I know. I know. I’m late into the ipod market. I just bought my first one – a 32gb ipod touch. I didn’t particularly want one nor need one, even though I am an avid music lover. The CD players in my car and home have always fulfilled my needs.

Having moved to a country area I discover that my favourite radio program is unattainable. Downloading the podcasts of the program is possible, so I thought about buying an mp3 player for this purpose. The difference in price was a determining factor, as well as my reluctance to buy into the proprietary nature of Apple products, and this resulted in the purchase of a generic brand mp3 player. I was suspicious when seeing on the device interface “artists” spelled with an extra “i” – “aritists”. If I had been able to see this error before purchase I definitely would not have bought it. Work mates told me that if I didn’t buy an ipod I would wish I had. They were right.

I pushed ahead though and downloaded the mp3 files of the podcasts from the program, then loaded them onto the mp3 player, only to find that I could not hear the program through my ear-phones as I drove along the highway in my car. This made me realise I would need to buy an ipod after all. So I did. Then I bought the necessary accessories: protective jacket, charger, and car FM transmitter.

The first “sync” between my pc and ipod transferred just under 1000 separate mp3 tracks. Some of these were the downloaded radio programs, some were of a lecture series from the State Library of Victoria, and others were French language lessons. The majority were of music tracks from my previously bought CD’s.

To my delight I found that I could subscribe to my favourite programs via RSS feeds through itunes, and these would be updated automatically from website to pc to ipod without me having to do anything after the initial addition of the subscription. This is how today’s technology should work – seamlessly and easily. And when I have viewed or listened to the program on my ipod it is automatically removed when I connect again to itunes. I can now listen, without ear-phones, to my favourite programs and music playlists whilst driving the long trip to work every day. I can forego the mindless drivel and advertisements on the local radio broadcasts, and improve and broaden my mind by learning interesting things told by the clever people interviewed by Margaret Throsby.

I also subscribe to TED talks and can load them onto my ipod and watch them at my leisure, although I still mainly do this on my pc, but I get notifications of the latest talks as they are available, so don’t have to go searching, then I can pick and choose the ones that interest me.

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg and haven’t even begun to search for apps that might be of interest to me. I have created playlists from my music collection and can play these loud in our house with an mp3 dock and speakers. I love this ability to tailor my listening consumption to suit my own tastes and circumstances.

The handling and management of ebooks is another area that interests me personally and professionally and I will investigate this further. I did download some ebooks using audible.com but found a silly glitch with my pc and itunes because our laptop has an administrator and two users. I access itunes and my ipod through my user, audible loads via the administrator and itunes and audible won’t allow the access from one to the other, even though they are all me: one of those problems caused by the proprietary nature of Apple and Microsoft.

On the radio

Ray Jones is a radio commentator on the local community radio station 3RPCFM in the Western districts of Victoria Australia. He is an older guy who has been around Portland his whole life.

Yesterday he interviewed me for his program. The purpose of the interview was to advertise an upcoming event. Maura the Clairvoyant Librarian is touring Victoria as part of the Victorian Public Libraries Summer Read program organised and sponsored by the State Library of Victoria. Maura will predict your next great book to read. She will be in Portland on the Town Green on Friday 15th January from 11:00am until 2:00pm. The pre-recorded radio interview goes to air on Sunday 10th January and Wednesday 13th January during Ray’s program.

It was an interesting interview and Ray posed some tricky questions, that I was unprepared for. He posed the problem of the possibility of the internet crashing with far-reaching effects, and how our community depends so heavily on its functions. He talked about the deterioration of the English language and asked me who was to blame. He asked if I remembered Cuisenaire. I do.

I responded as the thoughts came to me. I told him (and the listener) that I had recently listened to the talk by Bill Thompson at The Big Issues conference held at the State Library of Victoria. Bill is a journalist from the UK and a commentator on technology and future trends. He stated that the current wave of online based technology is just in its infancy and no-one can predict what or how we will be using this type of technology in five years time.

I commented that the changes we see in English language usage – the deterioration of spelling and grammar (and perhaps our ability to express ourselves and communicate effectively) will only continue to get worse in my opinion. This is mainly due to the growing popularity and accessibility of online writing and conversations, such as this blog. I know my English language skills are not great and I do in fact blame the schooling system in the Victorian public schools in the 1970’s. Grammar was scrapped from the curriculum. (At least it was at the school I attended). I have had to work hard since then to try to bring my writing skills to an acceptable standard.

But further to that we all see how people abbreviate words for SMSing and the sentence constructions when using Twitter and Facebook. How long will it be before teachers start seeing this type of spelling appearing in school work? Maybe it is already.

By the way, Maura is not really clairvoyant, but a performer!! I think so anyway. I have been asked by customers if she is really a clairvoyant.

I have just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. It is the second in the trilogy and I loved it as much as the first one The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can imagine the movie with Bruce Willis playing the role of Mikael Blomkvist. What do you think?