There seems to be a lot of talk these days about a whole slew of new iPod Minis, and new iPod Shuffles, with expanded capacities. I am sure many millions will be sold, and thousands of words will be devoted to reviews, and analysis of these new devices. But, as we wait for this new Podslaught, I would like to spend a few moments on the older, first generation iPod Shuffles, and how they have taught me a life lesson. Sounds decidedly dweebish, and overtly geeky! Nevertheless, indulge me.
One of the hardest exercises I had to undertake ever came a few hours after I spent $99 on an iPod Shuffle. I had to decide on 75 of my most favorite songs – tracks that will entertain me almost anywhere, anytime in any kind of setting. Why? With no control over what song was going to come next, it was like programming the perfect radio station, the one that could play in a non-stop loop, and be the soundtrack of life. My life.
I had to choose from nearly 25,000 songs, a collection that grows by nearly an album a week. Nearly 400 gigabytes whittled down to half a gigabyte. It has taken me nearly six months to build that optimum, always exciting play list. There is Sinatra, even Tom Jones (In case you were wondering, Tom Jones with Prince!), and some Bally Sagoo and Nitin Sawhney. Each track, just evergreen, just perfect. That Bally Sagoo’s remix of an old classic Bollywood song always reminds me of my 10th birthday, and a pineapple strawberry cake that was the staple of our neighborhood bakery.
Nostalgia notwithstanding, the act of putting together that perfect play list made me wonder – do I need multiple Powerbooks? Do I need to have two pairs of tan-colored shoes? What are my ten most favorite shirts? That a Hickey Freeman shirt, ten years later is still more comfortable than anything Banana Republic has to offer.
Or for that matter, does one really need to go out and instantly grab the latest shinny bauble or upgrade to Tiger, just because one can. Does one have to write five posts a day, when one can only suffice? A month of weekends later, I whittled down all that and was left holding a suitcase full of joy. What an epiphany – more is just more! Often small, and mostly predictable things are most fun. That’s the iShuffle principle.
Have a great weekend folks!
Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal Reports, iShuffle killed the Rio: Though the Shuffle was priced higher and had fewer features than some competing flash-based devices, “you’re up against a momentum play or social phenomenon,” said Vic Pacor, president of D&M Holdings, a Japanese holding company for several electronics brands.
11 thoughts on “The iShuffle Principle”
brian, my way of listening to music is in the shuffle mode – you might want to make a playlist, but the reason for ishuffle is randomness. and even if you are going to make a playlist, as i did, i wanted that to be simply perfect.
No, the reason for iShuffle is a small, inexpensive flash-based MP3 player. It happens to have a random feature on it, and Apple marketed the hell out of that one feature to the point that people that the randomness is the purpose for buying it. It isn’t.
The thing that really distinguished the shuffle from other flash players (for me) was the weight. Compare it to the rio – or any of the others I looked at, and the shuffle is a featherweight. That makes a difference for exercise because you don’t feel it jangling in your pocket. Smooth edges are another nice thing some other companies haven’t figured out. Having controls you don’t need to look at to use is another. Before the shuffle I had a sandisk player with controls that simply snapped off. Quality is a good thing too.
I listen to the 4699 songs I have on my 20GB iPod in random mode . . .
you like the element of surprise…. i like limited surprises. say what…