Adventures of an Ipod newbie

I finally broke down and bought an Ipod Touch (well, actually, my wife got it for me for my birthday). Anyway, given that I am pretty old and set in my ways, I thought the younger generation might be interested in my trials and tribulations with this new-fangled technology.

I have had a Blackberry through T-Mobile for almost four years now, and the e-mail interface on a Blackberry is incredible. I literally could not live my current lifestyle without it. But the problem with Blackberries is that every six months they come out with a new version that is only incrementally better than the last version, and of course you have to buy all new chargers if you buy the new version, a marketing ploy that I hate, so my Blackberry is still three years old, and I’m perfectly fine with it. My company does not support the Apple interface for corporate e-mail, so I am sticking with my Blackberry for the foreseeable future as my primary source of e-mail.

My Ipod Touch will be the supplement to my Blackberry. The Touch is WAAAY cooler than the Blackberry.

Let’s start with e-mail. For my private e-mail account, I use the wifi connectivity on the Touch. My e-mail gets updated automatically incredibly quickly. Then, let’s discuss other web applications — again, the web browser on the Touch is about 20 times faster than the ridiculously slow Blackberry browser, which I have basically given up on (even though it is supposedly wicked fast 3G — ha!).

As everybody has been telling me for the last two years, the apps are really, really cool on the Ipod. I highly recommend the “My Climate” app.

Now, here is a story that Apple enthusiasts will I’m sure find hilarious: I am having a lot of problems figuring out Itunes and how to download apps. I just find the Itunes application very difficult to understand (mostly user error, I’m sure). Anyway, I wanted to get the scriptures on my Touch so I went to Itunes and downloaded a $3.99 app for the scriptures. The quality was not great, there were no footnotes, but whatever, at least I could follow along in class without carrying my scriptures.

Anyway, a friend is visiting and he told me there is a FREE scripture app that is available, and I downloaded it and it is 100 times better than the $3.99 app! Sucker!!! What a rube I am paying for scriptures when I should have known the Church would have them for free.

I have got to get this Itunes problem out of my system. I find the interface incredibly confusing and difficult to use. One small example: I downloaded a video and I simply cannot figure out how to get it into Itunes so I can watch it on my Touch. I spent hours trying every possible way — still no luck. I also spent hours trying to get podcasts to link with my Touch. I finally figured it out. And forget about trying to share my wife’s songs from her Ipod to my Touch. That also took me hours to figure out.

One of the main reasons I got the Touch was so I could watch movies while traveling. But the Itunes movie selection seems very limited — what’s up with that? Probably user error again.

I have become a huge fan of Podcasts, however. I don’t know how I ever lived without them. You can download the WSJ daily report, the NY Times weekly report, endless good stuff from NPR (Car Talk and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me make me laugh out loud when I listen), as well as the incredibly fascinating “60 minutes” and good stuff from NBC’s Meet the Press. I am in information heaven with this Podcast stuff!

I am an exercise fanatic (two hours a day biking, hiking or running), but one of the problems with two hours of those activities is they sometimes become repetitive. But now I can’t wait to get out the door and listen to my podcasts while exercising! Life is great!

Anyway, my advice is: spring for an Ipod. If an old guy like me can appreciate it, I’m sure you can too.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

13 thoughts on “Adventures of an Ipod newbie

  1. I have the same gadget configuration as you. Blackberry for email, iPod Touch for nearly everything else. I can’t see switching completely to the iPod/iPhone simply because I cannot accurately use the virtual keyboard. Maybe it just requires practice but I have come to the conclusion that iPhone/iPods are for consuming information, Blackberries are for SENDING information…

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  3. When you plug in your iPod touch into the computer with iTunes, it will show up on the left hand side. Select it and from the main window you will be able to select apps, shows, music, podcasts and movies that you want to sync with your iPod. Everything related to your Touch will be categorized under various tabs in this main window when you have your Touch selected.

    The movie you say you downloaded, did you buy it through the iTunes store? If so, it will be in iTunes and show up under the movie tab in that same main window I’m talking about for you to select.

    Always try free apps first. Games are the only thing worth buying in most cases. When I got my iPhone I made the same mistake. I bought a photography app for $2.99 that is very useful, but a week later found a free version that was just as good.

    Podcasts are amazing. Try Left, Right and Center. It’s the best political podcast I’ve found. Only 30 minutes a week and it’s very balanced.

    I’d tell everyone else to buy a Touch as well, but new models are being released in less than a month, and you don’t want to be stuck with an old one.

  4. Congratulations, Geoff!!

    I bought the new iPhone 4 and love it!! I did the jailbreak on mine and get to enjoy all of the applications and enhancements that Steve Jobs claims will “break” my iPhone. So far, it still runs great.

    If you are interested in jailbreaking your ipod, just go to and follow the simple instructions (slide to jailbreak) and enjoy!

  5. Hey Geoff,

    I *loves* me my iPod Touch. 🙂 Of course since I was given an iPad for my birthday, I’ve not used is as often as I used to.

    Anyway Geoff, you might want to watch some of these iTunes tutorials: And this looks like it might have some good info too: Here’s the iTunes support page: And here’s the support page for your new iPod Touch:

    And I’ll agree with you about iTunes being confusing. It used to be pretty good as a music jukebox/player. But since Apple has needed to add movies, the app store, podcasts, connections to all of the “i” gadgets, etc. it has become rather bloated and overwhelming. You are not the only person to complain about it. But I’ve personally found that if I took the time to learn how it works by reading the documentation for the program, or following the tutorials, then it becomes much easier to use.

  6. Geoff,
    You’re now ahead of me–I look longingly at friends’ and relatives’ iPhones and iPod Touches, but I don’t want to pay for AT&T, and my iPod nano works just fine (for now, at least).

    But I also don’t know how I lived before the advent of podcasts (except that I got more reading done on my commute than I do now). If you want a great ~40 minutes/week, NPR’s Planet Money is a great podcast on (mostly) economics and finance, but funny and accessible (last week, the hosts played Monopoly with a pair of economists; general hilarity ensued). And I love my Marketplace fix every morning. (Maybe you do Marketplace on the radio, but it’s easier for me in the morning on the El.)

    But congrats on the Touch, and good luck working out the bugs!

  7. Thanks for the input folks. You mean I should read a manual and actually LEARN how to use a $300 complex electronic item I just bought? Nah, it’s much more fun to spend hours trying to figure it out and then complain about it. 🙂

  8. Geoff: 2 hours? wow. I don’t feel so bad about my 1.5 hour workouts this past winter now.

    I’m now down to runs of either 4.2 or 5.0 miles (at about 9 min/mile). But I added a 28 min bike ride to a 5 mile run today.

    Man, this hot weather is killer.

    A friend of mine got an iphone 3gs, and it impressed me. I refuse to pay for a data fee, so I may keep my old style phone, and get an ipod touch for the pocket organizer aspect, and also use it as a mini browser when in wifi range of something.

  9. Book, the weather in Colorado has been spectacular this summer. Two hours hiking in the mountains goes by really fast and even faster while listening to a podcast.

  10. Sam B, if you are still looking at this thread, I want to thank you for turning me on to Planet Money, which I had never heard before. Excellent, very smart show. Love it. The most recent podcast has a big discussion on China’s growth and whether we should worry about it, and of course the correct answer is no — economics is not a zero-sum game, if China grows, we can grow too (depending on our economic policies).

    Psychochemiker — I’m guessing you are more adept at technology than I am, so you probably have your very, very good reasons to not like Apple. But I was an Apple holdout for a long time, basically since the early 1990s when I abandoned Macs at work because their software was not keeping up. All I have to say is this: the Itouch is really cool and I love it. And my wife has an Apple laptop that is a million times easier to use than her old Windows laptop. So for our little lives, Apple is great.

    One other point: whatever software Apple is using for accessing the web is better than my Windows laptop. I regularly cannot get access to web sites on my laptop, but using the same WiFi connection I get immediate access on my Itouch.

  11. Psychochemiker said,

    testing, 1. 2. 3.
    I don’t like Apple. To each their own…

    And thus began the flame war on this thread… 😀

    Just kidding.

    I personally am in the Apple camp, but I can definitely see why some people wouldn’t like their products. One of Apple’s core selling points is ease of use. But there are some serious trade offs when you make a complex machine like a computer easy to use. A Mac might be great for someone who doesn’t know much about computers. Or for someone like me who is technically oriented, but just doesn’t want to be bothered by the mundane details and other annoyances.

    But for a real computer wiz who loves that stuff, like some of my friends who make their own gaming rigs, a Mac is utterly frustrating and severely limiting for them. That’s completely understandable.

    On the other hand, a Windows box can be a real pain in the @#$% for someone that doesn’t know how to protect their computer. And that’s the problem with Windows (even Windows 7, which I do like, and is much better than older versions). If you don’t have a good IT department, or you don’t know how to “harden” the OS before you use it, you will eventually corrupt it with a virus or malware of some kind. It’s just a matter of time.

    Personally, I hate that. It’s like needing to tighten all of the bolts on your new car before you drive it, or the doors will fall off and the engine will drop to the ground. 🙂

    So Psychochemiker, you are correct: “To each their own.” What I really don’t understand is the “religious” flame wars over which OS is better. It’s just a frikken’ computer, for crying out loud! Chill, people! (That’s not directed at anyone here, of course. I’m ranting at the Internet in general. :-D)

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