Monday, September 1, 2008

My birdJam's Back!

Charlie at birdJam is my new best friend.

Last year, at the New River Birding and Nature Festival, I met Denese from birdJam, one of the sponsors of the week. She was tons of fun to bird with, and of course, she carried an iPod equipped with birdJam everywhere she went. Watching Denese (among others) use this cool toy had me intrigued. When I came back home, I spent my income tax refund on the whole package:

4gb iPod Nano,
Stokes CDs (eastern),
birdJam software,
and the optional external speaker/case.
It came all ready for use - no assembly required. I took it out into the field and was amazed at the way songs could bring hidden birds into view.* I was hooked.

Then, I made a mistake. I thought that since I could run a preloaded set-up, I could add my own music to the iPod. I downloaded iTunes (which took hours with my old, dial-up connection. I set it to run overnight and it still wasn't done the next morning.) uploaded my CD's (Beatles, Billy Joel, John Denver) into iTunes, and plugged my iPod into my computer.

Then, I did what birdJam CLEARLY states you should not do. I clicked the "Sync All Music and Playlists" button. I swear, it was an accident. I didn't see/didn't read the part about manually managing my music. And, I erased all my birdJam programming.

Not to worry. birdJam kindly provides instructions on how to fix your iPod if you are stupid, or over 18 years old and can't work electronic devices. I followed the instructions, I did, I really did. (I tried, anyway.) I got to the point where I was supposed to run the birdJam software and I got an error message. The whole process screeched to a halt.

I put it all away for a day when I wasn't in a bad mood and had time to fool with the blasted thing. Days went by - weeks and months passed. Every now and then, I would get up the nerve to try to fix it, only to run into the same error message. Frustrated, I put it away again.

I e-mailed Denese and she said I could either call for help or send it back to be fixed. I delayed calling. Finally, last week, I made a decision. As part of getting ready for Cape May's Autumn Weekend, I swore I would get this thing fixed, and Wednesday was D-day. I was off work, it was raining, and I had nothing better to do.

After going through all the steps I had done over and over again, still with no luck, I called and spoke with Charlie. He had me remove everything from my computer, download the upgraded versions of both iTunes and birdJam, and reinstall my Stokes CDs.

I did. (It went SO much faster with DSL than it ever did with dial-up!)

Then, I ran the birdJam program and Lo and Behold, a miracle occurred! It's all back, new and improved, with photos of all the birds, not just the warblers.

Hello, birdJam! Would you like to go to Cape May with me?


*Birding ethics clearly state that recordings should not be used in a manner that might harrass birds, especially breeding, nesting, or sensitive species or in heavily birded areas. birdJam promotes responsible birding, and includes this list of responsibilities for all birders who choose to use their iPods in the field. In short - be considerate, both of the birds and of other birders, when using this powerful tool.


Lynne said...

Hurray!! I love my Birdjam. I think I have the same speaker thingy. (iMainGo?)

holly said...

You're in Cape May?? Geez Louise, you could have hopped on the ferry and been at my house in less than an hour!

Why didn't we plan this better....

KatDoc said...

Lynne: I think that's what it's called.

Holly: No, I'm not in Cape May yet. I am going, with Lynne (above) and Susan (Gets Native) and Laura (from Laura in New Jersey) next month.

The last weekend of Oct. is a big, BIG birding weekend in Cape May, and I have never been before. I'm psyched!

So, you are only an hour from Cape May? We will have to work out a meeting. I will e-mail you.


KatDoc said...


Do you have a new e-mail address? My mail isn't going thru.

Write me,


denese said...

Hello from birdJam! Jay, one of the birdJam partners, will be coming to Cape May in October, so be sure and get hooked up with him. You can reach him at

I'm heading to the Monterey Birding Festival, Georgia Coastal Birding Festival, and the Rio Grande Birding Festival this fall, so no Cape May for me (unfortunately!). Have a great time, and let us know if you need any addiitonal assistance! Best, Denese

Lisa said...

I mis-read one line of this post and nearly had heart failure - I thought you said that you had re-loaded your Strokes CD onto your iPod, and I thought, "holy $#!%, my sister's listening to The Strokes? Could it be that my years of patient musical tutelage has finally borne fruit?" Alas, it is not so. But I'm glad you got your thingy working again, anyway.

Lisa said...

This grammatical soup was brought to you by Sarcasm Will Bite Your in Your Heinie, Inc.

Susan Gets Native said...

I saw the BirdJam. It's KEWL.

*susan, trying to sound all teen-agery.

LauraHinNJ said...

Just popping my head in to snark at you for being organized enough to be actually planning and preparing for a trip that's two months away.

You and Lynne will be fast friends, I suspect.


(Snarks Laura who will likely be sockless in Cape May come October cause she won't have packed until 10 minutes before leaving home.)

KatDoc said...

Yes, the birdJam is KEWL, but I doubt you or any other youngster would find the music on my iPod too cool. Lots of 60's, 70's, and 80's rock, plus some jazz, classical, and Barbra's "Broadway Album."

(If you have to ask "Barbra Who?" you are too young to be reading this blog!)

The curse of being an organized person is that my suitcase is laid out and I am planning what to pack. I will lend you socks, but you have to bring your own undies!

~Kat, who is thinking ahead to April, let along Oct!