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iPods, Pro and Con
February 9, 2004 10:42 PM   Subscribe

Pro and con arguments about the iPod. The Pro argument: It changes our relationship to music. It creates an in-group marked by instantly recognizable white earbuds. The Con argument: It changes our relationship to music. It creates an in-group marked by instantly recognizable white earbuds.
posted by Slagman (79 comments total)

 
essentially a modernized walkman. this "changes our relationship to music" how again?
posted by quonsar at 10:45 PM on February 9, 2004


Pro: "While other MP3 players (like those made by Nomad and Rio) reflect the individual tastes of the owner, no other gadget has been so successful at developing a certain kind of image: Call it L-train sex appeal. The distinctive white headphones, cutely called "earbuds," identify a user at 30 yards, so that it's possible to scan a subway car and instantly know who's in the club. As a result, even when the plugs in an iPod user's ears isolate her from the rest of the world, the shiny white oblong on the other end of the wire makes her part of a growing community."

Con: "...once you start to notice them, you realise that they are everywhere, worn like badges of pride. iPod owners give each other knowing glances on the bus or in the Post Office queue – "Ah, another believer!" I wouldn't be surprised if they even have a secret handshake. Judging by the way some people bang on about them, their relationship with their iPods seems almost spiritual."

posted by Slagman at 10:45 PM on February 9, 2004


ah yes. L-train sex appeal. i remember that. the beatles had it.
posted by quonsar at 10:48 PM on February 9, 2004


Quonsar, you didn't even read the links.

Pro: "An iPod, by contrast, keeps no secrets. The iPod records what songs have been played both most recently and most often, so it quickly becomes a record of the owner's internal aural landscape. Listening to someone else's iPod is thus an intimate, almost invasive activity. On the scale of personal exposure, it's not exactly trading diaries, but it's much more revealing than a mix tape"

Con:""There's a bit of software on it that allows you to give each song a `star' rating. Soon, you end up only listening to the tracks you've awarded five stars to. Then, you start getting bored of your five-star playlist. So you end up thinking that, if you don't even like your favourite songs any more, your entire record collection must be crap."
posted by Slagman at 10:49 PM on February 9, 2004


i never read links! besides, if i keep this up, you'll reprint the whole thing right here. :-)
posted by quonsar at 10:51 PM on February 9, 2004


Maybe if people stopped seeing everything as a fad, fashion statement, etc these things would just be mp3 players and we would be talking about music, not fashion, cliques, and colored wire.

Give it time, soon it will be just like the walkman and no one will care about who is wearing what on the train. But please, don't let me get in the way of a good branding.
posted by skallas at 10:58 PM on February 9, 2004


Nah, I'm done quoting.

I think the con guy is a bit of a ranter, but I've experienced that little iPod recognition thing on the subway. I don't wear the white earbuds, but rather a noise-canceling headphones set so I won't be tempted to blast music on the train. I've also set up some complicated smart playlists that give automatically me my favorites (5 star songs played more than x times in the last x weeks), overlooked favorites (same kind of song not played in x weeks), all new albums bought in x weeks, and many other categories. So, if you have the patience to rip all your CD's and categorize the tracks a little, Quonsar, yes, you can change how you relate to your music.
This site has some cool suggestions for smart playlists. And here's a slightly old Wired link on the the form of bigotry called playlistism.
posted by Slagman at 10:59 PM on February 9, 2004


The Daily Telegraph publishes an article bemoaning the rise of, umm... something new. Unprecedented.
posted by pascal at 11:00 PM on February 9, 2004


Skalias: Sure, it's partly about branding. But it does change how you deal with your music. I'm sure eventually all mp3 players will match iPod features and capacity and it won't matter what you call it or how it looks. But it will definitely change how we experience our music. It's been fascinating watching a digital record of my listening habits emerge, and what it tells me about where my head is at. On the other hand, I do feel this urge to prosletyze, which is partly what drives the "con" guy nuts. You'd probably agree with his viewpoint: What's the big deal. It's just a walkman. Except it ain't. You couldn't hold a DJ contest with a walkman, for one thing.

Pascal: on preview... Yeah, whatever. What was interesting is that these two people, coming from opposite directions, have noticed similar things about this trend, and it has both a public manifestation ("the white earbud flirtation on the subway/tube") and a private one that can be revealing ("oh my God Charlotte you've been listening to Journey nonstop for three weeks? You need help")
posted by Slagman at 11:11 PM on February 9, 2004


Slagman, there's no catching up to do. I had an archos 6 gig two+ years ago and my Neuros 20 gig not only records it also broadcasts to FM. As far as I'm concerned the iPod has to catch up to the rest of the industry. Its just branding and advertising, Apple does make a decent product but at the same time there's a premium to be paid and the 'cult of pretty things' to contend with.

As far as the white earbuds go, I noticed them a couple months ago and now they don't trigger a response. Its not going to be "cool" or even noticeable for long.
posted by skallas at 11:29 PM on February 9, 2004


Slagman: don't get me wrong, yours is a good post. It's just that the Tele article is a classic example of the sort of British journalism that I just don't miss at all (the expat son of Daily Mail readers writes.)
posted by pascal at 11:35 PM on February 9, 2004


skalias:

I hear what you're saying, though I don't care for the Archos interface. There's just something crazy simple intuitive about iTunes and the iPod. Yeah, I wish it had a radio, I suppose.
I guess I started out with my first generation iPod many moons ago and walked around like I had a secret, then I started seeing a few here and there, and now on the subway, there isn't a car I get on where somebody else doesn't have one of the damn things. It could simply be a fad thing, or it could be a superior product, or it could be both.

And I'm not saying this is something intrinsic to the iPod or to iTunes... It won't ultimately matter what the package is. But it is going to change how we relate to music. You and I were ahead of the curve, and we made different choices, but now everybody is getting these things. It will not be as earth-shattering as the "pro" link might suggest, but it is more meaningful than you and the telegraph guy seem to think.

Or so I contend, as I pile more CD's in the bag for the next trip the used CD store, where I usually shop with iPod in hand, because damn if I can remember what music I own. I've noticed that the quality of CD's in the used stores has really gone up now that people rip and dump all but their "keepers."

Pascal: Yeah, like I said, it read like a rant. The Voice piece was more balanced. I am no fan of what Britain calls journalism -- something that is infecting US journalism more and more, alas.
posted by Slagman at 11:38 PM on February 9, 2004


Slagman (6), rest of Metafilter (7).

It was a close contest, but MeFi outlasted him in the end to eke out a narrow victory.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:46 PM on February 9, 2004


Whats so irritating about the iPod is whats so irritating about all Apple products. The fact that the users think they are gods gift to mankind, while there are other products that do the same things cheaper. It just pisses me off that people think the ipod is the only MP3 player out there, like you're not cool if you have a Nomad Zen or something
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on February 9, 2004


This is a five-star song. This is a four and a half star song. Today is thursday and, thusly, it is a four and a half star day, because Thursday is the day my wife fucks the mailman while I'm on the L-Train fantasizing about women in short skirts with white ear buds.

I admit that the iPod holds some appeal for me--exorbitant price aside--and I suppose the randomized 1000-song playlist has a certain... je ne sais quois, but this whole separation of song and album seems somewhat foreign. I enjoy mixes occasionally, but they don't come anywhere near a well-made album as a work of art in its entirety. I also can't imagine wanting to listen to a track by Songs: Ohia which immediately transitions into a track by The Rapture--at least not all that often anyway. I guess what I'm saying is I hate all of you and how you listen to music and I wish there wasn't even an option for you to listen to it differently because who are you to judge me?!?

Oh, and I hate those little earbud headphones, too. Sycophants.
posted by The God Complex at 12:04 AM on February 10, 2004


Slagman, don't dismiss quonsar's well-reasoned and sound statements, because they are both well reasoned and sound, betraying a deeper inner resentment and bitterness at "the establishment" and all of its inherent cronyism--from the Apple™ kool-aid funnels to the All Your Blase Are Belong To Us t-shirts for sale at your local Wal-Mart--and sending up a rallying cry against the onslaught of commercial interests and marginalized independence.
posted by The God Complex at 12:19 AM on February 10, 2004


if the ipod is going to change the way "we" listen to music, it needs to come down in price a little.

*then* it'll be like a walkman.

(and shit, i'll be first in line to get one once there's a sub-$100 model. until then, it's mp3 cd player for me.)
posted by fishfucker at 1:18 AM on February 10, 2004


the average age of a Telegraph reader is 55
posted by vvv at 2:26 AM on February 10, 2004


I agree that the ipod is a desirable object, which is exactly why I wouldn't buy one (pricetag aside): I don't like desiring objects, or, in other words, I don't like objects that make me desire them. These things are a marketing (and yes design) tour de force, yet another victory in the always sordid history of manufactured desire. Not the desire to have a better life, to live life fully, to express yourself creatively and wonderfully, but rather the desire to have objects that are more desirable than your neighbor's desirable objects. Satisfaction of this type of desire is ephemeral at best and by its very nature insatiable. How long before the white earphones stigmatize "newbies" while the truly cool have $300 multi-colored or zebra-striped glow in the dark earphones with GPS? I'm sure it's already happening.

I've long considered getting an mp3 player for the car, you know for long drives it is infinitely better than bad radio and crappy cassettes, but the day I get so excited about my mp3 player that I feel the need to proselytize about its wonders to the uninitiated is the day I shoot myself and end my sad vacuous existence.


By the way, no offence intended....
posted by sic at 2:32 AM on February 10, 2004


Very well said, sic, you took the words right out of my mouth, threw them away, and wrote some better ones.
posted by chrid at 2:48 AM on February 10, 2004


Let's get 2 things straight.

1. MP3s are NOT good enough to listen to on anything resembling a decent sound system so you can keep your weenie iPod DJing (HA!) contests to ya bedrooms.

2. Earbuds ain't good enough unless your only listening to MP3s. Get some decent cans & forego the earbud brotha/sistahood.

That said, I'll be getting one when I'm in the States (assuming the puny $ stays low). Good fun in the right hands. It does a job well but the Podurbating is getting a little tiresome.

[on preview] You will be enlightened not when you get what you desire but when you desire what you get is what sic is quite rightly getting at...
posted by i_cola at 2:58 AM on February 10, 2004


Slagman: I hear what you're saying, though I don't care for the Archos interface.

I've got an Archos, didn't like the OS, so I changed it. Rockbox is an open source os for Archos that is very cool, adding features, games, etc.

The Archos is ugly however, so for my next mp3 player I'm getting something which is IMHO even nicer than the iPod. Check it out. Living in Japan has some advantages, after all.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:21 AM on February 10, 2004


I can't wait until they come out with a programmable lozenge which, when moderately sucked, will instantly induce into today's incomparably busy brains the impression that they've just heard all of their favorite tunes; finally! - no more sound-ear-brain bottleneck; instead of sloggishly listening to music, people could be talking about music - or about their favorite flavor of music lozenge - free at last to use music quickly and efficiently for its primary purpose - as a social facilitator, as a conversational hors d'oeuvre.

Perhaps they'll call it the iSuck.
posted by Opus Dark at 3:29 AM on February 10, 2004


oh man that shit is funny!

iSuck!

well done opus dark, especially the pun.
posted by sic at 3:35 AM on February 10, 2004


Shut up, and work on getting a social life.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:00 AM on February 10, 2004


Does this article actually say anything about the merits the product the guy is actually writing about or is it just about some bullshit 'community' based on white fucking earbuds? Christ. Someone needed to meet his article quota for the week.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:01 AM on February 10, 2004


proselytizing - y'know, in my day we called it 'wanking on', and everyone knew what you meant.

I can't imaging feeling a sense of camaraderie with a total stranger based on having a small piece of plastic stuck in my ear.

Personally, I think these kind of breathless, 'Oh.my.god, this changes everything' articles about technology should have the same rules applied to them as tattoo designs - put them in a drawer for five years, if they don't look laughable then, feel free to proceed.
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:03 AM on February 10, 2004


I like scanning the subway car for other people wearing iRiver earphones and nod our heads in acknowledgment that we're not morons who buy overpriced DRM laden crap.
posted by KnitWit at 4:29 AM on February 10, 2004


what a load of bull on this thread.

firstly: mp3s encoded at 256kbs with lame in high quality mode have been shown to be virtually indistinguishable from the original in a lot of A-B tests. And, btw, the same has been shown to be true with AAC encoded files at 160kbs. I do 192kbs AAC. Maybe if you got your mp3 collection over Kazaa you might have some trouble listening to it, but if you encode it yourself the right way you should have more than adequate quality unless you're the kind of person that buys a boutique DA converter for your CD player.

secondly: what is the deal with all the shrill anti-apple commentary? sounds like sour grapes to me. I bought my ipod for $125 on craigslist and I like it a lot. It doesn't make me feel like I'm god's gift to humanity, though. Have I done something wrong? iPods and powerbooks are just devices... why attribute all sorts of crap to them? I'm always suspicious of the Apple-users-as-stupid-drones meme.... to my eye it is pretty transparent what people *really* mean by it. :)
posted by n9 at 4:39 AM on February 10, 2004


And why is the *hell* would you wear the iRiver headphones? Those are even crappier than the iPod ones! For some kind of anti-brand-brand community feeling? Now *that* is sad.
posted by n9 at 4:41 AM on February 10, 2004


"mp3s encoded at 256kbs"

I rip at 320.
and I just bought another (40G) iPod.
and I seldom wear the white earbuds, there are better earphones on the market anyway.
posted by matteo at 4:46 AM on February 10, 2004


Because once you start to notice them, you realise that they are everywhere, worn like badges of pride. iPod owners give each other knowing glances on the bus or in the Post Office queue – "Ah, another believer!" I wouldn't be surprised if they even have a secret handshake.

Now this is comedy.

Also, I prefer the evil styling of the Philips HDD100.
posted by the fire you left me at 4:56 AM on February 10, 2004


"not morons who buy overpriced DRM laden crap" KnitWit? Please remember that the iTunes store only operates in the USA so in the rest of the world the iPod is basically an mp3 player and the DRM issue is irrelevant (as it is for most people. Has ANYONE in the world paid $10k to fill up a 40 gig iPod legally?). It will, of course, do uncompressed as well if hi-fi is your goal. (Like n9 I use 192 AAC but it certainly isn't anywhere as good as a CD on my system).
And please lets stop all this iPod is 'overpriced crap/iPod are incomparable' nonsense. iPod's win on style/size/user interface but that comes at a price. If you think that price is too high then buy something else. Fine. If you care that someone else thinks you are uncool I think that is your problem.
posted by rolo at 5:02 AM on February 10, 2004


secondly: what is the deal with all the shrill anti-apple commentary?

I think it's more about the lame "community" than anything. Just because someone else in close physical proximity to me turns out to have purchased the same product as me doesn't mean one damn thing. Especially if that product happens to be the best-selling product in its market.

But please, don't let me get in the way of a good branding.

This produced an involuntary mental image of Steve Jobs holding a red-hot poker with an iPod logo on the end, saying, "Who's next?"

Does this mean I'm ill?
posted by deadcowdan at 5:03 AM on February 10, 2004


I have something better than an iPod. It has 10 to the power of 8,432 bytes capacity - plenty of room to store any music I've ever heard, and it stores it automatically - no buttons to push or dials to turn. It stores everything with lossless compression with no DRM. It has smart playlists - it can instantly access any stored music and play it in whatever order I choose. It can even generate new music, music that I've never heard before. It does weigh about 3 lbs, but I never notice the weight because it's so well designed. It also comes with a speaker attachment, although frankly the sound isn't so good - it either whistles or hums. It takes no batteries and costs nothing. When I see other people on the subway with the same device I give them a knowing grin - we're a special breed.
posted by TimeFactor at 5:22 AM on February 10, 2004


The Penny Arcade take.
posted by ODiV at 5:37 AM on February 10, 2004


I just don't get it either. iTunes is the one selling point for the iPod in my opinion and the market is already becoming flooded with alternatives.

That's a lot of loot for a walkman, and I don't really care about the 1000 hours of music. I barely have time to listen to 20 minutes of music.

You know what I do? I put some MP3's on 256 meg SD card and listen through my iPaq. If I want high quality sound I'll listen through my massive car/home stereo.
posted by Yossarian at 5:38 AM on February 10, 2004


I won mine off a local radio station, and this is my observation: an iPod is good device with a few minor flaws and an inflated price tag, but an iPod I didn't have to pay for is the best freakin' thing ever.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:05 AM on February 10, 2004


I'm on my second iPod. I'll readily agree that there are other portable mp3 players that are about as good, but I had an excellent experience with my first one, so I bought another.

The Telegraph writer's article is amusing, though. What's his particular beef with the iPod, other than his friends having some crazed following? He doesn't really elaborate on any of his points past "I don't buy into this cult." Give me a throwaway line about enjoying street noises or something. I, for one, am tired of columnists who resort to petty whining to make a point.

Oh yeah, and I have no clue why anyone would use the included earphones. Those things aren't the worst, but they're certainly not that great.
posted by mikeh at 6:35 AM on February 10, 2004


But these go to ELEVEN.
posted by gimonca at 6:52 AM on February 10, 2004


I waited, and waited, and waited, and even bought a Mac recently, but Apple has not provided the iPod with the one, key (in my opinion) feature that the iRiver has, which is an LCD remote control for viewing of metadata.

When you have thousands upon thousands of songs on a device, I want to be able to see the track name/artist/etc. when I am listening and searching, WITHOUT having to hold the unit in my hand. It isn't too much to ask. MiniDisc players and CD walkmen have had this type of thing for years. Why did Apple overlook this?

So I make do with a CD walkman...and "$380 in cash
posted by gen at 6:53 AM on February 10, 2004


Well the ipod I payed for is the best freakin thing ever. For all of the quality flaming, let me say this...Because the MP3 is crap, but the most convenient way to listen to a varied collection, I will now be looking to invest in a real hi-fi system at home. That system will be for the cds and vinyl that I love that hasn't had the nuance produced out of it. And I'm sticking with the ipod because it is the best item on the marked (although, Bashos_, your item looked promising).
posted by jmgorman at 6:54 AM on February 10, 2004


I'm conflicted about the iPod. On the one hand, I've got a fuckload of mp3's and it would be cool to carry them around with me in a package the size of a deck of smokes. On the other hand, the price is so high that it's kind of out of the question for me, and to some degree it has become the latest yuppie/hipster lifestyle accessory. When I see some kid in a trucker hat listening to Fischerspooner on his little earbuds, a part of me envies him (not the Fischerspooner part) and another part of me wants to blast Ten Years After on a portable 8-track just to piss him off.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 AM on February 10, 2004


I enjoy mixes occasionally, but they don't come anywhere near a well-made album as a work of art in its entirety.

I agree, but it looks like the shift back from albums to singles is happening around us, especially with the MP3 generation. And what really could stop the industry from reverting back to the pre-Rubber Soul era of singles and filler? Isn't that how pop music and hip-hop thrives today? It sure isn't by making classic albums.
posted by boost ventilator at 7:10 AM on February 10, 2004


n9 No I don't use the iRiver ear-buds - just trying to make a point (though you do see people walking around with the remotes and the same visual acknowledgment applies) - and I'm not going to be the one to start the "what are the best headphones" argument - that's a whole other (and very long) thread.

I don't see the iPods as anything other than a fashion statement here in New York. - certainly when you look at all the other logos those who carry them also flash around.

It seems for a great deal less money you can buy a larger capacity, equally user-friendly mp3 player with remarkably better sound quality. Many other mp3 players out there are also firmware upgradable - and support open formats like Ogg Vorbis insuring that they always will be open.

Sure some of the less expensive devices outweigh the iPod but the difference is marginal if you toss it in your pocket and don't walk around carrying it like a cute little Prada bag for everyone to see.
posted by KnitWit at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2004


Has ANYONE in the world paid $10k to fill up a 40 gig iPod legally?).

Uh, well, 30 gigs. But I already owned most of the CD's, and it took years to get them together, plus my wife had a bunch.

....yeah, these kind of tech-loving tech-bashing articles often seem to be written for effect, and you got to strip out the b.s.
I was mainly curious to know if there really is an "ipod community." I've never been into a dj-ing scene with them,
and the last thing I'd ever do is plug into someone else's iPod, which is a supposed trend I've read about, complete strangers walking up and doing that. My luck, the person is listening to Kenny G.
posted by Slagman at 7:23 AM on February 10, 2004


Trains... whatever. We don't got them things out in PHX. While we're talking about the relative merites of various players, I just wanna give props to the Rio Karma, which, while quite a bit nerdier than the ipod in terms of its functions, is pretty friggin' awesome. Supports OGG/shn. Synch via the ethernet. Java applets for connecting up with linux/mac. (Ok... need to get a life now...)
posted by ph00dz at 7:30 AM on February 10, 2004


Oh yeah, and I have no clue why anyone would use the included earphones. Those things aren't the worst, but they're certainly not that great.


n9 No I don't use the iRiver ear-buds - just trying to make a point (though you do see people walking around with the remotes and the same visual acknowledgment applies) - and I'm not going to be the one to start the "what are the best headphones" argument - that's a whole other (and very long) thread.



I knew it.


!
posted by sic at 7:35 AM on February 10, 2004


I love my ipod, and I find your anti-Apple backlash amusing. But what I don't love is the earbuds. I don't mind being recognized as an ipod owner, but the earbuds fall out of my ears regularly, and the cords freeze at anything lower than -5 degrees C. Which of course makes the earbuds that much more likely to fall out again.

I bought sony in-ear phones a couple of weeks ago and I'm thrilled with them. They never, ever fall out and they can take the cold.

But they're black. So now no one knows I'm an ipod owner until I pull it out of my pocket and start scrolling through the mp3s.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:55 AM on February 10, 2004


I love my ipod,

I'm happy for you, although I hope that you are capable of loving more than just inanimate objects.

!
posted by sic at 8:01 AM on February 10, 2004


nd to some degree it has become the latest yuppie/hipster lifestyle accessory. When I see some kid in a trucker hat listening to Fischerspooner on his little earbuds

Oh! How doth the trucker hat enrage!
posted by the fire you left me at 8:04 AM on February 10, 2004


No, sic. I find that my love of my ipod means that I have no room for emotions directed at human beings. I got a note with my ipod that explained to me how my ipod would supplant all human relationships, and boy were they right! Who needs friends and family when you can listen to music while you walk to class?

....

Are you on crack, or what? It's an mp3 player. So what if I covet it? What are you, Bill Gates or something? Does windows help you to love your fellow man?
posted by Hildegarde at 8:20 AM on February 10, 2004


Wow! That Rockbox is awesome! Thanks, bashos_frog.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:22 AM on February 10, 2004


I'm glad that the whole battery controversy has died down enough that we can get on to bitching about how hip or un-hip the thing is.
posted by patgas at 8:23 AM on February 10, 2004


Our band played at the Apple store opening in Chicago and got free 20 GB iPods so yes, I have sipped of the purple kool-aid and will continue to sip. Those fucking earbuds though..omg.. I suppose if I had Alfred E. Neuman-like ears, they'd be ok.

the latest yuppie/hipster lifestyle accessory..

Some day you'll laugh at that statement. I know I sure did.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2004


Just because someone else in close physical proximity to me turns out to have purchased the same product as me doesn't mean one damn thing.

So when's the next MeFi Meetup?
posted by Mick at 8:55 AM on February 10, 2004


Just because someone else in close physical proximity to me turns out to have purchased the same product as me doesn't mean one damn thing.

Tell that to the demographics indusrty.
posted by jonmc at 9:02 AM on February 10, 2004


Ooh! A walkman that holds a whole bunch of songs in a mediocre format.

Pardon me while I yawn.

Sorry, but I just can't get excited about iPods.
posted by Blubble at 9:03 AM on February 10, 2004


Failure to own an ipod does not make you a superior person. It doesn't make you fitter, happier or more productive. You won't become smarter or more interesting because you don't have twenty gigs of music in your jacket pocket.

Owning one won't help you either, but really guys, get over yourselves. There's so much negative stereotyping of people who happened to buy a portable music device in this thread that it's almost comical.
posted by mosch at 9:17 AM on February 10, 2004


So not owning one is a "failure"?
posted by NortonDC at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2004


Yes. Not owning an ipod is indeed a failure to own an ipod.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2004


Actually, I've decided. The iPod is the latest yuppie doodad for people to put on their belts next to their cellphone, pager, and PDA. I don't own any of those infernal devices, so I see no reason for this one. For the record, I owned a cheap walkman knockoff in high school, but a car drove past me and splshed puddle water all over me, shorting out the circuits. After that I said to hell with it.
posted by jonmc at 9:59 AM on February 10, 2004


inanimate objects are not fashion statements all by themselves. They need shallow people to make them into such a thing. Now pay attention: obsessing over what OTHER people use to play music to the point of judging them for it is arguably more superficial and shallow than waving such an article around trying to get attention. Yes, it is.

Maybe we should start a discussion about how people who drive cars are total asshole losers who are destroying the environment on top of spending WAAAY too much money on something to cart themselves around in, while bicyclists are innately superior creatures who bought the *obviously* better type of vehicle for *far* less money. Just saying.
posted by n9 at 10:14 AM on February 10, 2004


n9, I agree with you 100%.
posted by mosch at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2004


Future headlines:

Invasion of the (i)Pod People: Brainwashed Yet?

Man Killed on Subway Over iPod

White Earbuds Seen as Advertisement to Muggers

Man Drowns in Frozen Lake Trying to Retrieve Dropped iPod

Art Installation: 2,000 iPods, One Giant Noise

Nuclear Secrets Transported to Terrorists via iPods

etc
posted by Slagman at 11:14 AM on February 10, 2004


Future New Yorker cartoon

Man talking to woman at cocktail party.

"And this is Janet, my iPod."
posted by Slagman at 11:16 AM on February 10, 2004


I've recently separated from my husband, and we've yet to do "the splitting of the stuff" part. My iPod is not only my portable stereo -- it's now my home stereo as well, since the only other thing I've got is my little clock radio.

I *heart* my iPod. Would be going bugnuts without it!
posted by metrocake at 11:29 AM on February 10, 2004


My beat-up 5GB iPod does a great job of blasting the shitty 128Kbps MP3's I got off Gnutella through the cheap Sony headphones with the little volume widget on the cord (which isn't labelled but I'm pretty sure goes to 11) and adds lots of rock and roll to my already entertaining life. That makes it pretty fucking cool in my book.

You haters just need to buy iPods and bring them to the Veselka meetup next Friday. I'll bring a Powerbook and then we all switch places when I ring the bell.
posted by nicwolff at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2004


iPods suck becasue of the built-in copy protection. I really love Apple, but this is one product that I hope doesn't retain hegemony. Crippleware, no matter how "lickable," is retrogressive and disempowers the purchaser.
posted by squirrel at 12:12 PM on February 10, 2004


You haters just need to buy iPods and bring them to the Veselka meetup next Friday. I'll bring a Powerbook and then we all switch places when I ring the bell.

I'll bring my portable 45rpm turntable instead. You all like Night Ranger, right?
posted by jonmc at 12:21 PM on February 10, 2004


Pro: Um... it has a nifty UI and is generally regarded to be well made. The competition is notorious for falling short in both of those areas.

Con: Have they worked out that small problem of support for the Ogg Vorbis codec yet? It's kind of useless to buy one of these things if it can't play your tunes.

The whole bit about the iPod changing the listener's relationship to music is bullshit. Star ratings? MRU lists? Doesn't every desktop media player have a plugin somewhere out there to manage playlists by rating and frequency? That was big science back in 1997, but as an innovation it's hardly tied to the iPod, and certainly not to portable media players in particular. People've been using Winamp, Sonique, and shell scripts wrapped around mpg123 a hell of a lot longer than the iPod, and doing exactly these things. That people are doing them on the train isn't exactly a huge leap forward in the music/listener relationship.
posted by majick at 12:29 PM on February 10, 2004


tivo has revolutionized my entertainment-consuming habits far more than the iPod. If I could only have one, it would be the tivo, hands down. But the ipod is still pretty cool, and I think the ACC format is more than adequate in anything other than optimal listening conditions (optimal = quiet room with really nice speakers or headphones).

What I don't get about the iPod is why Apple makes it so difficult to transfer music from your iPod back onto your hard drive (necessary if you don't have 40 gigs of hard drive space handy to store duplicates of every song on your ipod). This is laughable as a form of copy protection since there is legal 3rd party software available to pull the songs of the ipod. But it is immensely annoying if you burn a lot of CDs from your mp3 collection. Annoying enough that I'm not sure I would have bought an iPod over other mp3 players if I had known this before buying.
posted by boltman at 12:44 PM on February 10, 2004


what DRM? There isn't any! If you buy music via the iTMS, then there is that DRM, but other than that the device is wide open. I use the lovely Podworks program to copy mp3s back and forth nearly every day.
posted by n9 at 12:48 PM on February 10, 2004


So, n9, you can mount your iPod like a regular hard drive and move files on and off of it?
posted by squirrel at 7:05 PM on February 16, 2004


yup, squirrel--it has a disk mode for that...I've used it that way already. (And I bought different earphones too--hated the pods, so I guess i'm not part of the hip crowd.)

The NYT weighed in too (with a stupid article about them, but it was interesting about the disproportionately large amount of sales are here)
posted by amberglow at 7:21 PM on February 16, 2004


Personally, I'm getting tired of the assumption that our entire lives must be focused around digital media--mp3s, dvds, or whatever. What did people do before mp3s and dvds became our entire reason for being?

Not to sound Luddite-ish, but I tried driving to work without my stereo on, and it wasn't half bad.
posted by mecran01 at 12:40 PM on February 17, 2004


mecran01 makes a good point. I love music, but it's pretty rare that I enjoy listening to it while walking around in public. When the "walkman" first emerged in the early 1980s, those who were interested in living within a seamless personally composed soundscape became free to do so. I don't see iPod as too much of an improvement on that.
posted by squirrel at 3:41 PM on February 17, 2004


some people only have 30 cds on their shelf when i visit their house. i guess i can understand that, just like i can understand squirrel's comment.

i own 1200+ cds and have made hundreds of hours of my own music. i like the ipod because it goes a long way in enhancing my music experience.

one could say that a tivo is a dumb invention because it only records television. people would agree and disagree. any commentary on an invention like the tivo or the ipod is non-general in that way.
posted by n9 at 7:23 PM on March 9, 2004


I just can't commit to an iPod. I have a ton of MP3s and a cheap iRiver CD/MP3 player, but I've been swapping a lot of .SHN and .FLAC files lately, so I'm more interested in lossless audio formats. (I just don't see the point in .OGG.) I also have about 1200 CDs in CD changers (and a couple hundred more offline), so I don't want to start ripping them until I'm confident I won't have to repeat the process in a year or two.
posted by subgenius at 9:32 PM on March 9, 2004


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