2004-10-17

From a Rack in my Living Room to a Cardboard Box in my Basement

The compact disc era is over.

Music CDs have been around for about 20 years, but now that I have an iPod I realize that the CD is dead. I moved my entire CD collection to my iPod and pushed my CDs into storage. There isn't a reason to keep a CD in my living room.

Now I can listen to all of my music in the car (thanks to my iTrip). I can listen to my music at home (thanks to the iPod's docking station). And I can listen to my music on the train (thanks to the earbuds).

My only wish is for a higher capacity iPod. I bought the 40 GB iPod- but that 40 GB doesn't seem like a lot if you have a large CD collection and you want to play your collection at a high bitrate. But in any case, my several hundred CDs fit on my 40 GB iPod with plenty of room to spare.

The cons of the iPod? Even though the iPod is one of the smallest large-capacity players on the market, I wish it was smaller. I would have gone with the iPod Mini, but the 4GB of storage wasn't enough for me. I'm glad I bought the largest capacity model available.

I still need to digitize some old LPs and cassettes. Once I digitize the rest of my music collection, I will be able to archive all of my obsolete media and associated equipment.

But will the cell phone replace the iPod?

Maybe in 10 years. The problem is that cell phones have a very low storage capacity, and are (for the most part) disposable. And cell phones will likely get more disposable. However, the music on my iPod is a long-term investment. So as of right now, my iPod and my cell phone have mutually exclusive qualities.

Current high-end cell phones have a maximum capacity of about 512 Megabytes. And not all of that memory is availble to music. Today's best cell phone may have the capacity to hold 50 to 100 songs - only enough to hold 5 or 10 CDs, and certainly not to store an entire CD collection. And that 512 Megabytes storage capacity might be available only if you buy added-cost memory cards.

State-of-the-art MP3 players, such as the iPod, can hold 40 Gigabytes or more - or about 10,000 songs. The difference in capacity is the difference between having a fancy rack in your living room to having another cardboard box in your basement.

MP3 players are also significantly better than cell phones at PC connectivity, user interface, and sound quality. Music-only devices focus on the entire music experience. In contrast, cell phones focus on fee-for-service voice communications and text messaging. Convergence will not be as easy as slipping an MP3 decoder into a cell phone. Perhaps it will be easier to slip a cell phone chipset into an MP3 player.

Some day the cell phone will converge with the MP3 player - but the stand-alone MP3 player isn't standing still. And before we get too excited about converging the MP3 player with the cell phone, remember that there are many other compelling but competing convergances:
  • The Camera (current cell phone cameras stink)
  • The PDA (ditto)
  • The GPS
  • The Radio
  • The TV
  • The Camcorder
  • The GPRS
  • The wallet, the brass key, the credit card
  • the watch (done, IMHO).
Let's see what happens!

2004-10-10

Craig's List

eBay is nice because it has a huge audience. But eBay costs the seller for the posting, commission, and the credit card (PayPal) fees. Craig's List has a much smaller audience, but it is totally free to both the poster and the buyer.

I listed my CD Changer (thank's iPod!) and some old cell phones on Craig's this weekend. And then I waited for replies. And do you know what? I got a LOT of replies - about 10 in one day.

To further ease the burden and cost, Craig's List is a "local thing" - no shipping required. The only trouble is connecting and exchanging the goods. And in the best case, the transactions are in cash.

The CD Player sold (yay!), and my cell phones grab tons of interest. [Note that all of my net reciepts from eBay and Craig's are slated to go to charity.]

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