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When I first heard the details about the iPod, Apple’s “breakthrough digital device,” I thought it sounded okay, but wasn’t a “must-have” item for me. However, now that I’ve used one for almost a week, I’ve changed my mind.
I received an evaluation unit of the iPod the day before I drove from Nashville to Indianapolis to cover the EDUCAUSE conference — a five-hour haul. I downloaded half a dozen albums (Sara Evans, Elton John and Ryan Gold) to listen to on the road. No, I’m not a dangerous driver. I didn’t plug in the “ear bud” headphones that come with the iPod. Instead, I used a cassette plug-in adapter, which I’ve used previously for my portable CD player, to play the songs on the iPod through my car’s speakers.
You simply plug a cassette-shaped device into your cassette player and the other end into the earphone jack on your iPod. Hit play and the songs on the digital device play through the automobile speakers. The audio quality wasn’t as crystal clear as with a good set of headphones or high quality external speakers, but the songs sounded good and certainly made a long trip down the interstate more enjoyable.
But that’s not what really sold me on the iPod. As I always do when heading on a business trip, I began backing up files from my desktop Mac to my external VST FireWire hard drive–only to find that the hard drive had died.
The solution was for the iPod to do double duty as a FireWire hard drive. I enabled the FireWire disk mode option, and it immediately mounted on the desktop. I then used it as I would any other 5 GB hard drive. I backed up my word processing and e-mail files for transfer to my iBook. With iTunes 2.0 installed on both my desktop and laptop Mac, this was a seamless process. The result: I ended up with a combination music player/hard disk drive that was 6.5 ounces and slipped into my pocket.
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