Blogging, iOS

Second-Hand Tech

I’ve set myself half an hour in which to write, so I’m going to write.

WARNING. SHIT POST.

On a topic entirely unrelated to the subject of this post, I was wondering: on which day of the year are the greatest number of blog posts published? Is it even possible to tell? Perhaps the graph of blog postings against time has a positive derivative at all points, with no pattern discernible in the rising tide. Perhaps blogging varies with current affairs far more than any predictable pattern. Perhaps every day is essentially the same. Or, perhaps, as I suspect, blog posting is most common at particular times, such as the beginning of a year:

“My New Year’s resolution is to blog more.”

Yes yes yes. New Year’s resolutions are arbitrary and stupid, and I object to them on principle, too. But I don’t think it’s wrong to have aims. It just so happens that I do want to write more, and that we’ve just started a new year: 2011. So what? I want to keep this blog stocked up with fresh ideas – and just a touch of hubris.

My second aim is to stop blogging about blogging. I think that one will be harder1.

Today I decided to give my 1st-generation iPod touch2 to my older brother. 3 years ago, when I ordered that iPod, I gave him my 6-month old 5th-generation iPod in exchange for a TV3. I didn’t need it any more, and he didn’t have an iPod. I took my music off, he put his music on, and we were done.

With an iOS device, you can’t just do that. It’s different. It’s not just a music player, it’s a complete miniature computer. If you were giving away your laptop, you’d take off your data, reformat the hard disk and then reinstall the operating system. It’s extremely easy to restore an iPod to factory settings: the problem is extracting your data beforehand. It’s really hard to do.

I lived on my original iPod touch for 3 years. It’s filled with emails, screenshots, saved images, bookmarks, calendar appointments, booking reading data, alcohol consumption data, high scores tables, eBooks… Basically, lots of shit. But it’s my shit, and my shit don’t stink. Some of that data is synchronised with the web or can be synced to a computer, but most is stuck4 inside the app that created it, and I don’t want to lose it.

How can you deal with that? You either: say to hell with it and wipe the iPod, you painstakingly manually extract all of the data and then wipe it, you give it away still containing your data, or you keep it untouched.

  • I don’t want to wipe my data. Maybe you would be happy to throw it away, but I wouldn’t.
  • I no longer have the patience to go through apps, copying down high scores, copying down booking-reading statistics, emailing individual screenshots to myself5. I can’t do it.
  • By giving away the iPod, you run the risk of you forgetting to remove some private information6 and becoming embarrassed/compromised, you run the risk of the recipient accidentally deleting your data or losing the iPod, the data is not in your possession any more, and the recipient gets a sub-optimal iPodding experience7.
  • By keeping it, you get to keep all of your data, but you may happen to be breaking a promise you made to your brother.
    • Furthermore, as an aside, my original iPod touch was 16GB whereas my current iPod – bought as part of Apple’s Back to School promotion – has only 8GB of storage. When I travelled France for a month, that extra 8GB was invaluable for audiobooks and podcasts. I don’t want to give up that capability and storage – sorry brother. My decreased storage was something that had totally slipped my mind.

This wouldn’t have been a problem if I could have easily transferred all of my data from my old iPod touch to my new one, such that Peggle would have all the same game progress, my bookmarks would be the same, I would have the same notes on both iPods, ReadMore had the same databases, and stanza was filled with the same books. As far as I know8 this is not possible9. I would then have wiped my iPod and given it to my brother.

Another difference between this and a laptop is the limitation of Apple being able to enforce licensing. Apps that I buy in the App store are tied to my iTunes account. This means that if I wanted to give my brother an iPod loaded with apps, I would also have to supply my iTunes password. This is not something I want to do for a number of reasons. Giving my iPod to my brother with the data still on it would have similarly required password sharing to occur, else he would not be able to sync his apps the iPod without losing my data.

I think it would be best if my brother buys his own iPod touch and starts from scratch, with a perfectly functioning device, his own apps, his own data, his own music, and his own iTunes account. Sadly I think he has a few more important things to buy first.

POST SCRIPT

I know this is a boring post. I know. I’m just upset that I had to go back on my word to my brother. I’m having to keep a piece of technology that someone else could be enjoying because I can’t adequately separate it and its data in order to keep what I need, and to give away the device in a suitable condition. Someone else should be able to use it – I don’t need to use it10.

Fuck, what a shit post.

NB: I actually spent over 90 minutes on this post. Fuck. Now its 2:30am.



Footnotes:
  1. If I ever write a novel, I bet the main character will be a young and troubled writer trying to work out how to make it in the world as a novelist. If I ever fall to such depths, you know what to do. 
  2. From now refered to as my ‘original iPod touch’. 
  3. His iPod survived for at least a good year after that, dying well outside the 12-month warranty. 
  4. I say stuck, but if I can view the data then it’s not actually stuck: I can then manually transcribe the data to a different location. It just makes it very difficult and laborious. What’s more, I don’t just want the data, I want the data inside my new iPod. I want to be able to manipulate it just the same as I could previously, but on this new iPod instead of the old. 
  5. My original iPod touch is not in a very healthy state: the computer no longer recognises it as a camera which is necessary to extract the photos and screenshots it contains. 
  6. Emails, for example, or saved passwords in the browser. 
  7. See below about iTunes accounts 
  8. There is a huge probability that I am just ignorant in this area and this thing whole is a huge waste of time. 
  9. That’s either a problem for the individual app developers, or probably for Apple as the developers of iOS. Having all data stored offsite on the internet (‘in the cloud‘ – Fuck I hate that phrase) would solve this problem too. 
  10. Except on long trips or as a backup iPod in case my new one breaks. 

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