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My first iPod didn't have a halo back then

David Chartier

In light of the iPod's 5th birthday, I figured it would be fun to join Scott in some reminiscing about the early days of my first little white music player. I remember seeing them when the 10 and 20GB models completed the 1st/2nd gen lineup, and I knew that thing would rock my world. I had already been trying out other MP3 players at the time, and I hated all of them. The last one I remember before scraping together cash for a 5GB iPod was a Rio (from Creative, I think?), and I hated that thing too. Getting music onto the device was a chore, and flash memory cards were mind-numbingly expensive (I think it took SD cards). The Rio's interface was an exercise in walking barefoot on broken glass, and the moment I saw the iPod I knew someone had finally done it right.

After tearing the couch apart for that last penny to cover tax (and after a month of saving some cash by eating nothing but Ramen noodles), I rode my bike as fast as I could down to the University bookstore I was part-timing it at (I wasn't in school at the time), because I could get the discount there which made all the difference. The funny thing is: when I brought that 1st gen iPod home, I wasn't plugging it into a Mac - I had a Windows XP box (funny: 5 years ago, same ol' WinXP). While the original iPods were *officially* just made for a Mac (or so most of us remember), I picked up one of the first Mac+PC versions, so I was using Musicmatch and - I hope you're sitting down for this - an unofficial plugin for Windows Media Player. This admittedly blasphemous configuration worked decently, though it certainly didn't hold much of a candle to the integration of the dynamic iTunes+iPod duo that Apple finally brought to Windows. Fortunately, this iPod helped convince me to hop onto the Mac OS X train before that happened.

I'd like to consider myself one of the early benefactors of the 'iPod halo effect.' While I was using crappy software on Windows to manage my first iPod, I started (finally) getting curious about the company that made such an impressive little device. After all, I was in the middle of a design undergrad (I had to take time off to get in-state tuition in CO, and btw: that's a PITA), and the next semester a fellow classmate sat me down for a crash course in all things Apple and Mac OS X (and I was finally more open to learning about them). When the forces of the iPod halo effect and Mac OS X united, I once again embarked on a Ramen diet, this time of epic proportions. My destination? A RevA 12-inch PowerBook - my first Mac - for which many pennies were sacrificed.

So this blogger has that original 5GB iPod and a classmate or two to thank for making the switch to greener OS pastures. Of course, I can also bring incredible amounts of music along in my pocket now too, which isn't half bad either. It's been a fun musical roller-coaster, complete with scratches, too many wacky accessories to count, and a deeper understanding of my music library that just can't stop - won't stop - growing. Thanks, 1G iPod.

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