Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Shuffle

Since it first came out I have had an iPod. I started with a 10GIG one and now use that for books on tape when I am working out. I then moved to a 40 GIG one which I have used for about the last year - I have yet to fill it up. But when the shuffle came out in January, I bought one just to see how it works. Indeed, if you think of it as a 1 GIG pen drive, it is reasonably priced even if it did not hold music.

The shuffle has two modes - shuffle and straight through. I created a file in Itunes called Shuffle which I use to load it - I have about 120 songs on it - which means I could hold a lot more. The shuffle feature mixes and matches all of the songs in the file - which means for me you can switch between bluegrass and rock and roll and opera. That creates some interesting mixes but when you are traveling it is wonderful to just sit and listen. It has helped redefine how I listen to music. Plus the compact size is great to just throw in a pocket.

iTunes has a lot of the characteristics of Tivo - so the rips that one can create are unique and the combinations are almost limitless. The Shuffle allows you to do that on a smaller scale. But all of this can be done almost on the fly - that flexibility is great.

There are a couple of problems with the whole iTunes thing. First, is disk size . If you have, as I do, more than 3000 legal songs - that eats about 12 GIG on my laptop's hard disk. One solution would be to move all of the iTunes files to another computer - like a mini. And I may do that. But with an 80 gig drive on my laptop - between iTunes and iPhoto I am limited on the other things I can keep on my laptop. The second problem is the addictive nature of iTunes Music Store. When my wife and I saw Ray - I immediately went home and searched for Ray Charles and then downloaded a bunch of his songs. I play them a lot (he was an innovative musician in many genres). But that can become expensive if you do not watch yourself. The library keeps getting more and more interesting.

These are consumerist dilemmas but ultimately good ones to have.

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