Monday, February 14, 2011

Hugh Jee Buys An iPod (Finally)- And The World Stops Spinning On It's Axis


I'm in sync!!!! Finally

And it feels good.....I think.

As of yesterday I still had a Christmas gift card from Tar-jay (and a few extra bucks) that was burning a hole in my Wrangler Relaxed Fits, so I decided to get myself a Valentine's gift. BTW.....Happy V-day, one and all.

After weeks of thinking about what to get with it, I decided against buying another camera or another guitar, and went boldly forward into the land of Apple, iTunes, and the wonderful world of digital music.

It was finally time to breakdown and buy an iPod.

Now, I'm admittedly an old dinosaur and have never even owned an MP3 player. When I want to hear music, I did it the old fashioned way....I threw on a CD, or listened to the radio.

And.....I utilized one last, somewhat antiquated piece of technology. I am the person who had the last fully functioning Sony Walkman Sports Edition in the Northern Hemisphere. It served me well from the last century, and it was part of my life since 1991. Forget that it was fragile, always needed new batteries, had crummy radio reception, and was the color of a taxicab from Istanbul.....it was a friend for nearly 20 years.

And sadly, last October, before the Rutgers- Army game, my friend passed on to that great Technology Graveyard in the sky, joining my late and lamented Toshiba Word Processor and a couple of hundred 8 track tapes. I never even knew my Walkman was ill until it just stopped working- it wouldn't pick up a radio station or play a cassette tape.

I still haven't scheduled a funeral for it.

About three or four weeks ago I was watching one of the local TV morning news shows, and the topic was outdated stuff from the past, like "the mullet", VCR's, Atari games.....and the Walkman. And it wasn't until that moment that I realized how totally un-twenty-first century I was. A Sony Walkman? I'm surprised kids didn't come up to me at football games and ask, "Hey mister.....what's in that big yellow thing that your listening to?".

So yesterday I finally took the plunge.....I looked at the iPod Classic but was not about to shell out over $200 for a piece of technology I was sure I would destroy accidentally, or at best confuse the hell out of me. The Shuffle seemed to be limited in what you could do with it, and it didn't have very much storage space for music.

So I decided on the iPod Nano (6th Generation) with the touch screen, It had 8GB of space and didn't seem too daunting or intimidating....and the price was right. With the gift card and a store discount, my total cost with tax was just over $100. Not bad.

I took Nano home yesterday afternoon, opened the small plastic box she was in and followed the directions from Apple that said START HERE.....I registered Nano, and opened an iTunes account. I found out later that you should let it charge for three hours (after checking out the manual online), but that little tidbit slipped through the cracks in the instructions that came with Nano. It really didn't hurt anything, and I continued on my merry way. It was time to add some music to the mix.

It was then that I had to come to terms with the term "sync".....iTunes found every music file on my computer, even some old samples that came with it at purchase, and stuff I downloaded years ago and had forgotten about. But what I really wanted to do is take an old playlist I had on an external harddrive and copy it to Nano. And that's where the fun began. I found out just how un-techy I really am.

What came next was about four hours of trial and error, ERROR being the operative word. I had to figure out how to get music from Point A to Point B, in order to listen to it on Point C. There were 15 files I wanted to move....so why does TUNNEL OF LOVE by Springsteen and PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM by Elton John show up, and nothing else? And why is Elton on there twice?

And why are these icons shaking back and forth? Are they being arrogant or something? Why did the screen just go black? Did I break the freakin' thing on the first day?

To hell with it! Go to POPEYES! Get chickened out!

So I had dinner....sat down, calmed down.....and I finally figured it out!

Oh.....I have to check the box EACH TIME I make a change, or else the other music doesn't sync to the Nano! Gotcha!

So I figured it out....very proudly. I added the files. And then I stated to copy some old CD's to Nano.

Adding Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers....Humble Pie....Led Zeppelin.....Heart....Fairport Convention....the Rolling Stones....the Eagles.....and of course, Bruce.

Yes...the 21st century. But it's obvious from some of my musical choices that my heart and head are still "back in the day".

So I was able to add about eight albums and an additional 15 song files on the first day, and I put on SHUFFLE...the touchscreen is so cool....and listened to music in bed before dozing off. But before going to sleep I thought about music, and what it used to be, and what it used to mean. Yeah, the Nano is great, and it's an amazing bit of technology. But I thought about a generation of young people who have known nothing but the downloading of songs and have no idea what it was like back in the days of vinyl, when a new record by the Beatles or Bob Dylan was cultural event.

I remember going to stores and buying those new releases, and then tearing off the cellophane, carefully holding the record by the edges (as not to get fingerprints on the tracks), and placing it on the turntable....never used an auto changer, because they might scratch the record on the bottom. In those days my collection looked like William's in the film Almost Famous; when I saw that movie I said to myself "That kid's got my old record collection!"....Joe Cocker, Joni Mitchell, Hendrix, The Dead, Joplin.

You'd listen to the music with friends....sometimes with "recreational substances"....and read the lyrics from the album liner or jacket. And you'd check out the credits as well. It was always interesting to find out who played on what track, and what instrument they played, and if there were any guest artists on the track.

Yep, I'm getting old and nostalgic. But sometimes I feel that in those days the music seemed to matter more, and there was more interest in who made it and how. I love the new technology, but sometimes when we go forward, we often lose something in the process.

The soapbox is now closed.
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