iPod Upgrade, Part Deux


It seems to be a tradition with me: I buy an iPod every two years.

Doesn’t it feel like only yesterday when I was contemplating purchasing a new iPod Touch? Only back then, the price of a 32GB model was a whopping $499. How freaking crazy was that?

In the end, I bought a 8GB model for $299. While I definitely loved the thing, its puny capacity left a lot to be desired. Damn my limited budget at the time.

But good things come to those who wait, especially for those who waited for the 3rd generation model.

Shortly after we got our taxes done and paid off our remaining credit cards, I was thinking of something to get myself for my birthday (which Ann and I tend to do). At first my mind was set on a new Trek bike which ran somewhere near $329 or so. But then I got thinking if I really needed a new bike when my current Trek is holding up just fine. I was also wondering if I really needed to spend the money on a new iPod.

So I sat down and thought about both for a little bit and just as I was about to call the bike store, something changed my mind. A few hours later, I was at Best Buy spending some of my tax return money on a 64GB iPod Touch which is destined to be my everything iPod, replacing my ancient and clunky 5th generation iPod Video (which I also had trouble deciding on).

What I Love About It

There’s not much to dislike about my new iPod Touch. I now have twice the storage capacity of my iPod Video, I’ve stuffed it with everything I own along with some videos and movies, and still have room for more stuff. I also transferred all my apps so I’m right back where I left off with my 8GB model.

The volume control buttons and speaker are both added benefits. Playing games and having no sound or wearing headphones was a bit of a pain but with the speaker, everything’s cool.

Its overall speed is also impressive. It runs everything much faster than my 1st-gen Touch, and that was one of the things I hated about it: it was slow. It seems my problems are now solved. (Note that speed improvements do not apply to the 8GB model.)

The addition of the built-in Nike + app also adds value to the new iPod Touch, and I’m finding myself using it quite often. As a matter of fact, I’ve been walking every day and tracking my progress on the Nike Running site. All you need to run this app now is the Nike + sensor (not the entire Sport Kit) that fits in Nike + shoes or, if you don’t care for Nikes *raises hand*, you can buy a small sensor pouch that fits onto your existing shoe. What a great way to track your distance, calories burned, etc. Through the Web site, I also signed up for a few challenges: 210 Miles in 2010 and the St. Paddy’s Day Lucky Runner Challenge (10 miles between 3/7/10 and 3/17/10).

And the overall size of the iPod? It’s amazing to think they crammed 64GB into such a small package.

What I Dislike About It

Apple does a great job with the designs of most of their products but if there’s one thing they really should improve upon, it’s their awful excuse for earbuds. These things are so useless that I still have two pairs in their original factory-sealed condition. They suck—plain and simple. For me, they never stay in my ears and the sound is just shitty—and that’s sitting still. How in the world do they expect them to stay in my ear while out for a run or walk? It’s just not possible, so I’m still using my old Sony earbuds that were free with the purchase of my first iPod Touch. The hook around my ear, fit inside perfectly, sound great and don’t slide out.

Using said earbuds, however, leaves me at a slight disadvantage: the lack of a built-in mic means I can’t use the iPod’s Voice Memo or Voice Control features. But after trying it a few times and realizing how horribly it responds to my commands, I don’t think I’m missing anything at all. Great feature, poor execution.

One of the other things I dislike about my new iPod is that it can’t be used with any of my old clock radios with integrated iPod docks (and neither can Ann’s 2nd-gen Touch). I have three clock radios with docks on them and if you think I’m going to go out and replace them all, then you’re nuts. Actually, I could probably replace the one next to my bed since I tend to use a few “white noise” apps to help me get to sleep sometimes. Then again, I could just use my old iPod Touch for that.

While the new generation models don’t play well with older accessories, I did find out that one of the watches I bought for my birthday does work with it. I picked up a Timex Ironman iControl watch for $30 and decided to attach the transmitter to my new iPod Touch. Much to my surprise and delight, the thing works brilliantly. I’ll gladly sacrifice Voice Control in order to use my watch for controlling volume, skipping songs, etc.

All in all, I’m very happy with the new iPod Touch. Now let’s wait and see what I decide to buy in another two years.

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It’s Been Awhile

Yep, it sure has. While I could have expanded on the Captain EO entry, I just never got around to it. So let’s go back a few weeks and take things from there.

Tax Time came and went and we were fortunate enough to get a decent amount back, some of which we used to take Anthony to LEGOLAND for his birthday, even if it was a month ahead of time. In fact, we were in Carlsbad the weekend of my birthday (Valentine’s Day) but being we are involved in his t-ball league, scheduling a trip during his actual birthday would have been a pain and disruptive to the games.

So we spent three glorious days at the Ramada Inn in Carlsbad where we got free wi-fi and free breakfast each morning. Awesoma power! (In fact, I wrote a quick blog entry on my iPod Touch on Saturday night when I couldn’t get to sleep.)

During our stay, we checked out the Carlsbad Premium Outlet, LEGOLAND, the Sea Life Aquarium, and came home on Monday after stopping at the Rainbow Sandals store. (Note: Rainbows, while pricey, are the best freaking flip-flops you can buy. Trust me on that.)

Here is an assessment on all.

Friday: Carlsbad Premium Outlets. Wow, wow, and wow. There are stores up the yin-yang and great prices on just about everything. There was also a watch store and that’s bad news indeed if you know about my little problem and as you might have guessed, I couldn’t control myself and ended up buying two Times Ironman watches and one Timex Expedition watch. One of the Ironman watches came with a sensor that goes into your iPod port and lets you control the volume, FF/REW, play and pause functions, and the Expedition has a built-in LED flashlight. Yeah, I’m a sucker for things like that on a watch and yes, I’m very happy with them all.

LEGOLAND 007 Saturday: LEGOLAND. While fun, I can’t see myself going back any time in the near future. The rides are all slow (as you might expect at a kid’s amusement park) but also low capacity, which means lines can get unbelievably long and very tiring. Also, their selection of LEGOs sucks major ass and, of all things, this is the ONE place where your LEGO VIP card doesn’t work! Are you fucking shitting me? I can buy LEGOs at Downtown Disney and use it but can’t at LEGO-fucking-LAND? How stupid is that? I later learned that LEGOLAND is not owned by the LEGO company but some other amusement conglomerate, thereby voiding the validity of the card. God bless corporate America.

Another thing that sucks about LEGOLAND is their closing time, which is 5 pm. When you take into consideration the wait times on most of the rides, there’s no possible way to ride all of them by 5 pm. And it wasn’t even very crowded when we went so imagine how the place must be during the summer (when the hours are extended to 8 pm).

The highlight of the place was definitely the mini LEGO cities: New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, etc. It’s a shame, though, that they are not in better condition. After years of being exposed to the elements, a lot of them are broken or falling over, they are dirty, etc. Either way it was cool stuff, and Anthony seemed to enjoy this more than any ride they had there. You can see a select number of shots at this Flickr gallery.

21548_302409924117_748264117_3464927_2535026_nSunday: Sea Life Aquarium (next door to LEGOLAND). Definitely worth the trip even if very small. I think Anthony liked it even more than LEGOLAND that I can appreciate that. I’m not saying we all enjoyed it, but I shot numerous videos on my Flip camera and took many pictures as well. One of the most unique features of the Sea Life Aquarium is that some of the tanks have domes underneath them, allowing visitors to sort of crawl inside the tank and get a 360-degree view.

The good thing? We had free tickets to both places, with purchase of a full-price ticket. To see more shots from the aquarium, click here. Not only that, I was refunded $7 of my parking fee since it was my birthday. Yay!

Monday: Rainbow Sandals Store. We figured that since it was in San Clemente and on the way home, we would stop by the Rainbow store. And if you think flip-flops are just flip-flops, then you’ve never owned a pair of Rainbows. Seriously.

Already the proud owner of two pairs for many years, I picked up yet another at the store/manufacturing facility for $22. How reliable are they? The store has numerous pairs with accompanying letters of praise in shadowboxes from people wore theirs for years. They are kick-ass and worth every penny. Aside from all that, there’s a really big sandal outside the store:

legoland 361

Wow, I think that sums up our mini-vacation (or “staycation” as some may call them). It was one busy but fun weekend.

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