Unraveling the FLAC lossless mysteries of the iPod

I love music. I could soundtrack every minute of my life. I’m sure there’s a song in my iPod for any occasion that may occur. Blowing up some stuff? I got “1812 Overture.” Walking down the street? I got the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Having a nervous breakdown? I got tons of ABBA.

Every music lover could use an mp3 player. Whichever brand is your preference, or if you just use your phone, mobile music is a great thing to have around in case you feel the inexplicable urge to dance, run, drive fast or do some impromptu wedding deejaying.

I was late to the mp3 game. My first mobile music device wasn’t an iPod, but a Creative Zen, which I accepted gratefully with all of its 60 gigs of space. I quickly filled it, enjoyed it, and toted it everywhere. But it went to Gadget Heaven, and I picked up the 160 gig seventh-generation iPod. That’s, like, way more gigs.

I love my iPod. It means I can take pretty much every song I could ever want to hear with me everywhere I go. It means I don’t have to clutter up my phone with music and can cram it full of puzzle apps and pictures of dinner.

But it also means mastering mobile music. I might need a degree in digital library science.

For example, when I download an album (legally, of course – hey look, a squirrel!), the file format can be mp3, wma, or this thing called FLAC. Not a duck-insurance-related thing, but a format that shrinks the file without losing any of the sound quality. But, to put FLAC files in my iPod I have to convert them mp3 files. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It also means downloading third-party software which is, like, no.

Also, with an iPod you pretty much have to use iTunes. I am a PC owner (though not devout) and don’t have the seamless Apple chain running through all my electronics.

There’s some stuff about iTunes I don’t get and/or like. The whole thing where you can’t plug your device into another computer without losing all your stuff is a bummer. And I don’t like having to run constant updates on the software. I’m still trying to figure out how to make a ringtone out of a song snippet, and why half my song files have a thumbnail of David Bowie on the screen instead of the proper performer.

I refuse to get an iPod Touch, since I do most of my listening while operating cars and/or boats and the screen would be largely ignored. But if it lets you delete songs without having to plug into iTunes, it might be worth a look.

Compounding the mysteries is the addition of Spotify, which is basically iTunes that lets you show off your music on Facebook. If someone can tell me how to delete a duplicate of a song out of my Spotify library, I would be most appreciative.

And, the biggest mystery of all: How did this Jessica Simpson song get on my iPod? Because I totally never owned that nonsense. It must have come with the computer. Yeah.

Have an mp3 mystery to solve or can you help me solve mine? Send me the answers at ssepanek@tribtoday.com or comment on this story at www.tribtoday.com.