The nearest thing to my pride and joy died last week: my Cowon iAudio U2 digital music player. It's demise was unexpected, and rather... shocking. You see, it was static electricity that did it in. I was listening to my Slate.com podcast while biking to work, with the iAudio u2 stashed safely in my coat pocket. Arriving at my office, I took of my coat and ZAP - the invisible voices were silenced forever. A rogue bolt of blue lightning turned my podcast carrier/voice recorder/airplane savior/sleek black beauty into a 0.8 oz. plastic paper weight. It was the battery, I think. It's lithium core jolted into blue jello by a few extra volts flowing the wrong direction. Damn this low-humidity, high-mountain air. No amount of firmware updating, reset-button pushing, or tech support harassing could bring it back. It was dead as Windows 98. I was pissed because not only did this device entertain me, but it was an invaluable work tool as well. I used it to record dozens of phone calls and interviews for Outside, and also to capture my family's old-time stories and histories at a December 2005 reunion. I used it often and therefore I miss not having it.
So last night I went on Amazon.com and bought a new digital music player. This new device runs on AA batteries. I hope it's more grounded.