In the Ecosystem

OK, so we’ve all heard the cautionary tales about self-replicating machines; the idea being that once our electronic servants reach a certain level of complexity they will be able to build more machines, and it’s pretty much a slippery slope from there to Robotron:2084.

I think that Apple may have gotten us there a bit early.

Since purchasing a 120GB iPod classic, I’ve bought:

1) Belkin Clear Acrylia “remix” case.  I usually don’t buy Belkin products, ever since getting burned by a couple of their Flip KVMs, but this takes “protective” to a new level of paranoia; it completely encloses the iPod and protects the clickwheel, with openings only at the dock connector, headphone jack, and hold switch.

2) Sennheiser CX-300B earbuds, because the bundled iPod earbuds just don’t have enough bass and these were on sale at Amazon for a hair over 20 bucks, which I thought was a crazy good deal for something with the Sennheiser name on it.

3) An Apple Universal Dock with remote, etc.  I don’t want to think about the margin that Apple must make on these things; they are the most blatant example of the “Apple tax” that I have yet run in to.

4) A Griffin “PowerDuo” kit that came with a car charger, a wall charger, and a charge/sync cable.  The rather nice thing about this is that, since it’s actually a USB charger kit with an iPod cable bundled, I can use it to charge any USB device in the car or off the wall current.  I can stop leaving my Xbox 360 on to charge the controllers. 🙂

I did run in to the problem that, with the case on the iPod, it doesn’t fit in its dock adapter – or, for that matter, any of the six dock adapters bundled with the universal dock. The iPod fits in the dock just fine if I leave the dock adapter out, but the connector looks startlingly flimsy.

Fortunately, I found a solution, I thought, and then I had my hopes dashed, and then all was made right again.

See, Agent18 makes iPod cases that come with dock adapters.  Now, Agent18 cases don’t protect the click wheel, and I’d already bought a very decent case and didn’t want to replace it, BUT:

Agent18 will happily sell you two of their dock adapters for $5 shipped, which seemed a fair deal for something to relieve the stress on the dock connector.

That makes iPod-related purchase number 5), by the way.

I ordered them, and they arrived today, and I was gleeful to see that the iPod, in case, did fit in the Agent18 dock adapter, and then I tried plugging the iPod into the dock with the dock adapter installed and, well, it didn’t work.

See, the bottom of the dock adapter is thick enough that it prevents the dock connector on the iPod from mating with the dock.

After I realized this, I said an impolite thing, and then I got ready to stick the dock adapters in the closet and forget about them, and then I had a thought.

“Self,” I said, “you have two of these things, and they were cheap, and you’re about to stick them away and go back to using your iPod on the dock with no dock adapter so you’ll be eternally stressed about it until the day the dock actually DOES break and then you’ll be all like ‘well, I knew that was going to happen’ and stuff”.

And then I got out a box knife and – in a remarkable display of dexterity – managed to cut the bottom out of one of the dock adapters without actually injuring myself.

So now my iPod fits in its dock with the case on AND has a bit of extra support where it needs it, and all is good.

But seriously, looking at all the doohickies that I’ve wound up buying as a result of this single iPod purchase, I think that self-replication is already here, and it comes in a tasteful white box.

Oh, and I’m seriously considering 6), which is a self-installable iPod connector kit for our Mazda3 so I can route the signal through the internal stereo and do stuff like change tracks and playlists and volume from the steering wheel, which seems much safer than the alternatives.

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