The thing about the iPod — it is what you bring to it.

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The thing about the iPod — it is what you bring to it.

And to the iPodders around the world, the irresistible, indispensable, irreplaceable iPod is a personal memory bank.

To be sure, the iPod isn’t the only digital-music player around, but it’s without a doubt the most popular. With nearly 22 million sold, the iPod is the digital player of choice for three-quarters of the U.S. market.

“The big thing about the iPod, I thought, was the way in which it forces you to listen to your life in a different way, writes English journalist Dylan Jones in his upcoming book (part memoir, part valentine), “iPod, Therefore I Am.”

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“When I started just monotonously, relentlessly downloading and uploading my record collection onto this machine, it was only after awhile that I began to realize why it was taking me so long. It wasn’t supposed to take you that long. But I started going off on these weird tangents, going backward, to my youth, when I was 15 or 20 or 30,” said Jones, 45, in a phone interview from his London home.

His iPod has more than 6,000 songs. “That’s when I began thinking there was something bigger to this whole iPod thing. Every time I download a song to it, and every time I listened to that song, it forced me to go back somewhere where I haven’t been to for a while.”

— Jose Antonio Vargas, The Washington Post