Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Did you hear the one about the iPod that jumped to its death while playing Disintegration?

Filed under : Gadgets
On January 8, 2009
At 2:15 am
Comments : 12

This could be the longest title I’ve ever done but it was worth it. And I even left out the part about leaping onto the tracks beneath a subway car. And it’s all true.

You will remember (or be reminded) that I have said that I tend to listen to The Cure’s Disintegration on rainy days (I’m so melancholy and dramatic, what can I say). Today was a rainy day and that figures into this story because I was carrying an umbrella in my hand. Sure, I have two hands but I had my iPod stuffed into a pocket. It stays dry that way too. I take a really crowded subway to work, the #1 (we’re #1!) and as my train stopped at 50th Street, a lady pushed past me to get out of the car. This is not unusual. In fact, I push past other people. It’s not like there’s anywhere for people to get out of your way. You just have to use your elbows. Well, the cord to my headphones got caught on one of those elbows. Or it may have been her coat. Or her bag. It all happened so fast.

Wham! The cord came out of my pocket. So I put my hand in to plug it back in. NO IPOD. I looked and there it was, face down on the ground next to the tracks. Yes, it had managed to go flying into the three inch gap between the car and the platform. I was kind of stunned. No, I was utterly stunned. And then the chime ding dinged and the doors closed. Holy fucking hell. There went my iPod. Gone forever in the space of three seconds. No one seemed to have noticed at all. I said to the lady next to me, “that was my iPod. My iPod fell onto the tracks.” She looked at me and said, “really?” in the tone of voice you might use if I told you that cereal tastes better with raisins. I went on with, “that was $200!” Actually, I have no idea if it was $200 because it was a gift from a dear friend, but that’s how much I estimated it would cost to replace it. More on that later. But the important thing is, she just gave me a kind of, “mmm hmmm” look. These are the moments, ladies & gentlemen, when you just want to reach out and bash people in the head.

When I got to work, the universal comment was, “why didn’t you just go get it?” Excuse me? I’m not risking my life for an iPod. Unless it was really new and I didn’t have the music backed up. Plus, if you think I’m going to be reusing a device covered in puke and rat droppings, you are sorely mistaken. Some track worker is probably having a look at it right now. It’s probably still playing the Cure, I have the whole discography.

The funny thing is, I just bought a shiny new toy with my Hannukah money yesterday. It’s called a Slingbox and it allows me to watch my home TV on any computer or even my Blackberry. Yes, live TV or programs I’ve recorded on my DVR. Waiting for the bus. At work. In hotels. In the kitchen. The sky’s the limit. As long as they have Internet access in the sky. But, well, this really put a damper on things. “Look, I have a fun new gadget!” has turned into “holy hell, I lost my beloved old gadget!”

But now I have this difficult task of replacing Old Faithful. I was sure I would buy a refurb. Every Apple device I’ve ever purchased, including the MacBook on which I am currently typing this, has been a refurb. Fantastic bargains. But there were no iPod “Classics,” as the one I had is now called, on offer. Then I made the mistake of looking at iPod Touches. This put that Bloodhound Gang about doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel in my head the whole day. That’s because it’s called The Bad Touch. I basically spent the whole day dithering over whether to get a Touch or a Classic or a Nano. Or should I just get an iPhone and not carry around two devices all the time? Stupid flying iPod. Why did it have to rain today? I, I’d really like to know. That just put another song into my head, it’s by APB and those are the first two lines. See how crazy this has made me?

This evening, I went to the Apple Store (the cheerful Apple guy said mine was the saddest story he had heard all day) where I spent twenty minutes doing the exact same dithering I had done the whole day, only this time it was in front of the actual objects. I really did want a Touch. But did you know? The Touch is exactly like an iPhone except it costs more and does less. Yes, yes, I don’t need to pay $70 a month for it, but I already pay $60 a month for the Blackberry! And when I stood in the Apple store playing with it, I realized that it would make me want an iPhone every day. Because I’m never near WiFi except in my own home and I can check my e-mail and surf on an actual computer there. It’s for when I’m out. And then I’ll be using my Blackberry and its tiny little screen. Now, I do love my Blackberry and I wrote an ode to it a while back, but, well, surfing on this screen is really awesome.

I ended up buying a Nano (purple!) on the theory that my Blackberry contract is up in November and this will tide me over till then. But I haven’t opened it because I’m not sure. It’s really hard to fathom paying just a bit less than it would cost for an iPhone, which is a phone and browses the web and does e-mail and plays music and a hundred other things, and getting this… music player. If only T-Mobile would let me go. That’s a song by Heaven 17 and probably a lot of other people.

So, anyone want to take over a T-Mobile contract? Free Curve with memory card!

I’m only half-joking.

I could go with so many references in this post but here’s the one that rainy days sound like to me.
The Cure – Plainsong


12 Comments for this post

  1. Melanie says:

    Aww, Becca. I’m sorry your iPod leapt to its death. I would cry and cry if that happened to me – my Mini was a gift from my parents and is engraved and was my first really good experience with music since I lost my hearing. So I’d cry. And then I’d go buy a purple Nano, so I’m a little bit jealous of you, I have to say.

    The Touch is definitely cool – David has one and we play games on it all the time (Price is Right!). But if you think you might switch to an iPhone in the near future, I think you made the right choice in not getting the Touch.

  2. North of the City says:

    {Insert picture of me looking completely stunned here…}

    All I can picture is a bunch of subway rats clustered around your iPod nodding their little heads along to to Last Dance.

  3. sarpon says:

    I know I’m musically challenged, but what makes it better to have an iPhone instead of using your Blackberry as an mp3 player? Then you could get a Bluetooth stereo headset and never worry about someone yanking your gadget from you. Except for the muggers, of course.

  4. kb says:

    of course, my best friend had her iPhone for six whole months before she dropped it into her soup and fried it. She was forced to upgrade to the new 3G and she’s still pissed about it, as the plan costs more.

    I LOVE my iPhone, but I admit it is difficult when you’re looking at redundancy features. The iPhone is fabulous and if you get one let me know and I’ll tell you my favorite apps for it, but as a phone I’m just a teeny bit disappointed that I can’t always hear people the way I’d like. And I can’t text pictures. And a couple of other irritating things that on another phone I’d start a riot over, but because the iPhone has so many cooool features that pacify me, I only just grumble a bit over and then go back to playing Bejeweled 2.

    I think the new iPhones have improved the speakers a bit. But remember, it’s still a computer and so it suffers some of the same woes as a computer … locking up, etc.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Becca says:

    Well, there is an update. Through trying to get rid of my T-Mo contract, I discovered that I could change plans and get a cheaper one. So now I’m paying $40/month (I rarely use the phone aspect, mostly the data). So getting an iPhone would nearly double my bill. I really can’t justify that.

    So I went back and exchanged the pretty purple Nano for the Touch and I’m really loving it. Although I’ll miss all the WiFi aspects when I leave the house.

    That said…

    Mel, it was really horrifying and while I didn’t cry, I was totally devastated. But it has been mitigated by the Touch, I must say. I’m glad you love yours!

    North, that was the completely stunned look I had on my face! I wonder if rats get depressed…

    Sarp, good question! I considered that. I have a memory card that is 6GB. I could trade up for a 16Gb and fit as much as I have now on the Touch. However, I also play my music at work and attaching a Blackberry doesn’t put all the songs smoothly into your iTunes player the way the iPod does. Also, the music player program just isn’t as robust. I tried it for two days while I dithered about the iPod and honestly, it drove me nuts.

    Also, in researching the iPhone vs. carrying a phone and Touch, several people made a good point which is that as you use your music/movie/book reader/game player, you can wear down the battery without fear of not being able to make or receive phone calls for the rest of the day because you have no juice. So two devices may actually be better than one.

    kb, but the 3G is supposed to be so much better! OTOH, as someone who just got something much better, I’m still pissed, so I feel her pain.

    Now that I have the Touch (that’s a Peter Gabriel song!), please do share your favorite apps. I put about eight on so far.

    I don’t text so that wouldn’t bother me but not hearing people could get pretty stale. The Blackberry Curve is really a superb phone. I’m glad I have both, especially because the BB’s e-mail program is really much better.

  6. KP says:

    I would have cried. A lot.

    I was all excited about your purple Nano, now I am all excited about your Touch. My son is insane over his. He has a whoopi cushion app he enjoys. If you want any other recommendations from a teenage boy, please let me know.

  7. Becca says:

    When I saw that iFart was the #1 application it made me realize that I might not be the average demographic for this thing.

  8. kb says:

    well, it’s been said I march to the tune of my own drummer … so my faves may bore you. But here goes:

    Shazam. This app is wonderful to show off, although for you being in the music biz it won’t have quite the bang it has for me. Basically, you hold it towards a speaker, and it will record 10 seconds of a song, upload it to some database somewhere, and within about ten more seconds will return the name of the song + info. It’s really handy for those of us with bad memories for names; I use it most exclusively though to identify new music that I hear at stores, bars, etc. but have no way of asking “who sings this?” With Shazam, when I hear a song I like whilst shopping, I just hold my phone up in the air and “shazam!” I can buy it (or look it up, or whatever). What’s most fun about it is to see people’s jaws drop when you use it. They can’t believe technology is this good yet.


    Solebon. I love solitaire, and this one feels really good to use. Tons of different games, although I’m hooked on Yukon at the moment. I have played 94 hours of solitaire to date. *gulp*

    Bejeweled 2. AWESOME sound and graphics. I play it just for the self-esteem boost I get when the thing talks to me. You won’t understand until you play it. I feel like it’s surrounding me with Dolby sound and I’m in the middle of a sci-fi movie soundtrack.

    Jott. I use it rarely, but it’s kinda nice to have. Basically you talk into it and it converts voice to text, so you don’t have to type out reminder notes to yourself.

    Ocarina. For the flute-player in you. It’s just cool. You play your phone like a tinwhistle. I’m not sure if it works on the touch or not.

    Trace. A great little game that doesn’t tax your stress levels. You basically draw a line with your finger across the screen to create a path for a little stick guy to walk across. As the levels get higher, you encounter more obstacles that can set him back, and you have to figure out how to draw the line (or a combination of draw and erase) so that he makes it safely across. I like the intellectual stimulation, and the game doesn’t time you, and each screen usually takes less than two minutes to figure out (except the hardest ones), so I often just play one screen a day just to decompress and focus my mind. It uses the same kind of brain space as sudoku, only without numbers.

    OilCanvas. You take a picture or load one you’ve already taken, and this lets you “paint” it like an impressionist painting. It’s an easy artistic outlet.

    Chocolate. I finished all levels of Trace and was looking for something to replace it. This comes close. You “open” a chocolate shop and serve customers, but your score is all about time management, how efficiently you serve them. It’s a happy little app that always puts me in a cheery mood.

    That’s it for my most faves. Others that you might like are:

    -Dactyl (speed game)

    -Midomi. Similar functionality to Shazam, but this lets you sing an earworm into the device and it looks up the song. I haven’t found it to be as robust as Shazam though, so I don’t often use it. It more often than not doesn’t find the right song.

    -CameraBag. I love this cuz I’m a photographer. It lets me manipulate my iPhone pictures to look like old camera pictures. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I have fun with it.

    -AroundMe. My friend likes this one. It lists restaurants, gas stations, etc. that are nearest to you. It’s not so useful when you’re in familiar neighborhoods, but is pretty nice when you’re elsewhere and would like to find a bank, or pub, or whatever, nearby. I rarely use it though.

    -iChalky. A useless little app that features a stick figure who dances to the music he hears around him. He also responds to the tilting of the phone. Fun for about ten minutes, and sorta cool to show off to friends.

    I’ve got a bunch more but haven’t used them a lot yet.

  9. KP says:

    He also enjoys his Chuck Norris generator thingy that brings up stuff like “if Chuck Norris has 5 dollars and you have 5 dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you”.

  10. Soxy says:

    I’m late, but very happy you went with the Touch. I’ve had my love/hate moments with it, but overall I’m glad I bought it. Did you see the tip about hitting home twice to get to your music? Its a lifesaver.

    I love playing Tetris on the train. I also have Facebook, WordPress, flick bowling, cube runner, lose it, dining spinner and recipe spinner. I like aps you don’t need wifi for, because wifi on the train sucks.

    Oh, and I too had a sad ipod moment. I fried my nano by spilling water on it. I was making coffee and not quite awake. Just be happy you didn’t have to see yours make the sad face with Xs for eyes like mine did

  11. KP says:

    Darts. He likes to play darts on his Touch.

    I think he also has bowling and Tetris. And he has an app that is basically a pair of dice that you can shake by shaking the Touch.

    Gee I hope he isn’t shooting craps behind his school.

    And if he is I hope he makes enough to buy me a Touch.

  12. Becca says:

    Wow, thanks y’all! Especially kb, that is an awesome list.

    Does Solebon have Freecell? I am not a really big game person but I do like Freecell.

    Shazam is only for iPhone, from what I have read. But as a music biz person I love the idea.

    Soxy, I am actually thinking of upgrading WordPress just for that. I downloaded it right off but it won’t work with the version I have. However, I am worried my theme might break and I’ll be very sad if that happens.

    And I did see it laying face down in the muck, unreachable. That was awful.

    Oh, and so far my favorite app is actually Stanza, the ebook reader. I am reading A Room With A View – look at Becca, reading on the train!

    I will probably download Tetris but not craps.

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