Hip to be Square
Hip to be Square

In an endeavor to fill my empty soul with joy in the form of capitalist fulfillment, I embraced my consumer whore nature and purchased an 8gb Apple iPod Touch. The “I” stands for inflated sense of ego.

In early 2007, my CD/MP3 player broken and I never really got around to purchasing another device. A friend threw me a replacement in the form of a JSK Digital MP-407 USB thumb drive MP3 player (oddly, the manufacturer doesn’t have a web site), which had a measly 256mb capacity. I generally only listened when mobile on transit and I also stuck to the same artist for a week at a time, so it really wasn’t an issue only have two or three albums with me at any time.

The manufacturing defects of the thumb drive started to become exposed via random player reboots and the inability to lock the next track button leading to my pocket suddenly deciding on song changes. I decided it was time for a quality player, but resolved to not making it an impulse buy. My next plan of action? Impulse buying an expensive mobile music player. Of course, as a fashion accessory, it kind of is a thief-happy device due to the white earbuds. I didn’t even let those rubbish pieces of audio equipment leave their packaging. Instead, I’ve been using my dumpy (but adequate) Sennheiser PMX-60 pair which don’t attract much attention, although they supposedly leak a lot of sound due the open design… but nobody on public transit has complained yet. I dare you! I FUCKING DARE YOU! I tend to keep my iPod in concealed as to avert the questioning eyes of the young and the beautiful. That I must above all things love myself.

I’ll get right into the Negative Nancy.

It bugs me that controlling music volume or making a track change both require looking at the screen. So you can’t just throw a hand in your pocket to make a quick adjustment. No Adobe Flash negates the “full web experience” that Apple claims. It may be a strategy to avoid streaming video that isn’t YouTube or a method to reduce memory usage, but Flash is now a necessary component of the web. It isn’t just used for frivolous splash pages anymore. There is also no scrobbling through Last.FM to keep a record of all the music you listen to. There are workarounds and I imagine there will be a supported standalone app once the iPhone SDK third-party additions are allowed to be copied over through iTunes in June.

Now on to why the thing sells well. Apple sure knows how to throw a nice graphical layer or some simple, useful features. The user interface is pretty and responsive with its PowerPoint-style page transitions from menu to menu. My attempt at drunk Facebooking while sitting in the crowd at a Guelph Storm hockey game was luckily thwarted by the small touch keyboard, hazy vision, and my Man-Sized fingers. The next morning moved nicely into a session of hungover bed-chillaxing while checking the message history in a competition to see if I could delete possible items before recipients read their contents. It was as I remembered – nothing sent since I was too drunk to log in. Stay in school.

Some of the iPhone/iPod Touch-specific webapps are very nice, such as the aforementioned Facebook version, mostly since it doesn’t waste whitespace on advertisements (which I block anyway, on PC) and doesn’t require zooming on any screen. The zoom in/out finger strokes can get tiring when browsing the web, but once more sites create webapps, it can make the mobile Internet experience much more seamless.

I’ve yet to really use the features of the Touch other than music and email, mostly since I don’t want a jailbreak attempt to create a $350 brick. In all actuality, with my lifestyle, the WiFi features are simply a gimmick since I’m so often near or at a PC anyway. I probably soon will be buying a mobile phone, but the iPhone was never in my frame of thought since Rogers are fucking assholes about allowing their wireless service prices to even approach anywhere near the somewhat reasonable prices of US provider. This covers both their equipment costs and data plan options. Of course, the reviews of the iPhone for its phone functions haven’t been too praising, other than the visual voicemail feature. I’ll probably instead find an unlocked Sony Ericsson and be that annoying jackass double-fisting expensive technology while crying out for Nature as the disillusioned man-child he really is.