Conformity...or a eulogy for the Rio Karma

When I started this blog I promised that I wouldn't do any posts about technology. Since I broke that rule with my post about my computer monitor I thought I'd post this personally embarrassing revelation:

I'm thinking about buying an ipod.

Why is this an embarrassing confession?

For starters I already have a perfectly serviceable hard drive based music player of which I've only used 6 gigabytes of the 20 gigabyte capacity. I also happen to not own a Macintosh or a Windows computer. Anyone who knows me fairly well (and if you're reading this blog I'll assume you do) knows that I like Linux. It's open, it's free of cost and it's not owned by one company. Everything Mac OS X, iTunes and the ipod are not. Yet, in my old age I've grown less patient and I think I'm coming to the point in my life where I'm willing to give up a little cash and a little control if things will just work.

Here's an example:

Steps to get a CD's worth of music onto my Rio Karma:
1.) Rip CD
2.) Encode tracks into ogg format
3.) Fix the track tag info that invariably didn't get filled in right
4.) Connect Rio Karma to dock over ethernet
5.) Open Rio Music Manager Lite (java program that enjoys random crashes)
6.) Attempt to transfer tracks to Rio Karma
7.) Watch in horror as transfer freezes 6 tracks into the transfer
8.) Quit Rio Music Manager Lite
9.) Reopen Rio Music Manager Lite
10.) Transfer tracks

Steps to get a CD's worth of music onto an ipod:

1.) Open iTunes
2.) Rip and encode CD to mp3
3.) Connect ipod
4.) Sync

Maybe I'm exaggerating some, but it's become so irritating to transfer music to the player that I've stopped doing it. Thus, I can't listen to my newest music unless I'm physically at my computer and that sucks.

So maybe I'll be arriving late to the ipod/iTunes bandwagon, and perhaps that makes me a conformist. But I'm thinking about switching not because the ipod is iconic but because I've realized that easy management of your media is a HUGE draw. Basically I'm switching for the benefits of iTunes. It just so happens that the ipod is the only media player that works with iTunes, but you can bet I'll be replacing those conspicuous white earbuds the first chance I get.

Appropriately, Rio doesn't even make portable digital audio players anymore.