DiePod III, Die Harder

by Maria on August 30, 2006

Within a week of eachother, both my and a younger sister’s re-conditioned ipods have died. This was my third. After a year’s solid service, my first (they’ve all been 20 gig clickwheels) deteriorated over a couple of days before completely crashing. I sent it to a crowd in Kentucky who promised to either fix it or replace the hard drive. But not before they’d posted me an ipod ambulance to send it in, completely mislabelling it so I spent 3 months arguing with DHL over a customs fee of 45 Euro for said empty box. With its new drive, my little ipod zombie struggled on for another two months. Ipod no. 2, a secondhand job, is probably still working. But last time I saw it was tucked into the seat-back pocket on a Singapore Airlines jet. A week ago, ipod no. 3 upped and produced a black screen of death. After a stern talking to and a 24 hour time out, I sat it into its little charger only to pull it out 10 minutes later because of the sharp smell of burning. Now I truly understand what a meltdown is. So, no more ipods for me. Nor for my sister Annaick, who was on no. 2. That is, until the prospect loomed of an 8 month trip with no music.

What to do? I’m leaning towards a SanDisk, hoping the flash memory might be less likely to ignite. And figuring anything that avoids iTunes control-freak closed standards and copy controls is a good thing. Annaick’s considering a nano, but open to something with a non-proprietary format that can be more easily updated while on the road. She’s checked out Zens, but their distinguishing feature seems to be the ability to die the week their 1 year warranty expires.

Then there’s the mp3 player / mobile phone dilemma. Is this a hybrid device whose time has come? I lost my tri-band phone on a trip a few months ago (bit of a pattern, that) and replaced it with a cheap and cheerful Nokia that doesn’t work outside GSM land. If I spend enough $$$ for a posh new phone that works in the US, might I just as well buy something that plays mp3s as well? Might I even be less phone-phobic and likely to turn it on if it did nice things like play music while I run?

Questions, questions. Answers would be welcome, and sneering or ribaldry for a repeat ipod offender will be taken on the chin.



Ray 08.30.06 at 8:21 am

You can buy extended warranty periods with an ipod, as far as I know. Unless you’ve been turned off them forever.


Steven Poole 08.30.06 at 8:25 am

anything that avoids iTunes control-freak closed standards and copy controls is a good thing

Well, you can avoid that very easily with an iPod too: just don’t buy DRMed music from iTMS. The iPod does play normal mp3 and AAC, after all.


Eszter 08.30.06 at 8:34 am

As you may recall, I gave up on diePods over two years ago. Sorry to hear that it’s all caught up with you, not surprised though.

A while back I was using my Treo 600 as my mp3 player. I purchased PocketTunes for it, which was okay, but not great. (I haven’t kept up with it though, it may be much better now.)

These days, for on-the-go music listening, I use my Olympus WS320M digital recorder with music player. (You can get it for less than what’s on that Web site.) I’ve found it to be great. Because the device comes apart at the simple click of a button (but not so simple as to come apart when you don’t want it to come apart:) and then acts as a regular USB drive, uploading to it couldn’t be simpler. It supports mp3 and wma files. Since I also needed a digital recorder, this was perfect. I’ve been very happy with it and highly recommend it. With 1GB it won’t hold thousands of songs, but personally I’m more than fine with a few hundred.

PS. I doubt you need any convincing, but regarding the comment above, I can’t imagine why you’d want to spend even more $$s on an extended warranty on something that already costs way more than competing options. Please.


Cryptic Ned 08.30.06 at 8:35 am

Maybe you could get a portable CD player that also plays CDs full of MP3s.

Also, Die Hard II is Die Harder, this would be DiePod With A Vengeance.


Alex Gregory 08.30.06 at 8:43 am

Ned mentions mp3 cd-players. I’ve been using cd player that plays Cds full of mp3s for several years now (back when I was looking, actual mp3 players were undersized and overpriced). It’s ok for some stuff (such as having a selection of music for the library for the day), but is way too bulky and jerky for running, and the space on a cd is too small to get everything you need on one CD for anything longer than a day or two (e.g. a holiday).

I had a brief look at mp3 players myself recently. Ebuyer.com has (as always) a nice range, complete with reviews from customers, so I’d recommend finding something in your price/size range there that has positive reviews.


paul 08.30.06 at 8:44 am

Steven Poole got to it first, but this is a recurring whine: I thought I was reading Cory Doctorow for a moment.

And figuring anything that avoids iTunes control-freak closed standards and copy controls is a good thing.

Why is Apple’s integration of their music store and the iPod seen as some kind control-freakery? You can put different formats of music on there and never visit their music store, if it bothers you that much.

Annaick’s considering a nano, but open to something with a non-proprietary format that can be more easily updated while on the road.

I don’t know what’s easier that plugging the iPod in and letting iTunes synchronize it.

I’m leaning towards a SanDisk, hoping the flash memory might be less likely to ignite.

The nano’s are flash memory-based as well, though I have not heard of any iPods igniting before now.

Ever consider buying a new one with your academic discount? it doesn’t save much but you have the assurance of it being new and under warranty.


Miguel 08.30.06 at 8:50 am

It’s in the realm of possibilities that both of your iPods have been duds. Both of the ones I’ve had, and original 5gig and now a 4gig Nano, have been a charm. Both of them have suffered falls and survived.

I agree with the commentors about the iTunes store. It’s your choice to use it.

I can easily purchase other mp3 devices but, for now, I won’t. The pleasure of the iPod design and interface + the integration with iTunes playlists remains charming. Worth the splurge.


Daragh McDowell 08.30.06 at 9:14 am

Some friendly advice from the cuz on MP3 phones – They’re alright, not great. I got my Sony Ericsson W 810 i for nought with a new 18 month contract at 25 squid a month. 512 MB of Flash memory, upgradable, and plays anything I put on it. The proprietary Sony ‘Disc2Phone’ Software for uploading music is a bit of a pain, but doesn’t seem to have iTune’s issues. Sound quality is fine, and a nice little interface too (side buttons for volume, and play/pause even when phone is locked) but doesn’t have a shuffle feature. So in conclusion, good if you’ve got the time to change your music a lot, or money to buy a bigger flash card, or if 512 MB is big enough, but as with any non-dedicated MP3 player, its always going to look bad next to an iPod.

Drop me an E-mail when you’re back in Dooks.


strewelpeter 08.30.06 at 9:19 am

Today I’ve just left my Zen vision M in for repair / replacement. If replaced I will be on my Tenth (10!) device since I bought the original near the end of March this year. Most of the issues seemed to be with the radio on one particular production run.

However when it works it is a fantastic product and I wouldn’t want to swap it for any other device on the market. I do hope to continue with it until a similar device is available with a built in phone.


Patrick 08.30.06 at 9:31 am

I have to admit, I love my iPod. Its a 20Gb 2nd Gen that we bought back in 2002. The battery finally started to go this last spring, and the firewire cover fell off as well, but it’s perfect in the car, where we can keep it charged. (Knock on wood)

I just bought a Nano earlier this year as part of a Promo (Buy a new mac, get a free Nano).

Of course, I could be an outlier, I always have luck with computers, I still have a running Mac Classic (fully upgraded to 4mb, with a whopping 20Meg external drive), and my current computer is a five-year old iBook.

In any case, good luck with whatever you choose. Just remember, if you buy something that doesn’t spontaneouly explode once in a while, we’ll misss out on the blog posts about it.

Think of your readers.


Annaick 08.30.06 at 9:39 am

So much good solid advice! Thanks everyone (and esp big sis Maggie) for taking the time and effort to give it-it gives me the warm fuzzies particularily after the nasty and numerous converstaions with apple people on the phone.In terms of solutions though, who knows?!Nano is too small a capacity for me. Will have a think-thanks everyone though!


Rasselas 08.30.06 at 9:46 am

Dude, don’t make fun of Cory Doctorow. He’ll kill you. He’ll kill us all.


Mark 08.30.06 at 9:48 am

My wife and kids all run sandisks of various sizes and ages, and we’ve had no problems (except for one that didn’t work at all when purchased and was replaced immediatetly). We use them with a napster to go account and everyone is happy. Now that the 512mb model is down to $50, and the 2Gb is $110 It’s become more of a commodity purchase, so there woudn’t be such heartache if one failed


Peter Hollo 08.30.06 at 9:50 am

As far as ease of synchronising, I prefer something like the iRiver or iAudio approach – the mp3 player just *is* a USB mass storage device (an external hard drive) and you just drag folders of mp3s onto it.
Just arrange tracks in folders by album, and those albums in artist folders, and it’s easy peasy.
So you don’t need any particular software like iTunes in order to put music onto the player. You lose out slightly in terms of iPods’ database-run method of organising the music, I guess.

While the ugly DRM and relative low quality of iTunes Music Store isn’t relevant in this thread per se, it’s certainly an issue in terms of why iPods are so all-pervasive despite being crummy: once someone’s bought into the iTMS by purchasing their DRM’d files, they are effectively locked into using iPods or losing those purchases.

For those who don’t want to buy from iTunes in the first place, it is indeed irrelevant.

IMHO, iAudios (and apparently iRivers too) have better sound quality, are more reliable (although I could be wrong) and support more file formats than iPods. So they could be a goer.


Clarke 08.30.06 at 9:54 am

Hey try the Sony flash drive models – I have been using one for over year and it’s been great. I run with it and have sweat all over it and it is still going strong. They too force you to go with their format using “sonic stage” to organize it all, but I have gotten used to that.


Maria 08.30.06 at 9:55 am

Thanks, all, especially for the important point that you don’t have to use a proprietary file format with iTunes.

Just a couple of points of information. I don’t like iTunes because it (1) spontaneously updates its version and wipes all the music on my laptop, and (2) doesn’t let users take music they’ve bought and paid for and port it to different devices they own. At least not without cracking software. (1) was probably due to something stupid I was doing, but(2) is a well documented issue. And I think Cory Doctorow nails it, actually.

I should have mentioned that Annaick won’t be taking a laptop on the road, as she’s a student backpacker. So just updating via itunes isn’t an option as far as I know, which seems to rule out the nano. I also like the SanDisks because they’re flash drives, but have double the memory of a nano. And I’m damned if I’m going to buy another ipod after this one nearly melted into my counter. I’m even considering refusing a work upgrade to a shiny new MacBook, I’m so ticked off with Apple’s lousy quality control. (Nose. Spite. Face. I know.)

I’m also leaning towards a Nokia N91 or 8800. Downside is that as soon as I get over my snit with Apple, I’ll realise that Symbian won’t talk to my shiny new laptop.

Oh, and I’m afraid I’m one of the few CT non-academics, so no discount for me. Still, my great free market salary should more than cover the difference…


Urinated State of America 08.30.06 at 10:05 am

How about a Sony PSP? Gaming, video and music.


Matthew 08.30.06 at 10:09 am

I’ve been using a Palm Tungsten T5 for the last year. About the same size as the iPod it gives me five times the functionality. Besides all the standard Palm applications the T5 has a SD slot that allows me to swap out memory cards with different music, movies, ebooks, and pictures. I love that I can rip two feature length DVD movies to a 512Mb SD card, which is great for long trips. That same SD slot accepts a WIFI card that gives me email and internet access. I also have Presenter-to-Go from Margi Systems which allows me to run PowerPoint presentations off the Palm for my classes.


Kelly B 08.30.06 at 10:12 am

I too have had problems with iPods. I had to buy a refurbished iPod to replace the one that had a faulty jack because 7 months before (right after I got it) my precious schnauzer chewed on it. They wouldn’t replace it for free because I couldn’t prove that the canine damaged didn’t cause the malfunction. I can still use it as a usb disk though.

Then my refurbished one wouldn’t hold a charge. Luckily I was going to a city with an Apple Store so I just took it in, waiting for a geek, and they went, “Yep, it doesn’t hold a charge.” So I got a NEW shuffle to replace the refurbished one that replaced the one that had a broken jack and chew marks. For free.

However, I really got an iPod because I liked the fact that it charged via usb AND I didn’t want to have to work around my iTunes Music Store purchases all the time.

(Workaround: Burn songs to a disk then reimport. The protection would have been striped in the process)


Treasa 08.30.06 at 10:15 am

I’ve had a Zen for the past 3 years with zero problems.


Steve 08.30.06 at 10:20 am

Just a couple of points of information. I don’t like iTunes because it (1) spontaneously updates its version and wipes all the music on my laptop, and (2) doesn’t let users take music they’ve bought and paid for and port it to different devices they own.

Maria, my feelings on Cory Doctorow aside, how is iTunes Music Store different from any of the major music services? (Napster, Napster to Go, the forthcoming WhateverFrog, Sony Connect, the Zune service MS will roll out, etc.) Music you buy through a non-DRMed source such as eMusic is totally portable, and even the iTMS DRMed stuff can be converted into DRM-free files quite at the cost of a little time by burning to a CD and re-ripping. I’ve got hundreds if not thousands of legally obtained MP3s on my laptop and iPod, and if I decided to switch to a different player at some point, I could.

Apple has done some boneheaded things regarding proprietary formats, but the iTunes DRM doesn’t strike me as one of them; eMusic’s selection is much more limited than iTMS because major labels are reluctant to make anything available that isn’t locked down like a submarine hatch.


Maria 08.30.06 at 10:29 am

Well, here’s an example. When my version of iTunes updated itself for the umpteenth time and inexplicably deleted all the music I’d downloaded from iStore (in Apple’s proprietary format, my bad), I still had most of that music on my ipod. But would iTunes let me take that music from the ipod and put it back on my machine? No. That’s boneheaded DRM.

Clearly, the idea is to stop people porting material off their ipod to someone else’s computer, but it meant I couldn’t use content I’d bought in a perfectly reasonable way. I got around it by downloading some cracking software and fiddling with it for ages, but still. I’m a pretty average user and I found it onerous.

But I think the general point you and others have mad stands; that a smart user of iTunes should just use the mp3 file format and retain their portability.


SamChevre 08.30.06 at 10:38 am

I’m Sam the very stingy. I’d go with Ned’s solution from #4–get a CD/MP3 players (they cost only $20 or so) and burn MP3s to CDs. It takes a little more space, and won’t work when running–but it is much cheaper and much more robust.


Maria 08.30.06 at 10:44 am

Yes, but as you say they’re useless for running (that invokes my veto, straight off) and who wants to cart a pile of CDs around the world in your backpack? Fair enough, you’ll need fewer CDs when they’re all MP3-ed up, but it’s still kind of impractical.


Maria 08.30.06 at 10:47 am

From the stinginess point of view, I like Peter Hollos’s suggestion of iAudio and iRiver – I hadn’t appreciated the difference between them and other mp3 players. It looks like a worthwhile investment of time to organise the file structure as Peter says, and yet still have a one-piece device with all your music/ebooks on it.


Trane 08.30.06 at 10:51 am

I have had an Iriver H10 MP3 player (6 GB) for almost a year now without any problems so far. It is very easy to operate, and the sound is great. The voice recorder (which is the feature I use the most) is very good also. I thought I would need a seperate microphone for doing interviews, but this is not at all necessary.

When shopping for the Iriver, I checked the Zen Micro and Nano as well as two MPIO players. The first two were easy to operate, but without the sound quality of the voice recorder function on the Iriver. The MPIOs were quite cheap, but also extremely difficult to operate.

The only bad thing about the Iriver is that it does not come with a line-in as a standard.

Good luck.


blatherskite 08.30.06 at 10:58 am

Maybe kick this site around some:

Anything But Ipod. Lots of reviews and other information.

[That site helped me get my Mobiblu Cube (which I dearly love) back together when I foolishly disassembled it.]

The Mobiblu Cube (aka the DAH-1500i is incredibly cheap from Walmart.com, online only.

Only one gig (there’s a 2 gig version, but walmart.com doesn’t seem to have it), but that’s fine for my purposes. And it’s small as hell — only about 1 inch cubed.


CM 08.30.06 at 10:59 am

I’ve been really happy with the 40GB Creative Zen Touch, which is a lot cheaper than the equivalent iPod. But if you want a good sample instead of a set of anecdotes, try audioreview.com or consumerreports.org .


W. Kiernan 08.30.06 at 11:00 am

My Sandisk E140 mp3 player is good enough for me, but it only has a small fraction of the capacity of your 20GB iPod with delicate rotating storage. The reason I got the Sandisk is because I wanted a player with non-rotating storage that could take a reasonable amount of handling without dying. I got the one with an SD card slot and 1 GB built in, and I have a couple of 1GB SD cards for it. It sounds pretty decent. It has standard mini-B USB and 1/8″ mini phone sockets. Right now an E140 is $89 retail, they’re in stores for $79. The biggest SD card available is 8GB so total storage maxes out at 9GB, but an 8GB card costs twice as much as the E140.

If you add id3 tags to your mp3s you can select files to play by artist or album. When you plug it into a Windows peecee it appears as two new drive letters, one for the built-in memory and one for the SD card. You copy the mp3s to the root directory of these drive letters; it doesn’t see subdirectories. It also serves as a USB memory key for carrying files from one peecee to another. Also it has an FM radio built in.

They now sell a new E200 player that does music, photos and video, with a larger color screen and a miniSD slot with 2GB to 8GB built-in for from $140 to $250 retail; the biggest miniSD card I’ve seen is 2GB, for a maximum of 10GB. The monochrome screen on my E140 is only 0.65″ x 1.2″. Since the screen on an E200 is larger it will probably be somewhat more fragile than mine.

Both the E140 and the new E200s are thicker and shorter than an iPod Nano, about 1/2″ thick. This is good; I can put my E140 in my front pants pocket without worrying that I’m going to sit down and accidentally snap it in half, as I might with a Nano. The new E200s have an LiIon battery (which, however, is user-replaceable unlike Apple’s batteries) but my E140 uses one AAA battery. I prefer that to a charger. I keep my extra SD card, earphones and a spare AAA or two in an Altoids box.


Jake 08.30.06 at 11:09 am

In my experience with iPods and Creative Zens of various sorts, one 4th-gen iPod worked pretty well over two years until it got dropped one too many times and crapped out, and was then replaced with a secondhand iPod mini that had an 8GB drive installed and is still running great, and there have never been any DRM issues. The Zens… one broke, there was a two-month RMA period with Creative, the replaced one broke after a couple months, a new one was purchased, and broke after about 3 months, there is an RMA attempt in progress but apparently Creative is claiming that it’s outside the period of free complimentary e-mail support and it’s not clear what is going on. Also, moving the WMA music to a new computer has been problematic. This is just to say that there’s no consumer electronic nirvana out there.

You also may want to stick with the iPod until Microsoft releases their Zune product, which is supposedly going to be easier to use, and will apparently be incompatible with all existing “Plays4Sure” music, but will give you free copies of an music you have in your iTMS library.

(you can also back up your iTMS songs in case something goes wrong… just copy them onto a CD)


Matt 08.30.06 at 11:10 am

My wife has both a CD/MP3 player and a MP3 cell phone. She likes them both quite a bit. The phone, though, has more memory than my lap top, is quad band, etc. from Nokia. It cost something like $500, so if you lose it or smash it it’s not a small loss. If I were traveling in a student sort of way I’d try to take something less inviting to thieves (or less damaging if stolen) and easier to replace.


Miguel 08.30.06 at 11:11 am

> When my version of iTunes updated itself for the
> umpteenth time and inexplicably deleted all the
> music I’d downloaded from iStore

This is the first time I’ve heard of something like this. It is not intended either, so something unusual must have happened with your Mac. I’ve been through iTunes since version 1 and all of my purchases have remained intact.

There are a number of software solutions, freeware and payware, that allow you to read off the iPod without deleting.

Apple’s DRM is a pain in the ass indeed (any DRM is) but it’s a pain in the ass only if you buy from iTMS.


Branedy 08.30.06 at 11:14 am

I guess that stating that; my 6 year old original iPod (5GB) still gets 8 plus hours of playtime with the original battery, tends to indicate a quality product, is out of place here?

But as a Quality Assurance tester, Apple should be paying for your services. ;-)


Steven Poole 08.30.06 at 12:27 pm

a smart user of iTunes should just use the mp3 file format and retain their portability.

I recommend AAC: sound quality is much better for the same bitrate. (It’s not an Apple proprietary format unless you add some nasty iTMS DRM to it.)

I also recommend turning off auto-update in iTunes if you ever use it again. ;)

My iPod hasn’t broken yet but I won’t be surprised if it does. Has anyone done a large-scale comparison of reliability across all such devices on the market?


Scott Spiegelberg 08.30.06 at 12:42 pm

Rather than subjecting everyone here to a long comment, I have posted my response to the iPod issue here: Pod People.


scott 08.30.06 at 12:56 pm

Wait for Apple to update the iPod, which should be fairly soon. Flash memory device have advantages over hard-drives because their more reliable(no moving parts) and uses less energy(longer battery life). It’s good idea to have two devices, a smaller one for exercise, and a larger capacity device for other uses. This way your never without a player if one is broken. I use the Shuttle primarily for porting files to-and-from work and listening to music while I am exercising. You can pick up a Shuttle for next to nothing. I use a Nano for my music, contacts, etc. This combination has worked out very well.


Maria 08.30.06 at 1:31 pm

Thanks, Steven. Actually, I saw an article in the Financial Times 2 weeks ago that quoted an independent study of ipods, and concluded 29.8 % of one model (could have been the 20gig clickwheel) had faulty hard drives. For nanos, it was about 19%. But on searching the FT site today, I couldn’t find it. And that one was only on ipods. Pretty shocking figures, though.


Randy Paul 08.30.06 at 1:43 pm

I have a Creative Zen Touch 40GB player. It’s a little clunky, but durable, keeps a charge for a long time and it’s storage is stunning. I have 6,500+ tunes with 11GB still available ripped at 128K.

I also have a 10GB Nomad Jukebox that’s three years old and still works fine.


Miguel 08.30.06 at 2:11 pm

If you dig up the URL, please post it. I’d like to see that FT article. Those rates are ridiculously high. What time period are they looking at? 6 months, 12 months, 5 years? And is there any data on the causes for the drive failures? Apple, unfortunately, does not reveal this kind of data so whoever makes a claim as to failure rates is using an indirect method of collecting data.

One point to keep in mind as well: The drives inside these devices are made by a few manufacturers. It wouldn’t be surprising that Apple, River, Samsung, and Creative have used identical model drives inside their devices at different points in time.


Jacob Christensen 08.30.06 at 2:18 pm

-> 37: The website Macintouch did a survey on iPod realiability back in November 2005. (Warning from a Methods 101 teacher: Self-selection problem, etc, etc). Maybe that was the survey, FT based its story on?

Anyway: It’s still available on Macintouch’s homepage.

Oh, and by the way: My iPod (Dock connector, 20 GB) is approaching its third birthday with no major problems. I had to change the battery, though, earlier this year.

The good news is that even someone as un-handy as I can perform the operation provided she or he is equipped with the right tools and a little bit of patience. Why pay Apple 50€ for something you can do in 10 minutes?


George Williams 08.30.06 at 2:59 pm

If you want to get your music off your iPod and back onto your computer, try Senuti.


hinglemarr 08.30.06 at 3:04 pm

Maybe Maria should stay away from technology. :)

I have a 4GB Nano so I was forced to use iTunes but I’m over it. By default iTunes wants to be your “master of the music universe” but you can turn that junk off and then it’s just an almost cool music database. With some other music players you’re forced to use Windows Media Player so it’s always something. Managing thousands of songs takes work and that means learning the ins and outs of various music managers. So if you want to listen to your music your way then you have to do the work.

If it dies I’ll probably go the satellite radio route and avoid the work.


John I 08.30.06 at 3:19 pm

If either my wife’s or my three year old 20G ipods die, I’ll replace them with a cheaper flash-based ipod like a 1G nano. I had a revelation recently that you don’t need a giant delicate hard drive-based player with your whole mp3 collection on it all the time. Just use the smart paylists in iTunes to load a random sample of your collection every time you synch. You can set it up to load tunes you haven’t heard in a while, or have never been played. And maybe a seperate playlist of must-have items like works-in-progress, or demos (if you’re a musician).

I’va also never bought a tune from the itunes store so DRM is not an issue for me. I do like the convenience of itunes playlist management. Who wants to add tags and sort mp3’s by hand?


Thlayli 08.30.06 at 4:18 pm

… even the iTMS DRMed stuff can be converted into DRM-free files quite at the cost of a little time by burning to a CD and re-ripping.

Repeating for emphasis, for all the people who are whining about DRM. This method has been common knowledge on the tubes for years.


Maynard Handley 08.30.06 at 4:47 pm

While the ugly DRM and relative low quality of iTunes Music Store isn’t relevant in this thread per se, it’s certainly an issue in terms of why iPods are so all-pervasive despite being crummy: once someone’s bought into the iTMS by purchasing their DRM’d files, they are effectively locked into using iPods or losing those purchases.

As I have stated many times before, I use my iPod nano for one specific purpose, which is to listen to spoken word content (freely available lectures). Nothing is superior to the iPod in this respect; and the only way iTMS affects my life is that it is a repository for some of these (free, non-DRMd) lectures. You’d think producing a decent spoken word player would not be a difficult job, and if MS, Sony, Rio, San, etc could ever get their act together enough to do so, I would switch. But iPod has been out for, what, 5 years now, and, in all that time, these companies have still not figured out what the hell they are doing.

We have far too much IP legislation based on vague, non-evidenc-based claims about what is necessary to incentivize companies and individuals. We don’t now need vague,,, non-evidence based claims from the opposition.

Finally you lost one iPod, which can hardly be held against Apple. As for those that died, the fact is that these small hard drives are fragile damn things. This is a condition of the technology right now, and since the same hard drives (made by people like Toshiba and NEC, not by Apple or Zen) are used in all these devices, you’re not upping your chances of a long life by switching to another vendor. Flash should be more robust and, of course, at some indeterminate point in the future, hard drives will be archaic; perhaps if you are very active with your iPod the smart thing to do is give up on a hard drive and create a playlist of your favorite material appropriate for a nano.


Ender 08.30.06 at 7:58 pm

I use my iPAQ PDA for just about everything. I just have a 1G SD card for music and and 128MB SD card for podcasts. I am buying a 4G card soon.

The huge advantage of a PDA is that is can contain your contacts etc synched with Outlook. I also have news synched with Avantgo, eBooks with MS Reader and videos from my digital video recorder with Core TCMP player.

I have had it for 2 years without a problem.


Ryan Miller 08.31.06 at 1:48 am

I would strongly encourage you to check out the iAudio’s as well, they are made by Cowon America. I have had one for a couple of years now and am very impressed by the build quality and the simple usb-hard-drive nature of the device. Also worth noting is that at a similar size/price to the ipods it includes an FM radio and a full 35 hours of battery life (both their claims and my tests–WAY better than anything else on the market). That fact in itself makes them a cut above in my book.

Also of note is that your heat issue was almost certainly caused by a short in the battery (similar to the high-profile problems with laptops of late), rather than anything to do with the hard drive. Flash drives are slightly more drop-resistant, but they aren’t any less likely to have your heating problem, and they obviously don’t have nearly the capacity per price. But give Cowon’s iAudio a try or at least look at the website; you won’t be disappointed.


glenn 08.31.06 at 8:33 am

I just sing alot, and in public, I hum.


hilker 08.31.06 at 10:21 am

Get the nano. Avoid iTunes control-freak closed standards by installing and running Rockbox instead of the Apple firmware.


rupes 09.01.06 at 8:25 am

I have to say that my iPOD is one of the few things I own that I am actively pleased by. It does exactly what it is supposed to, with no problems and is easy to use.

I wish my other purchases (laptop, WiFi AP, mobile, etc) were as simply satisfactory.

I just bought my wifre a nano as present.

(OK, I appreciate that your experiences aren’t good. Sorry)


engels 09.02.06 at 10:52 am

Who needs iPods? I have an iPod in my mind.

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