Thursday, September 14, 2006


When I picture something portable, I picture something I can easily carry. Maybe even something I can clip to my belt or dangle from a lanyard around my neck. I think that’s why I have trouble with the concept of iPod-as-portable. How portable can it be if it requires an add-on for every function and doesn't even come with a stuff bag?

I’ve only owned my iPod for about six weeks and it’s already got enough associated writerly gear to require pockets a là Hank Ketchum’s Dennis the Menace. There’s the scratch-resistant plastic case that protects the iPod as it swims around in my backpack; the adapter for transferring photos from my camera; the gadget that tunes my iPod to a radio frequency; and my favorite, the attachment that turns it into a dictation machine. (All I need to do is speak into these things that look like mini-speakers – but they’re not – and what I say is recorded in stereo!) Of course, I can’t actually listen to what I’ve just dictated. I can only look at the screen and see time scrolling by unless I’ve got the radio-gadget and a radio with me. Or the earbuds. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website, these must be set to just above a whisper if they’re not to produce permanent hearing damage. You’re better off with noise-canceling headphones. I’m up for them but even Dennis couldn't cram those puppies into his pocket!

Ultimately it doesn’t matter that I spend my time worrying about dust getting into the connectors on the accessories because I fell in love with my iPod the minute I discovered podcasts. Free, dedicated-subject, radio shows. Just go to the iTunes store and subscribe. My absolute favorite is the PopSci Podcast from the Moon. Every week contributing troubadour Jonathan Coulton, a lonely man in an office somewhere on the moon, “brings you the stories behind the stories that are right in front of you provided you are reading the magazine.”

How could I not tune in?

Check these out while you’re at the iTunes store:
PopSci Podcasts
This Week in Science Podcast
Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American
Podlit: The Podcast of Creative Nonfiction
Strathmore Podcast

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website:


Peggy Sijswerda said...

Gina, I love my iPod, too, but I listen to old tunes when I run, not Podcasts, only b/c the rhythm of the music keeps my feet moving forward. I wish I had time to listen to Podcasts. I did check out some writerly ones once. There's so much to learn. We are all becoming information junkies! But I think I love nature sounds the best: birds making music, waves drumming a slow steady beat on the beach, frogs and crickets, whose voices keep me company on September nights. One natural sound I can live without: the drone of a skeeter in my ear. I don't know about Rockville, but the mosquitoes in Virginia Beach are as big as my little toe and mean as heck. Congrats on your blog. Take care. Love, Peggy

Anonymous said...

I like popsci podcast too!!
Mr Fermi

Guido Sogni said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Gina, you are so funny! I love the things you said--and the way you write-- and I love the doublecross at the end. The world needs people like you who can take a fresh and dispassionate look at fads and fancies that many take for granted. I wish you had a newspaper column as well as a blog! And I hope a million people read this.
Yrs admiringly,