Yesterday, I looked on-line for the best local store to buy an MP3 player and went out and bought one.
The first startling discovery was that the MP3 player I wanted was a LOT smaller than I expected. I was accustomed to seeing people at the gym with iPods and iPhones strapped to various parts of their bodies or falling off equipment and crashing to the floor as the owner exercised. In the package, the MP3 player that best suited my needs looked to be about the size of a postage stamp. When I got it home, it turned out to be about the size of a cigarette lighter.
Yet it has the capacity to store "up to 3,000 songs" and presumably dozens of books. It comes with a clip that allows me to clip it to my belt or to the neck of my gym shirt. (It weighs only 1 ounce!) It seemed perfect for my needs, so why did it seem that everyone else was using an iPod or some other much larger and heavier gizmo? Furthermore, my MP3 player cost less than $50, and iPods cost 3 to 4 times that much - or more.
I didn't have any answers. And I needed to figure out how the thing works. The first task was to charge the battery. The instruction manual says that I do that my connecting it to my computer -- just the way I usually charge my Kindle. (Or I also charge it by using my Kindle electrical plug adapter.)
While the battery was charging, I downloaded a Jack Reacher short story called "Deep Down" into the player. On the first try, I put it in the wrong folder. The instructions are all about using the "Drag and Drop" method, which I couldn't make any sense of. I think it's for people with iPads and tablets. On my laptop computer, I used Windows Explorer to create a new folder in the MP3 player called "Books," and put the short story there in a folder called "Deep Down." Then in the process of trying to figure out how to play it, I found that it should have gone into an existing folder called "Audiobooks." The instructions say nothing about such a folder. They say I should Drag and Drop it into a folder called "Audible." But, no harm done. I just cut and pasted the files into the Audiobooks folder and deleted the "Books" folder along with the sub-folder I'd created for "Deep Down."
This morning, I downloaded two science books I got on loan from the library into the Audiobooks folder and a free copy of "The Peter Gunn Theme" into the Music folder. Everything seems to work fine.
So, I'm all set to go. In theory, I can start listening while making lunch. Then I can continue while eating lunch, while changing clothes, while driving to the gym, and while doing all the various exercises at the gym. I just need to take it off while taking a shower. But, it's time to stop learning and planning and to start doing.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENEDI quickly realized that making lunch (or breakfast) is NOT an automatic (subconscious) chore I do without really thinking. Plus, eating while I have plugs in my ears is awkward and uncomfortable. So, I continued reading from my Kindle while eating breakfast and lunch. Right now I'm reading a psychology/sociology book titled "Tipping Point: How Little Things can make a Big Difference."
I also realized that it's not a good idea to drive while you have ear plugs plugged into your ears. So, while driving, I'm listening to CDs I burned for "The Mental Floss History of the World," a light-hearted history book that required 17 CDs. I'm really enjoying listening to it. Previously, I just listened to a "oldies" music station because there is no station in my area that plays jazz. It's much more enjoyable listening to amusing and interesting history tidbits than to music I don't really enjoy. The only "problem" I had was that I didn't realize that I could pause the CD when I needed to get out of the car to open or close my garage door. So, I missed about 20 or 30 seconds of the first part of the book before I discovered the pause button.
Meanwhile, I found that I can listen to my MP3 player from the time I've changed into my workout clothes at the gym until I take them off again to take a shower. There's no problem counting repetitions while listening to someone reading the popular science book "What Einstein Told His Barber." Counting reps is evidently a nearly automatic (subconscious) activity. So, I'm getting over an hour's worth of listening done per day, which means I should be done with the book in about 8 or 9 workout days.
What I need to do is check to see if I can find a device that would allow me to play the MP3 player via speakers in addition to using earplugs. That way, I can switch back and forth between ear plugs at the gym and the speakers at home without losing my place in the book, since the MP3 player controls where I am in the book.