A little less than a year ago I wrote a post about a sweet MP3 player I'd bought that functioned only as an MP3 player. In terms of what it offered, it was identical to an iPod shuffle, and I loved that all I had to do was reach up and tap my ear to navigate my music.
In that post, I went on to rip on the iPod and its brethren because Apple was charging up the ass for a product with similar storage and navigation capabilities, but Sony was selling theirs for about thirty bucks.
Then my Sony MP3 player crapped out at the first sign of moisture.
I owe Apple an apology.
Last Christmas, up high on my mother's wish list was an MP3 player. More specifically, she wanted an iPod - which I rolled my eyes at - but it's Christmas and what you want to find under the tree is what you want, not necessarily what others want to get you. In the same way my family is often very understanding about my general gifting preference (preorders), I was certainly going to supply my mother with an iPod, no matter how ostentatious I thought the product.
I moseyed down to the Apple store - populated just as illustrated in Penny Arcade - with attractive young twenty-somethings, all sporting some variety of hipster styling. Goatees, sideburns, thick-rimmed glasses - and sometimes all three.
A few days earlier I had been down to the store, and was careful to avoid said well-coiffed individuals. I beelined it for their display of cute little iPod Nanos and spent eight-and-a-half seconds checking out the touchscreen navigation.
"Well shit. That is fucking cool."
I returned shortly after, cash in hand, and was waited upon by a dude as hip and attractive as company standards required who was very interested in showing me everything I didn't ask to see. After a while - and after needing to get the help of several Geniuses to get his cash drawer open (the notion of paying cash for something seemed alien and suspicious to him), he rang up my mother's pink iPod Nano.
"David Ferber. F. E. R. B. E. R."
I caught his eye.
"Um okay. Email address?"
My mother was initially very pleased with the gift. I supplied her with a somewhat ridiculous amount of MP3s from her favorite artists, and went to bed on Christmas day pleased that I had done my best for my family.
A few months later, she hated the thing, and brought it to me.
"You want an MP3 player, right?"
"Well, here - this doesn't work any more. I don't know what's wrong with it, it just keeps shutting off. If you can get it to work, it's yours."
After supplying myself with iTunes and charging the device, I discovered it worked perfectly.
More than that, I didn't even need to muck about with its manual to understand its machinations. My parents believe this is because - being raised by machines - I share some sort of kinship with the device. Even when it does something unexpected, like all the icons start jiggling for some reason, I intuitively understand that the solution is to shake the thing to get them to stop - and then the realization hits me that it was shaking it in the first place that caused the jiggle - and that the jiggly icons exist so I can move them where I wish.
Zipping about the device is, I must say, freakishly intuitive - supernaturally so, given that it is (no word of a lie) the first iProduct I've ever laid my hands on. It's fast, it's capable, it's stylish and the reason it costs a hundred and fifty bucks plus tax is because it may just be the best MP3 player of its type in the world.
It holds a ridiculous amount of music (an assertion Blue would surely contest), you can wear it like a watch if you choose, it gets radio and mucking about with playlists is way easier than it should be.
If I have any one complaint about the device, it is that I cannot group my playlists into folders. That's it. It's just lovely.
Naturally, after having discovered the item works and wallowing in its inner workings for a few days, I returned to my mother.
"Okay, so this thing works perfectly. More than that, it's frickin' awesome, and I can show you everything you need to know about it now."
"No, that's okay."
"Are you sure? It works fine and it's really easy."
"Well, it seems like you're really enjoying it."
"Mom, just take it back."
"No, I don't want it."
So now I have an awesome iPod Nano.
I carry it with me quite regularly - I tend to listen to classic rock or blues on the way to work, and almost always stick to blues when I decide to take my entire lunch break and spend it stretched out in the grass behind my office, looking at the sky through rustling leaves.
On the way back up to the office I'll usually turn on something more chipper, like Colleen, and whenever I'm tooling around in someone else's car, it'll often be my iPod that we listen to.
I love this thing. Apple, I'm sorry for what I said. Your iPods rock.
Occasionally - now and then - when I pull it out, a friend or co-worker will make note of its color and call me on it. Sometimes they'll ask "why do you have a fuchsia iPod?"
"No, no," I tell them,