After the passenger window got replaced, after all those freakishly square shards of glass had been vacuumed up, after all the stuff -- maps, Archie Digests, Harry Potter CDs, serviettes, Chickadee magazines -- was back in its proper spot, we were left with the impression that nothing had been stolen. Even my sunglasses were still there, forcing me to finally admit they were scuffed and stylistically passé beyond redemption. If we could just overlook the inconvenience and expense of replacing the broken window, we could almost laugh about it.
Weeks later we figured out what was missing: the iPod, and that useless widget that fits into the cigarette-lighter.
My wife was saddened -- it had been my gift to her, and she made extensive use of its comforts during business trips away from the family. There was no question it would have to be replaced, but I'd become jaded enough toward the brand that I wasn't beyond considering the competition. I couldn't help noticing an alternative that sold for $200 less than my wife's former iPod, and offered as many features as the iPod that sold for $100 more. A difference of $300 is not insignificant, but I had to admit it didn't quite have the iPod's sex appeal -- also not insignificant. I ran it by my wife, who shrugged and said, "As long as it has the music, I'm fine with it."
It does, plus a few things the iPod did not have, including videos of our daughters. And it's a great deal friendlier toward Linux users than Apple is. Hoo, boy -- I very quickly learned how easy it is to bork-up an iPod. Apple's customer service techs ("Geniuses," they call 'em) are, on the face of it, a forgiving bunch. The guy who served me hooked up the device to his computer, cocked an eyebrow and said, "Curious: the software seems to have been tampered with. I'll just restore that for you..." He did, and threw in a few bonus tracks to boot. Bon Jovi, Toto, one or two songs from Flashdance -- even Milli Vanilli. He certainly knew how to hurt a guy. Just one more reason to go non-Apple for round II.
So far, I'm happier for the change; we'll see what my wife makes of it when she attends a conference in Chicago in a couple of weeks. She's too busy (and far too practical) to care, but rumor is there's a new iPod model coming down the pike. Will it wow like the phone did? Frankly I'm too busy and practical to care.
Other music-technology links: can Rick Rubin save big music? My take: he's got an uncanny ear for what people want to hear, but it remains to be seen if he's got a similarly revolutionary approach to its tech-delivery.
iPhone? ho-hum. Ubuntu phone? Hm. I'd like a closer look, please.