Dealing with a truculent iPod

My second iPod has reached the point of battery senescence. I hadn’t noticed the problem before, primarily because I normally keep the iPod plugged into a charger while I am driving. However, as I tried to update the iPod with some Christmas music, I realized that the thing no longer holds enough charge to complete a sync.

The problem is worsened because of my temporary setup during the Project. I have the single FireWire port on my TiBook tied up by the external 300GB drive that holds my music (and must, therefore, remain attached during the sync). That means I have to connect the iPod to the FireWire port on the back of the external drive, which is, unfortunately, an unpowered port (something I missed when I selected the Venus enclosure). So the iPod has to rely on its flickering battery during the sync and ultimately it fails.

I figured out a workaround this morning—sort of. I ejected and powered down the drive, then reconnected it using the USB connection. I then plugged the iPod into the FireWire port on the back of the TiBook, where it happily charged away. And a good thing, too, because the TiBook only has USB 1.1, which is slow. I think I got about 150 songs onto the device in 45 minutes. But it will do, for now.

The ultimate solution? Well, for one thing, once the Project is done I will be accessing the music files over the network, so there won’t be that problem any more. In the meantime, I think I need to look into battery replacement for the iPod, which means I’ll be updating the iPod Autopsy page with pics from the innards of my 3rd G device. I have some other ideas as well, but will try the battery replacement first to see how it goes.

Update: There’s also an Apple support note on five things to try with an iPod before sending it in for battery replacement. We’ll see.

Tech Trek hits the media

CNET MIT grads to size up Silicon Valley. Heh. Funny that this makes the news, with so little substance. There’s a lot to say about the Tech Trek (which is unnamed in this article), but this article doesn’t say it—just suggests that MIT finds the Valley interesting. Which it did back in January 2001, when I participated. But it’s good to see that the Sloan crew can still raise press attention.

Project update: somewhat stalled

It had to come. My initial prediction, which said that 275 GB would be enough for my collection, was just a little too smug.

As of today, tracks from The Project, my endeavor to losslessly rip all my CDs to a hard drive, comprise 7746 songs from 569 albums, lasting 24:17:58:02, at a total disk cost of 166.57 GB. Unfortunately, the other tracks in my library—those purchased from eMusic or the iTunes Music Store, or ripped from CDs I no longer possess, or downloaded from other sources—also take up space on the drive. So, at the start of digitizing the other half of my collection, my rock and pop CDs, I only have 70 GB free on the drive—about half what I need.

What went wrong? Well, for one thing, I think I underestimated the number of albums I owned by about 100. (Oops.) For another, I underestimated the number of classical discs that I owned that were actually 2 CDs in length. Each album weighs in, on average, at 0.2927 GB—somewhat fewer than my anticipated 0.297 GB per album. So the biggest contributor to “scope creep” appears to be undercounting the discs I own.

What to do about it? Well, “purchase more space” is certainly an answer, but not the one I want right now. Should have gone RAID to begin with, I’m afraid. So for right now, my answer has been to halt the digitization until I can figure out the best solution to add the additional disc space I need. The other option—to use lossy ripping for the rest of the collection—is one I’m not comfortable with.

Great things about 2005

  1. I got a job. This is actually numbers 1 – 5, because through that job I got to bring a really cool set of products to market, liveblog the Gartner IT conference, and visit our German subsidiary. But more importantly I got a chance to confirm my value as a marketer and product manager and enabled us to have the financial capital to do a ton of stuff on the house. Which leads me to…
  2. We fixed our house. Or a lot of things with it, including: air conditioning, heat, got rid of the oil burning boiler, media wiring, new windows and front door, insulation, rejuvenated bathrooms, improved storage, closed up walls, fixed the back lawn… Also found my way into a community of like minded individuals from whom I’ve learned a lot about home improvement projects.
  3. Before I started the job, I learned a lot about myself through teaching SAT prep. I didn’t write about this experience too much at the time, but I think getting in front of people—especially high school kids—two or three times a week was just the kick in the pants I needed to get my self confidence back to secure a job.
  4. I got to listen to some really good music—and review a lot of it, thanks to my association with Blogcritics.
  5. Speaking of music, Sony BMG’s DRM mess wasn’t a great thing about the year, but the way the blogosphere, the public, the press, and the legal establishment responded to it, including the response to my Boycott Sony blog, was. I’m very grateful to all my readers on that blog for their contributions to the story.
  6. And speaking about music again, I’ve had a chance to sing with two great musical groups, the choir at Old South Church and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Between the sublime moments like singing Mahler’s 8th at Tanglewood opening night and the semi-ridiculous ones like the Pops Christmas shows, it’s been a lot of fun.
  7. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with family, including one big road trip to my parents and a wonderful holiday (my inlaws were here through a few days after Christmas, my parents arrived on the 26th and left on Saturday, Esta took off this morning). And I’ve had the pleasure of another year with my loving and wonderful wife and our dogs, which is the best thing of all.
  8. Lastly, I’m grateful to you, my readers. I am always surprised and humbled to realize how many people read this thing, and am frequently astonished when old friends contact me because they found the blog on Google. Here’s hoping that next year will be just as great as this one was.