Belated Birthday Present

My regular readers know I’m a big fan of Over the years I’ve downloaded dozens of great books to my iPod. Recently I bought several books written by my old friend, Paul Kemprecos. Paul and I worked together at the Cape Cod Standard-Times (now simply the Standard Times) back in 1964. Paul kept on as a journalist long after I returned to college and pursued other dead-end avenues of employment.

Paul created a detective series featuring a character named Aristotle “Soc” Socarides, a Cape Cod character. I read a couple of those early “Soc” books, in one of which he drops in on my family’s restaurant, Philbrick’s Snack Shack, for our famous onion rings and fried clams. Paul also co-authored several books with Clive Cussler known as the NUMA Files.

The problem I had with these books is that while I was able to download them to my iTunes folder on my computer they would not download onto my iPod. I called Audible’s help line and talked to three different reps with suspiciously foreign accents who each gave conflicting ways to correct the problem. None of them worked which is why I made three calls. My iPod is nearly 10 years old, and while it works fine with what has already been loaded on to it I really wanted to hear Paul’s books on my bus trips into David and over to Bugaba.

Fiddling around trying to get my new purchases onto the iPod I noticed when I went to the audible book section there were several lines across the screen that I’d never seen before. A fourth call to Audible was no help, so yesterday I bit the bullet and bought an iPod Nano. I’m calling it my belated birthday present since I didn’t buy anything special for myself this year. Last year I shelled out over $2,500 for a motorcycle and kit which should have been enough to serve for a couple of years. The Nano is a fraction of the size of the original iPod.


Of course it only has about half the capacity of the original and it costs less than half of what a new, large iPod does, but it also does a couple of things the original doesn’t. For instance it has an FM receiver so you can listen to live radio broadcasts. I plugged it into my computer when I got home and the new books downloaded seamlessly into the Nano.

Large or small, these things are a monument to cyber technology. I mean you can download operas and fantastic orchestral programs onto one of these things and then, using just zeros and ones they will send them directly to your brain in high-quality sound. How? Who knows? It’s sort of like flipping a light switch in your house and having the bulb brighten a room. You don’t need to know HOW it happens, just be happy that it does.


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3 responses to “Belated Birthday Present

  1. I have just learned about Audio books! I have started downloading some from to listen to on my pocket MP3 player. I dont have an iPod. My eyesight is getting worse and also I like being able to listen to books while doing other things. I got interested looking for a way to listen to books while I will be long hours at the boat helm. Thanks for the link to
    Audible is great and their selection is mind-boggling. One of the features I like is each book has a short preview. There have been a lot of books I’ve been interested in, but listening to the narrator I know I couldn’t stand listening to them for hours. They also run specials now and again. Buy two get one free or buy one get one. You can sure expand your library with those if you can find three you’d like to listen to. Also, since I don’t have a television I often will listen to a book in the evening like an old radio program.

  2. capt dan

    How are you doing with your motorcycle? Hasn’t been a peep about it for quite a while. Hope you are gaining both confidence and skills as you zip around the country side. However, your sharing how cheap public transport is where you live makes a very compelling economic case for using it at every opportunity. BUT, riding on a bus doesn’t make your heart go pitty-pat like riding a crotch rocket does! (or at least it did when we were both much younger)
    In regards to “old radio program”: One of my very earliest memories is listening to The Lone Ranger on the radio at my Grandfather’s house with the whole family gathered around it like a campfire. The radio itself was about as large as a small office fridge of today and was made of, and smelled wonderfully of, walnut wood.
    I also remember staring at the test pattern on the eight-inch TV (after I was the last kid on the block to get one) for hours waiting for something, anything (!) to appear. Richard, it’s amazing how much things have changed in our life time.
    Q: Where does the Lone Ranger take his garbage?
    A: To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump dump!
    (Sorry about that one:)

  3. I think your birthday present is not only a good idea, but a necessity! One must have a player for books, and another for backup in case the first one bites the dust.