Friday, January 12, 2007

Late to the Digital Music Party

Up until very recently I have to admit I didn't get it. I didn't understand all the fuss about having your music in MP3 format or something similiar. While Matt was eating up terabytes on his "music server", I was happily still listening to my music primarily on CDs.

My problem at home was that I'm not sitting in front of my laptop enough to justify ripping my music and listening to it there. Typically when I did want to listen to music it was easiest to either turn on the radio (either the in the car or at home), or pop in a CD (again, works in either). Vicki and I had a travel pack that holds about two dozen CDs or so always at the ready.

As iPods got incredibly popular a few years back, I did start to feel like I was missing out on something. Then when the Shuffle became available for $99, I felt like it was a good time to jump in. I asked Vicki for one my birthday. Instead of an iPod Shuffle, she got me a really nice "Skullcandy" MP3 player with a built-in FM tuner and something like 512MB of flash. I had just started dabbling with ripping my CDs to MP3 and putting it on this player when disaster stuck and I left the little bugger on the bus.

I was so mad at myself I swore I was unworthy to carry one.

Then at some point, Matt was praising to me. I checked it out and it was really nice, but I reminded myself of all the above reasons why I didn't keep my personal music collection in magnetic format.

Then this last Christmas, I got a couple of CDs that I enjoyed. One day I got the idea to take them to work and rip them to my work computer so I could listen to them at work without carrying them back and forth. That worked so well pretty soon I was raiding my old CD collections for an assortment of music to match up with any mood I was in at work. I now have almost 1GB of mp3's on my work computer, and it's growing quick.

It's great - I can choose a particular artist and just listen to his music. Or I can choose a genre. Or just a random shuffle. Spin my own radio station according to my current whim, all without commercials. Hmmm... hasn't Matt been trying to convince me of this for like 10 years or something?

Of course now the next problem is that my music is all stored on my work laptop. I was just thinking how great it would be to put them on a portable USB drive that I could use at work, or plug into my Xbox 360 for playing during games, or even my home laptop if so inclined. But then what if I wanted to listen to it on the go? And sure enough, I find myself thinking that what I really needed was a nice big iPod or Zune that would function as both MP3 player and USB drive with multi-gig storage.

Yup, the problem with all this stuff is that it always makes you want to buy more things you really don't need. Boy, marketing plus convenience does add up to a consumeristic society, doesn't it?

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