Tag Archives: music

Say Hello to My Little Friend

iPod Shuffle (4th Gen)
iPod Shuffle (4th Gen)

I’ve had a love affair with music since I was a kid.  I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a huge piece of my life.  And because of that, I love running with music.

A long time ago, I picked up a tiny little iPod, the iPod Shuffle (2nd Generation) to carry music with me when I went cycling or traveling.  I loved that little thing, and it still works very, very well to this day.

However, as I’ve started to do more running, I’ve discovered that you cannot control that model of Shuffle with the on-cable controls — no volume adjustments, next/previous track, etc.  When I’m running, I’ll find that a particular track at a particular time doesn’t hit me quite right, and I wanna skip it.  Sometimes, I’ll find a track that was so good with my pace that I wanna repeat it.  While you can do that from the front of the Shuffle, you sorta have to fiddle with it on your waistband or pocket, and that’s a little distracting to me.

4th and 2nd Generation iPod Shuffles
4th and 2nd Generation iPod Shuffles

As I started to research, I got tangled up between the newer iPod Nano (I have an older one of those too!) and the newer Shuffle.  The new Shuffle pays attention to those on-cable controls and is really teeny, but the new Nano had Bluetooth for headphones.  I even bought some new Bluetooth running headphones to see if I could get them to fit my earholes and get used to them.  No deal.  You see, I love my Bose sport earbuds, despite being cabled.  They fit my ears like they were custom made for them, and ultimately, that’s what made my decision easy.  Shuffleland, here I came.

A few things of note.  First off, the price now is about half what I paid for my first Shuffle.  They both only sport 2GB of storage, but with an option in iTunes, you can “down convert” files to 128kb/s, putting more music in the small space.  Even at 128kb/s, the audio quality is fine for my old ears when I’m out running or riding, and 2GB has always given me plenty of variety when I’m out putting trails behind me.

I’ve had this little thing for a couple of weeks now, and I really love it.  It’s teency, even smaller than the previously diminutive Shuffle.  This time, I even got it engraved at the factory. The only complaint I have about the engraving is that it is really, really small, and is more like a printed message, making it very hard to see.  Still, I know it’s there, and that’s a good thing.  🙂


I was struck with the reduction in the size of the packaging.  In the photo, you can see the difference in size between the little plastic coffins these two devices were shipped in.  Apple’s gone to some lengths to minimize the amount of packaging in many of their products, and it really shows with the tiny little box for the new one.  One casualty of that move — you only get one Apple sticker, instead of two.


The charging system has also gotten smaller.  With the second generation device, there was a long cable and a little dock.  The new Shuffle has a little pigtail cable that plugs directly into the headphone plug.  I kinda like that, especially given that I’ll be traveling with this one to races around the country.  In fairness, it is a little awkward to plug into the back of a Mac or iMac, but works great with my MacBook or a USB hub.

So, after a couple of weeks of putting it through its paces, I think I’ve decided this new little piece of gear is a keeper.  Hopefully, it’ll last as long as my first Shuffle!

Cool Spring Morning

There are some mornings when things just click for me.

This morning, the air temperature was 49. The roof was down, and the doors were off the Jeep, leaving nothing but a windshield and seat belt between me and the glorious, slightly damp feel in the morning air. And as I plowed along beneath the slightly lightening sky, Sirius treated me to a great collection of music to fit my mood: Anticipation, If Not For You (Dylan, not John), Solisbury Hill…

Just a perfect, perfect start to the day. Now, if only my stop were the fields and meadows for some photography, or perhaps the hills for a little hiking. Maybe even the Trail for some cycling.

Yep, that’d just take the perfectomometer to eleven.

A Little Rock History, Fun and Silliness

Back in the 70s, a Dutch group named Focus had a flash in the pan hit called “Hocus Pocus”. Who knew the Dutch could yodel? Well, Thijs Van Leer showed us that the Dutch can yodel, whistle and flaut with the best of them. Enjoy the video, and then scroll down for more fun and games.

So, having this little ditty embedded in your mind… Through the magic of YouTube, some twisted, sick individual decided that you could only improve on Dutch yodeling by speeding it up. Again, enjoy the video, and then scroll down.

And with that in mind, someone decided that the magic yodeling could also be served by a little slowness. Here, in at its molasses-induced best.

In this last video, you can actually see Thijs Van Leer’s eyeballs trying their best to achieve escape velocity! 🙂

Battle of the Bands

The company I work for and a law firm in town each sponsor a band for competition annually in a “battle of the bands”, designed to be a fund-raiser for Our Little Haven, which provides care for children who’ve been abused, neglected or affected by drugs. It’s a great cause, and these two bands have been duking it out for a few years now.

The bands canvass their workplaces and friends for weeks leading up to the event, and on the night of the event, each band encourages folks to vote for their favorite band by stuffing boxes with cash and checks. I’m proud to say that the E-Rockers won the battle last night by almost a two-to-one margin. The big winner was Our Little Haven though, and that’s the important piece to the night.

So since we knew the lead singer of the band real well, I started asking around about doing a little shooting of the show. I’ve never shot a concert before, and knew it would be a neat opportunity to play, and maybe to learn something along the way. For just shy of three hours, I shot, enjoyed some really good live music, and was hoarse and deaf by the time the thing was over. I had a great time! 🙂

So what did I learn from the shoot? Well, faster lenses are a must. I shot most of the show with the 50/1.8, although I tried the 28-135 once or twice, but it’s just too slow for a barely lit stage. The other thing I had problems with was the lights on the stage. Most things showed up in this funky yellow glow, although some of the purples showed through nicely. I’m sure there’s a filter solution to help with this — of course, a big ol’ flash would’ve helped too!

It was a great time, and I feel pretty confident I’ll be back again next year, and once again trying to shoot, enjoy the music, and help out a great cause.