My precious

I wasn’t expecting any Christmas presents, as we had all agreed we wouldn’t exchange any this year. It was both a surprise and delight, then, to get a box of chocolate covered cherries (a favorite) in a pretty Christmas bag with a card containing a check to be used for an iPod.

My finances are such that I would not have bought an iPod for myself, but I have been lusting for one. There are other music players that cost less and probably have wider functionality, but I’m fond of iTunes (yes for all its evil copyright ways) and I loved the integration between the two. Besides, Dave Winer’s had such troubles with his–I wanted to be helpful; to be able to tell him what he can do with his iPod.

One problem to work around is the new, fifth generation iPods ‘recommend’ USB 2.0 and all I have on my laptops (PC and Mac) is USB 1.1. After considerable research, I found this thread at the Apple forum that talks about USB 2.0 cards, and decided on the Belkin USB 2.0 notebook card. I bought it at the local CompUSA and tried it out last night with my Nikon D70 (sort of a USB 2.0 device), and it seemed to work fine. Time, and a *first synch between computer and iPod will tell.

It was interesting reading through the thread at the forum. Many loyal Apple customers feel burned by the fact that 5G is USB 2.0 rather than the ubiquitous Apple firewire:

From someone who doesn’t understand any of this: Is the bottom line that even with a newer operating system, my iMac800mhz (no usb 2.0) -a mere 2 years old- is not compatible with the 5th generation video ipod? This is how Apple rewards product loyalty?

Many seem to see it as a form of Steve Jobs megalomania:

Here’s something to make you just a little more angry: I was told that the only reason for the removal of FireWire from the 5G iPod is that the internal connector was the last obstacle to shaving a few extra millimeters off the thickness of the case from the 4G models, and Steve Jobs was adamant about making the “it’s smaller than ever!” claim at his last keynote. Thus, screw us. (Caveat: I can’t prove this accusation is true. It may be apocryphal, but I have to admit it sure sounds like a Steve sort of demand, and I’ve been unable to come up with any other logical reason why FireWire support should have been yanked in the first place. Even USB 2.0 is objectively inferior to FireWire in a whole host of ways.)

> This is how Apple rewards product loyalty?

You probably didn’t see it, but not long ago Saturday Night Live aired a skit where Steve Jobs held a keynote and introduced three new iPods in the span of about a minute and a half. Each of the new iPods made the one introduced seconds earlier an utterly obsolete technological dinosaur, and the last one was was literally invisible, yet somehow managed to hold five million songs and every photo ever taken by mankind.

(Apple’s obsession with minute tolerances extends even to packaging–the box the iPod came in, this morning, was an amazing example of packaging.)

Steve Jobs is just reflecting the behavior we see in other geeks who made it big in the last few decades: so how do I top the miracles I’ve produced in the past? It must be dehumanizing to continually have to pull miracles of technology out of one’s pocket.

Anyway, I’ve never been one to be over loyal to any vendor. I was disconcerted when I realized my new iPod wouldn’t work well with my older Powerbooks, until a friend pointed out about adding a USB 2.0 card (Note: I forgot the card slot even existed). However, I never expected that Apple would adjust all their ancillary gadgets to work with my machines. If the company released a version of the operating system that wouldn’t work, I would be peeved, as my machines are not that old. But I gather there were people with B&W G3’s questioning how to get the iPod to work with their machines–leaving the rest of us asking how they managed to get OS X 10.4.3 working.

But I digress. I went back and forth on color when ordering: black or white. White is traditional, but I’ve been around the block for a while and white didn’t seem to fit me. Besides, there’s something sleek and panther like about the black. iNoir.

I also debated with myself whether to pay the extra 100.00 for another 30GB of space. In the end, needing to purchase a USB 2.0 card and a separate power adapter convinced me to go with the smaller. Still, there was this inner coder in me that had a hard time letting go of the extra 30GB.

I mentioned my dilemma to my roommate. He asked do I really need to carry 60GB of songs around with me.

“Spacesss. Ssshhelleee needsss spacessses!”


“How many songs do you have in your iTunes now?”


“Taking up how much space?”


“Does that include any video? What if you exclude the video?”


“How many songs can the smaller iPod record?”

“About 7500.”

“You don’t have that many songs. How many does the larger iPod record.”


“15,000! You really think you would record 15,000 songs?”

“I might.”


I started to say I could fill the space up with podcasts, but stopped myself before I was completely lost; realizing that I was under the effect of the iPod.

I bought the smaller. However, since Apple provided the option, I did have it engraved. The end goes something like…

…one to bring them in, and in the music bind them.

My holiday treat. My iPod. My preciousssss.

*Update: Just before I posted this, the friendly FedEx man delivered my iPod. It was ordered on Christmas Day, and shipped (for free) from China. I guess it was not a slow boat after all. I plugged it in, it synched in what seemed like seconds, and now I’m listening to “In the Year 2525″. Anyone remember that song?

Dave? Dave? I’m ready to help you now, Dave.

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