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iPod is go for launch

All the bugs seem to be worked out.
The iPod now successfully interfaces with my laptop and with my camera.

Yesterday I took my Sony DSC f828 camera and shot 228 5 megapixel images on my 512 MB memory stick.
When I arrived home I dined on delicious home made sloppy joes that Cynthia had made for dinner.

I was upbeat and optimistic and ready to take on the iPod for the final round.

My first order of business was to connect the iPod to the laptop and download the 300+ songs Cynthia had ripped (so far) from our CD collection.

*side note; The iTunes software is pretty damn amazing. Cynthia is not all that technically savvy and does not warm up to new software applications very readily. That being said, she has pretty much mastered the ripping process and has even begun to create some nice custom play. This is a HUGE bonus as it has sped up the process of digitizing the music collection.

I connected the iPod and, as it should, the iTunes software fired up. iTunes allowed me to name my iPod and initialized it correctly for Windows use. All 300+ songs were uploaded to the iPod in less than 10 minutes.

The next step was to connect my camera to the iPod and pull off the 228 images. All went as planned and the iPod brought up the proper menus and allowed me to offload the entire memory stick. It took approximately 30 minutes to transfer the whole load and used about 1/3 of the battery charge to do so. I deleted the memory stick using the iPod and disconnected.

Now for the real test. Could I recover the images from the iPod?

I connected to the laptop and looked under the “My Computer” icon. The iPod showed up as an external drive and I was able to browse the contents. There were my images in a folder. I copied the folder to my laptop in under 5 minutes. I then deleted the files from the iPod which took another few minutes.

All in all, a huge success and a much less painful day than the one before.

At this point I feel confident that I made the right choice. I have a solution for handling my pictures while traveling overseas.

And the bonus (as previously mentioned) is that I have an iPod.
I’m sitting at my desk listening to Cat Stevens as I type this.
On top of that Cynthia can use it and she is even excited about it. The idea of having access to some of her favorite music on the flight or when riding on the train has great appeal to her.

So, in the end, I not only have a practical solution for a problem that was presented in the planning for our trip, but I also have a gadget that will enhance the travelling part of the vacation for Cynthia.

Ow! My aching iPod…

First off, to all you Mac users, just save it. I don’t want to hear:

“It wouldn’t be a problem if you owned an Apple computer.”

All that means is that for the cost of the $600 I have invested in the iPod plus accessories I could have had a more hassle free deployment if I had gone ahead and purchased a Mac. And what that means for me is that my new iPod would have cost me over $2000 plus the cost of time and effort transferring my environment from Windows to Mac. Not really a solution, so STFU.

What brings this on, you ask? I’ll tell you.

In researching my options for media storage (I needed a way to offload my digital images while in Europe) I came to the conclusion that I would purchase a Photo iPod.

There are many options available for the price range of $200 – $600. These options include dedicated card readers capable of storing 20-40 gig of data or some type of portable media center device like an IRiver PMC-120 or the Creative Labs Zen.

Drawbacks…

DEDICATED DEVICE

It would be used on the trip and that would be that. I would have the investment in an item I probably would not use again until I went on vacation. And at the rate I take vacations that would be maybe two years from now. Plus the cost goes up for the rechargeable ones versus the ones you plug in.

PORTABLE MEDIA CENTER

These devices usually have a very poor form factor. Usually unwieldy and awkward and again, not much use for it once I am done.

As I am researching my options and time is growing shorter I have a bit of a revelation.
A host of heavenly nerd angels sang unto me! Apple Photo iPod!

Available in 40 gig and 60 gig versions. Compact, lightweight and proven technology. With the optional USB camera connector option it is a simple matter to connect your camera to the iPod and pull off your images for storage. It will hold thousands of pictures!

And the best part? At the end of it all I have an iPod! I can store my CD collection on one device that travels easily! Woo-Hoo!

And so you might well think, what’s the gripe? A solution was found that suits my needs and all is right with the world. Well, you might think that…but you would be wrong.

Step one. Go to Apple store and buy 60 gig Photo iPod along with additional camera connector accessory. Total cost right at $520.00. Suckin it up. Gonna solve my problems. It’s worth it. B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Step two. Take it home and get it going.

Step three. Connect camera and pull off images to test the functionality. Instructions overly simplistic. Not getting response from the device that the camera is connected. Look at Apple site and see camera is NOT listed in support devices. Sinking feeling.

Step four. Bring full ability of my own nerdliness to bear on the problem. Come to the conclusion that camera must work and it is a defective adapter.

Step five. Go back to Apple store and explain problem. Apple rep suggests updating the iPod software. This fixes the problem and my hopes again soar.

Step six. Go home and connect iPod to laptop. Reading instructions it clearly states USB 2.0 is REQUIRED. All of my PC’s are USB 1.1

Step 7. Go to CompUSA to purchase USB 2.0 PCMCIA card for $39. Go ahead and grab a carrying case for the iPod for another $39.

Step 8. Install PCMCIA card in laptop. Install seems to go ok. Begin install of iPod and system crashes. iPod freezes up and I cannot even soft reset it.

Step 9. Call Apple Support. Get Sanjeet in India who verifies that I do have Service Pack 4 on my Windows 2000 and performs other useless checks on my system that have nothing to do with breathing life back into my one day old DEAD iPod. Sanjeet informs me that I will need to take it back to the Apple store for service.

Step 10. Drive to Apple store. On the way down the Westpark Toll Road I decide to try again to soft reset the iPod. This time it works. I make a u-turn after only passing two toll plazas and wasting a bit of my Easy Tag slush fund.

Step 11. Decide to use another laptop and install the USB 2.0 card on it. Perhaps since it is newer and running XP I will have better luck. Install of card goes well. Install of iPod causes exact same blue screen. Again, using my powers of dorkdom I conclude I have either got a defective iPod or a defective USB 2.0 card. Since CompUSA is closer than the Apple store I decide that the card must be defective and not the iPod.

Step 12. Fish the receipt, bag and packaging from the trash and go to CompUSA to exchange item for a Firewire card and a firwire cable for the iPod. I decided that I would avoid the USB 2.0 in favor of Firewire in hopes that it would work more smoothly.

As I am conducting the exchange/upgrade (this new solution is $100) I discover that somehow or another I have brought with me a CompUSA receipt dated March 23rd 2002 for a Canon ink-jet cartridge. As it turns out Cynthia was cleaning out her office and had just thrown some stuff away. What are the odds?

Step 13. Install Firewire card. Install goes well. Begin iPod install and it works! Huzzah! Start copying music. That works, too! Yippee! Decide to check the stats on the iPod. Total disk space 60 gig. 290 songs on device 15 gig available. WTF?!? 290 songs x 3mb each = lest than one gig. I figure something in one of the failed installs caused the drive not format properly or something. I do a total system reset and regain all my drive space.

Tune in tomorrow night when I attempt to load my songs back on and see what happens. I think I am past the worst of it but it remains to be seen.