I hate iPods. They are a scourge upon the earth. There, I said it.
I love music. My CD collection is the invasive species in the biosphere of my studio. I stayed for the entirety of Ryan Adams' 2001 six-hour drunken monstrosity of a 9:30 Club performance. I have a well-documented musician fetish.
But I hate iPods. Why?
Because I think far too many people use them to shut out the world. Why simply commute when you can crank up your favorite tunes at the same time? Never mind that the music is annoying to those around you.
And then we have the people that can't even walk down the street without their iPods. Is ambient noise so terrible? Why not listen to the breeze, the traffic, or the crazy homeless dude ranting about the Bush administration? And as a safety tip, if you're walking home by yourself at night, especially after drinking, don't wear your earbuds. Muggers and other unsavories view that as an engraved invitation delivered by liveried footman. You should always be aware of your surroundings.
Worst of all, we have the people that attempt to have conversations with earbuds still in place. Even if the music is off, or even if you've taken one earbud out of its socket, it's very rude to give the impression that you aren't fully engaged in a conversation. (Oh, ESPECIALLY at work when your colleague is asking you a question. That's my biggest office pet peeve.)
You don't need a soundtrack for every moment of your life. Take out the earbuds every once in a while, and pay a little attention to the world around you. Your little plastic buddy will be there when you get back.