Sunday, July 13, 2008

It isn't rocket surgery

I have gotten in the routine of waking up earlier recently, which makes me feel more like an adult and less like a teenager even though I’m living with my parents.

The other morning (on a Saturday, no less) I woke up at 7:30 AM, congratulating myself on my early start and ready to be productive. My early bird high lasted as long as it took me to walk downstairs, to find my Dad and one of his friends walking inside from finishing a 10-mile bike ride and a 5K. Nothing like a little side of Worthlessness to go with my coffee and yogurt breakfast.

My brother and I got our Dad an iPod Shuffle for Father’s Day. We weren’t actually home on the day he received it, so I finally took the time to sit down with him and set it up. I thought it would be really straightforward to explain and take no time at all. I was wrong. In explaining the Shuffle to my Dad, I did not realize I would be trying to bridge the generation gap in a single afternoon.

First I had to set up an account for him and show him how to download songs from his CDs into his iTunes folder. He wanted to know why he couldn’t just buy the songs with his iTunes gift card, and once I explained that you didn’t want to buy music you already owned, he wanted to listen to a clip of every song on every CD to eliminate songs he didn’t want.

Then there was the conundrum of the iTunes store itself. I showed him the search feature, and we looked up hit songs from the 70’s to see if there were any he wanted to download. Most listed were not by the original artists, which warranted a host of other questions: “but how am I supposed to know if I like this version… do I have to listen to all of these... why are there various artists… why is the sky blue?” You know, things of that nature.

Once we got the music selection settled, we were onto step three, which was using the iPod itself. He started listening to it and wanted to know why all the songs were out of order, or SHUFFLED, if you will. We figured out how to un-shuffle them, and I had to wonder why Apple hasn’t considered making an iPod Sequential or something by now, for the 50+ crowd.

Everything was set up and then my Dad discovered that the headphones wouldn’t fit in his ears. I should have seen that coming- being his daughter, a direct descendant of his gene pool, and knowing that I too needed special headphones when I got my first iPod because I had the same problem.

It was nice, however, to be able to show him how to do something for once… and now he has sweet jams for all those 5K’s.

"The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little."

No comments: