Thursday, January 20, 2005

All For the Free iPOD

My wife received a 40GB iPod from her employer as a Christmas bonus. Great gift!

Except that our computer was running on Windows ME, and the iTunes software that connects the iPod to a PC requires Windows XP. Still, no problem -- the XP upgrade only costs $99 at Office Depot.

We upgraded to XP, and everything went well, except that the computer went mute --no sound. That's because our old sound card was incompatible with XP.

No problem. Sound cards are cheap. I bought a new Creative sound card at CompUSA for less than $30, and installed it and its drivers.

Silence. I removed the card and software and returned it to CompUSA, and swapping it for the Mad Dog card. Still silence.

I called the Mad Dog support line. "What kind of speakers do you have?" he asked. Boston Acoustics. What does that matter? "You have digital speakers, but our card has analog output. People make that mistake all the time."

CompUSA doesn't carry any digital-output sound cards, so we kept the Mad Dog card and hooked up a very old and tinny set of Sony speakers. In the end, the free iPod cost $130 and a weekend of muttering and cursing under my breath at the computer.

But so far we've ripped 1400 songs to the iPod, and it's great. We'll be able to download our entire CD collection into a little white-and-silver box and not come close to filling it up. It just amazes me. I feel like I should join a cargo cult or something.


Darkmoon said...

*laugh* next time, call me or something.

Your Creative card was fine probably. The latest Creative card (around $30) should have digital-output. I know this one does. Couldn't have helped with the XP upgrade. Wish my work would buy an iPod for me for Christmas. This year, my division threw a big party in Chicago, open bar. Anyone based in Chicago was invited. The rest of us got nothing. And we had a good year too! Reason being? "We're cutting back." Ahh.. the justice in it all.

David Wharton said...

It's weird -- I tried all the outputs on the Creative card, but couldn't get a peep out of it. Don't know what was going on with that. Maybe it was a bad card.

But since I'm listening to everything on the iPod, it doesn't seem to matter much.

Rustam Sheridan said...

Couldn't you just copy the songs from the ipod to your PC harddrive and play them from there using your old speakers and setup?

Anonymous said...

i feel your is great when it works and it can be a royal pain in the rear to figure out the problem when it doesn't...

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