Hey, have you all heard of these fantastic new gadgets called “mp3 players”? They sound pretty amazing to me. Apparently, you can “rip” your CDs convert the songs to mp3 “files.” Or, if you’re feeling particularly modern, you can “download” the mp3s from the “internet.” Then you just load them onto your mp3 player and bam! You can listen to your music whenever and wherever you want! It’s pretty awesome.
Or so I’m told.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have an mp3 player. I just can’t USE my mp3 player, at least, not in the way God intended. Andrew got it for me a Creative Zen Micro for my birthday in 2005. Andrew purposely chose the Zen Micro over the iPod because it had a longer battery life and more features, including a radio, and he knows how I love me some NPR. At the time, I was jogging, so the idea of a portable radio on which I could also listen to audiobooks was quite attractive. (Oh, you use your player to listen to music? Interesting.)
I was very excited to use it to download audiobooks from Audible.com until I discovered that my particular mp3 player did not work with Audible.com files. “No problem!” I thought. “iTunes has audiobooks!”
That’s when I discovered that iTunes files do not play on my mp3 player either. In fact, iTunes files do not play on any mp3 player other than an iPod. In order for me to listen to iTunes files on my player, I first have to burn the files to a CD and then rip them. Not only is this an enormous pain in the tuckus, this policy of Apple to deny non iPod-users access to their otherwise awesome iTunes interface is infuriating. Why? Why do they have to be like that? It makes me want to boycott iTunes just out of spite, while simultaneously wishing Andrew had simply gotten me an iPod in the first place.
Thanks to all of these little difficulties, my usage of my new mp3 player slowly died off, until eventually, I wasn’t using it at all. And then we moved fifty miles away from where I work, and I thought, “The car! I can listen to our ripped Harry Potter CDs in the car!”
Yeah, no I couldn’t. My car radio did not have an input for an mp3 player. And yes, I know about the device that sends the signal over radio waves, but for some reason, it didn’t tune in properly in my car. It was all fuzzy. But not to worry! Andrew got me a new car radio for Christmas that year! Which was 2005!
So last month, when I got the radio installed, I was all excited to break out my mp3 player again. Sure, I still couldn’t use iTunes, but NPR podcasts now, and I was pretty sure I’d be able to listen to them on the Zen Micro. So, after a frustrating period wherein I had to relearn how to use the file transferring software, the player itself, and the tricks necessary to get the podcasts of This American Life onto the device, I was finally ready to load my mp3 player up with hour after hour of glorious, glorious NPR shows.
Guess what? The flipping thing won’t connect to the computer.