TuxTower's Blog

iPod's are cool... iPhones are cringe.


The Smartphone

In today's ever-expanding world of technology, we live our everyday lives in constant company with our smartphone. It has been one of, if not, the most innovative pieces of technology to come out of the last century. We rely heavily on our smartphones often without realising the extent of our dependence for it. People can't go outside without having to grab their smartphone to tag along with them. Often using the excuse of:

"Someone may need to call me in-case of an emergency!".

In reality however, the smartphone is used as a resource to remove yourself from the present. A distraction from reality. It has become second nature at this point to just pull out your phone and engage on unnecessary and time-wasting activities that bring you no value to life.

Embracing the Present

Recently, I have been trying to go out to various locations without my phone such as coffee shops, restaurants and supermarkets. Instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media or engaging in trivial texting, I instead take in my surroundings and immerse myself in the present moment. It's troubling to realise the multitude of experiences and observations we miss just because we are deeply engrossed in our screens.

A couple of weeks ago, I was lounging by the beach just watching the world go by, sipping a nice cup of coffee. Two men brought down there kayak to paddle in the ocean. Accompanying them was a dog who was reluctant to let his owner paddle away alone. As one man tried desperately to prevent the dog from sprinting to the ocean, he couldn't hold on for too long and lost grip of the leash. The dog was now soaked and was happily swimming alongside his owner in the kayak. It was a funny and quite beautiful sight to see.

Moments like these often go by without much notice. Scenes that bring joy to others are overlooked nowadays because people are glued to there phones. Had I been mindlessly on my phone scrolling through social media or reading up on something that I don't really care about, I would of missed this spectacle and honestly, can't help but wonder how other moments like these I've missed due to my smartphone usage.

Where is this going...

Let me clarify, I'm not saying the smartphone was a bad innovation. It definitely has its pro's. It makes interconnection much more convenient, allowing me to contact someone thousands of miles away from the palm of my hand. I'm not anti-smartphone. But I am pro being present. And if that requires people to sacrifice the convenience of using their smartphone, then I wholeheartedly support it.

That brings me to what I've been doing recently for the past month...

The iPod

I'm not entirely sure what led to it but I suddenly had an urge to rummage through some old drawers in my house to see what sort of old technology we had laying around that nobody used. Stashed away where our families old iPhones and iPad's, laying there, not being used after they had become slow or just outdated. One device that instantly caught my eye was my parents original iPod. It was a 5th generation iPod with the click wheel. A wave of nostalgia filled my mind. I suddenly transported back to a time filled with fond memories that current devices nowadays just don't offer. The iPod, Nintendo DSLite or the PS1 are things that come to mind that just make you remember great memories as a kid. Perhaps my inability to appreciate modern technologies to the same degree is a result of my youth, but that's a discussion for another time.

I quickly was tempted to resurrect the device. I wanted to know if their were any internal components damaged or if this was even usable almost 20 years from it's initial release date. I searched around for an old 30-pin cable and plugged it into power. Long and behold, I faintly see a battery icon indicating it's charging. I was instantly filled with excitement. I wait a couple more hours for it to charge until it becomes usable and to my suprise, all the original songs from my childhood were still on there. I plugged in some old headphones and everything seemed to work fine besides a hard to press center button which was a bit annoying but was usable. (I later fixed this problem by realigning the membrane sticker that was underneath the button.)

I found the revival of my iPod as a new opportunity to replace a portion of my smartphone with something more local and personal to me. Music is also another thing that people don't often appreciate nowadays. People often just pick a song on Spotify and have it playing in the background while they do other activities like driving or working out at the gym. People don't regurlarly sit down and listen to albums anymore, or for that matter, sit down and take in what a song is actually portraying.

As I started to use my iPod for regular music listening, I found myself actually taking in the music. I will sometimes sit for thirty minutes or so just listening to an album or some songs I really enjoy. This is most likely placibo but it's worth-noting. Listening to music on the iPod just sounds better. It feels more local and personal and the music connects to the body on a different level than if I was to play it on my smartphone or computer. There is just something about having songs locally on your iPod that makes you feel like you own it rather than having a Spotify subscripition that goes away the second you don't pay for it.

The Upgrade

A couple weeks pass, I decided I want to upgrade my iPod so I can expand my music library. As the first few weeks pass, every couple of days I would go through songs or artists I enjoy from the 60s to 90s era and add them to my iPod. As my music library grew, my available storage capacity began to shrink. Given the storage of my iPod was 30gb, I was only able to store around 2000 songs. This sounds like a lot but trust me, it gets full pretty fast. I researched and found their is actually a community that upgrade and tinker with these classic iPods. I researched for about a week and I think I found precisely what I wanted.

The goal was to increase my iPod's storage capacity and improve its battery life (the old battery would only last a couple hours of playback), all while maintaining its original appearance. I didn't to upgrade any backplates, buttons or anything similiar because I still wanted the original housing of the iPod due to having sentimental value with the devices original aesthetic. If I were to upgrade it cosmetically, I feel I would have lost that spark that it has.

I opted for a iFlash quad micro SD adpater that replaces the original hard drive in the iPod. Alongside that, I also purchased a 3000mAh battery to replace the old 900mAh battery that was inside. Both these products came to a total of $100 AUD which is pretty reasonable considering I can have a maximum capacity of 2TB. I opted to just have one 512gb micro SD card however, as I felt this was substantial enough for what I needed. After making this upgrade, I've been happily dailing driving my 500gb iPod 5th gen for over a month now. The iPod has allowed me to focus less on my phone and more on music which I think is more beneficial for my everyday life than using my smartphone instead.

Below is the video of me dissassembling and resassembling the iPod with the upgrades. If you wan't to follow along how to upgrade these parts then this video should enough to achieve this: