Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Simple solution makes audiobooks accessible

I have a giant list of books I want to read, but have so far lacked the time to read them.

Soon, though, I will be spending five hours a day in the car and I know that I can’t spend all that time listening to satellite radio and NPR podcasts. My thinking was that I’d get into audiobooks. By downloading them onto my iPhone, I could then listen to the books I’ve been wanting to read.

There was a problem, though. You have to go through all sorts of software gyrations with your library system to get them downloaded, and then have to make changes to your settings in iTunes, some of which basically erase your iPhone.

My iPhone 3Gs is set up the way I want, and my efforts to make audiobooks usable on it accidentally erased my ringtone, ELO’s “Telephone Line,” and caused other problems. Also, thanks to me ripping a lot of CDs, I have very little space left on the device.

Initially, my plan was to buy another device and I had begun pricing them. They all were recommended by the library and Overdrive.com as compatible, but the pricing was a pain to me. I saw devices running around $50 to $60, and thought that it was just too much for a small device that might have one or two books on it at a time.

I had almost given up when it hit me. I have a device that might be usable: my old first-generation iPhone. It was in the storage unit awaiting transport to the house in the Ellenton so it was still accessible. On Thursday morning, when I first got the idea, I drove over to the unit to drop some items off and load my telescope for transport to the house. I found the old iPhone, its cradle and charger, and soon was planning what I’d do with it. The battery was very, very dead, but I knew a few hours on charge would revive it. The old iPhone’s USB cable has actually been used in the car to connect the new iPhone, but I could repurpose it until I can buy a new one. In any case, there is an audio cable input that offers fewer features but works fine for listening to stuff.

I decided that I would use my new laptop to synchronize the audiobooks, so I wouldn’t have to mess with the settings on my regular PC. Soon I was installing software and on the laptop and reading instructions. Nothing is every simple with technology, that’s for sure.

The book I had chosen was Pete Hamill’s “Tabloid City,” and I had checked it out for just seven days – a mistake I have rectified for the future – but could not get uploaded. It took some work, but eventually I got it uploaded to the old iPhone and on the way back to Gainesville last night from the house in Ellenton, I listened to the book being read.

The old iPhone has been erased and has a vast amount of space for books now.

People often are criticized for keeping old stuff and old technology. I could have thrown out the old iPhone when I got the new one, but decided that it wasn’t taking up that much space. Fortunately, my “pack rat” tendencies have paid off and saved me money. Best of all, the old technology has a lot of good years left, and it will be put to good use.

It just goes to show, sometimes the old stuff is still useful, if you just think about it and devote some time and effort.

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February 24, 2012 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age, Vinny's Book Club | , , , , , , , ,

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