Santa brought the Benjamins some lovely gifts this year. I have had a great time playing "Rock Band" with Athena, Heather and sometimes Steve and Hannah. The girls are also having fun playing with their new Wii. I have not had time to play any Wii games yet, but I know that I'll have fun when I do. We are also going to get the Wii Fit at some point, so maybe that will help me get some exercise too. (Hey, don't laugh! It could happen!)
Nothing, however, has gotten more use than the family iPods we have. Steve got his first iPod for Christmas this year, a blue Nano. Athena got her first iPod this year too, a purple Shuffle. Hannah got her second iPod (after dropping the first one in the toilet several months back). She has the largest one, a 120 gb iPod Classic. I didn't get a new one, but I did get the first gen iPod Touch over a year ago when they first came out. (My original iPod, a first generation Nano, gave up the ghost after it went through the washer and dryer). Heather also didn't get a new one, but she has a first generation Nano.
I love my iPod and bought a new car stereo that has an adapter for iPod use. For the most part, we don't use headphones (except Athena, because the Shuffle dosesn't have its own player). Hannah and Heather have players in their rooms and they can also plug them into their computer speakers. I have a Bose Sound dock, which is portable enough for me to carry from room to room. Steve mostly listens to his on the computer speakers and in his car.
These things are really remarkable inventions. (I'm sure other MP3 players are cool, too, but I am not that familiar with them). Consider this: Hannah and I both dropped our iPods into water. Hannah's was retrieved immediately (she tells me it was just water, if you get my meaning). But mine was WASHED, then DRIED. The detergent surely corroded the sensitive electronics in the player. Yet, in both cases, we were able to dry them out thoroughly and they kept working, more or less fine, for six to nine months before finally giving up. Wow. I have read posts on the Apple website that say that others weren't so lucky, but still....You'd think that they would be totally destroyed after getting submerged.
The other thing that I find amazing is the storage capacity. Think about it. Hannah's iPod holds 120 gb! Only a few years ago, that was an average hard drive for a pretty beefy computer. Yet the iPod is just the size of a deck of cards. My iPod Touch is only 8 gb, yet I was able to put 1800 songs on it and it's still only 75% full! That means I can carry my entire CD collection and 30 or 40 of the ones Steve owns. Athena's iPod holds 1gb and is smaller than a match book! (I know, perfect size for a 9-year-old to lose, but Santa did shop in the refurbished section for that one).
Apple has definitely made some business mistakes, but the iPod is absolutely brilliant. And they keep coming up with cool new features that's way ahead of the competition. We use ours for mostly music, but I know that most iPods can play videos and the Touch can browse the internet. (Sure, the browsing is a little cumbersome, but it's still cool). There are games and utilities that you can download from the Apple Store, and some that are free. Plus they have that cool new shake thing that shuffles your music when you shake the iPod. It's not earth-shattering functionality, but it's still clever.
Steve has a kazillion CD's, as anyone has been to our house knows. He has taken to his new iPod with a vengence, determined to rip all his CD's to this computer and then switch it out from time to time (since his iPod is only 8gb). He is having fun with that---organizing everything, downloading album covers for the more obscure albums, and remembering why he bought certain ones in the first place. He's like a kid in the candy store. (I may have to eventually get him an external hard drive for him to rip his music to; that way, he'll have a back up and he'll still have space on his computer for other things. Here's another amazing thing regarding storage capacity: you can now get 1TB external hard drive for around $130.00 on sale)!!! I am glad he likes his gift. He was thinking of getting Sirius radio, but now he is content to listen to his own music instead. That saved us the price of the adapter, installation and a new subscription service. Yea!
I do have one complaint. The DRM thing doesn't bother me, as I never buy anything from the Apple Store...and that's going to be a moot point soon anyway because Apple is launching DRM-free iTunes....I digress....My complaint has to do with battery life. Thus far, I have been careful enough to NOT drop my Touch in any water. I don't carry it around much (except back and forth from my car), so that's not an issue. Yet, my Touch is only 16 months old---out of warranty, of course---and it no longer holds a charge. What?? I am not what you would consider a heavy-duty user. But now, if it's not plugged into a power source, such as the computer or the Sound Dock, it doesn't work. I went online and did all the things in the Apple forums that people suggested to fix battery life issues, to no avail.
So...a few days I was contemplating getting a new iPod. I use it a fair amount, and have gotten very used to not listening to the crappy radio (except NPR). Carting my CD's around is a pain. So, what's an iPod girl to do? I am TRYING to be frugal, but a new iPod, especially just after Christmas, would be a major purchase. They don't come cheap. I started looking around and found a website that fixes iPods for a reasonable price. I was 99.9% sure the issue is my battery. I decided to take a chance.
Yesterday, I shipped my beloved iPod Touch to a place in San Antonio Texas called Milliamp. http://www.ipodjuice.com/ They are going to replace the battery with a new one that is supposed to be better than the one that it came with. They are not affiliated with Apple, which makes me a little nervous. But the good news is that if they are able to fix it up for me, I've saved about $200.00, and I get a better, longer lasting battery.
I'll have to let you know how it works out for me. If they do a good job, I'm thinking of investing another $32.00 in getting Hannah's old one fixed. Then we'll be a six iPod family. Steve might like having a bigger one that he can put more of his music on.
By the way, if you have an old iPod that you don't know what to do with, there are some options other than throwing it away. If it still works but you just upgraded, you can use it as a second hard drive (similar to a thumb drive). You can use it to show off photos, back up items from your computer, play games, etc. Here are some great ideas: http://lifehacker.com/5117895/top-10-ways-to-repurpose-your-old-ipod.