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05/12/2003:

and the only devil in your world, lives within the human heart

being new to Apple products, i am kinda in awe of their attention to detail, particularly with the iPod's packaging: it is almost origami-like. i have read about Apple and the attention they have paid to making things esthetically pleasing, but sitting here and taking in the level of detail, well it leaves me impressed. the clear plastic cover that protects the iPod during shipping has faint white lettering in four languages stating, "Don't steal music". the four-leaf folded sleeve that holds the manuals and software is white with a single line of grey text: "Enjoy". Even the plastic bags that encase the ear buds and lanyard remote are backed in mirror gloss and fronted in clear plastic. it is a very impressive.

as for choosing what CD would steal my iPod's virginity, well i cheated; yeah, i can't be trusted. see, after semi-reading the instructions (c'mon, i am in IT for a living, i should be able to figure it out without having to read them all,) i ripped two CDs to my HDD using MusicMatch: the The's 1989 Mind Bomb and the Smashing Pumpkins' 1994 Gish. i then transferred both to the iPod in one single command! so they each win, right? ok, in truth, MusicMatch transferred them in alphabetical order, so the Smashing Pumpkins was first. to make up for that unfair advantage, i played Mind Bomb first. i can't think of two albums that i would more rather have with me on a desert island than these two.

in high school i was a huge fan of The Smiths; thus, i fell in love with the The b/c Johnny Marr played guitar for them. little did i know at the time, but it's possible that Matt Johnson has effected me more than maybe any of The Smiths' CDs: his lyrics are dark, poetic, and haunting. merge these lyrics with the music it is a fantastic album which i recall spending many a day and night listening to it during my college days. from the beginning of the Muslim call to prayer on "Good Morning Beautiful" to the gorgeous duet between Sinead O'Connor and Johnson on "Kingdom of Rain" this album was a door opener for me; it was The Cure or The Smiths for my 20s. i think i even owe Otter thanks for recommending it, b/c even though i was aware of the The's Infected while i was in high school, i never owned it. it was Otter who either owned several the The CDs or it was Otter that goaded me into buying it so we both could listen to it - a friend indeed is a friend with new music. heh. i do remember clearly that it was a great day for me musically when i got that CD; here's how much i love it!

i feel the same way about Gish. although Siamese Dream was my first Smashing Pumpkins CD purchase, it was Gish that made me realize how much blood, sweat, and tears the Pumpkins put into their work. where Siamese Dream came out as super-alt-rock with sonic guitars, loud screaming vocals that were heartfelt, Gish introduced me to the Pumpkins musical dynamic: soft vocals, building rhythm bass and guitars that end up erecting a wall of sound, only to slowly fade away, ready for the next track. "Rhinoceros" is just amazing. every time i hear it (like i did again this weekend) all i can do is smile and say, "damn!"

here are the first ten (plus one - our amps go to eleven) CDs i put on my iPod, chosen b/c i love them and b/c they are a few of my favorites:
1. the The - Mind Bomb
2. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
3. The Pixies - Bossanova
4. Tripl3fastaction - Broadcaster
5. Monster Magnet - Powertrip
6. Local H - As Good As Dead
7. Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
8. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - "lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven!" (disc 1 & 2)
9. Quicksand - Slip
10. Fig Dish - That's what love songs often do
11. Buena Vista Social Club - [self-titled]

and yes, except for where mentioned above, this is the order in which i put them on. :-)

this isn't to say that my time spent with the iPod has been flawless; MusicMatch is basically a POS. it will occasionally crash my PC to a system reboot, which isn't pleasant and can cause serious issues. the first time it crashed in this manner i was ripping a CD to my hard drive and the database for MusicMatch became corrupted. since my iPod was connected at the time, it also hosed the iPod. i was forced to uninstall MusicMatch, re-install it, and then format the iPod's HDD. this took much longer than the time to write this sentence, including not one but two levels of tech support at Apple. in the end, the iPod got back up and running and i learned a valuable lesson: i now keep it disconnected while using MusicMatch to rip CDs. as a work-around, i have been ripping CDs using CDex and that seems to work better (no crashes, of course) but i still have to use MusicMatch to transfer music from my HDD to the iPod. i am going to look into XPlay and see if it is any better as a transfer program.

funny thing about Apple support: both levels of tech support engineers couldn't say enough about how lame it was that i was having issues, about how lame it was that i was having to reboot after uninstalling applications (like i had to do about 4 times with MusicMatch) and about how lame it was that i didn't own an Apple. the first level of tech support was even going to end the tech support call by telling me to call Microsoft b/c this was *obviously* a problem with my PC and Windows XP (even though my PC has recently been freshly formatted and had Windows XP Pro installed, with no issues with ANY of the other 30-40 applications i use on a regular basis.) fortunately, i was pushed up a level to another tech support guy, who while nice, was much of the same. eventually i fixed the issue myself via trial and error. so it is safe to say that i was unimpressed with Apple's tech support; while they were both very nice individuals, the holier-than-thou-b/c-we-use-Macs attitude wore thin and i think was uncalled for. MusicMatch is the program that caused this issue to begin with (by crashing and corrupting a memory address on the iPod's HDD.) Apple chose to bundle MusicMatch with their product and if it doesn't work well on Windows XP then the people to blame are the developers, not the manufactures of the OS. i know that Apple likes to poke fun and part of their shtick is the whole "we're simple to use" mantra (which i heard about 22 times during my 2 hour tech support call) but in truth they are still a PC/software company and as such, they can't avoid all the pitfalls, although they may limit many of them b/c they only have a single platform for which they write code for. well, welcome to the Windows world, boys; there is more than just one PC maker out there, so you might want to make sure your software is stable enough on more than one of them. ;-)

all that said, the iPod has been nice. i mowed with it on Sat and i have used it in the car a couple of times (using the Belkin TuneCast mobile FM transmitter.) i loaded about 6GB of CDs on it and i am sure i am going to use the heck out of it this week at work.

nite nite!

Replies: 9 Comments

sucks you had those problems

otterco said @ 05/12/2003 08:38 AM CST

yeah, but in the end it is fine and working.

if this was a mainstream PC product, i would have expected issues like this from the get-go. being an Apple "thang" i didn't and then had some anyway. just goes to show that technology is technology is technology, no matter what company makes it. don't by the hype - PCs are still going to be complex and have issues.

;-)

ps - the iPod truly doth rock, though!

sellthekids said @ 05/12/2003 09:24 AM CST

Damn! I should have known! The The and Smashing Pumpkins crossed my mind but I thought they might have been too obvious of a selection in your vast library of tunes just like the Pixies. But hey! - I wasn't too far off and the list you put together suits you quite well. Like Otter said bummer you had those problems.

heather said @ 05/12/2003 10:08 AM CST

What?! No Cheap Trick, Faster Pussycat, Ratt, Poison, Cinderella, Skid Row, Dokken, Warrant???? COME ON! AT the very least, gotta have a little Hanoi Rocks!!!!!!!!

rdbj_97 said @ 05/12/2003 11:33 AM CST

Holy crap, I can't believe I forgot David Soul "Don't give up on us, baby"!!!! I think Starsky released a single, too, but it blew.

rdbj_97 said @ 05/12/2003 02:13 PM CST

yeah, it probably hasn't been as obvious as it used to be, since i have yet to hang my the The pic in my office...even though we have been in the new house for 18 months! heh.

the pixies are a major player in my musical taste also and i will be transferring all of those CDs hopefully this week. bossanova made the first 10 in, but having it on the iPod just makes me want doolittle and the complete b-sides too. ;-)

i own a cheap trick double disc set (not live at buddakhan) and a skid row CD...all the rest of that stuff i probably have their one/two hit wonder songs. i will have to check out the links you sent Rob for David Soul - i have never heard of him (i don't think.)

sellthekids said @ 05/12/2003 05:23 PM CST

David Soul turned down major league baseball contract to sing it "Folks-style." Then, he got into acting (He was "Hutch" in "Starsky and"). The episode where he gets hooked on heroine...now that was powerful stuff. His singing, on the other hand...wow. Um, maybe we can hook him up with Ozzie's producer and help out those vocals.

rdbj_97 said @ 05/13/2003 03:03 PM CST

Question about the belkin. How clear is it? Is the transmitter powerful enough? How long od the batteries last? Is it a digital tuner or analog with a little dial that might drift in and out?

ARogan said @ 05/14/2003 06:02 PM CST

here is a better link:
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=&Section_Id=201526&pcount=&Product_Id=140984

it is not bad. here in houston, we really only have one channel operating in the range that the Belkin offers and that is 88.7. so i usually set it to 88.1 or 88.3 and it is fine. using a cord extension so that it can rest across the passenger seat helps too, i think.

it has yet to eat the batteries that came with it and i use it each morning and evening for about an hour. i guess it is OK on battery use.

it is digital in the sense that their is no dial to adjust - pick the best one of four frequencies and go at it.

a guy at work ordered one that lets you adjust for the full spectrum; it hasn't arrived yet, so no clue if it is better or worse. mine works fine and i am happy with it.

hope that helps!

sellthekids said @ 05/15/2003 08:29 PM CST


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