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.

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