15 June 2009

Unscheduled Vacations and Karmic Retribution

Apologies for the two week absence. I managed to get busy and distracted all at once.

For a long time, I've resisted the pull of the iPod. I've had, used, and enjoyed my iRiver H10 MP3 player. It has served me well over the last 4 years or so, carrying tunes and podcasts and audiobooks for me with little fuss. I appreciated the fact that it supports more file formats than the iPod, and that when you connect it to a computer, it shows up as a simple external hard drive. If you want to share something with friends, it's as easy as drag-and-drop.

Even today, I know there are much better portable players out there than any iPod. There are much better programs to manage your media collection than iTunes.

But I received an iPod Nano as a present a little while back, and decided to finally give it a go. Now, I've been on the PC side of the Mac vs. PC ideological divide for many years. I understand that they each have their strong points, and in the end it really is just a personal preference. I resisted the iPod for it's perceived limitations, and avoided iTunes for other reasons. But in order to use the iPod, I needed to install iTunes (apparently you don't have to use iTunes -- but you do have to have it installed). Since I was installing it, I decided to try it out.

How is iTunes? It's not bad. It is far from a superior product. I don't think it's as good as Microsoft's Media Player, which is sad. The iTunes Store is ever-present, and ever-annoying. iTunes informed me that, in order to fully utilize the features in iTunes, I needed to create an iTunes Store account. No problem. I went through the required steps, giving it my name and contact information, selecting a username and password. It then brought me to a credit card information screen.

For every item or button you can click on for information in iTunes, there are two other buttons to purchase the track/album/book/item you are looking at or looking for. With all these purchase options everywhere, I did not want to give them my credit card information. I looked all over the screen, but there was no option to skip the credit card information. Grumbling, I decided I would go ahead and enter a credit card, and just be careful of what I (or anyone else) clicked on in iTunes. I pulled out a card -- one that I have used for over a year in Japan. I've rented cars, paid for hotel rooms, bought groceries, even paid my phone bill with this card.

But the iTunes Store declared that my credit card is "not valid in Japan", and I need to use a different card. Well, Mr. iTunes Store, screw you. If they didn't want my card, I decided to just quit the process, and clicked on the only other button available to me -- Cancel. Cancel... which simply closed the credit card window. I think it allowed me to finish the account creation process, but I didn't check.

Anyway, I threw a bunch of music on the iPod and subscribed to about 30 public radio podcasts. Got everything ready for Monday morning, and went to bed. I woke up this morning, got ready for work, and headed out. On my way to the station, I put in my ear buds and hit play... and discovered my headphones had broke. There's a short in the cord, killing one side and making the other play at a real low volume.

Then I got to work and discovered the Windows registry on my computer corrupted. Windows wouldn't boot.

I should mention what happened last week -- the oven broke. The new oven. A repair person came to the house on Saturday to take a look at it, and declared he would have to take it in to the shop. I'm hoping to get it back tonight or tomorrow. I made enchiladas last week that I'd really like to reheat (in the oven) and have for dinner.

I'm surrounded by electronic failures. What's going on?
( . .)>

(Additional apologies for the rambling post. This is so sub-standard it hurts to hit "publish".)


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