Those of you who have long memories and an unhealthy obsession with my personal life may recall this post:
...in which I said of the iPod, "I like it plenty." That was true and still is, unreplaceable battery notwithstanding. Yet, within a month or two of that post, my iPod was relegated to a career of lying unused on a countertop somewhere. Why? Probably because I still had my old NEC Ready back then, and it took about half a minute to open iTunes, and something about iTunes just bugged me. (I think what really soured me for good was that I wanted to use the iPod both at home and at work, and it wouldn't let me transfer my files between the two computers.)
Yesterday I discovered that Winamp includes iPod support (both to and from the iPod). I was suddenly stricken with the urge to download an audiobook. A quick Google search showed me that an ever-increasing number of classic books are available for free in audio format here: http://librivox.org/
I visited Best Buy to get an adapter cable for my car stereo, which has an earphone jack input -- the appropriate cable has the same connector on both ends. Here's an important MONEY-SAVING TIP: I found the cable I wanted in the audio cable section (I think it was called "6-foot 3.5mm stereo") for about $4.50, tax included. On my way out I stopped by the MP3 player section, and they had the same type of cable there... starting at around $15.00. Trust me, the $4.50 cable works fine, even if it doesn't have the cool color options.
Since librivox is a volunteer project, the quality of the voice talent may vary from chapter to chapter; many books are collaborative works, which is understandable, but less than optimal in a medium where the transcriber makes such a difference. Still, it's quite listenable, and you can't beat the price. Once I've listened to a few books, I may even finally get around to trying some of Deadron's podcast links.
P.S. If your iPod's orange light is blinking and it never seems to reach the "green light" state, try using the "disconnect hardware" icon near the clock on the Windows task bar. The orange light will become steady and will eventually turn green.
[Edit: should that be "number of classic books are" or "number... is"? Probably the latter, but I prefer "are" here.]
Jul 23 2008, 4:00 pm