Today I received my iPod. The irony is that I didn't buy it to listen to music. Rather I got this MP3 music player to use as a small portable external backup that also happens to be able to play music. Yes, there are less expensive drives when you consider the retail price, but I didn't pay retail. I actually got it as the freebie for educators when you buy a new Mac so the price was just right. I upgraded the iPod mini to an iPod Photo 20G for the extra $90 so I can use it for backing up all of our family home directories every night. Now when I leave the house, our data leaves with me even if I don't take my PowerBook Pismo as I typically do. In general I like it. The personal engraving on the back is neat - now mine will never get lost as I put my name and URL on it. The web interface for setting up the engraving was well done - I ordered at Apple's online store. The fact that the button area acts as a track pad was a delightful surprise. I hadn't realized that was the case. After a few minutes of playing around with the controls I had it figured out without cracking the manual - Apple gets points for an intuitive interface. Okay, so it's a great product - many people have stated that before. I don't have much to add about the greatness of the iPod. It works. I do have two gotcha items: 1) the serial number on the back is virtually unreadable. Tiny print with almost no contrast on a reflective silver metal background. Even the box could have used larger print for the serial number. Fortunately the serial number is available on-screen in the iPod settings as Apple Tech Support explained to me. The reason for this angst is that the serial number is needed for the online registration form (which should just get it directly from the iPod) and is asked for by Apple Tech Support when you call about... 2) I bought the iPod Photo Dock because it stated on Apple's web page that using the dock I could sync via Firewire or USB. What they failed to mention was you must buy a separate cable. So when it arrived today the dock does not connect to Firewire on my PowerBook. Not only that but it requires a special cable so my off the shelf FireWire cables are no use here. Apple really needs to correct their web page. If it had been clear I would have then bought the Firewire cable at the time I placed the order. Fortunately Apple is graciously shipping me a FireWire cable for the dock no charge. Now Apple should update the web page to direct people to also buy the cable, although for the life of me I don't understand why they don't just include it in the $35 price of the very simple little dock. Which brings up the issue of shipping... Apple offers free shipping and they must have spent a bundle to ship this order. Four separate shipments mostly all the way from China via FedEx. I hope Apple got a really good deal on their shipping rates because that has got to hurt the bottom line. I'm not complaining... it just seems inefficient. So how did I get the educator's discount? Well, Apple, bless their corporate heart and that of Mr. Jobs, has always been very progressive with educational discounts. It makes good business sense. In addition to offering educational discounts to colleges and primary schools Apple also offers discounts to homeschoolers. Since we homeschool our kids we qualify. Ben has been saving up his money to buy a new computer for a long time. His older brother met his goal just before his birthday this spring. Now it is Ben's turn and he's getting an iBook - an excellent computer for education, including programming which Ben is thrilled about, as well as, of course, games.