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I try and run each morning before work because it helps my energy levels stay up during the busy day.

Sometimes it's a real struggle to get moving and stick with it, but music helps keep my mind somewhere other than with the effort of the run. I tried using my phone and a pair of good aftermarket headphones for a music source without much success - the phone's too heavy and the headphones block all the sounds around me (as they should to give good sound). But this just wasn't going to work, especially running in the city where you need to hear what's around you to stay alive.

In May I was given an iPod Shuffle for my birthday and on it was a book the giver wanted me to "read". Using the supplied Ear Buds that allow me to hear everything in my environment plus what's on the Shuffle, this little flea-weight device clips onto my shorts and I don't even know it's there. It changed everything for me.

The sound? It's mediocre at best, sometimes just plain bad. But after finishing the book I was able to put several days worth of compressed AAC encoded operas by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and other greats I so love - creating a virtual treasure chest of the finest music on earth.

I feel so privileged each and every morning listening to some of the greatest performances and music ever written. Arias, duets, laughter, melody and harmonies so well done as to set the stage beautifully for the rest of my day - and all from a set of mediocre sounding Ear Buds and compressed music on an MP3 player.

High-end? Not a chance, but sometimes when the music is this magical it really doesn't matter.

Tomorrow we start into streaming audio.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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