An Essay on the Deceiving Device That’s Hurling the World into Delirium
23 June 2003
When I woke up this morning, the world seemed like an OK place. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the computer was humming…
This all changes when I have to get into the car. I come thisclose to freaking out over the fact that while whirling down eight mile, some 1984 Toyota almost broadsides me just because they can. Then I get to work and I have a headache for eight and a half hours. Then on my way home I get stuck in the worst traffic I’ve ever been in. And in the middle of it, Don calls me to tell me the same useless information that he’s been repeating since two weeks ago.
But to take the cake, I start to write up a new blog entry… Then I stumble upon a picture of the new iPod.
I have a long, sordid history with this world’s biggest waste of money. Like most of the earth’s other electronic savvy inhabitants, I plunked down my $500 to have an mp3 player that also was a phone book and calendar. I knew it was a monochrome screen. I didn’t care. Everyone who was anyone had at least two. I needed my own.
It arrived three weeks after Christmas in January 2003. Unfortunately, my firewire card was lost en route from Amazon.com. For another two weeks I had the honorable pleasure of staring at this white plastic peripheral, dreaming of its capabilities. I had five gigabytes of music ready to stream on over. And when the firewire finally arrived, I was ready to be amazed.
I plugged things in and updated my Music Match Jukebox to the new iPod addition. Too bad for me, the painstaking process took about three days more than the ten minutes I expected. Not only was the program not loading right, but it took me days to find the right plug ins on the internet. When it was all up and running, I discovered that the new and improved iPod version of Music Match would not let me burn CDs. Not only that, but the new version took me back by one release and they wouldn’t update me back to my most recent product.
I finally did upload some music to the iPod. I used it for about two hours before realizing that I really didn’t need an mp3 player. I had a stereo in my car and I do less physical activity than a potato. My stereo at home worked fine without some firewire catastrophe linking into it. So did my computer.
So I downloaded another 2 gigabytes of songs to upload.
While attempting to stream this new library of songs, the hunk of junk just pooped out on me. It didn’t want to turn on. It didn’t want to turn off. It didn’t want to stream anything. And needless to say, I was pissed.
I ended up returning the $500 not on sale and getting a 120 gigabyte external hard drive from Iomega (check the blog archives) for a mere $120 plus $50 mail in rebate. It’s small enough to fit in my purse and weighs about five pounds. And I found a better use for my firewire port. And I got six times the storage in about six times the space for about one sixth the price.
Two weeks later my Axim arrived. It’s a top of the line pocket PC with what I decided to be a 256MB secure digital card and a 256MB compact flash card. Comes with Windows Media Player and has a better battery life than the iPod—six hours versus the measly three hours of continuous play the iPod finally delivered. And I get a color screen all for about $250 after my mail in rebate.
So I return my iPod, get six times the storage and 100% more color for just $320. What else do I buy with the other $180 I saved? How about the highest rated moderately price printer that Dell carried at the time? I got my Epson printer (see blog archives) for nearly $100 off the regular price, then turned the rest of my savings into a down payment for my digital camera. After $100 for the printer and $400 for the camera, I had four toys that definitely did more for the price than the iPod delivered.
And call me petty and call me a Windows user, but I feel that when a product is hyped up as much as the iPod, it should deliver. And maybe I wasn’t in the right market in the first place. And maybe when I saw the $500 iPod, I didn’t really see that I needed $500 of storage space, I needed $500 of storage. It’s too bad that Apple spent so much time on sizing down the scale of the iPod. They also cut down the amount of customer service, Windows compatibility, and skimped out on the one thing that makes electronics sell: that $50 mail in rebate that I always seem to find.
Now a poem:
When firewire is abundant in every office environment and also runs rampant in my car stereo… When Apple becomes synonymous with “works with Windows too” and “hey, that’s the brand of my new desktop…” When inflation is up and $500 is not too much and there’s a 10% discount… This is the day when I will purchase an iPod.