Sunday, November 9, 2008

Welcome to the iPod Nation

I mentioned in my last post that I was listening to my new iPod at the Newark International Airport. I have long been one to scoff at the idea of what I've called an 'iPod Nation'. To this I always referred to the mentality of needing to buy the latest and greatest gadgets, often without the proper means to do so, i.e. on credit. Of course, I am not bagging on Apple and their products, so any fanboi's out there can kindly put down their clubs and pepperspray. Just understand that when I coined the term the hottest thing on the market was the iPod and you could always tell who had one by the signature white colored earbud speakers.

Well, it's finally been long enough that we have all sorts of other, newer i-gadgets to play with. The first i-Phone and the second upgraded release are the first that spring to mind. The iPod is old news, it's yesterday's turkey. Almost everyone has a cell phone and those not savvy enough to have an iPhone are texting nearly one hundred messages per minute on cells that transform to expose full qwerty keyboards. It's enough to boggle the mind!

So, yeah, I finally got one. Well, not one, I got two. One for me and one for my wife. The good old iPod Classic, complete with 120GB hard drive space. In the immortal words of Salt 'n Peppa, "Ooo baby baby!" (or something like that...)

So what's the difference between me going out and buying two expensive mp3 players and the people I used to poke fun at? Well, for one, I still poke fun at those people... They are still buying every new gadget when it comes out, as long as they can fit it into their over-extended credit card "budget" (good luck with those minimum payments, Sparky!)... Another difference is that I've waited years to get an iPod (x2) that I appreciate and will take good care of. Why will I take good care of it? Well... in truth, I did put it on my American Express card, but not two days later the money was transferred and sent to pay off the balance. I'm not paying one red penny of interest on those bad boys. In fact, I'll be getting a little back at the end of the year for my cash back bonus that's part of the card agreement. When you back something with cold, hard cash, you're that much more likely to appreciate the effort it took to get it. Sure, there might be a few people out there with thousands in credit card debt and student loans that take immaculate care of every item they purchase... but technically, that stuff isn't theirs until it's paid off. Good looking out for someone else's stuff in the event that your creditors want what's theirs.

All that said, and the finacial responsibility bush fully beaten, I've got to say how truly impressed I am with a few of the features the iPod Classic brings to the table. I don't have any movies formated to play on the screen, but I did download some video podcasts for free from iTunes. I also downloaded a serial podcast novel which seems rather decent. So far I've listened to the first chapter and it has surpassed the quality of my expectations. I'll get a few more chapters in before I recommend it to anyone, though.

I did finish the last part of Brisingr (audio cd ripped to mp3 files) on the iPod while I was on my onsite in New Jersey. It was nice not dealing with the bulkyness of a cd player and heaven knows their 'anti-skip' functions don't always work out very well...

All in all, I am pleased to be a part of the 'iPod Nation', though I'm sure I will have to coin a new term for those gadget go-getters and credit afficionados to whom I used to refer.


Jim Murdoch said...

There is a certain mentality that exists nowadays on the part of producers and that is to milk a product till it's dry. They produce an i-Thingy and within a few months there a newer, flashier i-Thingy but it's never that newer and flashier to really justify getting it but then they start to appear all around you and your i-Thingy starts to look a wee bit dingy beside them. And so this continues ad infinitum, built in obsolescence. Fashion used to be just about wearing the right trainers but it has got totally out of hand. It's the nasty end of psychology. We identify who we are with what we own. This always reminds me of that line from Brave New World and what passes for happiness, "overcompensating for misery" – if I have this I'll be happy, if I see this I'll be happy, if I wear these clothes I'll be happy ... and on and on ad nauseam.

Unknown said...

So true, Jim, so true. Now-a-days though, with all the economy woes, one might think that these are just the sort of people that will help us get through these tough financial times. But then again, if all these new gadgets are just tossed onto the ol' credit card, well, the flow of money isn't really there, it merely perpetuates the problem in hope that the gadget go-getter will make good on his or her debt.

What strange times we live in...

I couldn't help but feel like this post bordered on the 'when I was your age' type of rant, but seriously... my most enjoyable toy as a kid was a stick. That stick could be anything, a sword most likely, or a staff, or any other implementation of war. And when the stick eventually broke? Well hell, I just found another one for no added cost.

Ken Armstrong said...

Ahhh The iStick coming soon to a mall near you.

I'm with you on this one Brady - I was firmly of the 'iPod, schmIpod' view until my lovely wife bought me one and it has reopened music and radio opportunities to me that I had lost. I download podcasts and have all my CD's on it and some of my DVD's (which I own) ripped to ipod format. It's brilliant.