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in cyberspace
singapore sunset
amw
After i finished my last physical book i downloaded all of Philip K. Dick's copyright-free stories off Project Gutenberg. I'm almost through with them now, and i already have a new book cued up from amazon.com that was beamed direct to my Kindle seconds after i clicked "buy". Reading on it is so much nicer than reading a mass market paperback. It always remembers where i was up to and i can take it anywhere. I can't even begin to explain how freakin awesome it is to know that soon i'm going to have a whole book collection - searchable - in my purse. It's just ridiculously cool. I feel like i'm living in a sci-fi movie.

So why can't i migrate to digital files for my music? J bought me an iPod Touch a few years ago, and although i did rip some music to listen to on it, for the most part i used it for email, blogs, calendar, that sort of thing. It's like having a tiny computer on-hand wherever i go. Also a nifty sci-fi gadget, but i just don't use it for music much. Over Christmas i was thinking about stretching my wallet to buy a new generation iPod, but i realized i'd only be upgrading for a camera and microphone - neither of which would help me do much more than what i was already doing with my existing one. (I got the Kindle instead.)

I guess it doesn't help that i rip my CDs lossless so there's no way for me to fit my entire library on a single iPod. I can't even fit it on my computer - i've stopped ripping CDs because i have no space left to store them. I don't want to compromise my music by compressing it. It sounds lame, but i know i'm not the only one. Beatport and Juno offer lossless downloads, although the big players (iTunes and amazon.com) don't. But dude, i'm not a DJ. I'm not going to be playing these tracks on a big sound system where it might matter. I don't even own a fucking stereo any more. Maybe i should just go through and re-encode everything back down to MP3. I could fit more on my iPod, on my computer, and perhaps i might eventually feel comfortable downloading tracks instead of getting CDs in the mail.

Of course that's the other hurdle - i have to warm to the idea of buying tracks instead of albums. God knows i have a ton of albums with tracks i don't like on them, but i always feel kind of guilty skipping those tracks. Like i ought to be doing the artist the favor of listening to it as a complete piece. Which is completely ridiculous, considering most artists aren't going for concept albums - and most of the non-pop music i want to buy only comes out as singles anyway. It's just a weird mental block.

I feel like musically i'm stuck in the 20th century. Everyone else moved to iPods and i'm like that old grandpa in the corner with his fucking stack of LPs. Except with CDs. I think i only just realized how absurd that was when i downloaded a book the other day. I downloaded a freakin book, for chrissakes! I could've been doing this with music for years - i didn't need to hunt around obscure record stores or look for individual sellers offloading precisely the stuff i wanted. I guess the one benefit of remaining old school is that i haven't bankrupted myself while working through my wish list. I wonder how much self-restraint i'd have if i allowed myself instant access to new music? Either way it seems stupid not to step into the future. Or, the "now", to be more precise.

One day i'll be able to carry all the things that matter most to me in my computer. My movies, my music, my books... And then all that will be left is those boxes of letters and cards and random memorabilia. Maybe then i will travel for real, fly away with my silicon and cellulose.
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