Joe Lavin

September 26, 2006

I is for iPod who Died of Ennui

Recently, my iPod turned sad. One day, it was happily playing music, without a care in the world. The next, it would only display a sad iPod icon no matter what button I pressed. I tried to cheer it up. I really did, but nothing would work. It just kept frowning at me.

Unfortunately, when your iPod grows despondent, there is very little you can do. As I soon learned, once the sad iPod face shows up on your screen, then it's the beginning of the end. A few weeks back, I posted a sarcastic column about iPods here. Could that have been the beginning of its depression? I tried to tell it that I was only kidding -- Oh, iPod, I really do love you! -- but still my sad iPod persisted in the silent treatment. Apparently, my iPod was dying of ennui, and there was nothing I could do.

While overcome with guilt, I brought it to the nearest Apple Store on a recovery mission. There must have been many other sad iPods that night, because I couldn't even get anyone to look at it. Instead, I was forced to make an appointment with someone at the so-called "Genius Bar" for the next night. This sounded promising. If anyone could fix my iPod, surely it was someone from the Genius Bar.

The next night, I returned and eagerly handed my iPod over to my very own genius, fully expecting that he would bring it back to life. Instead, we had the following exchange:

Genius: "Oh, you have a sad iPod."

Me: "Yes."

Genius: "Oh, sorry, there's nothing we can do for a sad iPod. That means it's broken."

Me: "Well, thanks a lot, Einstein."

Okay, the last line was unfortunately only in my head. Not only had I made two trips to the Apple Store to discover that my iPod was broken. I had even made an appointment with a genius to find this out.

Next, I inquired whether it could be fixed, at which point I noticed a little smirk develop on his face. You see, at the Apple Store, there is nothing sillier than repairing an iPod. "You're better off just buying a new one," he explained helpfully. Little did I know last year that I had purchased a disposable MP3 player. There was no hope of getting a free replacement either. Thanks to Apple's innovative new technology, my iPod was especially designed to stop working shortly after the warranty expired.

Still, I persisted and asked if he could find out how much it would cost for it to be repaired. He said he would check out back.

And so I sat at the Genius Bar for many minutes, during which time I am now convinced that my Genius went outside for a cigarette break. It's possible that he may have gotten a sandwich too. At any rate, he seemed quite refreshed when he finally returned to tell me that coincidentally enough it would cost $280 to fix my slightly-older-than-the-warranty iPod, while a new video iPod would cost only $250.

I carefully considered whether I should purchase a new iPod. Then, after approximately 0.000001 seconds during which time I weighed the options, I decided to go for it. Well, it's not as if I wasn't going to buy a new one. Like everyone else, I'm addicted to the little things. Besides, they even gave me a 10% discount for handing over my old broken iPod to them. I momentarily felt guilty again, but the Genius told me that they would send my old iPod off to a farm where it could play outside with other iPods all day long, and I felt better.

And so I took out my sad wallet and bought myself a video iPod. Do I have any need to watch video on a tiny screen wherever I go? Hell, no! Nevertheless, I still found myself this weekend buying TV shows at the iTunes store, and then sitting in a chair that faces both my 19-inch television and my 17-inch computer monitor, while watching a TV show on my 2 1/2-inch iPod screen. All I can say is that it was incredibly cool.

To be honest, I don't really anticipate needing to buy too many videos for my iPod. I don't ride the subway or the train much, so thankfully it's not necessary for me to spend all sorts of money on video for it. Mostly, I just use it while walking around.

Which is why I'm about to go back on iTunes and see if I can buy a whole bunch of new movies and shows for my video iPod. Because that would be really cool.

Well, somebody around here sure is a genius, and I don't think it's me.

©2006 Joe Lavin

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September 27, 2005
The iPod Revolution
I love my iPod as much as anyone, but I'm a little skeptical that we're in the midst of an "iPod Revolution." Sure, they are great little toys, but listening to an iPod is fundamentally no different than listening to a wAlkman. Of course, you wouldn't know that from reading the newspapers where, according to Lexis/Nexis, there have been 894 articles mentioning iPods in the last month alone. Does Apple even need a marketing department anymore? ( More.... )