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Two-Prong Post

I. Generic MP3 Players vs. iPods: A Query

Why are iPods so ubiquitous?   Why has this name become synonymous with "MP3 player"?

Having a deep love for all things Microsoft due to familiarity, regardless of how many times the system has crashed on me/fallen prey to viruses, I am predisposed to hate anything with the little apple icon.  But I especially loathe iTunes, which I downloaded last summer for the purpose of purchasing some CSI: Miami episodes I couldn't bear to wait for any longer, only to find that I could not then play the videos in any other application, namely my preferred Windows Media Player, or second choice WinAmp.  Furthermore, any music purchased through the site would not work on these programs either, nor could it be burned to a CD.  USELESS.

It has recently come to my attention that one cannot move music from an iPod to the computer without purchasing an additional program.  EVEN MORE USELESS.  My generic MP3 player's major purpose in life is to cart music back and forth between my computer and the one with internet that I use most of the time; its secondary purpose is to free up space on my hard drive by allowing me delete any files stored on the device, knowing I can store them again whenever I get tired of listening to them.  Having a dead-end transfer option just sounds stupid.  In addition to that, I always hear people complaining that their iPod has broken down and displaying only a sick face, usually within under two years.  That seems sort of counterproductive, too.  Mine's only six months old, true, but so far it's given me no problems whatsoever.

Bottom line: precisely what is so alluring about the original iPod that one would choose it over a less expensive generic brand?  What secrets am I unaware of? 

II. Harry Potter's Fate
I don't have the time and patience required to whip up something good for hp_essays, with textual evidence and a multitude of examples, but I can give you a personal diatribe on why I think Harry will die:

He's a hero caught up in a quest, and unless they have a vital love interest waiting for them at the end, heroes are often consumed by their quests. Ginny doesn't count because she hasn't played an important enough role in his life thus far.   There's her starring role in book 2, but other than that there's just Harry's crush in the most recent book, which doesn't get developed until well into the second half, after which it gets about three mentions.  Now, if he'd been linked to Hermione, that might be different.  But much as I like the pair, I don't feel that he and Ginny are particularly epic or grandiose.

Then there's the prophecy, "Neither can live while the other survives" - well, they *have* been living, in some manner, for 17 years already, haven't they?  I know that's not quite what it means, but still, my initial reaction upon reading this was that neither could truly defeat the other.  I see Harry dying in battle, he and Voldemort falling together.  I take it as a given that the latter will die, but I also think that it will take all of Harry's energy to kill him, and that LV will take him down as he goes.  I don't know if Harry is an accidental Horcrux, and I don't think it matters in this scenario, but that would play nicely into it.

My mom thinks that Harry will live because Rowling's fans would revolt and riot in the streets if he didn't; that people would be outraged to have the protaganist wiped out after investing so much collective emotion in him.  She thinks that nobody new would want to read the series, knowing all the while that Harry dies at the end.  She also thinks that it would thwart the underlying message of this books, the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

I disagree.  The defeat of Voldemort and his supporters on its own is enough to serve that purpose; it is not dependent upon Harry's individual triumph.  Heroes need not survive to go down in legend, and in fact, it might be better if they don't. 

If Harry dies, you can at least be assured he'll go down in a blaze of glory, and it would bring a solid conclusion to his story - his story began  with Voldemort and everything we know of him has been wrapped up in this ceaseless fight against LV; this has pretty much been his life's purpose.  It's fitting that it end the same way. Conversely, have to think that if Harry survives the experience, he will be severely MESSED UP.  Messed up for life.  Remember Jake and the Animorphs?  No kid with such a burden on his shoulders comes out of this fine and dandy.  Look at Frodo - the lucky little hobbit survived his death march (much to the dismay of one of my friends, who kept yammering about how he should have died, damn it!), but he was never the same again and finally left his world altogether. 

As to Harry's projected mindset, think the ending of HBP x10, because after DH I expect he'll have seen a fair few more people fall, and he's not exactly run out of people close to him whose potential deaths would rattle him to the core.  He might not be utterly broken, but he wouldn't be quite the character we've grown to love, either, and to leave him like that would make for a poor and unsettling ending indeed.  There are, after all, to use an oft-quoted line from the book, things worse than death.  But hey, what do I know.  Maybe Rowling has a way of making him ultra-resilient and able to find hope at the end of the war.  So long as it doesn't involving nauseating epilogues of practically underage marriage and baby Potters (you wouldn't suddenly go all fanfic on us, would you O Powerful Authoress?), I might grudgingly be able to accept that.  No I wouldn't.

My one last reason, perhaps best prefaced with "wishful thinking," is because I'm of the opinion that Rowling is almost guaranteed to kill ONE of the trio, and I'd really rather it not be Ron or Hermione.  They need each other.  Harry, on the other hand, I feel has become increasingly set apart, and will be whether Ginny survives or not (I'm undecided about her fate, although I'm leaning more towards her living.  I'm looking towards Percy and/or one of the parents as the inevitable Weasley sacrifices).  As for Ginny being the one left behind, she's stoic.  She could move on.  On that note, I am hoping Harry gives up his superhero complex somewhere in the middle of book 7, enough to give me my shipper's fix for the pair before he bites it.

By the way, I shall be VASTLY disappointed if he manages to not bite it.  I've been firmly convinced of the correctness of my opinion for going on two years now, and finding out I'm wrong would be like...like...finding out Tobey Maguire actually didn't play Superman well, something really horrible.

Mr. Potter, your days are numbered.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2007 06:55 am (UTC)
Furthermore, any music purchased through the site would not work on these programs either, nor could it be burned to a CD. USELESS. The music won't work on those other programs, but really, that makes sense as Itunes wants you to use their program to play music. ;-) However, you can burn the songs to a CD. You have to do it through Itunes, though. All you do is create a new playlist, drag all the songs you want to be on the CD, stick a blank disc in, and hit the burn button that's at the top. If that doesn't work, then there's something wrong -- and I'd contact the Itunes people about it.

Also, I don't see why you can't get music from your Ipod to the computer. Actually, I guess I'm wondering why the music wouldn't be on the computer to begin with (cause how else did you get the music to the Ipod??).

But my guess is that since the Ipod was really one of the first, that's why it's so popular. Also, they're pretty. :-) AND if you buy protection for the Ipod, Apple will replace it if it breaks so really, the people with the sick!pods only have themselves to blame for not buying the warranty, hehe.

I agree with you on the Harry Potter stuff completely. Also, one of the main underlying themes of the books are you fight evil with your held high even if you know you're going to lose. Given that, I don't think Harry needs to live (or even really win) for the books to be successful.

If there are baby Potters, I'm punching someone. :-D
Jul. 4th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
Ah...to be fair, I didn't really explore the program all that much before I chucked it aside; I never actually tried to burn a CD - I didn't immediately see a CD-burning option, so I assumed it wasn't there.

Actually, I guess I'm wondering why the music wouldn't be on the computer to begin with
Like I said, if I have a detachable storage device, I don't see much point in storing music in two places - once I move it to the player, I like to delete the computer copy, knowing I can always put it back if I get tired of listening to the song(s) on the device.
Jul. 4th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
Well, I had a Ipod shuffle for awhile, because I didn't think I'd want more than a gig of music, but I ended up being wrong. So last Christmas, my grandparents bought me an off brand (SanDisk) mp3 player that was only 2 gig, but I could format my songs and get about the same amount of music as a 5 gig Ipod out of it. It was much cheaper than an Ipod and I thought much better. I even bought my brother one. 6 months later, its broken and I'm unable to use it at all. I'm back to my old shuffle until I save up enough money for a video Ipod.
Maybe its just my bad experience, but I'm sticking with the original Ipod anyway.
As for the name becoming synonymous with MP3 player, well, things tend to do that. Sometimes its regional, but a lot of times everyone does it. Like in Texas, every soft drink is called Coke. It doesn't matter if its a Sprite, a Dr. Pepper, or a Sunkist. We call it Coke. Pop Tarts, no matter the brand, are called Pop Tarts. Kleenex is called Kleenex, even if its not Kleenex brand. I could think of more examples if it weren't so early, but I'll leave it at that. Basically, people are lazy and think of one name that they call everything similar. Human nature or something.
Jul. 4th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
I understand the "it came first" idea, especially given all the stuff you named (except calling everything Coke - that just doesn't make sense to me at all), I just couldn't figure out why something so seemingly riddled with problems would be remembered as setting the standard.

But then again, you don't seem to have had any problems with the brand, so maybe the people I know are all just really bad at caring for electronic devices.
Jul. 5th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
The Coke thing is purely regional. In Texas, I suppose, we're very lazy or something. I don't even know why we do it, but everything is just called Coke.
I just said it as kind of an extreme example, I guess.
Jul. 4th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Why are iPods so ubiquitous? Why has this name become synonymous with "MP3 player"?

Personally, I think it's because they came first, and are usually the first to explore any new innovations in the mp3-player world. iPods were the first to be compact, have more memory space, and were the first to have video. Now, I don't use video, and (up until recently) didn't need all that much memory, so a different mp3 player was okay by me, despite my recent acceptance into the iPod Zombie ranks.

And you can burn iTunes music onto a CD or even e-mail it to someone else, provided that person also has iTunes. If you can't burn your music, you may have a software issue that you should e-mail the iTunes folk about.

And yes, it's quite annoying that music from iTunes won't play on anything else. But hey, iTunes is free, so I figure there's no loss just to download it for playing purposes.

I feel I should note that, despite being a lifelong PC user, I really have few loyalties with regards to computers. I prefer PCs, but I use whatever is on hand. However, I flatly refuse to buy an iPhone (although I don't have the money for it even if I wanted one). I draw the line there.

Will respond to your Harry Potter theory/musing so soon as I can form a coherent response.
Jul. 4th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
And yes, it's quite annoying that music from iTunes won't play on anything else. But hey, iTunes is free, so I figure there's no loss just to download it for playing purposes.

Except for the fact that I utterly despise the interface of the program. And besides, I'm paying for the music/video...I don't want their stupid program, I just want the sound! Not something that takes up additional space on my hard drive, whose every spare megabyte I guard jealously, wanting it filled only with the most useful of products so as to have more room for my actual media.
Jul. 5th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Hmm...maybe you could store the program on a portable hard drive/flash drive? I don't know if that would work, since I've never tried it, but that does mean you don't have to give up computer memory. :)

Good news is, iTunes is supposedly phasing out the copy protection on their song, so that may mean they'll be able to play on WinMedia/WinAmp and such. Only heard about this recently, though, so that may or may not be what happens.

Still formulating HP thoughts...(but also still at work, so they'll have to wait.)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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