I feel violated.

Today, between checking for a wifi signal at one bus stop, and arriving at Barnes & Noble to pick up the latest free e-book, my iPod Touch vanished from my pocket. I don’t know if I simply forgot to put it back in my pocket at the bus stop, or it fell out of my pocket on the bus, or somewhere on the bicycle ride to Barnes & Noble after getting off the bus. The important thing is that it is gone.

I retraced my steps looking for it, of course. I called the bus office and asked them to see if anyone had found it on the bus. I went back to the bus stop where I had checked for wifi. It was all fruitless.

The device wasn’t exactly new. It’s a 32-gig first-generation model, and I’ve had it for a couple of years now. It was battered, and the serial port wasn’t working right anymore. But I kept a lot of e-books on it, I read my RSS feeds through it, I twittered from it, and I kept my check register there to keep track of my finances. I knew every dent in its case, every scuff on its screen. It was a familiar face.

It really was like a part of me. My first action anywhere I had a spare moment was to pull it out and scan for a wifi signal, to see if I could check my mail.

And now it’s gone, and I feel violated. Not least because it had all my passwords on it, too. Time to start changing those I guess.

Worst of all, I can’t even afford to buy another one right now. A refurbished 32-gig iPod Touch is $259 on the Apple store. Even an 8-gig is $149. I might be able to find a deal on eBay, but it will still run into a lot of money. And without a full-time, steady job, I’m barely managing to make ends meet as it is.

Aggravatingly, I know my iPod Touch has all the information on it necessary for its finder to track me down and return it if he felt like it. There are entries in the phone book that they could call until they find out who’s likely to own it. And it’s so beat up and battered that it’s not as if people should want to own it.

But not enough people will bother with that these days—if it’s not dishonesty, it’s downright laziness. I’m sure someone picked up the iPod Touch, pocketed it, and when they find out the charger doesn’t work right will just shrug and toss it in a drawer somewhere, never bothering to find out who it belonged to.

I’m very, very frustrated and disappointed.


  1. Aaaaah, that so sucks.

    That really is a iPhone/iPod Touch owners worst nightmare. That’s one of the main reasons I locked the thing too with that annoying passcode protection.

    I don’t expect to forget my iPad anywhere but I locked that too.

  2. This blog starts to feel like Apple Central. I don’t mind an occasional item, but I’d rather see more coverage of other e-reading devices and topics (hint: see Nate’s blog on how to do it).
    Also, I hope you’ll put back full articles into the RSS feed. I don’t need another blog that gives me half a sentence in attempt to make me click on the ads – I’ll just unsubscribe and read something else.

  3. My pda-of-the-moment (an iPod Touch also, as it happens) is like my brain-extension. My phone numbers, my calendar, my shopping list, my e-books… The data has no monetary value to speak of, but the life-value is very high.

    I’m so sorry you lost yours.

  4. Chris: My sympathy!

    Igorsk: Hey, ’cause the Pad is Da Machine of the moment. I can’t wait until there are Android machines as good as the Pad or better for reading e-books. The forthcoming Kindle, with its higher-contrast display and other improvements, might also help divert attention from the Pad. But for now, Paul and Chris and the others are addressing a real need, and I highly doubt that the iPad is going to vanish. On another point, full feeds, I emphatically agree with you.


  5. I’m rather disappointed to see we’ve gone to truncated RSS posts myself, and I argued against it when the idea first came up a while ago. I feel it defeats the purpose of RSS, and it also makes RSS users less likely to bother to read our content and hence recommend it to others who might become readers.

    But it’s not my decision.

  6. I feel for you. My ipod touch is like a well-decorated room in my house: a lot of care has gone into every app. You will recover, but a little mourning is appropriate.

    Replacement? Maybe this is God’s way of saying : “Hey! It’s time for an iphone 4g.”

  7. Regarding the RSS feed, I’m surprised that Teleread is now so corporate that it the utility of the site is decreasing (kinda’ like a certain class of publishers we keep reading about…). I agree with the others in that the RSS feed is now so short that it is useless to attract attention.

    And if the goal is to get us to click through, then there is at least one huge mistake for my case. Even if I am not interested in the article itself, I’ll click to read it if other people have posted a response. That information is no longer available in the truncated form.

    I’ll give it, maybe, until the end of the week…

  8. Yes, please bring back full articles in the RSS feed. I often click through to articles on the website, especially to see comments. But I start from reading articles on RSS. The truncated form looks rather silly, too… “Visit my website for full links, other content, and more!” Gack.

  9. I can understand how you feel. When I leave home, forgetting my iPod touch, I feel more ‘lacking” than if I leave behind my cell phone or watch. Only my keys matter more.

    I’ve noticed a similar tendency to put my touch down and forget where I left it. That’s why I typically use it with a case that allows me to hang it from a neck lanyard under a shirt or jacket. I can listen to podcasts, pull it out to check something without removing it from that lanyard. It’s never unattached, so it can never get lost.

  10. The point of the article, which I could perhaps have explained better in the text, is to point out how these devices are becoming so much more to us than just e-reading devices. When we invest them with a portion of our lives and then lose them, we essentially lose that portion of our lives.

    It’s going to take some time for me to recover from this loss, I know that for sure.

  11. Speaking as someone who uses his cellphone to read (formerly a PDA), I hope you at least backed everything up. Maintaining backups and syncs takes a lot of the sting out losing devices like this, as at least you don’t lose the data on it.

    Interestingly, I’ve recently been on both sides of that story: I lost a micro-SD card a few weeks ago (as small as those things are, it’s a miracle anyone can hold on to them!). It had a lot of files on it, but the most valuable of them were either backed up, or capable of being recreated from backups as needed, so it wasn’t the end of the world… I’m out about $50, and some inconvenience. But at least I didn’t lose anything vital or sensitive. Yes, there is contact info on it… but obviously whoever found it (I’m assuming it isn’t under a dust devil in my office somewhere) didn’t use it.

    And just the other day, I came home from work on the train, and in the parking lot, I discovered someone’s Blackberry placed on the hood of my car! And yes, I could have thrown it away, or kept it, jail-broke it and made it my own, I suppose. Instead, I checked for an owner’s name, called him, and he picked it up at my house that evening. Because unless I knew the guy, and he was an a$$#@!e, I couldn’t see the reason to make some guy go through the trouble of replacing it.

    (Now, maybe karma will kick in and I’ll find that micro-SD card…)

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