July 14th, 2006


In preparation for my trip to Canada, I purchased full-blown iPod. I figured I would like to listen to music on the flights and I also envisioned spending most of my time in Canada alone, so I thought it’d be a good purchase. In the Mac-PC debate I fall pretty squarely on the PC side of things, but I understand that people like Macs and I have no problem with people using them (though I do have a problem with Mac users implying I’m stupid for using PCs). While iPods aren’t technically Macs, they are made by Apple, so I felt a little dirty buying one.

In the interests of full disclosure I should mention that this is actually the second iPod I’ve purchased. The first was a 1Gb Shuffle which I am trying to trade to any interested party (make me an offer!).

I bought a 30Gb iPod because the Shuffle wasn’t getting it done for me. There was no screen and it doesn’t hold much. I knew these things going into the purchase, but I thought it’d be okay. It wasn’t. I found that I wanted something that could hold all my music so I could listen to a particular album if the mood struck. I looked at how big the collection on my hard drive was and it was 6Gb already, so an iPod Nano wasn’t going to be enough, either. Enter the 30Gb iPod.

So, the first thing I did after purchasing it was rip my entire CD collection all over again. I used Windows Media Player 10 on a Windows XP machine to rip them to MP3 format at 192kbps bit rate, and each CD took a little over 2 minutes to rip. (I tested Windows Media Player 11 Beta, but it took closer to three minutes per CD, and I didn’t use iTunes because a) it’s quite a bit slower (though I don’t have the actual time here for comparison, sorry) and b) I don’t care for iTunes’ layout, design, and way-of-use.) When I was done, my entire CD collection weighed in at almost 19Gb.

Well, okay, not my entire collection. As I went through the process I realized there were CDs I wasn’t ever going to listen to (orchestral versions of Beatles songs, for instance), so I didn’t rip them.

Once I was done ripping what I was going to rip I transferred them all over to my G4 Mac that otherwise does nothing. I figured if I have to use iTunes to transfer my music to my iPod (and I do – though other programs have been written to do this task, they haven’t worked well for me), I might as well use its native environment (and this way I wouldn’t have to use iTunes on my PC – I had to re-install Windows a few weeks ago because iTunes had messed my computer up something fierce).

I didn’t end up using my iPod on my trip very much, as it turns out I like to read on flights and the people in Canada were extremely good at keeping me “in the loop” and having me hang out with them. The purchase wasn’t a total loss, though, as I’ve started taking it to work with me. Summers at my job are quite busy, as I have to upgrade (and therefore be physically at) every computer in my school – that’s somewhere north of 400 computers. It’s not difficult, but it is time-consuming, and having music helps the day pass faster. I’ve used a CD-player boombox in the past, but it was bulky and a pain to carry around. The iPod sits on my belt quite nicely and holds more music.

I started out listening to a “Favorites” playlist of 125 songs, but soon started listening to whole albums. Earlier this week I decided to start playing the whole collection in random order. Here’s a sampler segment from that playlist:

  1. “Toy Soldier” – Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
  2. “Across the Universe” – Rufus Wainwright
  3. “That’s Amore” – Dean Martin
  4. “Somedays” – Paul McCartney
  5. “Market Day in Guernica” – Katie Melua
  6. “My Bologna” – Weird Al Yankovic
  7. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  8. “True Companion” – Marc Cohn
  9. “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” – The Statler Brothers
  10. “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It) – The Rolling Stones
  11. “Young at Heart” – Joss Stone
  12. “Thank You Girl” – The Beatles
  13. “The Times They Are A-Changin’” – Simon & Garfunkel
  14. “Kamp Krusty Theme Song” – The Simpsons
  15. “New Slang” – The Shins

It can be a little jarring, and I will admit to skipping songs if I’m not in a mood for them.

I’ve decided, though, that are just some things that I don’t really want on the playlist. Though I like Danny Elfman, I’d rather have words to sing along to. So, earlier this evening I took some albums off. Soundtracks: gone. I like Christmas music, and even listen to it off-season sometimes, but not right now: bye, bye Debbie Boone and George Winston.

I kept some other stuff even though it’s not well-suited to random play. Mandy Patinkin’s first few albums were medley-riffic, and hearing just one piece of the medley out of place sounds quite odd, but it’s still good stuff. Concept albums are also an ill fit with random play. Albums like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band weave song into song throughout the whole album, and later Beatles stuff like Abbey Road has little song fragments and even talking in-between songs. It gets a little surreal on my iPod.

I’ve whittled my songlist down to 3792 songs currently. iTunes tells me that’s a little over 9 days’ worth, and it’s a better mix of the variety and sameness I’m after. I’m sure there will be more cuts later, and I doubt spoken-word comedians will make the next one.

My playlist, like my life, is a work in progress.

Note: Please do not turn the comments section into a Mac-PC debate.
Note: Thanks to the
CT for getting me thinking about music.

7 Comments on “iMusic”

  1. TheBon says:

    If you're looking for a case for your iPod, I recommend iFrogz I just got one for my 30Gb iPod. It does add a little to the skinny dimension of the iPod, but I feel well protected.

  2. the obscure says:

    My birthday is coming up if you need to dump that shuffle.

  3. HorizonPurple says:

    I'd buy an iFrog JUST to have a froggy on my ipod.

    One of the things I must do (apart from sort my music properly) is clean out the stuff I don't listen to. For a while i bought masses of compliation albums (I was going to be an intarwebs DJ), but most of the songs aren't stuff I like, for some reason – having spent so long ripping them, I'm reluctant to delete them. Heh.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Will you please do this for me? I have all the stuff, just not the time!

  5. MadMup says:

    Sure! …I just don't know who you are!

  6. Evets Nitram says:

    The ending of the Kamp Krusty Theme Song never fails to make me laugh. Nice inclusion.

    Evets Nitram

  7. The Cynical Tyrant says:

    so i decided i should read your blog, since you read mine so much! go figure, the first post i read cites me… nice!

    i dreamed last night that i bought an ipod. maybe it's time to just get one.

    my current itunes playlist is a mere 314 songs… i'm working on it.

    love the blog!

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