Listen While You Work

I'm confessing what seems like a 2007 fitness club or college campus sin; I don't own an iPod, an iPod nano or an iPod shuffle. I feel like the last person not to own one of these sizzling items. But I also know the iPod bandwagon is still very much in town. I've never jumped on, but by the looks of Apple's success with it, I'm betting there is plenty of time to do so.

I haven't succumbed to the "pod purchase" for a couple of reasons:

The first is my $49, tiny two-ounce music player that holds five hundred songs. After buying it, I discovered that its ear buds and cords were white. Not that I care, but guess what people think I'm listening to when my player is tucked into my pocket? [grin]

The second reason I've held out is that, so far, I enjoy Apple's free iTunes program -even without an iPod. Over the years iTunes has grown to include not only music, but audio books, television shows, online radio, movies and podcasts all in one easy-to-understand screen. It will even rip your CD's and help organize your music folders and files too. Not bad -for free.

If my office work requires concentration, I need silence. However, if I'm doing mindless chores like filing, updating software or paying bills, I, like zillions of other people, launch iTunes and crank it to get my groove on!

One of my new favorite uses of iTunes while I'm working on the computer is to listen to podcasts* (downloadable media files by subscription). An exploding number of specialty programs, radio shows and video podcasts are available on almost every subject, so there's something for everyone.

The convenience of podcasts is wonderful. If I've downloaded a radio show, I can start or stop it whenever I want to, or I can fast forward through commercials (a la Tivo) and other boring stretches to seek out the good stuff.

People ask me, "How do you stay current on technology?" I wish it was done simply by osmosis -from working with technology daily, but, unfortunately, it requires some proactive effort to learn new things. Although I still use the old fashioned method of researching articles, reading books and scrolling online sources, podcasts are a new, convenient way to stay current with little effort. Now instead of music, I usually opt to listen to podcasts that discuss something specific I want to learn.

Of course, I can't sync my "other" player with iTunes because it isn't an iPod, but that's OK -for now. If and when I get my iPod, I'll be ready.

* iTunes isn't required to listen to podcasts as there are dozens of programs that will play them. iTunes happens to be free, easy to install, easy to use and on my computer at the moment!

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