The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

13 June 2013

Public service announcement: the online music place

I feel it is my duty as a conscientious citizen of the world to alert you to the fact that iTunes is dangerous.  Use it with caution, I beg of you.

It's been mentioned a time or two here that I am having technical difficulties with technology at home. I've been without a personal computer since moving to Lake Town in February. I thought at first I would fade away to virtual nothingness (get it? Virtual?  Haha!) from internet withdrawal.  I've since discovered that it is possible for a body to survive - and even thrive - without a daily dose of surfing and chatting.

One reason it has been possible, is that I upgraded my phone (mobile, no land line) from an ancient flip phone that archaically was able to only place and receive phone calls - and that only if the conversation was less than 10 minutes long because the battery was shot - to one of those high-fangled fancy-dancy smart phones. This thing, I'm sure, if I could just figure out how it works, would be able to command the Mars Probe. (How is it that a smart phone can make you feel so not-smart?)

I'd been resisting the smart phone movement for a very long time, but I am hooked. It has been useful in so many ways, allowing me to stay in touch, connected, and informed. I wouldn't recommend using a phone to write your PhD dissertation, however, as the keyboard is incredibly tiny, leading to plentiful and interesting typos.

One of the features I most especially enjoy about my intelligent phone is that it is many devices in one. It is my calendar, my internet, my note-taker, address book, camera, mp3 player and yes, even my telephone.  One wee drawback is that the music stored on the device has to come through iTunes. And therein lies the rub.

Having set up my very own iTunes account, it is now as simple as tapping on a little circle on the screen in order to purchase one song or an entire album.  I say 'purchase' but it doesn't feel anything like a purchase, because you don't hand over money or a piece of plastic, you just tap the circle and presto! You now have that cool song from that band you totally forgot about from the 90s in your playlist. It's not until you check out the bank balance at the end of the month that you realize all that impulsive tapping adds up, and you now have to eat cereal with water instead of milk until payday.

Rock on.


  1. Okay Tess...I know you resisted for a long time but now you own a smart thingy. And you're hooked.It took guts for you to admit that, or perhaps it would be better to say intestinal fortitude in your case. Men have guts.

    Since your admission I decided to come out of the closet. I know you'll be very disappointed Tess, but I cannot contain this any longer. Last November I received a Kindle-like tablet for my birthday. There I said it. I know, I've been against Kindles for a long time Tess, being a librarian and all, but I have to say that it is the niftiest little gadget I've gotten in a long long time.

    Now before you send a hit team after me I have to say this. I cannot forgo books. There is nothing like having a book in your hands, feeling the heft of it...the smells of the printed page(this coming from one that works in the printing industry)and above all, seeing a gift under the tree that you just KNOW is a book by its shape, and it has your name on it. But...

    Ever fall asleep reading at night and losing your place? Not any more. This thing remembers what page I was on even if I don't remember reading the last paragraph as I headed into la la land.

    I never know what book I want to read when I go to bed so why not take them all to bed and make your decision there?? Yep, I can do that.

    You know how you it hard to keep that recipe book open on the counter and trying to keep food away from it? Not anymore. The glass the tablet wipes clean and I can make the type BIGGER while taking up no space at all.

    The best part of it all I think is the thousands of copyright free classics that are available to download. Right now I'm in the middle of a Jules Verne classic. I have Aquinas' Summa on my virtual bookshelf and a host of others.

    I'm not giving up on books Tess. I can't. I was raised on books and they are now part of my genetic code, but I just wonder how many people at the time rejected the printed book over the hand written manuscripts when Gutenberg introduced the first "kindle"?

    I'm glad you enjoy your new phone Tess. I'm still resisting :) and I don't feel TOO guilty about having my new tablet. I didn't buy it and it would have been rude to reject it yes? ;)

  2. I still have a dumb phone. But I, whose walls are lined floor to ceiling with books, have a (read this in a whisper) Kindle. It's an addition to my book collection - not a replacement. And I've had the same problem you have with iTunes. One click and I have a new "book," one that I can read but never put on a shelf where I can enjoy its green edges. That reality alone has kept my cereal safely in milk.

  3. A blow to my heart, that's what it is. And from my very own friends even!

    I jest. Sort of. Well, mostly. I am resigned to the idea of virtual books being here to stay, and I should actually be happy that they are providing another way for people to read. Yay! (A rather weak cheer)

    As we're in a confessional mood, I even have a title or two on the bookshelf of my smartphone, but I'm afraid to take the plunge into e-readership. It is a comfort, though, to know that I always have Austen and Donne with me.

    It's a brave new world.

  4. Some balm for your heart: I am not a big fan of the K. Find it tough to navigate through. I like to turn paper pages, leave in real bookmarks, make a little note in a margin (yes I do that), flip through to find things, know by looking at the thickness how much of a book is left (I get sad when a good one is drawing to a close.. "this world will end in ten, nine, eight...."). I don't even feel quite as caught up in the story, which is probably "just silly."

    There. Heart some better now?

  5. Heart much better now.

    I like the physical experience of books, too - turning pages, finding old bookmarks, dog eared corners, scribbles (there's a fun website put up by a used bookseller called Forgotten Bookmarks in which he shares the array of found objects inside his books) I find wanted passages because I remember it was halfway down on the left side, near the end of the book.
    Oh, and the end of a book... drag it out because you don't want it to be over or rush toward it because you can't stop yourself? Such a dilemma!
    The Kindle doesn't work through Canadian Public Libraries. Something to do with licencing.

    Read on!