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That Promotion Worked February 23, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music.
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Last night around nine-thirty I found myself, like many many others, downloading some music off of iTunes. This is something I rarely do and it all had to do with that counter to one billion downloads. Apple was giving away a new iMac, ten 60GB iPods and a $10,000 iTunes gift card. I couldn’t resist. When the counter froze at a billion I was in the process of downloading “The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions” by Seu Jorge. I just love all that Bowie music sung in Portuguese. It even made my morning playlist.

Every morning I get up to write in my journal, read what horrors humanity has inflicted on each other since I went to bed and if I’m feeling it and have the time posting here. I have a playlist just for these times and it’s all whole albums. The kick off is the same album I’ve been using when I wake up for years: “Victorialand” by the Cocteau Twins, then “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison, “In the Wee Small Hours” by Sinatra, Belle & Sebastian’s “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant” and now the Seu Jorge. That brings the time up over three hours so I may need to cut an album. I’m just not sure which one. I think I’m just going to switch the order around. iTunes says I’ve listened to “Lazy Calm” 60 times since I got this computer just last month. Seu is going to the top of the list.

iPod Update January 22, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music, Personal.
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Yes, on Thursday my iPod did recover to work another day. Well half of another day at least. Friday morning found me facing my morning commute with my trusty tunes. No worries.

Friday night I left the store with my headphones on. The living Elvis started in about the Angels wanting to wear his red shoes. By the time I reached Starbucks on the corner my iPod had frozen again. Having lived through the rollercoaster of the night before I did not panic. I might as well have. Elivis Costello would make the last sounds my iPod would ever produce.

When I got back home I started in on the web. The Apple site had good instructions on how to unfreeze my drive. The trouble was that it wouldn’t reboot. At all. No matter what I did. All I got was an icon with a picture of an iPod with an unhappy face on it and the address to the very same Apple support site I was already looking at.

Well let’s just say that my iPod wasn’t the only one with a sad face. I the unit only a month ago on ebay. It was defiantly used but until Thursday had worked perfectly. Of course I knew next to nothing about the history of my iPod. I looked up my options on the Apple site. If it is covered under the warranty they will replace it no charge. If it is beyond the warranty period there is a small service fee of $249. Oh yea plus $6.95 in shipping. No charge or $250. Not much of a middle ground there. I wasn’t too excited about my prospects either as I had only paid $215 for the machine. Heck the Apple store had the same unit refurbished for $249 with free shipping.

So for the next two days I fretted about it. Yesterday and today I even dusted off my old Creative Zen Micro. (Absolute piece of garbage) for the ride to and from work. The Zen freezes with regularity but is very easy to reset because of it’s external battery. About once a week I would lose music for about half my commute while it ran scandisk. The headphone jack also wont maintain a good connection with the plug and has to be held in an absolutely still manner with two fingers pressing it in place. That combined with the fact that it simply wont update with iTunes for the Mac or PC and won’t register on my mac with any software makes me real enthused to buy a Creative product again. They even have the nerve to rename Podcasting to Zencasting?

So today I got off of work early and made my way down to the Apple Store for the moment of truth. I told the greeter at the door my woes hoping I would be lucky enough that he could point me in the right direction or tell me who to talk to. I must have forgotten where I was. Thought I was in Target or something. He took me right away to a computer and punched in the serial number or the support website. (How did I miss that?) This is where my luck kicks in strong. Although the initial warranty ended in late November the original owner had paid for AppleCare Protection. He sent me upstairs to the Genius Bar.

Upstairs I signed in and checked out the software for about 10 minutes until my name was called. (I couldn’t resist picking up my old favorite PC game Age of Empires II on mac) I explained why I thought the drive was fried to the guy who took in into the back for about 3 minutes. He came back to say, “Yea, it’s gone”. He reached behind the counter for a sealed box with a pre-made shipping label, filled out a form on his computer and then asked me to sign the page that printed out. He still hadn’t asked for any personal information. I signed the form and he handed me a brand new 40GB iPod. That was that. I slipped it into my back pocket and went downstairs to pay for my game. What else can I say: Apple, you rock. You really do.

My iPod Froze Today January 19, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Computers, Music, Personal.
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Not a nice way to start the day. I was coming off the end of the Mason Street Cable Car line when right in the middle of Sinatra singing “You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me” it just stops. Backlight still on, middle of the song will not respond to anything. Will not shut down, will not, well will not do a damn thing expect display that at 1:20 into the song everything was just stopped.

Over the course of the next couple of hours I would try every kind of button combination that I can think of. Plugged it into two different iBooks, ficked the hold button back and forth to try to free up the scroll wheel. Nothing. Finally I realized my next best hope was when this damn thing ran out of juice. Sure enough four hours of constant backlight finally shut the thing down. And to my relief after a little playing around with it I got it to mount on my iBook.

Whew! Not a nice feeling. Sure I have multiple back-ups of all my music, but that’s just not a device an urban commuter without a car wants to face life without. It was good the whole way home and is happily linked up with iTunes from the dock right now. I just hope that was an isolated incident. Feel like I dogged a bullet on that one.

Birth of Cool January 2, 2006

Posted by Lee A Haynes in Music, Personal.
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Yesterday was a strange day. I only kept the store open for half a day. Since most of the street is made up privately owned little stores they all took New Year’s day off. Other than the bars and restaurants the only places I saw open on Union Street were us and the corporate owned stationary store across the street. By 2 o’clock I had generated $6 in sales and I was calling my Regional for permission to stop this abortion of a day. I locked the doors and went home around 3.

Last night I went on a Jazz kick. I have been using the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time as my music to acquire guide. Number 16 is Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. I downloaded it a couple of nights ago and it’s been my soundtrack for this rainy week. Last night I discovered this Australian site which has the 100 top Jazz CD’s. The sounds of ‘Trane, Mingus Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins and of course Miles have been filling my apartment ever since.