iPod


I have no one to blame but myself of course as I answered people’s questions about what I would like for Christmas this year. They all seem to be computer related directly or indirectly. So in one day I acquired half a dozen things which require either a huge online manual or one of those books I call the bible for ……… whatever it is.

First up, new software for the Mac. Microsoft Office for Mac, Home & Student Edition, 2008 version. Now I have used Office for years but in a much more ancient edition. The Old Scientist upgraded to 2007 on his Windows machine just before Christmas and told me that there had been some pretty big changes so I thought I would ask for the program for the Mac. It came with this “free” very neat little folding notebook mouse, which fortunately is just plug and play. So that required no skill to get up and running quickly. The bible for the program comes from the library at the moment but I will be buying one as soon as I decide which one suits me best.

I rather fancied one of these digital video frames and tossed that notion out randomly at one stage. Naturally someone glommed onto it and I was presented with one to organize and load with photos. It came in a huge box with a smallish manual, although we all know that these getting started manuals never tell you anything you want to know and I have no idea how anyone manages to get the item up and running with only those slim volumes to guide one. I am sure I will enjoy the slideshow of photos of my granddaughter once I get it sorted out. I’ve been putting it off for the moment but I should bite the bullet soon.


I’m still struggling with Photoshop Elements so I was grateful to receive Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac -the Missing Manual. Of course it’s a not only a chest crusher but also not something you can pick up and read page after page. It’s really a reference book although you do have to explore what the program has to offer as well in there. One of the problems is that I have so many photo editing programs on my computer, what with iPhoto and Gimp and Picasa, none of which I have mastered except perhaps iPhoto, which has its limitations, or even scratched the surface, as it is hard to decide which one to use. And I keep dabbling with one or the other. But let’s face it, does anyone ever master any of these programs these days? They are so complex and overwhelming that I am sure that most people use only a small percentage of their capability.

Last but not least, I was given my third iPod. From my first iPod mini I fell in love with the iPod. iTunes, the organizational software for the iPod is brilliant. I also love my iPod touch but it has turned out to be too bulky for a lot of occasions. So I coveted an iPod nano. A red nano, my favourite colour. You can only buy the red one from the Apple store and if you buy it online you can have it engraved, which my daughter did. But did she choose some wonderful quotation to use? Or some soppy message? Nope. Just my name and telephone number. Sigh.
Now having two iPods already you would think I would have no trouble whatsoever but of course improvements have been made since my last one. This one has an FM radio which is no problem but it also can take videos. What the heck? Why on earth would you want to take a video with your iPod? I guess the teen market is driving the features these days but frankly I think it a total waste of memory. But we shall see, we shall see. Maybe I will love it, when I figure it out that is.
For those of you who don’t know it, in the UK, London has a Metro/Subway system called the Underground. Remember the movie “Sliding doors”? That was a lovely movie.

The Underground is ancient. The oldest in the world. All others are (often improved in different ways) more modern copies. I would bet it is the most complicated too. There is something.. Magnificent about it for all its faults.

One thing the Underground used to do is make the odd announcement over the pa systems.

You always listened up to these because they mostly told you something useful, important. Like the line you hoped to switch to at the next station was suspended, or there was a fire alert or something. You knew it would be important and therefore worth listening to.

Not now though, and it is my personal suspicion that this has led to the rise of the iPod. Sounds like something from a bad “B” movie. THE RISE OF THE IPOD!!! Doesn’t it? Yes, mea culpa, I have one now, sobs, breaks down confessing… “I have joined the pod people!”

Well anyway, that was then and this is now. Now the poor users of the Underground system are constantly pestered, bombarded, by pointless recorded, or computerised, messages that the important stuff gets lost in. Messages telling you not to smoke, or to stand behind the yellow line, or not to abandon your luggage, or really annoyingly (and this is my personal favourite grr) that there is a good service, especially when you have just had a diabolical journey, being turned off trains, delayed and the like.

They have an opposite one also, when they tell you about delays on the line… and the service seems perfectly normal too. I guess you just can’t trust them…

So now instead of listening I figure we all just mentally tune them out, or go mad, or block them out with an iPod and those noise suppressing in ear buds you get for plane journeys.

I wonder if anyone else gets this? I don’t remember it being that bad on any other Subway systems, and I have used a few.

One thing they do get right on the Underground though, there are usually lots of staff about, at least in central London. That makes you feel nice and safe.

They are not so obvious in some of the lonely outer stations later on at night though. Maybe they could fix that?

So Metro Gnomes, if you are listening… Way less announcements please. None about so-called good service, they just make you look like you are trying to con us. And more visible staff late at night in small stations pleeease.

For some weird reason I quite like the odd random “Mind the gap” announcement, they somehow seem friendly.

Am I being cranky with this post, or do I have a point?

For those of you who don’t know it, in the UK, London has a Metro/Subway system called the Underground. Remember the movie “Sliding doors”? That was a lovely movie.

The Underground is ancient. The oldest in the world. All others are (often improved in different ways) more modern copies. I would bet it is the most complicated too. There is something.. Magnificent about it for all its faults.

One thing the Underground used to do is make the odd announcement over the pa systems.

You always listened up to these because they mostly told you something useful, important. Like the line you hoped to switch to at the next station was suspended, or there was a fire alert or something. You knew it would be important and therefore worth listening to.

Not now though, and it is my personal suspicion that this has led to the rise of the iPod. Sounds like something from a bad “B” movie. THE RISE OF THE IPOD!!! Doesn’t it? Yes, mea culpa, I have one now, sobs, breaks down confessing… “I have joined the pod people!”

Well anyway, that was then and this is now. Now the poor users of the Underground system are constantly pestered, bombarded, by pointless recorded, or computerised, messages that the important stuff gets lost in. Messages telling you not to smoke, or to stand behind the yellow line, or not to abandon your luggage, or really annoyingly (and this is my personal favourite grr) that there is a good service, especially when you have just had a diabolical journey, being turned off trains, delayed and the like.

They have an opposite one also, when they tell you about delays on the line… and the service seems perfectly normal too. I guess you just can’t trust them…

So now instead of listening I figure we all just mentally tune them out, or go mad, or block them out with an iPod and those noise suppressing in ear buds you get for plane journeys.

I wonder if anyone else gets this? I don’t remember it being that bad on any other Subway systems, and I have used a few.

One thing they do get right on the Underground though, there are usually lots of staff about, at least in central London. That makes you feel nice and safe.

They are not so obvious in some of the lonely outer stations later on at night though. Maybe they could fix that?

So Metro Gnomes, if you are listening… Way less announcements please. None about so-called good service, they just make you look like you are trying to con us. And more visible staff late at night in small stations pleeease.

For some weird reason I quite like the odd random “Mind the gap” announcement, they somehow seem friendly.

Am I being cranky with this post, or do I have a point?

The title of this post comes from a song by Eros Ramazzotti about whom I have written previously, more than once. Musica è or Music is. Recently I read what music means to Crushed and it started me thinking about what music means to me, what part it plays in my life.

Looking back on growing up, in Australia, the only source of music in our house was the radio, one radio, or the wireless as we called it then, with about three or four stations as I recall: an official Australian Broadcasting station, ABC and a few private ones. Everything came through that source, the news, sports broadcasts like cricket and rugby, radio serials, comedy shows like the Goon Show and music. Whatever they broadcast. Their choice, not yours. In fact the golden era of radio was right after the Second World War.

Naturally, as a child, I had no choice in the matter of the radio, neither when we listened nor about the station. I had a much older brother as well and his choice came before mine. So music in our home tended to be almost non existent.

Not till high school did we have an official music education program and we were introduced to classical music on records and I became a member of the choir, for I was a half decent alto. What little music there was in my life tended to be classical. My brother had taken to going to free symphony concerts which the Sydney Symphony Orchestra put on regularly and he often took me along. I did learn to love the violin and would have loved to have taken lessons but in our family there no money for luxuries like that. I suppose popular music was dance music but I never learned to dance and didn’t go to the Saturday night dances which seemed to be a large part of one’s social life when I was a teenager.

Television came to Australia in 1956 but we did not have one until just before I left home in 1960 to go to England. So as far as music in general was concerned my life was a bit of a barren wasteland. Although when I was in university I did belong to a very large choral society for some years so I knew that area fairly well.

In London I went to lots of musical productions and symphony concerts with my friends and a large variety of music became a part of my life. In 1961 I married a man for whom music was an integral part of his life, well classical music that is. He grew up with a father who was a clarinet player in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the ABC Military Band. At one point they had 14 pianos in their house for his father was also a piano restorer. When we got married he had a stereo with a quite large record collection, all classical so this is what I heard in our house and came to love too.

Needless to say we both missed out on the change in music in the sixties, the rise of rock and roll, although I developed a taste for folk music and bought lots of records. I even bought a guitar and took lessons and became a “folk singer”, mostly for my own enjoyment, sometimes in my children’s schools.

So music became more important in my life and certainly my children had all the opportunities for music that I never had. Both learned to play instruments, both had their own stereos with their own choice of music, naturally not ours. We owned one of the very early CD players and when you went to the music store, you didn’t say do you have the X version of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, you said do you have the Beethoven Violin Concerto on CD and bought whatever they had. Now we have CD players in every room and hundreds of CDs everywhere.

But the really big change in music listening came from the iPod. Less than seven years ago the first one rolled off the production line. What a magnificent technological advance. Now music goes with you everywhere. Your choice, no one else’s. Even I have one, as I wrote before and I love it. You have total control over what you hear. So much better than our old Sony Walkmans.

Recently I have decided to explore the areas of music I missed in the earlier days and have been buying some old classics of the rock era as well as borrowing some from my son. Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, U2, David Bowie CDs sit by my player at the moment. I can’t say that I have learned to appreciate them yet but I am giving them a chance.

Crushed wrote:

The last fifty years have been an explosion in musical development. Here, technology and knowledge have led the way. In music, man has made huge strides over the past few decades.

Well I have lived through those fifty years and more. I have moved from a life with almost no music to one with music all around me. To where it means as much to me as reading does, well almost. I must not exaggerate here. I’ve moved into the era where Eros says in his song (English translation below comes from here)

Perché un mondo senza musica
non si può neanche immaginare
perché ogni cuore
anche il più piccolo
è un battito di vita
e d’amore che
musica è

Because one cannot imagine
a world without music
because every single heart,
even the smallest one,
is a beating of life
and love that is
music

Eros, in concert, singing Musica è. Enjoy!

The title of this post comes from a song by Eros Ramazzotti about whom I have written previously, more than once. Musica è or Music is. Recently I read what music means to Crushed and it started me thinking about what music means to me, what part it plays in my life.

Looking back on growing up, in Australia, the only source of music in our house was the radio, one radio, or the wireless as we called it then, with about three or four stations as I recall: an official Australian Broadcasting station, ABC and a few private ones. Everything came through that source, the news, sports broadcasts like cricket and rugby, radio serials, comedy shows like the Goon Show and music. Whatever they broadcast. Their choice, not yours. In fact the golden era of radio was right after the Second World War.

Naturally, as a child, I had no choice in the matter of the radio, neither when we listened nor about the station. I had a much older brother as well and his choice came before mine. So music in our home tended to be almost non existent.

Not till high school did we have an official music education program and we were introduced to classical music on records and I became a member of the choir, for I was a half decent alto. What little music there was in my life tended to be classical. My brother had taken to going to free symphony concerts which the Sydney Symphony Orchestra put on regularly and he often took me along. I did learn to love the violin and would have loved to have taken lessons but in our family there no money for luxuries like that. I suppose popular music was dance music but I never learned to dance and didn’t go to the Saturday night dances which seemed to be a large part of one’s social life when I was a teenager.

Television came to Australia in 1956 but we did not have one until just before I left home in 1960 to go to England. So as far as music in general was concerned my life was a bit of a barren wasteland. Although when I was in university I did belong to a very large choral society for some years so I knew that area fairly well.

In London I went to lots of musical productions and symphony concerts with my friends and a large variety of music became a part of my life. In 1961 I married a man for whom music was an integral part of his life, well classical music that is. He grew up with a father who was a clarinet player in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the ABC Military Band. At one point they had 14 pianos in their house for his father was also a piano restorer. When we got married he had a stereo with a quite large record collection, all classical so this is what I heard in our house and came to love too.

Needless to say we both missed out on the change in music in the sixties, the rise of rock and roll, although I developed a taste for folk music and bought lots of records. I even bought a guitar and took lessons and became a “folk singer”, mostly for my own enjoyment, sometimes in my children’s schools.

So music became more important in my life and certainly my children had all the opportunities for music that I never had. Both learned to play instruments, both had their own stereos with their own choice of music, naturally not ours. We owned one of the very early CD players and when you went to the music store, you didn’t say do you have the X version of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, you said do you have the Beethoven Violin Concerto on CD and bought whatever they had. Now we have CD players in every room and hundreds of CDs everywhere.

But the really big change in music listening came from the iPod. Less than seven years ago the first one rolled off the production line. What a magnificent technological advance. Now music goes with you everywhere. Your choice, no one else’s. Even I have one, as I wrote before and I love it. You have total control over what you hear. So much better than our old Sony Walkmans.

Recently I have decided to explore the areas of music I missed in the earlier days and have been buying some old classics of the rock era as well as borrowing some from my son. Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, U2, David Bowie CDs sit by my player at the moment. I can’t say that I have learned to appreciate them yet but I am giving them a chance.

Crushed wrote:

The last fifty years have been an explosion in musical development. Here, technology and knowledge have led the way. In music, man has made huge strides over the past few decades.

Well I have lived through those fifty years and more. I have moved from a life with almost no music to one with music all around me. To where it means as much to me as reading does, well almost. I must not exaggerate here. I’ve moved into the era where Eros says in his song (English translation below comes from here)

Perché un mondo senza musica
non si può neanche immaginare
perché ogni cuore
anche il più piccolo
è un battito di vita
e d’amore che
musica è

Because one cannot imagine
a world without music
because every single heart,
even the smallest one,
is a beating of life
and love that is
music

Eros, in concert, singing Musica è. Enjoy!

When I first joined the gym, two years ago, I had a tiny radio which I used to entertain myself while working out. However, reception wasn’t brilliant there, so I thought I’d check out this mp3 player business. I soon learned that Windows ME didn’t work with iTunes so the iPod was out. I started off with a tiny Creative Muvo 512 MB, which I loaded up with an eclectic mix of my favourite music and was off to the races or rather the gym.

Finally, when I convinced A to buy a new desktop computer, I moved into Windows XP and an iPod became possible. The hard drive minis were being phased out due to the arrival of the flash memory iPods, so I quickly snapped up a 6GB silver mini, just like the one shown here. I could not believe how superb iTunes was and so easy to use. After a 512mb it seemed I would never fill the 6 Gig, but after a conversation with a young student in my Italian class I discovered podcasts. What a revelation. In no time flat, I had half filled my mini with podcasts, the other half with music and I had run out of space.

Those podcasts are insidious. Once you subscribe to a few they keep downloading new stuff every day into your computer and your iPod is full before you can turn around! So I had to get much more selective and unsubscribe from three quarters of the places which were streaming files daily into my computer. Finally I am down to a couple now.

Of course being the book person that I am, I had to get one or two from the library, eventually buying iPod and iTunes for Dummies. In the library catalogue I noticed one called iPod, therefore I am by Dylan Jones. Assuming it was a how-to book I placed it on hold. When it arrived I found it to be an entirely different kettle of fish

Dylan Jones, now the editor of British GQ magazine and a former music journalist, has a huge collection of albums, audio tapes, CDs. He became totally addicted to his iPod and in this book he alternates chapters of his own iPod experiences with chapters on the Apple story and the development of the iPod.

He made me realize what an important and revolutionary advance the invention of the iPod has been, changing completely the way we deal with music; the way we play it, own it, store it, buy it, download it. And all this has happened in a short time, since 2001, when the first iPods “rolled off the assembly line”.

Look around you. People of all ages are hooked up to a music player. Everyone, wherever they are, can enjoy music or the spoken word, for let’s not forget audio books or podcasts. Walking, jogging, on the bus or train, in their car, at the gym. But not only do they have iPods, they have all the accessories that you can imagine. The accessory industry built around the iPod is huge: holders, skins and cases, remotes, earphones, docks, chargers, speakers, clock radios, accessories for the car. You name it, someone has thought of it for the iPod.

I came late to the iPod party, but like Dylan Jones, I love mine. When you are my age, things do not excite you so much. But I am excited about my iPod. After my laptop, it’s the toy I love best of all. If you have the computer capability and love music, do yourself a favour and buy one. I guarantee you won’t regret it.


When I first joined the gym, two years ago, I had a tiny radio which I used to entertain myself while working out. However, reception wasn’t brilliant there, so I thought I’d check out this mp3 player business. I soon learned that Windows ME didn’t work with iTunes so the iPod was out. I started off with a tiny Creative Muvo 512 MB, which I loaded up with an eclectic mix of my favourite music and was off to the races or rather the gym.

Finally, when I convinced A to buy a new desktop computer, I moved into Windows XP and an iPod became possible. The hard drive minis were being phased out due to the arrival of the flash memory iPods, so I quickly snapped up a 6GB silver mini, just like the one shown here. I could not believe how superb iTunes was and so easy to use. After a 512mb it seemed I would never fill the 6 Gig, but after a conversation with a young student in my Italian class I discovered podcasts. What a revelation. In no time flat, I had half filled my mini with podcasts, the other half with music and I had run out of space.

Those podcasts are insidious. Once you subscribe to a few they keep downloading new stuff every day into your computer and your iPod is full before you can turn around! So I had to get much more selective and unsubscribe from three quarters of the places which were streaming files daily into my computer. Finally I am down to a couple now.

Of course being the book person that I am, I had to get one or two from the library, eventually buying iPod and iTunes for Dummies. In the library catalogue I noticed one called iPod, therefore I am by Dylan Jones. Assuming it was a how-to book I placed it on hold. When it arrived I found it to be an entirely different kettle of fish

Dylan Jones, now the editor of British GQ magazine and a former music journalist, has a huge collection of albums, audio tapes, CDs. He became totally addicted to his iPod and in this book he alternates chapters of his own iPod experiences with chapters on the Apple story and the development of the iPod.

He made me realize what an important and revolutionary advance the invention of the iPod has been, changing completely the way we deal with music; the way we play it, own it, store it, buy it, download it. And all this has happened in a short time, since 2001, when the first iPods “rolled off the assembly line”.

Look around you. People of all ages are hooked up to a music player. Everyone, wherever they are, can enjoy music or the spoken word, for let’s not forget audio books or podcasts. Walking, jogging, on the bus or train, in their car, at the gym. But not only do they have iPods, they have all the accessories that you can imagine. The accessory industry built around the iPod is huge: holders, skins and cases, remotes, earphones, docks, chargers, speakers, clock radios, accessories for the car. You name it, someone has thought of it for the iPod.

I came late to the iPod party, but like Dylan Jones, I love mine. When you are my age, things do not excite you so much. But I am excited about my iPod. After my laptop, it’s the toy I love best of all. If you have the computer capability and love music, do yourself a favour and buy one. I guarantee you won’t regret it.