Friday, July 22, 2005

Travels with Shuffle

Sorry to have been offline for so long but I have been on the road for most of the last two weeks. I spent last week with a friend in Mexico and will comment more on that later but first I wanted to comment on one aspect of the visit.

When I visited this friend in April - he was having some heart work done - I brought him an iPod shuffle. I included a bizarre mix of music on the iPod - in part because that is where my tastes lie but also because I thought it would be interesting as he recovered. He, like me, likes a pretty broad range of music. During this visit, we went to the Apple store and I bought a Dr. Bot kit which includes a nifty iPod holder (I keep forgetting the neat leather pouch I carry it in on airplane seats)and a bunch of connectors and an auto charger and an FM tuner. (All of those by the way are pretty good.)

As we visited places in Mexico he put the iPod on in his Honda and we listened to the music on my big iPod in the shuffle mode. I found out a couple of things. First, my music includes a range of music including Irish, Bluegrass, Folk, Classical, Mexican, Blues, Country and some other unclassifiable music - so the range of tunes is pretty wide. I had thought that there would be a bit of discordance among the collection I had assembled in part because there are so many moods and in part because I found it hard to understand how anyone could listen to Carmen and then Leadbelly and then Ricky Scaggs and then David Allen Coe and then DeDannen. But it actually fits together.

Second, I thought about music in their mode - the albums had become my security blanket - I always thought that Amelia Earheart's Last Flight Amelia Earhart's Last Flight should come after We need a whole lot more of Jesus and a lot less rock and roll - as those songs did on the Greenbriar Boys album - but that is not true. I am not sure I have the energy to make a lot of mixes - but with the shuffle I can get it to mix on its own.

Last night as I was coming back from Mexico - the movie (Sahara - probably the lamest excuse for an adventure movie ever) I tried out my friend's suggestion - my big iPod has 4000 songs (going to 10,000) and at least for the first 140 songs I found that the mix done by the shuffle is pretty interesting. Most importantly, I heard a couple of songs that I probably would not have listened to in my normal search for songs as I sit down on a plane. That is a little thing in life - but really makes the iPod even more useful.