Ok, my iPod died and I'm not paying to get it fixed and I'm examining my options. I dug out my old iriver 899 (1 gig, no synchronization options). I forgot what a great unit this is. It is broken as well (the line in jack, but it's great for listening). Here are some of the benefits.

1. Speed control. If I'm tired of the dramatic pauses of Dan Klass during the bitterest pill, I can move the speed control to 7 and now they are just a quick blurb (just kidding Dan, don't go changing). Dan also sounds like a chipmunk. This makes an already funny podcast even funnier.

2. The ability to use it on multiple computers. I recorded an interview a few weeks ago that I will be editing today. I need to listen to it so I can see where I need to edit. I plugged in my iriver, dragged and dropped the file and I will listening to it in the car on the way back home.  This is the ying to the “easy of synchronization” yang of the ipod.

So while I miss being able to synchronize my player (which means I manually have to keep track of what I've listened to in my head). I do like the ability to speed up the play back speed, the ability to skip ahead FAST, and a battery life that shatters the ipod.

 No Competition For the iPod

The bad news? They don't make this unit anymore (except at ebay) if you want one. In fact when I went to Best Buy to look at the ipods and other alternatives, there were hardly any alternatives. No wonder Apple has such a giant share of the market. They are pretty much the only option. If you want something above 8 gigs (I'd love a 30-60 gig), they are the only option at Best Buy (I didn't even see a Zune – which was very surprising). They had about 10 models total. Four or 5 of those were iPods. Then they had a few Scandisk, and some other brand I had never heard of. I checked and iriver is still in business (http://iriverinc.com/) they just don't have any visibility at Best Buy (next stop Walmart? I guess as every Circuit City and CompUSA has gone out of business in my neck of the woods).

I know there are expected iPod announcements this week. I'l be patient. In the meantime any iPod alternatives that you recomened?