Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Requiem for an iPod

Alternate titles to today's blog post:
The End of an iPod
All Good iPods Must Come to an End

Above: A boy and his iPod

My iPod was a gift from some college friends. One of them had a brother with an iPod that had been dropped and wasn't working. Her brother had another iPod, so he had no use for this one. She asked around to see if anyone else could make use of the discount Apple offers on a new iPod if you exchange a broken one. So I took her up on the offer, and she sent me the iPod.

I took it to an Apple store to get the replacement. They asked how long it had been since I had charged it. "A while,"I stammered, fearing that if they found out about the switcharoo, they'd refuse the discount. They said that sometimes charging it from a computer wasn't enough, and you have to plug the iPod directly into a power socket. They asked if I had a wall charger, and I said no, I didn't even have the charging cord.

Meanwhile, they stuck my iPod into one of the docks where they demonstrate the machines, and this scraped, scuffed, and dented machine looked pretty hilarious surrounded by the pristine show models. I was convinced that nothing would happen, but I went along with it all so that I could get my discount. Then the Apple logo came up. I was sure the device wouldn't actually play music, so I started trying to bring up a song. I must have looked pretty hilarious, trying to use this device that was supposedly mine, when I didn't even realize that you don't have to actually push down on the scroll wheel for it to work.

The Apple employee ignored the fact that I had clearly never used an iPod before in my life and took over, helping me start a song. As she scrolled through the list of artists, I suspected that either my friend had her own music on the iPod or her brother had a rather feminine taste in music1. She ended up at an Enya song, as I thought to myself, "Yep, I sure do love me some Enya." She started the song and I unplugged some headphones from a display model and plugged them into the machine. Amazingly, music came through. The employee told me to let it charge for a while, then take it home.

I dutifully waited there, listening to my Enya, then when it had charged for a while I bought a wall charger (and a cord that it turned out I didn't need, because the wall charger box contained one). I went home. iPod acquired.

At first, it seemed to work perfectly. But then, starting from the first time I fully charged it from my computer rather than plugging it directly into a power strip, it started to pick up some odd quirks. These included:
  • An odd "stutter" that would move randomly through the menus or crank the volume up and down manically, depending on which screen I was on.
  • Freezing randomly, including stopping all audio. Sometimes this lasted until the batteries gave out.
  • Pretending that it hadn't just been plugged into a computer when clearly it had. It only ever did this with computers other than my own. Maybe it was shy?
  • Going silent in the right stereo channel (right ear bud) unless pressure was applied to the headphone jack
  • And, just recently, going silent in both stereo channels unless that pressure was applied, and even then sometimes only coming back in one channel.
I plan on continuing to use the iPod until it breaks completely, and then I don't know if I'll be buying another one. Maybe I'll look into less name-brand mp3 players. But this one's certainly on its last legs, and now I have to decide when its psychoses will become too much for me to put up with any longer.

1 Come to think of it, this brother may have been the same one that apparently liked Twilight. Maybe it really was his music!


bluefish said...

All things that are born must die. RIP, iPod.

Kyle said...

If/when my iPod dies (and I expect it will happen eventually), I don't know if I will specifically replace it with another iPod or not, but I can tell you for sure, I'll replace it with some form of MP3 player. Some days, it's the only thing that keeps me sane at the office.

(Also, I just want to say that blogger.com recommends HTML tags such as b and i, and while I did use an i tag up there, it hurt my soul to do so.)

Lord Admiral said...

I think em tags work, too. :D

Kawaika said...

"Now you gotta figure out what you gonna do with yo dead ipod."

I like Enya.

The verification word "kallfir" is dangerously close to "kafir."