. There was a barbeque for all the walkers afterwards. So I get my burger and chips and I'm walking to this bank of kiddie wading pools where they have all the sodas and waters. As I lean over to grab a water my burger patty tumbles to the ground. Karen, the angel that she is, goes and gets me another one, then SHE trips sending both my burger and her hot dog to the lawn. So we got no barbeque that morning but the dog ate great.
I have been pondering lately the value of all my techie knowledge. I've spent a lot of time writing about these great websites that I don't think anyone actually utilizes. This site, for example. Is anyone really reading my blogs? I'd bet not. I'm pretty sure no one was reading my tech blog either.
I listen to a lot of tech-related podcasts, and one in particular, This Week in Tech, or TWiT for short spends much time talking about Twitter. They say that a lot of people use it, and I think it's a great thing myself. But I don't know anyone personally that uses it. Not one. I'd love it if I could keep up with some of my friends or family that way. I use it but no one's looking at. I have two followers but I have no idea who these two are. I feel like I'm alone on Technology Island.
Jott is another one that I'm pretty sure no one uses either. Such a shame. What a great technology.
Maybe it's just a matter of where I live. One of my friends at AT&T is a trainer. He was telling me that when he recently did a VOIP training class in San Jose he got a lot of questions about compatibility with Skype, and no one in Oakland asked any questions like that.
Okay, that's all for now. I'm watching game 6 of the Sharks-Stars game now. Go Sharks!!!