Why My iPod Is Better Than Your Cloud

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I saw the movie, Baby Driver, this week and it was fantastic. Not only do I love a good car chase and quirky characters, but one of the central components of the film was the iPod Classic, (multiple generations, too!).  You read that correctly – the iPod Classic. Not the iPod Touch or the invisible Cloud, but the golden device that started it all, the iPod Classic. It took everything I had not to cheer right there in the theater, (especially when I saw Baby had both generations of iPods that I currently own and use) because I firmly believe the iPod Classic is still the best device out there for multi-media files.

Over the last year, I’ve noticed iPods have gained some popularity among the smartphone generation. My 9th and 10th grade students stare in awe, not disdain, at my 6th Generation 160GB iPod Classic. That awe only grows when I explain how it works (they truly have never seen anything like it) and why it rocks:

⇒ It doesn’t absolutely require the internet. Songs can be uploaded straight from DVD or MP4 media files. Listening to songs or watching videos requires no internet, either, which means it’s good on planes, road trips, dead zones, or anywhere else.

⇒ I don’t have to pick what to download, I can have it all  with 160G of pure space. It’s basically a portable hard drive that works waaaay more efficiently thanks to a simple filing system of music playlists and file categories for TV Shows, Movies, and Audiobooks. After 9 years, I still have 50G remaining!

⇒ I don’t have to worry about data usage because I’m not using the internet while I watch movies or listen to music.

⇒ Battery life rivals any smartphone. Although, I will admit this applies mostly to music and audiobooks. Videos can kill battery life much faster.

⇒ It does music and video and audiobooks with a simple flick of the click wheel. I know smartphones and iPads do this, too, but you likely need the internet or have a limited number of choices based on what is downloaded. My iPod is a complete entertainment system with everything I love, not just a small selection.

⇒ I can plug my iPod into any speaker, TV, or projection system if I want to enjoy media files without my earbuds. This is why my students have seen my iPod – I plug it into a speaker in my classroom all the time. They like my Disney and 90s Retro playlists while they work. And, again, I can do it without the internet!

⇒ iPods are incredibly reliable if you take good care of them. Mine is 9 years old and it still works perfectly. I have a 13 year old 4th Generation Classic that still works beautifully as well.

Now, I know the iPod Classic is grossly archaic to some people and that’s okay. It’s not that I hate the Cloud (I do use it for a number of things), I just prefer not to be totally reliant on it. Maybe I’m just tragically nostalgic, but for me I’ll be using my iPod until the day it dies. And then I’ll probably hunt one down on eBay.

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c.b.w. 2017

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10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome

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I’m about to turn into a total fangirl (and comic book dork) here, so bear with me.  Over the last week, I’ve become completely obsessed with the show Arrow on the CW network. It’s been on for more than a year, but I didn’t discover it until a chance encounter with the Season 1 DVD set. Oh my. If I only I knew then what I was getting myself into! In short, Arrow rocks.

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10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome

1. A somewhat lame comic book character has been re-imagined into something really cool.

Any comic book geek knows the original Green Arrow was kinda lame. He looked more like a dorky Robin Hood and never really rose to the heights of vigilante heroism like some of his other “colleagues.” However, I will give credit to his redesign in the 1970s, which made him a little more interesting. Arrow, the television series, further redefines the character into something edgy and dark with the just the right amount of cool and humor.

See the transformation for yourself:

The_Green_Arrow_By_Jack_Kirby-396x600  Lone Gunman

2. There is respect for comic book origins.

Despite rewriting the Green Arrow story, Arrow is careful not to discard everything. Nods to original comic book characters, places, and story lines are peppered throughout the series. Comic book nerds take their lore pretty seriously, so acknowledging tradition while paving new ground shows a lot of class and respect for the genre.

3. Strategic Storytelling

Comic books are known for stories that twist and turn with unexpected surprises. Writers are careful to drop little hints without revealing too much and tie things together in unexpected ways. Arrow carries on this tradition flawlessly. Almost every episode implements a dual storyline – One that works from the present and one from the past. Each plot development slowly burns into revelation and it is fascinating! For example, the show has only revealed the story behind three of Arrow’s scars and only dropped one hint about the origins of his tattoos, (which, of course, are all tied into a bigger picture plot line).

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4. It’s not always a happy ending.

Let’s hear it for the cliché that the hero always catches the bad guy and saves the day. Arrow is good at what he does, but he doesn’t always win. Like everyone else, he travels through hills and valleys. His journey of successes and failures helps his character evolve in a much more realistic and believable way. In many respects, how he handles his flaws and mistakes are what make him a hero.

5. Great interactions between characters.

A hallmark of a great show is good chemistry between characters. It helps that the writing is sharp and witty, but it takes talented actors to make it all work. In particular I love the interactions between Arrow and his wingman Dig. Their interactions are intense, but also among the most entertaining. In addition, any scene with Felicity Smoak and Arrow is amazing. The banter between these two always keeps me guessing: friends or maybe something more someday.

6. Awesome fight sequences

The Green Arrow is known for his agility and acrobatic talents along with martial arts, but the show takes it a step further by fusing those gifts with sophisticated and diverse hand-to-hand combat. The result is adrenaline rush fight sequences that rival those seen on the silver screen.  Better still, the camera stays on the action. No shaky frames or quick cuts.

7. Weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

Arrow doesn’t have super-human strength or a high powered gun. Instead, he has his trusty bow and arrow. And he is an incredible shot. I will never get tired of watching him shoot off one arrow after another and (almost) always hitting his mark.

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8. Nifty tech gadgets

There’s more to those arrows than a simple blade. Some arrows are fitted with recording devices, flash bombs, explosives, grappling hooks, and a bunch of other cool gadgets. Arrow isn’t just lean mean fighting machine –  He’s also pretty dang smart.

9. Kick-Ass Girls

Another cliché that shows up a lot in comic books is the damsel in distress. Ugh. Thankfully,  Arrow is full of strong women who know how to take care of themselves. One can even throw a heck of a punch and effectively aim and shoot a gun when bad guys come after her. There are even a few villain women that challenge Arrow just as much a muscle-bound psychopath. Granted, there is that part of me that likes to watch the hero save the girl, but it’s nice to see that story play in reverse as well.

10. Stephen Amell

Ummm, did you see the picture for Reason 3?  While great eye candy, he portrays Arrow with deep intensity and believability. He slips seamlessly between Arrow and his alter ego Oliver Queen, even though they are very different characters.  He essentially anchors the series with incredible charisma and charm.

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Oh, and it’s really fun watching him do this:

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So, I geeked out a little bit for Favorite Thing Friday. Can you blame me?

p.s. I still have four episodes of Season 2 to watch. Please, no spoilers in the comments!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013