I've always been interested in carrying music or sound along with me as I travel. In college I was one of the earlier adopters of the Sony Walkman (I'm really showing my age here). This was amazing to be able to take along a couple of cassette tapes with me to listen to while walking to class. The inherit issues with analog audio were outweighed by the convenience of being portable. When Sony released their CD Walkman I was again one of the first to purchase wanting digital quality music and still being portable. The CD Walkman was great and I thought I would be very content but at the time my options were limited to song selection as I did not have the means to create my own compilation CDs forcing me to listen to the content provider’s selections rather than my own. I therefore moved away from CD and to MiniDisc. This format was still digital but allowed me recording capabilities as well as listening. I could create my own song selection disks and intersperse other content that was important such as ambient sound for event recording, etc. The limiting factor of this was the amount of storage and having to carry numerous MiniDiscs with me to change selections. When Apple released their iPod MP3 player, I quickly moved to that medium to eliminate the constraints I had faced with previous formats.
I was a big fan of Apple from the very beginning. My first computer was an Apple ][. I was at the Macintosh premier in 1984 and rode the wave of innovation that computer provided to the masses. I reluctantly moved away from Apple’s computer systems due to the lack of good quality software selection as compared to what was available for Windows but I’ve never left the Apple design camp. So when the iPod came out I was immediately stricken and needed to get one.
I’ve gone through several generations of iPod devices enjoying the enhanced features that each new model has provided. I loved the first generation for it newness but hated the battery life and struggles I had with that. The second generation provided greater capacity and enhanced the usefulness. My third generation iPod was at the time the largest they made with a 40GB drive. Its form factor was larger but the ability to store not just songs but use it as an external storage device made it indispensable. When Apple released the iPod Photo, Trina bought me one for Christmas so that I could store the pictures I was taking and show them wherever I went. It was great and I really loved the idea of having 60GB of storage at my disposal. Shortly thereafter Apple came out with the fifth generation iPod capable of video storage necessitating a change. For our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary Trina gave me a 60GB video iPod specially engraved. It was the perfect gift and I will forever cherish it.
While the iPod Classic was great, its size and the use of a hard drive made them troublesome especially when active. Bouncing a hard drive while running has trouble written all over it. So when Apple introduced the iPod Nano, I added one of these to my growing collection of music devices. I started with the 8GB version then had to get the larger capacity 16GB when it was introduced. The second generation Nano was the perfect form factor for me and remained my iPod of choice for a long time.
Apple changed all of that when they introduced the iPod Touch. I was amazed at the touch interface and quickly purchased a 16GB Touch as soon as they were available. Now not only did I have my music but also photos and videos along with pages and pages of applications. When the second generation iPod Touch was released I upgraded to a 32GB model to store even more content. I found myself using this device every day at work as well as at home.
With the iPod Touch it has extended my personal enjoyment not just by having my music with me but also becoming a platform for watching video. Although the screen is relatively small, the resolution and video quality are surprisingly good. I now use my iPod Touch as a personal media device with music, videos, and photos available at the touch of a screen. This has become an integral part of my life.
Now Apple has introduced a whole new series of iPods from the square Nano with touch interface to the new iPod Touch with 64GB and the ability to record HD video. I have a whole new wish list of devices that will allow me to continue to evolve my media experience in new and exciting ways.
I am currently using iTunes as the storage of choice for synchronizing songs with the iPod. I am a little frustrated with the limitations of this software and would like something more robust. I’ve used J River Media Center and really liked the power it provided. Unfortunately it did not support album art and its acceptance of Apple Lossless format was not as robust as I would have wanted. Since all of my CD collection is in Apple Lossless MP4 format that makes a big difference to me. I miss the great features such as randomly making play lists, the database driven ability to choose music on the fly, and some of the great plug-ins such as automatically rating songs based on chart location, retrieving song lyrics to store with the music and others. I’m still searching for the perfect software to complement the perfect music player. Hopefully someone will come up with something.
If you would like to talk about the iPod or if you have suggestions of alternative software solutions please contact me , I would love to hear from you.