I've never quite got the point of MP3 players. Very possibly this is because I work from home, so I have no need to take my music anywhere because it's already here. Whatever. The point is that I finally understand what they're for.
You know how you have to have a book with you at all times, and the prospect of being, say, stuck in a lift or waiting for the dentist without one makes you turn an odd parchment shade? (At least, I hope you know this.) And it's even worse when you travel. On one finger, heavy papery things and draconian weight allowance. On another finger, the knowledge that you actually don't get a chance to read all that much overseas because you're constantly completely caned by having too much fun. (I know some people have holidays where you lie by the pool with a paperback in one hand and a drink covered with umbrellas in the other. I've yet to master those.) Yet, on the other hand, there's that primal fear of running out of books.
And that's why I now understand the purpose of MP3 players. They're for taking talking books on holiday.
You'd think this might have occurred to me earlier, but last year I was in Botswana, and good luck plugging in a charger in a tent in the middle of the Kalahari. There aren't even any passing electric eels. However, this year I intend to visit countries which contain walls and electrical sockets therein. And that's why I just bought an MP3 player.
I could have just done the Apple thing. But lots of people I know moan about theirs having broken. So I settled on the Cowon iAudio 7:
This little chubster isn't exactly as svelte as its fruity cousins. But there's a point to the porkiness: when Cowon upgraded the model, instead of making it slimmer they improved the battery. And it now has a sixty hour battery life. Sixty hours. Sixty. Why, you can traverse whole countries in sixty hours! Add to that a fun interface you swoop your finger up and down, a 16GB hard drive and the ability to see it as a drive on the computer without struggling with proprietary software, and I urged them to wrap it up post-haste.
It's not the ideal choice if you're looking for something that could get lost between the cracks in the floorboards. Nor is it much use for viewing video. But when you want to take a couple of dozen books with you - and who wouldn't? - it is, veritably, the shit.