The spring semester starts today. Because I don’t have any Wednesday classes, I won’t be starting until tomorrow. I’ve been spending the last few days trying to get better prepared. For example, I’ve organized our home office, since I’ll be spending a lot of time in here. It’s nice to feel much less cluttered, to be able to look at the computer screen without looking over a pile of books and papers, etc. Another thing I’ve been working on is familiarizing myself with iTunes. Without my knowing it, Melanie gave Santa the idea of putting an iPod in my stocking, so I’ve now officially joined the iPod generation. I’m the proud owner of a 2GB iPod Shuffle, which is the “cheap” version of an iPod but is exactly what I would want. It’s tiny—the size of a flash drive (which, for those who don’t know, is comparable in size to a cigarette lighter, though probably a smidgen smaller)—so it doesn’t have a screen on which to watch videos or visually navigate through one’s music collection. The screen might be convenient for the latter reason, but I wouldn’t have any interest in utilizing an iPod for video purposes. So, as long as it plays music, that is all I could hope for. And that it does.
Of course, I’m not quite to the fun stage of using the iPod just yet. There’s a learning curve, and that’s before you even open your iPod (which, as I’m writing this, I still haven’t done). For the moment, I’m still trying to figure out how iTunes works. Again, for those as naïve as myself, iTunes is the computer program that, for all intents and purposes, acts as the liaison between your computer and your iPod. You needn’t own an iPod to use iTunes—iTunes can be used as a general media player, to listen to music or watch video on your computer, for instance. But, if you own an iPod, you cannot load it with music without going through the iTunes program. Because I’ve never used iTunes, it’s all new to me, and not everything about the program is as intuitive or as obvious as I wish it were. Still, I’m getting there. The first step, which was a rather big one, was reformatting the massive amount of music that I have on my computer. iTunes, and hence iPods, do not recognize certain file types (just as a DVD player cannot play a Blu-Ray disc). The overwhelming majority of music on my computer was in a file format that is incompatible with iTunes. So, I had to tell iTunes to go through the music on my computer and reformat it, turning all of my music files into the widely-recognized MP3 format. Because I have so much music on my computer, it took roughly 10-12 hours for this reformatting to occur. Now it’s just a matter of deciding which of the 8,182 songs listed in my iTunes library I want to put on my iPod, since I’ll be lucky to get even 500 of them on there. (The iPod website suggests my particular player should hold approximately 500 tunes, but that might be at a lower audio quality than I’d like. We’ll see.) I admit, it makes me somewhat giddy to see that I have over 8,000 songs on my computer. According to iTunes, I have 21.9 days worth of music on my hard drive. That’s something like 526 hours of digital music! Pretty awesome!
I’ll let you know how things turn out—because, you know, I’m sure you’re in great suspense about it.