Backstage: On pets, families, and group iPod listening

pic While we spend a lot of time on Backstage discussing tech stuff, I do like to occasionally share a bit about myself outside the iPod world. After all, I mightn’t have brought the puppy here home if it wasn’t for some insightful comments on the subject from iLounge’s Bob that started in this very Backstage area back half a year or so ago. So if you want to skip this entry, feel free, but it’s a shout out to all the great friends I’ve made here at iLounge, and a reflection of how things have changed in my iPod and home life over that period of time.

Frequent Backstage readers already know that the dog here is Innisfree Daiginjo Sake (Sake, posed in shot two with his namesake), my nine-month old Siberian Husky, and they may also know that Dennis has his own dog (and iLounge mascot) Rocket, a really cool Labrador Retriever. What sort of surprised me is that most of iLounge’s editors are dog owners, too. Larry has Chewie, Bob has Briadha, and so on. They also have cats, but I pretend not to care or remember their names (Ferris, Meadow, and Weeble respectively), even though I more than occasionally think it would be cool for Sake to have a feline companion, if only for a snack. And all of us have families, or at least live-in significant others. None of us lives in a single iPod house, or listens to our music in solitude.

pic So why do I bother to blog occasionally on pets? Since the beginning, iLounge has realized that there’s more to life than just the technology side of iPods – they’re really enablers for a relaxed lifestyle. Coming from a background where I was highly familiar with “typical” technology journalists, I knew something was different about Dennis’ perspective from the first time I met him – having created iLounge from nothing, he was a legitimately relaxed guy and cared as much about the time he spent lounging as the time he spent iPodding. Some of that attitude is reflected in iLounge’s unique independence and its editorial focus, a point I’ll expand upon in a later entry.

Dennis’ attitude made it easier to realize that relaxation is bigger than just putting headphones on and tuning yourself out from the world (though that’s nice sometimes). Some of the most exciting stuff happening right now in the iPod world is public, not private, what spontaneously occurs when iPod lovers get together: strangers swapping earphones, people joining for iPod parties, and so on – or when they make digital music a soundtrack for their daily lives. That these things happen suggests that there’s more to the iPod phenomenon than just a passion for the iPod. It’s a passion for removing boring silence from life and sharing your musical preferences and discoveries with others.

I’m personally doing a lot more iPod listening through speakers than through headphones these days, and spending a lot more time listening with another person – or a puppy – in the room. What about you? Has your use of your iPod evolved over time? Are you more of a solo listener, or do you share? And do you want to share a picture of your pet with the iLounge community? 🙂

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