My iPod Death Spiral

I bought an iPod for Christmas, and it’s been making me crazy ever since. I have a PC, and the Mac side of my family (everybody except me) has been prancing around for years now bragging about their cute iPods and darling iMacs. Even so, I wouldn’t have bought an iPod except for the fact that a PC-packing friend at work also got a iPod, and he verified that the experience is very good on the PC, and gave the thumbs up, along with everybody else in the universe, to the iPod’s lovely design. So I broke down and bought one.

Yes, it’s cute, but it didn’t work with my PC out of the box (no FireWire on my PC) so I had to go to the austere Apple Store temple to get the USB 2.0 adaptor. But if you use the USB connection, it doesn’t recharge your iPod while it’s in the docking port. The battery runs down like mad while you’re transferring songs, and then I have to switch the little fiddly dock cable to the charger to juice it back up again. Then I download the iTunes software, and it doesn’t know how to talk to my Samsung CD player. All my other CD players can manage it (WinAmp, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, etc.). If I try to play a CD with iTunes, it plays each song for exactly zero seconds and is done with the CD in about five seconds.

Worse than that, by the time I downloaded the latest Windows 2000 service pack (to make iTunes happy) and installed the latest QuickTime, iTunes, and iPod transfer software, I found myself with a mysterious system slowdown bug that makes my computer crawl like a dying donkey. Now I’m stuck in an upgrade death spiral whereby I have to keep upgrading one thing after another in order to reach equilibrium again. Why is it a death spiral? Because nothing is working right now (well, to be specific, everything is working at a miserable crawl), so I can’t stop until I fix the whole computer. Now I’m in the process of upgrading my whole OS to Windows XP. Will it help? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll let you know.

Among the many clever things they did with the iPod, there was this: you can engrave whatever you want on the back of it for free. Pretty neat! But they say in the fine print: all sales of engraved units are final. I put my last name on mine. I wish that I had instead emblazoned it with the words: I AM AN UNRETURNABLE DONKEY.

4 thoughts on “My iPod Death Spiral”

  1. Don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but I recently had a similar experience with windows players. I bought a new iRiver player for the gym. It was supposed to support the wma format which all the song sellers now use. I got it home and couldn’t get a wma song onto it. Turns out it doesn’t actually support “secure” wma format. It is so stupid. It went back to the store sooooo fast!

    I went to the windows media player page and it turns out that some players are very integrated with the windows media stuff: Rio and Creative Nomad. If for some reason you (or anybody else) gets a windows player, get one of those.

    The whole music industry is shooting itself in the foot. They need one standard and it needs to be easy to use. It shouldn’t be easier to steal the music than to buy it… and all players need to support the same formats.

    Wow… i guess I could have written all this as an entry on my on web page!

  2. This reminds me of that movie… Independence Day.(worst movie ever). Rememeber, when Jeff Goldblum flies into the alien Mothership and ,with a Powerbook no less, hacks into into its network and destroys it. in like 30 seconds….Yeah, that easy. Meanwhile, we can’t even get MP3’s to play.
    More fuel for the PC/Mac wars…

  3. Ned,
    Youch. Tres lame!
    Sorry to hear about the probs you’re having. I’m a Mac fan and iPod owner, but you know that I try to steer my Wintel buds right re. music players. I’ll be sure to point them towards your site.
    Thanks, BobG.

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