my second ipod

So, apparently there was some kind of controvery with the earlier iPods’ battery life. Apple advertised eight hours and they only lasted six, or something like that. Maybe the battery replacement plan fitted in. All I really know is that I got a class action form, filled it out, and then got a gift coupon. It was for $50 on Apple branded hardware from an Apple outlet.

I really didn’t need anything specific from Apple, and I didn’t feel like waiting to put it toward a MacBook. I decided I’d either get a refurbished Shuffle or an AirPort Express. The Expresses are really neat: we have one at work, and my father has one. I just didn’t have much of a use for one. I didn’t have much use for a Shuffle, either, but it would cost less and I had some things I could do with it.

When the Shuffle first came out, I made an iTunes playlist to simulate life with a Shuffle. It was 512 megs of randomly selected good music, something like this:

  playlist is "Good Music"
  playlist is "Not Recently Played"
  time is less than 10:00
  limit to 512 MB select by least often played

Good Music
  playlist is "Regular Music"
  rating is greater than 3 stars

Not Recently Played
  last played is not in the last 3 weeks

Regular Music
  genre is not X (for a long list of X)

These kind of nested playlists are a fantastic tool, and one of the reasons I can’t move to a non-iPod player. (More on that problem another day.)

Most of the time I listen to my 3G iPod, I listen to “Radio RJBS,” which is a bit more complicated, and which I’ve talked about before. Sometimes, though, I listen to Shuffle instead, because it gets a different distribution of songs. It’s a good playlist.

I ordered a gigabyte Shuffle, and it arrived today. I loaded it up and I’m listening to it now. It sounds just fine, even though I haven’t yet picked up any new Shure or Etymotic headphones as I’ve been told I should.

Since I’m using a half-gig playlist on a full-gig Shuffle, I had plenty of room to muck about. I’m using it as a keydrive, and it’s finally one with enough space to actually use for something. All my previous keydrives either crashed my PowerBook (because they were crap) or were just too small for any real use beyond holding a document or two. The rjbShuffle holds all my essential installers for Win32 and Mac software (in case I have to use someone else’s computer) and a checkout of my personal Subversion repository for my important documents and configuration.

I wanted to add the updater to my regularly-run backup/synchronization script, and it turned out to be boring and easy:

# ~/bin/shufsync


if [ ! -d $VOLUME ]; then
  echo the rjbShuffle isn\'t mounted; skipping

rsync --delete -rcv /Users/rjbs/Documents/essentials $VOLUME

for repo in $VOLUME/svn/*; do
  svn update $repo

The only weird thing was that I needed to pass -c to rsync. That tells it to check the checksum on each file. Without that, it always synced everything. I’m sure this is caused by the FAT filesystem on the Shuffle, but I’m not sure what the exact cause is; maybe it’s some sort of stupid timestamp thing. It’s slower because of the -c, but I don’t think I’ll ever be in a big rush when doing this.

I’m not sure what I’m going to put in the remaining 300-some megs. I might save it for future use, or I might start calling more software “essential.” It would be really great if the million jillion “keep track of latest versions” sites made it simpler to write a five-line script that said, “check if these packages have been updated. If so, replace my archived copy with the new one.” (Probably better: “If so, download the new one and send me an email.” Otherwise, you end up losing the last version to support your favorite feature and you have to send some angry email.)

Written on April 19, 2006
🏷 ipod