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To iPod or Not to iPod… July 22, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Technology.

After toying around with my brother’s month-old iPod, I’ve come up with two reasons to invest in a new one, and they have nothing to do with its ability to play music.

First, these newer iPods make use of flash drive technology, which make them very attractive alternatives to limited memory jump drives. Older models were actually hard disks in an MP3 player’s clothing, and while you could use them as extra memory for storage, it was cumbersome for a Mac user to use them for that purpose when transferring files from Windows PCs. Thus, these newer ones are much easier to use.

Second, the video playback of the fifth generation iPod is quite sharp. By and large, this feature surprised me the most. While I still can’t imagine chucking a full-length movie into one and watching it from start to finish, I can imagine watching shorts or anything the length of a television series during short trips, which is great for Mr. Everyman Commuter (and Apple is apparently on to something in selling cheap episodes of several TV series over the iTunes Music store). More, freeware programs have already begun mushrooming across the internet allowing people to convert their video files into the iPod’s video format (MP4) with very good quality. For instance, I downloaded a copy of iSquint (get the joke?) and tested it out by converting a couple of my brother’s fan-dubbed anime videos and playing it on his iPod. When he saw the results, the fanatic literally kneeled before me in awe. If I get a unit of my own, I’d probably fill it up with something similar.

Unfortunately for me, there are two compelling reasons I’ll probably be stuck with my third generation iPod for quite a while.

To begin with, my iPod might be old but it has a new battery. When I started noticing that my iPod would barely stay on for two hours, I decided to spend around $30 on a new battery instead of shelling out at least ten times that amount on a new iPod. Thus, I ordered a do-it-yourself battery replacement kit from ipodjuice.com, which gave me the opportunity to open up my iPod, see its inner workings and play electrical technician for a nerve-wracking ten minutes. The operation was a success, and the patient now has a new lease on life. That experience alone has made me more attached to my iPod.

More than that, I don’t think my iPod’s memory will ever get run out. It’s a 40 gig model, and after chucking into it every CD I could find at home as well as backups of my more important files and using it to store my digital pictures, I’ve still only used up about 17 gig. I’m beginning to think it’ll begin falling apart long before I ever use it up to capacity (and I can’t imagine what anyone will do with one of those 60 gig iPods available, as much as I’d like to get a shot at it). Also, the fact that my iPod supports firewire, which these newer ones don’t, seems to allow for faster transfers of larger files – but don’t quote me on that.

So it looks like I’ll be stuck with my trusty old iPod for a long time. Unless I lose all self control and just up and buy one. Or someone gives one to me. Or I secretly pocket my brother’s when I leave for the US in late August.

Sounds like a plan.



1. iWant! iWant. iWant? « BRAIN DRAIN - September 9, 2007

[…] I own a third generation iPod and have been thinking of upgrading to a newer model for quite some time now. The unit is still serviceable, so if I do take the plunge it will have to be in favor of something […]

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