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Column: Music player skips tracks and how-to instructions

The instructions weren’t simple. They were as far away from simple as they could be. I had a cell phone now with three gigs of storage capability; why then shouldn’t I just move some music onto my phone, the better to listen to if I ever go on an airplane somewhere.

That’s not why I wanted to do it. People were starting to point and scoff as I carried my old CD-playing Walkman through airport security, a pancake-shaped device that has almost reached caveman status in the technology history books. “Son, look at him,” I can imagine parents at the airport snidely saying to their iPod-carrying, ear-bud wearing 10-year-old, who is also texting and chewing gum, “there goes a caveman.”

Besides, how hard could it be? There’s an icon on my phone that says “music.”   

Wouldn’t one then assume that the cord that comes with it can just plug my phone into my PC (personal computer, which means I think that it’s not a Mac-style) and the people who thought all this digital labor-saving stuff up would make it easy for me from there?

Someone said give up and get an MP3 player. They’re easier.

But I don’t give up that easy. I find directions on Google. According to the directions: first, use the USB cord to connect the phone to the computer. If something pops up, ignore it? (I can’t. It takes up the entire screen! So I “x” it away. Now there’s nothing. I plug and unplug the USB cord at least 10 times, all the time thinking about the monkey who reaches through the bars of his cage, makes a fist around a banana, which now won’t come back through the bars. So he drops the banana, eyes it again, grabs it again, it won’t fit. Again. Again.)

Now, the directions say to go to the top menu, and select the Activ. (That’s exactly what the directions said. See? Now I know the problem at least. This was written in Chinese and interpreted by a third-grade student taking English so he can come to Harvard and make us all look bad. The quicker we go crazy; the more jobs for him.)

Now key on the left bottom side and a new app will come up that says “auto play” and click the files so you can drag burned music from one side to the other unless you have to rip your music first.

Ohforcripessakes! Burn? Rip? But I’m not giving up. Well, kind of. I call my cousin who is way ahead of me on all this labor-saving music stuff. I ask him. He says: “I never did figure that stuff out. I used the cloud to stash my burned stuff and then I emailed it from the cloud to my phone and somehow the phone knew what to do with it.”

So I went with a Google-recommended cloud thing and it said it was free but I soon found out that it wasn’t but now I’m into it and don’t know how to get out of it and now every time I look at the computer it says I need to put the rest of my stuff in storage and pay them.

I don’t want to pay them. Now, on top of being burned by the vocabulary I’m being ripped off by someone in the cloud somewhere. X! X!X! Go away! X! X! X!

“Your music is in the wrong format,” said another friend, “it should be mp3.” ??????

I called another friend but evidently word is spreading because he wouldn’t answer and isn’t returning my call. I doggedly kept opening windows and reading Google instructions and last night, about midnight, my phone said it had my music. Hah!

But the phone is hiding it. Too burned, maybe. Not ripped enough, maybe. But I don’t give up. After hours of searching I find hidden files and in an Ah Hah! moment, I click on them. A balloon comes up that says: “Wrong format.”

I slink into town and buy an MP3 player. Then I find out what “burn” and “rip” mean. And now four hours later I have my CDs on an MP3 player.


I’m not telling.

Alan "Lindy" Linda