ITunes Madness

ITunes Madness

Thanks to my boss, who donated a used computer to me for my birthday, I now have a computer that can handle ITunes. Unfortunately, the CD drive on the computer reads but doesn’t write.

I guess I could hook up my old computer, wipe most of the drive, and use it as music backup. Or even harness the CD drive to make a couple of music disks. I have an mpg player, but it plays cds.

I’ve finally begun looking at IPods. The IPod shuffle would be great for me, except I don’t like the idea that it is basically disposable. You can’t replace the battery? I’d love one of those IPod Nanos (I’m partial to the green one – 4G maybe?), but they are a bit expensive for me. The bigger IPods are right out of range for me. Hah. I even looked at the Bose system you can dock it on – wouldn’t that be sweet? I have one ancient stereo, and a kind of boomboxy sort of thing. For someone who loves music as much as I do, it is strange that I don’t really have a good way to play it.

I know I’m way behind on all of this. Hey, I don’t even have a cellphone. I’m not a Luddite or anything – I just don’t have the cash.

Once again – I could really, really use a good Atlanta job. I’m still working part-time, no paid sick days or vacations, no benefits. I like my job, but I’ve got to start paying off those student loans…

Anyway, I couldn’t burn a CD, and I started looking around at ITunes. Ooooooo. Big mistake. BIG BIG mistake.

I started thinking about songs I hadn’t heard in a long time – say, all the way back to “All on a Golden Afternoon” from Alice in Wonderland. I found that some songs were only available if you buy the whole album, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Other songs I wanted weren’t there at all (like Danny Kaye’s “Inchworm” – I was feeling nostalgic, all right? I loved Danny Kaye.)

Before I knew it, I had purchased a number of songs. I will not tell you the number of songs.

I had to forcibly stop myself from buying songs that I already own!

And now I’m eyeing those IPod thingies. It would be so nice to be able to convert my favorite music…

Tell me your IPod experiences – pros and cons. Are there better alternatives? Can you even burn the ITunes format as Mp3? This is all new to me, but I know there are some experts out there. Tell me what I need to know.

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7 thoughts on “ITunes Madness

  1. I thought I was the only person in the country who still didn’t have a cellphone!

    I had the iTunes/iPod revelation a few months back. It started with a simple album buy and burn, and turned into days of loading my whole music collection onto my computer and then playing with playlists, etc..

    I have been suprised at how much it has changed my music listening habits. Rather than constantly replaying the same relative handful of CDs, I’ve really been rediscovering my older music. Also, creating playlists that mingle different artists in new and interesting ways has been a revelation.

    On the advice of a friend of mine, I am trying a subscription to emusic. They sell songs individually, but you can also sign up for a monthly plan. For 9.99 I can download 30 tracks each month. They do not have the selection that iTunes does (I believe they are #2 in total catalog) but they feature more independent music. Having those monthly downloads gives me an incentive to go ahead and experiment with artists I haven’t heard before. I’m just starting out with this, but so far it has been a good experience. The emusic downloads are in mp3 format, and they are yours. Burn them onto CDs or put them on as many computers or mp3 players as you want. You can also load them right into iTunes if you want to use that as your primary player.

    With all of this, I’m probably spending more time listening to music than I have since college. It has been really cool.

    Gerald

  2. A couple of thoughts:
    * Replacing the read-only CD on your “new” computer is one of the easiest hardware upgrades you can do. A replacement internal one with CD read-write capabilities should cost less than $20.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2935509&CatId=87

    The two required cables are already present inside and will only plug in the right way. If you have an empty bay you should be able to leave the existing one in and add a new one. If there is no empty bay the old one can be removed (involves a couple of screws, you just need to find them). Have a geek for a neighbor?
    * I think you can burn the itunes tracks you purchased onto up to 7 different CDs before the digital rights management kicks in. A quick web search brought up http://askbobrankin.com/convert_itunes_to_mp3_format.html which gives a process for getting those files into mp3 format.
    * Regarding the internal battery, this was a problem with the early Ipods, but Apple has dealt with it. Battery life is an important feature, it is a pain to carry a charging cable around.
    * Get as much storage as you can. 4 Gbytes is quite a bit, but Apple’s format is somewhat bigger than a mp3 (this is probably adjustable). It is much nicer if you can get your entire active library on the player. I would assume no more than 200 songs per Gbyte.
    * I think a Nano is much better than a Shuffle, having control of what gets played (e.g. depending on your mood) seems essential to me.
    * I haven’t looked recently, but you might be able to get considerably more storage for the price from other vendors. They don’t have the coolness factor, but in my experience they work well. I ended up with a Sony player and I have been very happy with it (especially the 24 hour battery life!)
    — Vance

  3. Yeah, doh! I can just put my old burner in the blank slot. It’s a different color, but that’s all right. I guess it was too obvious to have occurred to me today. Thanks.

    Thanks for the converter information, and all the other thoughts as well! This is helpful.

  4. Heck, my cellphone, all it can do is make or take calls. That’s it, nothing else, nada, zip, zero. And even that, I don’t talk to people, it’s for emergencies. 🙂

    Anyway, as for mp3 players. . . I have, what I call, my ancient pda. It’s a Ipaq, a Compaq Ipaq, from back in the day when HP and Compaq were separate companies. 🙂 And this was before anyone ever heard of ipods. And I’ve been listening to my music, many types of formats and watching videos, many types of formats and playing games and typing up my school lab reports on it long before it was cool. And sure, I look at new pdas, but just can’t do it right now so I’m still moving along with my ancient one. 🙂

    The thing that I really didn’t like with the idea of itunes is that you could only use an Ipod. THat might be changing, and you can use it with any service or the other way around. 🙂

    Lois

  5. I won a 2GB iPod a few months back and am only just getting started playing with it. I have discovered, however, that 2GB is not as much as it sounds like! I downloaded too many albums last night to fit on the darn thing! Oy. I don’t know much else about ’em so I’m no help!

  6. God, do I feel ancient! I got an MP3 player for my birthday a month ago and am just starting to install it!!! For someone who loves music (over 800 CD’s), I really fell off the train technologically. I’d love an ipod, but too pricey right now for my circumstances. For that matter, I’d love an Apple computer!

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