Steven came to me when I was in one of my occasional spells of melancholy. "I've been thinking," he said. "I wondered whether you would like an iPod for Christmas? And seeing as Christmas is still quite a long way away, perhaps you would like to buy it now instead?" Good man. "Of course, I'll find something else to put under the tree." He does have a little bit of an ulterior motive here; it will replace our Heath Robinson-inspired MP3-playing combo in the car. In the time we've owned the mp3-playing CD player, the iPod has come down in price by more than the total cost of the stopgap. This afternoon, our servers went down at work, leaving me utterly disgruntled and unable to do anything. So I went shopping.
The packaging is lovely. Apple's packing waste has more style than most manufacturers' products. I know I'm paying for all this, but I'm not sure I care. And the software.
You hear loads of stories about the horrors of mp3 player software. When you plug in the iPod to the iMac, you're asked if you'd like to call your new iPod "Alison Scott's iPod". All our computers have names beginning with F, and the new iPod is Fantasia (though I was tempted by Fag Packet). Once you've named it, it sucks out all the music, in about two minutes. And that's all.
I now have only a couple of concerns. The most recent update of the iPod software includes a European volume limiter -- but when I'm listening in the car I really want the iPod to go as loud as possible because I use a cassette adapter, and the louder the source the less the hiss. So I'm wondering if I need to avoid the software update.
And it's clearly going to take a phenomenally long time to rip huge chunks of my music collection. I really need a ripping robot to do it for me.
Meanwhile, Redbird pointed out this cartoon to us. We were busy carving the pumpkin the other day when Marianne brought up the subject of religion again. "We can only celebrate one thing, right, Mummy?" I looked quizzical. "Well, we're not fasting for Ramadan, and we don't celebrate Eid, do we?" Well, no. "But we celebrate Halloween. And Christmas." Not exactly, Marianne; we take the external features of the celebrations, well, because they're fun. And in the same way, we'd have gone to Walsall's Diwali celebrations during Novacon if it hadn't been pissing down with rain, and we've just been at the last of a million fireworks displays for Bonfire Night, never mind that we don't really support the general practice of burning Catholics in effigy.
Tips for raising secular kids welcome.