MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

iPod Shuffle

by John Clark

As seen in MAKE 02 Toolbox

Tool photo.

I have about 1,000 vinyl albums, 600 CDs, and enough MP3 files to fill an 80-gig disk. Unfortunately, I have discovered that having music is not the same as listening to music. Like the 12-disc CD changer in my car that never gets changed, I always played the same handful of CDs. New titles would come in and old ones would leave, but my music collection and I had become strangers. Then I bought the iPod shuffle.

This tiny techno-goodie has reacquainted me with my music collection. I can pick from the full library or a specific playlist and then let iTunes generate a random list to fit on my shuffle. I can also use the iTunes Smart playlist options to limit tracks to a certain genre. That way, the Beastie Boys and Winton Marsalis need never meet, unless I wish it.

I've heard the gripes about the lack of any kind of screen, and the fact that it only stores 1G of songs, but sometimes simpler is better. I find I spend less time fiddling about with what goes on my iPod shuffle because it's so easy to change. If the mix doesn't work, I generate a new random list of songs. I can pick if I want to, limit if I choose to, but most importantly, I have the option of simply choosing to listen to music.

That's the truly wonderful thing about the iPod shuffle; I spend less time picking songs and more time listening to music.

Available in stores and online.