Friday, July 15, 2005

Protect Yourself and Your iPod

When people began telling me that they would, "kill to have an iPod", a couple of years ago, I figured it would only be a matter of time when someone was actually murdered over one. I mean, hey, if people can get shot over a pair of sneakers, then surely, it's not much of a stretch to imagine someone getting killed over what is possibly the "must-have" item of the decade.

Unfortunately, that "matter of time" came up a couple of weeks ago, when a 15-year old kid in Brooklyn, NY was killed over his iPod. (In case you missed that headline, here's a snippet of the news story, courtesy of CNN.com)

While everyone at Apple is going bonkers over the fact that their wonderful iPod line has become an iconic symbol to consumers, it surely doesn't please them one bit to hear that people are getting killed for one. So troubled was Apple over the tragedy, that Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally called the father of the murdered teen to offer his condolences. (Link to article courtesy of AOL News and the New York Times)

This unfortunate turn of events has only brought attention to the fact that just about 35 million people are walking around with a commodity that some people are willing to do just about anything to obtain. So, what can we do to ensure that we can continue living our "iPod Commercial" lives safely? (Or at the very least, what steps can we take to ensure that our investments are not stolen?)

The following is a list of tips I've compiled that will help you be a tad bit safer as you rock out to your pre-set iTunes playlists. Some have been swiped from police department recommendations, and others have been taken from my own experiences living in NYC. I hope this serves you well. Pass this blog entry on to anyone you think needs it:

1. Exchange your packed-in, trademark white headphones for a pair that doesn't attract as much attention, such as standard black headphones.

Nothing screams, "I have an iPod, biatches!" more than Apple's trademarked white earbuds that are packed into every single iPod box. Instead of trying to relive each of the colorful iPod ads, why don't you just head to your local electronics or music store and buy another pair of headphones? Besides, think of it like this; the pre-packed headphones that come with the iPod suck anyways, so why don't you just use the opportunity to make an upgrade to richer sound quality? You won't regret it, AND, you'll be safer, too!

2. Keep your iPod volume low enough to hear your surroundings

I know we all love to play our iPods at the loudest volume we can without busting our eardrums to smithereens, but, not only is it harmful to your hearing in the long run, but doing so also distracts you just enough for anyone to sneak around and jack you. Lower that volume, and you'll be able to hear things like rustling trees, footsteps, and the occasional, "Ohhhh shit, that bitch has an iPod! Get 'em!!!"

3. Invest in a wireless remote control.

One of the quickest ways of attracting attention to the fact that you have an iPod is by taking out the unit in order to change a song or playlist. People who do this also tend to make it a habit of placing their iPods in an easily accessible place so that way, they can keep taking out the player with ease. In this case, the rule of thumb is that if YOU can take it out easily, someone else can, too. A wireless remote control, such as the one pictured below, will alleviate that problem by allowing you to change songs and volume levels on a whim without ever having to reveal your iPod. Most of these remotes are also useful around the house, so if you like listening to your iPod on your home stereo, you never have to walk up to the thing again to quickly change that embarrassing song that you "never know how it got in there to begin with!"

The "AirClick" by Griffin Technology

4. Take the time to make some pre-set playlists in iTunes.

If the remote control option doesn't work for you, then try taking the time refining your iTunes playlists and weeding out all the songs that you usually wind up skipping anyway. That means less exposure for the unit, and more time spent actually listening to music. (I know so many people that spend so much time clicking through the songs in their libraries... I get annoyed for them!) Not only is it safe, but it's also better for your battery life, too.

5. Reveal your iPod in "safe" areas

Sometimes, no matter what, you're forced to take out your iPod for whatever reason. Maybe it's time to switch to another playlist, or you need to check the time or something, but whatever it is, make sure that you're not taking the damn thing out just anywhere. Use some discretion when revealing your iPod. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

6. Don't leave it out in the open in your car...

Half of all iPod burglaries happen when people leave their iPods in plain sight in their cars. Do yourself a favor, avoid a broken window and an swiped iPod by placing your iPod in either your glove compartment or those valet boxes that some cars have.

7. When facing a knife or the barrel of a gun, value your life more than your iPod.

While I'm not saying that it will happen, but in case it does happen, if someone is trying to jack you for your iPod, don't try to be a hero and just give them what they want. Yes, you'll be out of 300 bucks, but, it's better than not having the chance to work to replace it ever again. However, if you want to be a smart-ass, like me, let your assailant(s) know that the iPod will not work as advertised without eventually attaching it to a computer, and without the necessary cables and software, it would be incredibly hard to keep using it. Plus, let them know that even if they do attach it to a computer, it doesn't take much for police to trace it. It's somewhat of a bluff, but it has worked in a couple of cases for different people. Half of the people stealing them want one just because it's trendy, and really don't know how the thing works, so the bluff can come in handy.

8. If stolen, file a police report.

If you are one of those unfortunate souls who's had their iPod stolen, make sure you file a police report. After all, letting law enforcement know someone took it is one step closer to actually getting it back.

9. Register the iPod with Apple

Take the couple of minutes to register your audio player with Apple. While Apple cannot do too much to rescue a missing iPod, at the very least, your iPod's serial number will be on file. In theory, if you report your iPod as "stolen", the police can work with Apple to trace the whereabouts of your iPod, provided it's ever attached to another computer again. While I'm not exactly sure if this happens, it's certainly worth a shot. Plus, if you register, you usually get 10 free songs on the iTunes Music Store!

I hope these tips are useful for anyone who has an iPod. Enjoy, and remember...

DON'T STEAL MUSIC (and iPods). :-)

Especially iPods. That's just wrong.

2 Comments:

Blogger ~Krystyn~ said...

Thanks for the tips-although I don't have an ipod. I'm so "un-cool" that way I guess huh? I do have an MP3 player though, so I'm not that bad.

Since you're in NYC - better be careful with your IPOD! Do you have the remote control? :-)

9:44 AM  
Blogger djkibblesnbits said...

I haven't invested in a wireless remote control yet. Apple used to pack in a wired remote with iPods over a year ago, so I use that instead. It's still somewhat visible (it's white, just like the headphones), but thankfully, most people just assume that my remote is just some kind of "knock off" iPod.

Eventually, I'll get the wireless one.

As for the NYC thing, I actually don't live in NYC at the moment. I go back every once in awhile, but right now, I'm living up in the 'Cuse, some 5 hours north of NYC. Still, it's just as bad up here, maybe even worse. At least I'm on a college campus. :-)

10:00 AM  

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