Junkie needs his digi-music fix. Part 1

I have a secret: I’m a gigabyte junkie.

I’ve had this condition since August. Early that month, I developed an all-consuming passion for storage, storage, and more storage. My itching for hard disk space has become so severe in the last few weeks that I’ve resorted to sneaking new hard disks into my home to feed my latest obsession — MP3. I don’t want my wife to spot me. I think she’s worried about the fact that I’m buying so many hard drives.

It will take a lot of hard disk space — some 53 GB worth — to store all of the songs on the 700 or so CDs that I own. So I’ve got to have storage. Lots of it!

I’ve been a longtime music fan, having invested tens of thousands of dollars overthe years in a pretty big collection of stuff. My first album was Deep Purple’s Machine Head — I can air-guitar “Smoke on the Water” with the best of them. Over the years, I’ve bought and rebought various albums as music formats have changed: back in 1972, I bought Led Zeppelin II on 8-track, then again on an LP, then on cassette tape, and finally in CD format. I’ve walked miles and miles from the living rooms of my life to the amplifier and record or CD player to switch albums. Some of my LPs show significant signs of wear.

For a while, I was lusting after a 100-CD changer, but thought it would probably be quite inflexible. But I always believed that, someday, I’d be able to have all of my tunes easily accessible via some type of machine. That’s why, when I started hearing about MP3 — a music format for PCs that compresses songs into a small size without any huge loss of quality — I was quite intrigued. Might this finally be the technology that would let me create my dream music system?

I quickly got beyond the media hype about MP3 theft on the Internet, and set out to determine whether I could convert all of my own CDs into MP3 so I could listen easily to them. I’ve now accomplished that task.

I love my MP3!

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