Upgrading My Vintage iPod
By James Grahame
My third generation iPod will soon celebrate its 5th birthday, which ought to qualify it for an old age pension in the electronics world. I keep casting a lustful eye at Apple's newest offerings, but the truth is that my scratched and abused old player still does everything it should. Its biggest downfalls are a lack of storage space - a cramped 15 GB Toshiba hard drive - and increasingly poor battery life.
I looked into the price of replacement drives, but they're expensive and require me to replace the metal back with a deeper one. It makes more sense to jump into the futuristic world of flash memory. DealExtreme sells a nifty $4.95 Compact Flash adapter that lets you replace the standard 1.8" Toshiba drive with a CF card ranging up to 32 GB (around $60). That fits the bill for me.
Of course, it doesn't make sense to pop open my iPod without replacing the well-worn battery at the same time. DealExtreme can help here as well, with a $6.10 replacement battery rated at 850 mAh. It should last 7-8 hours on a charge, bringing it back in line with the iPod 3G's original performance.
My final goal is to replace the operating system. I've never been a fan of the way my iPod handles playlists and find the lack of alternative audio codecs somewhat disappointing. The solution is to swap the firmware for Rockbox, an open source replacement that provides a new UI, OGG and FLAC support, gapless playback, a 5 band parametric EQ, high-resolution volume control and advanced on-the-go playlist creation.
The total cost of refurbishing my old iPod will be about $75. That gets me double the storage space along with a new operating system and significantly improved battery life. I think it's a good investment, especially since it'll keep my vintage iPod out of the landfill for a few more years and save me some money in the process.
So, gentle reader, do you upgrade your old equipment to extend its life or do you prefer to upgrade to the latest and greatest technology whenever you get the chance?