Thursday, February 14, 2008

Flying business class to the sixth form disco

A few years back I had a cool job working for the UN Environment Programme. The pay was pretty crap and the work was hard, but I guess you are expected to do it for the love of the environment or some such. As an "adviser" to the unit chairman (i.e. dogsbody) I had do everything from -literally- the photocopying, to meeting a Prime Minister, albeit of a very small and unimportant country. But the thing that made up for that, at least for me, was that traveling a lot at very short notice we had to fly business class. I had never flown business before and I never went any further than Pristina, so never got to go on one of the big plane where the chair turns into a bed and you get a personal DVD player and all that cool stuff. But you did get more chance to stretch, take more stuff on as hand luggage, nicer food, wine and get on and off quicker. You still get to the same place, but the overall experience is nicer.

So I caved into the peer group and marketing pressure and bought an iPod. It is very pretty and particularly as I already have a MacBook, it all colour coordinates nicely - which as we all know, is one of the most important functions to look for in an MP3 player. But I'm starting to get Mac's genius. You take it out of the box, plug it into your computer and all these things start to happen. Smooth things. White things. Things with rounded contours. Things that don't go "ping" but click in quiet and comforting ways. Messages are short and to the point and don't use words like "drivers", "program files", "installation error". Instead it gently suggests how it could be useful to you. And within ten minutes of plugging it in, I'm unplugging it and ready to listen to 1.7 days of music and podcasts. If only life could all be so simple. So more expensive than the alternative options that will still play your music and podcasts, but the overall experience is nicer.

I immediately went to the "my favourites" playlist and proceeded to dance round the kitchen as I did the washing up, like a beer-ed up 18 year old at the sixth form disco.

And if anyone wants to compare playlists - of my CDs that I have so far ripped to iTunes (not actually that many due to having a small MP3 player before) this is the "my favourites" list. Make of it what you will!

  • The Eton Rifles 3:59 The Jam The Sound Of The Jam Rock
  • Tomorrow 3:43 James The Best Of James Alternative & Punk
  • The Road Is Not Your Only Friend 2:38 Jeff Lang Whatever Makes You Happy Blues
  • Sometimes 5:19 My Bloody Valentine Lost In Translation Soundtrack
  • Can't Stop 4:31 Red Hot Chili Peppers By The Way Rock
  • North Country Boy 4:02 Charlatans Melting Pot Alternative & Punk
  • Hoobaale 5:05 K'naan The Dusty Foot Philosopher Hip Hop/Rap
  • Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill 4:17 Lauryn Hill The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill R&B

1 comment:

Quizbo said...

My defining Mac moment was shortly after switching from several years of PC use. I was helping a somewhat computer illiterate friend to defrag his hard drive and wipe out some kind of browser hijacker that he'd picked up somewhere. He was apologizing because it took me a long time searching through some obscure blog for the remedy. And suddenly I thought, no, you shouldn't have to know this much about your computer. I think computers should just work for us without us spending our mental energies searching for what's wrong with them.