Grave-robbing Your Technology Scrapheap to Create a Mobile Lending Library
by Jon Chappell
These days, technology becomes obsolete long before it ever wears out or breaks down. Take, for example, early-generation mp3 players, like iPods. The most common reason people give them up is because a new iPod comes along. Or they abandon dedicated mp3 players altogether in favor of a smartphone or the snazzy iPod Touch. That means you can usually find old iPods left around in desk drawers, still with good (or good enough) battery capacity.
The same is true for earbuds. You often get cheap white ones when you buy your mp3: player, but it doesn’t take long to realize you can do a lot better for as little as $30. And if you spend a little more than that, you’ll get really nice earbuds with comfortable, form-fitting cups and other features, like a volume control, mute switch, and microphone.
So rather than toss your old iPods and earbuds, turn them into a “mobile-listening lending library.” Make mirror copies of your music on your old, unused iPod, and be prepared to lend it someone you run into—including a set of buds in case they don’t have their own on their person at the time. They can give you back your rig later in the day, when they see you next, or just by U.S. mailing it to you at some indefinite future time.
A spare iPod will hold its charge for years (even one with a well-used battery), and you yourself will never use the cheap buds again once you’ve found a good replacement pair.
For the times when you want to listen along with someone, use the cheap rig plus a headphone splitter. Then you can both listen simultaneously. If you go this route, make sure to give your friend the good pair of buds to get the best listening experience possible. You’re just listening along for monitoring purposes, so do the polite thing and grab the cheap pair for yourself. If he needs to take the rig with him, then give him the cheap buds.
Jon Chappell is a guitarist and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).