Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Old and busted/New hotness

Note: This post was written before I realized I was trans and/or before I came out online. As such, I might refer to myself as a man or use my deadname. Please read my name policy to understand how you should refer to me.

My two iPods, side by side

No, what you see above is not the result of an evil exercise in cloning first generation iPod nanos. I do indeed have two. Here's why.

Last week after I arrived home from work, I dropped my iPod. It landed butter-side-down on the asphalt driveway with a dull, unassuming thud. Immediate inspection revealed no damage to the exterior, but when I turned it on, only the bottm left quadrant of the screen was working. I had broken my iPod.

This was my first MP3 player, bought in the summer of 2006 for the 20-minute bike ride to and from work. Sure, it's only got a gigabyte of storage, but that has always been enough for me. Even as newer models came (and went), I stuck firm to a resolution that I would not upgrade until my iPod itself would no longer do what it was designed to do: play music.

A broken screen did stop my iPod from playing music, incidentally, and at first I thought that was the extent of the damage. Although this was inconvenient--I could no longer see how much of the battery remained, for instance, and selecting songs became an art instead of a science--it still played music, and that's what I needed it to do.

The fall must have damaged to the battery as well, because I charged it up that night, and when I turned it on in the morning, it gave me a "very low battery" warning and shut off. Since it refused to hold a charge, I had no choice but to declare my iPod nano dead.

So then I had a dilemma. What do I buy to replace it? There's a myriad of MP3 players on the market, and although I'm a tech-savvy person, most of them are close enough in terms of features that it's so very hard to make a useful comparison. It mostly came down to price: aside from the shuffle (which has no screen), the new iPods start at $150. There were some other brands that cost half as much, but I still wondered if they cost too much. In the end, my decision didn't come down to price so much as features--and not the features I wanted, but the ones I didn't want.

Imagine my surprise upon learning that the latest iPod nanos (fifth generation!) have cameras in them. Now, I have nothing against putting a camera in a device. That's great. But I don't really need to pay the extra money for an MP3 player with a camera when I can get a comparable one without a camera for a little less. Come to think of it, I really don't need anything from the MP3 player except for it to play music and have a screen so I can select songs. What I really wanted was my first generation iPod nano.

So I got one. I went on eBay and easily found an auction for an iPod identical to mine--only it was 2 GB instead of one. So it's an upgrade! It cost me $37 with the shipping (my original 1 GB iPod nano cost me over $200). It arrived today, so I snapped a photo of my two iPods together. I love continuity--in fact, I crave it. I would have kept my old iPod for as long as it kept going, and I'm a little frustrated I lost it to something as incidental as a fall. It has served me well, and even though I have a new one that is identical . . . I still miss it.

Sure, it's not the newest model, and it doesn't have umpteen gigabytes of space. That's fine for me though. Unlike a mobile phone or computer, I don't need any new features in my MP3 player. I want it to play music. The extra space, compared to my old one, is nice too. But it's the comfort this continuity brings (and at a fraction of the price of the original) that matters. My first generation iPod nano is dead.

Long live my first generation iPod nano!