Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

My iPod classic

I’m not sure how much interest this post will garner, especially knowing that some folks are not too keen on Apple these days. But I’ll write it from my perspective in order for you to understand where I’m coming from. This is my Freedom Friday post about my iPod classic.

My iPod classic
My iPod classic

First off, this is not an ad campaign for Apple. Nor is it a way for me to gain a following from all the audiophiles out there. Even more so, nor is it a plea for Apple to listen to its customers. I leave that fight to the activists, of which I’m in no way a part of.

Last month, Apple quietly discontinued the iPod classic, the company’s former highest capacity portable media device.

Yes, I did shed a figurative tear, in spite of the fact I saw it coming for a while now.

Let me make one thing clear. I don’t consider myself a die-hard Apple fan. I say this with the knowledge I’ve never stood in line for one of their products or sat in front of the computer waiting for the next iOS release. I’m one of those guys who buys stuff, regardless of company, for what that stuff represents in technological progress. If that stuff works and does what I want it to do, I will raise the praises no matter what anyone says to me.

Okay, now with that out of the way, my big confession is I love my iPod classic. I do. You’re reading those words from a guy who’s been around. I used to listen to music on vinyl, which, by the way, sounds amazing. I progressed to purchasing my very first Sony Walkman with its ability to carry a whole album on cassette tape. I then moved on to my first MP3 player called the RioVolt, a CD-based MP3 player featuring hundreds of songs at my auditory disposal. From there I graduated to an Apple shuffle—the original “white stick” version. I couldn’t believe I could finally carry a few more hundred songs with me.

Then the Apple iPod classic came. In 2007, I’d spent $350. I still can’t believe I’d spend that much for a device. Then again, for my RioVolt I’d spent $200 in the early 2000’s, so it goes without saying that if a device is worth it, I’ll buy it. That player lasted me a couple of years before it became obsolete.

My classic? It’s still going strong.

What do I love about it? Everything. I’m serious about this. Its ability to fit my entire song library, which is extensive, has me carrying my entire music collection with room to boot. That feature alone has me at the word go.

I’m also an avid playlist creator. I have over a hundred playlists for almost every mood I can think of. I even have playlists to remember specific events in my life. I’m a playlist maniac! The sweetest thing about the iPod classic is that it allows Smart Playlists to work as intended with Live Updating.

For all of you who are not familiar of the feature, Live Updating simply allows a playlist to populate dynamically without much interference from me. That means if I have a playlist with the criteria of picking rock songs I haven’t heard in the past two weeks, the playlist will rotate my library to do just that. Once a song finishes, the iPod classic kicks the song off the list and a new one then appears in its place. Live Updating is that amazing. The thing is it doesn’t work on the iPhone or any of the newest iPods. It does work on the iPod classic, and that’s all that matters to me.

The other great feature about my iPod classic is its ability to create Genius playlists on the fly. Let’s say I’m listening to a song I really love, I click on the center button, choose the Genius feature, and the iPod classic quickly creates a playlist with all the songs that work well with the song I’m listening to. The perfect mix. The feature works so well that I sometimes save the generated playlist for later use.

The iPod classic click wheel
The iPod classic click wheel

Last but the most important feature the iPod classic has that no other Apple device currently possesses is the click wheel. I suppose Apple thought this archaic functionality belonged in the past and decided music listeners didn’t need it. In reality, it’s the most useful feature for us folks who listen to music non-stop.

How does it work? If I slide my finger on the click wheel left, I’m turning the volume down. Go right, I’m turning it up. If I press the bottom of the wheel, I’m pausing the song. If I press right, it skips to the next song and vice versa when pressing left. The kicker? I can do it all without looking at the device. Try that with an iPhone where you have to look at the screen to perform the simple function of pausing the song.

Like I said, I love my iPod classic. I love it so much I bought two—the original 2007 and the 2009 versions. Both of them are still going strong. The 2007 version I have hooked up to a docking station in our bedroom where I turn on the music before going to bed. Although some may wonder how I can prepare for sleep if I have Blink 182 blasting on the speakers. Trust me—I sleep right through the night without any trouble. The 2009 version is with me all the time, cranking out the tunes.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.

The biggest drawback of the iPod classic is that it has a hard drive to hold its music. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple turns around one day to release another version of the device featuring a big fat solid-state drive.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What devices do you own? Are you someone who sports an attachment with a device?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

My Book Release

It’s not every day I can say tomorrow I have a book releasing. It’s not as if I write a book every day. That’d make me one fast writer, for sure. It would also make me an incredible genius. Believe me, as much as I’d like to punch myself in the arm, no way would I consider myself an incredible genius. Not by a long shot.

Jack Flacco takes you to the edge of horror
Jack Flacco takes you to the edge of horror

For instance, I mess up directions whenever I go anywhere with my GPS. Somehow, the voice-assist stating, “800 meters, turn right” sets off a chain reaction in my brain that propels me to want to take the next right turn instead. Even if there’s 400 meters remaining for the turn. Also, I sometimes put on two different socks. But maybe you can forgive me in that respect since I do wake up at 5:00 A.M., and different shades of blue all look the same at that hour. And when I cut the lawn, I sometimes miss spots. I’ll notice it two days later when I’m having breakfast in our garden-view kitchen, and a strip of lawn waves at me, teasing me by saying, “You missed.”

Genius? Hardly.

I’m not very good with marketing either. The best I can do is slap on a few words to a picture about my book, and post it on my Facebook page and Twitter account hoping you might like it without my being too intrusive. Believe me, I dread these days I have to talk about my book. It’s something that does not come naturally and takes me forever to come up with words that wouldn’t make me sound like I’m bragging. Because that’s what I don’t want to do—sound like I’m bragging.

For this reason, I’m dedicating this Monday Mayhem post to my Review Team. These folks volunteered their time and energy to read Ranger Martin and The Zombie Apocalypse in order to not only provide me feedback, but to also give potential readers an honest opinion. It’s best hearing what they have to say than for me to open my mouth so you can watch my brains fall out.

Meet the Review Team

Jerry B.’s Trip Through The Mind“Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is the type of story that draws you in and keeps you engrossed page after page.”

Bradley L. Bodeker’s The Insanity of a Mad B@stard“Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is not your typical genre rehash of things you’ve seen, heard, read before. From the first time I popped open the book, I was glued to the pages.”

ButterflyMumma“Jack has a filmmaker’s sense of pacing and action. The book opens with a bang—Ranger is facing off against the oncoming horde on page 1… Stay-tuned for the film. This book was meant for the screen.”

Sonya Solomonovich’s Swashbuckler’s Tales“Jack Flacco excels at bringing the zombie-fighting action to life with his own brand of dynamic comic-book flavored violence.”

Heather-Joan’s Serenity’s Musings“I am not a fan of the reading sci-fi or zombies genre, but as far as Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is concerned, I was hooked on page three and I couldn’t put it down after that.”

Patrick Todoroff’s Hot Space Station Justice“The genuinely refreshing thing is while RM is fraught with tension and action, (and zombies) it keeps from decomposing into ponderous, grim darkness with a salting of black humor and a light tone.”

Kim’s Tranquil Dreams“The book has quite a bit of intense action especially in the last few chapters. However, aside from it being very much action, in a way that you feel like you are reading a movie, Jack writes in a way where I had an easy time picturing and seeing in my mind what was really going down. It’s a pretty fun experience for the most part and especially in most situations, we always have Ranger Martin bringing in some witty smartass comment to loosen up the intensity sometimes.”

Katie Sullivan’s The D/A Dialogues“A tightly-knit story, woven together with humor, pathos and just-around-the-corner danger, Ranger Martin, was everything I wanted out of a thriller. It starts out with a bang, and doesn’t let up until the final page.”

Jess’ Waiting on a Word“As I read I lost myself in the story, swiping the pages over my iPhone any time I could spare a minute, and then about halfway through the action—BAM! Jack hit me with something I never expected. Wait? WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I thought, as I flipped back and re-read.”

Gina G.’s GG’s World“It is a well paced story and then picks up speed to the point where you can’t put it down and will read until your tablet/kindle/ipad’s battery dies.  I lost a few hours of sleep this week reading it because I couldn’t put it down.”

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale tomorrow.