Earlier this year I blogged about why I don't have an iPod. I still stand behind my reasons (the cost, the annoying two-second gap between live tracks, etc.) but I've never thought iPods were bad or useless. I had a lot of reasons why I didn't have a bulky, expensive model but I wasn't really thinking about the smaller, cheaper models like the Nano and Shuffle. Upon receiving an iPod Nano from my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas, I believe I've found yet another way of enjoying music.
My iPod has only 2GBs of space but this works better for me. There isn't enough room to put a variety of full albums in the library, but that shifts the focus onto individual songs. I put a lot of my all-time favorite songs in from iTunes, press the 'Shuffle Songs' option and see what comes up. I currently have 111 time-tested favorites loaded, including songs by Suede, Petula Clark, Koufax, the Beatles, Public Image Ltd. and the Jam, and plenty of room left. This is like having my own personal jukebox without having to dump quarters into it and there is no wading through crappy, unwanted cuts.
While I'm not completely sold on listening to the 'Pod in the car (CDs sound fuller compared to the compressed sound of MP3s), listening to it with headphones while walking the dog or walking around the house is perfect. The sound isn't deafening but it's loud enough to hear everything. I haven't listened to music on headphones in years and it's a welcome return. Hearing music split up on headphones is a much different experience compared to listening to speakers in a room. I think there's something cool about hearing certain instruments and voices on the left channel while hearing other instruments and voices on the right channel.
I'm still not completely sold on MP3s over CDs, but with an iPod, I don't have to worry about tracks skipping while I walk around. Unlike a portable CD player, there is no need to keep an iPod still to ensure seamless listening. I really dig that, especially while walking a dog that takes off once we step out the front door.
Don't think I've changed my tune or done an about-face here. I still have reservations about listening to compressed MP3s but it's like I have my own radio station or jukebox in my pocket. This is another advantage of personal technology: I have more control over my listening pleasure in a portable way. This sure beats having to settle with the songs that are stuck in my head.