How many iPods is too many?

This is something that has been bouncing around in my mind for some time now. It reawakens every time a new iPod is released and I have to find a justification for getting the new one.

I have five: a 3G 10GG iPod, a 3G 20GB iPod, a 1G iPod Shuffle, a 2G iPod Shuffle and a 5G 60GB iPod with Video.

My wife has four: a 1G 4GB iPod Mini, a 1G iPod Shuffle, a 2G iPod Shuffle and a 1G 2GB iPod Nano.

Too many I hear you say? On the surface yes – but let me explain my rationale a little. Up until about 2 years ago I used to think that “bigger was best” e.g. I wanted phones that included a camera, my diary, contacts, notes etc. I wanted everything to be duplicated across all of my computers, and I wanted an iPod that held everything.

Over the years I have become much more interested in distributing my data and activities. To be honest this probably started off as a good means of justifying another bit of kit, but slowly I have come to embrace this philosophy.

So what does this mean in reality? Basically it means that when a new product comes out that I “must have” my inclination is to look at how I can distribute my work load, data and activities. Let me give you an example.

I started off with a 17” G4 PowerBook. I recently bought a Mac mini initially to act solely as the hub to our media set up. However I decided to use the Mac mini as my main computer, so no I have cleared down the PowerBook and use it purely for a couple of digital projects that I am working on, for some very specific web sites, and for the reviews that I do. That way I keep things separate, my main Mac is stable at all times and I get to enjoy both machines on a daily basis.

Back to the iPods then.

My library is still just small enough to fit on the 60GB iPod so I do have everything stored on it. In addition I synchronize my Photo’s, Calendar and Address Book. I also have a copy of my VoodooPad notes on it as well. Surely that is enough? Well yes it is at the moment, but by next year I wont be able to store all of the above on it anymore so will I want to buy a bigger model? In the past yes, but now not at all. I have already backed up all my purchased music and audiobooks to the 20GB 3G iPod and I will continue to use this as a means of backing up these files, and as an option to listen to them. On the 10GB 3G iPod I have backed up our language courses and the music that we like to listen to on the roof, and it is sat upstairs in the InMotion speakers so we can use it when we are on the roof. My 1G iPod Shuffle I use for running so it only syncs with the Podrunner music that I run to. The 2G iPod Shuffle has a random selection of my 1* music on it and it lives in my pocket pretty much all the time. So, as you see, I have distributed my audio material across a number of devices so not only have I got some built in data security, but I am also not exposing the more expensive items to unnecessary risks in the way that I use them.

My wife has pretty much done the same, although we have got in a bit of a mess with hers. As she doesn’t have anything bigger than 4GB she can’t store her whole library on one iPod, but as her library is the same as mine that really isn’t an issue for her. She can borrow my 5G 60GB anytime she travels. Her iPod Mini has her favorite albums, podcasts, diary and address book on. It also syncs with here VoodooPad. The Nano she uses just for running, although it does have her photo’s on it and a couple of albums in case she wants to stop and have a coffee mid run. Her 2G iPod Shuffle is set up the same as mine. It is her 1G iPod Shuffle that is potentially surplus to requirements although we have enabled it for disc use, added a few albums “just in case” and use it for backing up Quicken and a few other files that we regularly transfer between the Mac mini, iMac or PowerBook for example pictures we have taken.

Will I buy a new Video iPod? No. I don’t really have an inclination to watch a video on a device that small. Will I buy a bigger iPod? No. I don’t need any extra space at this moment. I think I will but an old 1G Nano for my running as I really like the Nike + kit that my wife uses.

Will I buy an iPhone? Well that is a totally different debate for another day – but I am starting to work on the justification ☺

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