Skip to content

Stepping Off A Cliff

March 9, 2010

I have finally succumbed. I have today taken delivery of a shiny new iPod Touch. This was a big step for me, because I have consciously avoided Apple products until now, but my beloved Creative Zen is about to die. It performed valiantly for three and a half years, but since Christmas, I have noticed that the battery life was significantly less than usual, and in the last month it started rebuilding itself at random. Last week it rebuilt itself every morning, at which point it was clear I needed to put it out of its misery.

I had bought an iTouch for my husband for Christmas, which was the first Apple product in our household. I had briefly used iTunes once, a good few years ago, and it was such a horrible experience that I made every effort to avoid it ever since. However, the other half was determined he wanted the Touch, and I wasn’t that bothered as I wouldn’t be the one using it. That lasted about two days, then I discovered the Stanza ereader app, and from that point on, I was constantly pinching the thing. I only used it for browsing and reading, but it was terribly addictive!

I spent a good chunk of last week looking at what was available to replace the Zen, only to discover that the answer was ‘Not an awful lot’. If I wanted to spend a lot of money, the various Archos tablets were tempting, but given that the majority of my usage is listening to podcasts, they seem a bit OTT. And big, and expensive. The Zune was seriously tempting but not sold in the UK, which still strikes me as insane. Creative didn’t have anything new, and I found a lot of less than favourable reviews for the newer versions of the Zen, which is a shame, as it was a great little player. This really left me with Sony and Apple, and then I found out that Amazon were giving £50 off certain media players, with an Audible subscription, which brought the base 8gb iTouch below £100. At this point, I decided that I would have to give iTunes another go, as there was no point even thinking about buying this, if I couldn’t get to grips with iTunes, due to the way it’s all locked together.

I have to say that the iTunes process was much less painful than last time. It didn’t go off searching every inch of my computer for music, as it did many years ago, and whilst it has installed QuickTime, it has yet to cause me any issues, which really wasn’t the case before. I managed to get all my music copied over to the library, but I do wish that there was a really simple way to remove duplicate tracks (or that it could avoid importing them in the first place).

After that, I went in search of my podcasts, which gave me my first introduction to the iTunes store. I would have preferred to be able to browse the podcast section without having to sign up for an account, which forced me to enter an address, telephone number and credit card number. Yes, I could have used a gift card, but in a way that would be worse, as I would have already given Apple money for purchases I’ll probably never make. So, any way, I signed up, and found the podcasts. I didn’t find browsing this section particularly easy, and reverted to searching for the ones I was looking for. I think maybe there’s so much choice that the categories need to be broken down a bit further – sport and arts in particular, and probably entertainment, too. I did get completely stumped at one point. The fabulous Christine and Mr C of Sidepodcast also have a tech/media podcast, Media|Future|Change. I know this is is available in iTunes, because they are both Apple devotees (and it has been mentioned on the show), but for the life of me I could not find it. Fortunately, Mr C has included the details of the feed on the blog, so when I used that, I found it ok. Strange.

So, anyway, I survived my first brush with the iTunes store, and I had two days of using iTunes on my laptop without any incidents or problems, so I decided to take the plunge. The Amazon offer was too tempting, given that I already have a monthly Audible sub, so it wouldn’t be costing me any extra. Also, there was nothing in the terms of the offer to say that you had to be a first time subscriber, so I decided to give it a go.

At this point, I must give serious credit to Audible for how easy it was to cancel my existing subscription – one quick search of the online FAQs to check I could do it online, and a simple three click process, and my subscription was cancelled, but with confirmation I could still access my library of content should I wish to. I was really impressed with this, because it’s usually the case that anything involving subscriptions is horrendous to cancel.

I signed up again, via the Amazon offer link, with no problems, and was immediately given my code to use against the purchase. The code worked with no problems, and my shiny new iPod was delivered this morning. So far I am very happy with it, although I am off now to look for a way to sync podcasts but not music, as I don’t have space for all my music so I will only be loading my favourites on, and will change them manually as and when I need to, but I get new podcasts almost every day, so I’d like those to update automatically. I’m sure there’s a way, but it hasn’t leapt out at me so far. My only complaint so far has been that Stanza have been forced to remove the ability to sync books via USB. I would really prefer to be able to drag and drop my chosen books to the player, but instead I have to upload them to a website, and then download them via the app. I suppose it’s a fairly minor irritation, but it just seems spiteful to me.

It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, I’m sure, as once I have figured out the sync thing, I may explore the world of video podcasts – I always avoided them before, as the Zen re-encoded video, which always took ages, plus when I started listening to podcasts, I was working. It’s hard to convince your boss you are giving your job the attention it needs if you’re watching video at the same time! I also have to figure out what other apps I should have, and try to convince my other half that spending £20 on the F1 app is really something I need to do!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 9:16 am

    We haven’t submitted Media Future Change to the iTunes store yet as we’re still tweaking away behind the scenes and there are some changes still to come. So you couldn’t find it for a very good reason! There’s a link to subscribe in iTunes in each podcast post though.

    Congrats on the new iPod! I mostly use mine for games at the moment but I must try a bit harder to find productivity tools and the like 🙂

    • March 10, 2010 12:35 pm

      Ah, ok, that makes sense – I knew I’d seen the iTunes link on the blog before, I just don’t really understand how the whole thing works just yet!

      Mostly I’m going to be using this as an ereader and music player – productivity is not really a thing for me, unless they can come up with an app that will do my housework…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: