Submitted by Eric Daniel
One day, in January of 1991, while I was sitting in a tent outside the Saudi port city of Jubail waiting for our tanks to arrive, our battalion CSM stopped by, congratulated me, and handed me a box. Inside the box was a Sony walkman (one of thousands Sony had donated to the troops during the Gulf War.) While this was all good and well, I had neither tapes to play in it, nor batteries to run it. Well, I managed to scrounge some batteries for it, and while I waited for tapes to arrive, I whiled away my time listening to the BBC during radio watch. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, one day, a gust of wind knocked my walkman from it's perch atop the TC's .50 mount and it fell to the turret floor, breaking into several pieces (to add insult to injury, I got a box of tapes a week later.)
Nearly 30 years later, I once again have tunes. This time, I'm using an iPod Shuffle (and yes, it's pink, the better not to lose it.) While I have both an iPod Nano (a birthday gift) and the Shuffle, the Shuffle is the one I travel with. It's small, easy to use, durable, and lasts a long, long time. It is also capable of surviving falls from altitude, and is easy to squirrel away.
I initially had reservations about using an iPod product though. While iTunes is great and wonderful, and it does allow me to copy music I already have on CDs into its format to load onto the player, I wasn't a big fan of the fact that you had to plug it into a computer to charge it. I could go without updating my song lists if I had to, but there had to be a better way of charging it (generic MP3 players, on the other hand, though less durable and larger, could run off of AA batteries, which are more plentiful now in 2009 than they were in 1991.)
Ask and you shall receive they say, so a little looking around turned up a plug in charger. Made by Belkin (part #F8Z240), the charger has collapsible prongs, so it takes up less storage space, and has a rotating head, so that you can shoehorn it into tight spaces. In addition, the charger is equipped with two USB ports for charging multiple units. Yes, Apple offers a wall charger for their iPods, but it's the same price, lacks the dual ports, swivel head, and the collapsing prongs. The Belkin charger lists for $29.