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What to engrave on an iPod?
May 26, 2005 6:48 AM   Subscribe

What should I engrave on my iPod?

OK, so I'm looking at ordering an iPod mini from Apple's corporate site. For some reason, the engraving option costs -$5. That's negative five dollars, as in, five dollars off if I put a few letters on the back. The question is, what to engrave?

I definitely don't want to put my name or anything personally identifying. I'm trying to think of a snappy, short quote that I won't get tired of looking at every day. My first great idea was Negativland's "Copyright infringement is your best entertainment value". But that's too long - the limit is 2 lines of 23 characters each. So I put this forward to the world. Hit me with your best two-liner please!
posted by Gortuk to Technology (56 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If lost or stolen, please return to the RIAA.
posted by AlexReynolds at 6:57 AM on May 26, 2005

just so you realize, if you get it engraved you can't return it/ have it repaired, right? So if you can't think of anything clever or useful it's not a good idea to get it engraved.

the -5 is a way of encouraging people to buy a new one if their old one breaks. But I still got my name engraved anyways.
posted by slapshot57 at 6:57 AM on May 26, 2005

How about one of your favorite song lyrics?
posted by geeky at 7:01 AM on May 26, 2005

What characters are allowed? Some complex-looking equation could be neat.

Have you checked out the physics warning labels?. Almost all are too long, but there are some funny ones, they're be a good source of ideas and inspiration:
"Handle with Extreme Care: This Product Contains Minute Electrically Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred Million Miles per Hour."

A smiley? :-)

I have my phone start up with "ERROR 404: File not found"

WARNING: These premises protected by Securiguard

I'd say look at warning labels and manufacturer disclaimer labels for ideas.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:07 AM on May 26, 2005

"Think Differently"

If you get it engraved, you can't have it repaired? Why not?

Are there formulas, equivalencies, etc. that you have a hard time remembering? "Tf = (9/5)Tc+32" or "g = F/m = GM/r²" are probably more likely to come in handy than, y'know, a nickname or a gag or whatever.
posted by box at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2005

"You played it for her, you can play it for me!"
"Well, I don't think I can remember."
"If she can stand it, I can! Play it!"
posted by SPrintF at 7:15 AM on May 26, 2005

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
-Thomas Carlyle
posted by junesix at 7:16 AM on May 26, 2005

Mine says "Life, love, libraries, have no future." (Vladimir Nabokov, Ada (1969))
posted by willbaude at 7:17 AM on May 26, 2005

Haha, "Think Differently" is awesome. (The grammar of that campaign was a continual wince for me)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:20 AM on May 26, 2005

Don't Panic.
posted by terpsichoria at 7:23 AM on May 26, 2005

harlequin: You just weren't thinking different.
posted by grouse at 7:24 AM on May 26, 2005

"I ruined my ipod and all I got was this lousy catchphrase"
posted by fire&wings at 7:29 AM on May 26, 2005

"Bono," or because it's a Mini, Bono's little brother's name.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:31 AM on May 26, 2005

slapshot57 - the warranty doesn't mention anything about engraving that i can see. why do you think an engraved ipod isn't covered?
posted by andrew cooke at 7:34 AM on May 26, 2005

RIAA vs. Gortuk
Exhibit A

Unfortunately, that requires some personal identification, or it's not funny. What about:

Creative Zen Micro
(c) Creative 2005
posted by j.edwards at 7:43 AM on May 26, 2005

posted by Capn at 7:45 AM on May 26, 2005

oops, nevermind. Either they changed their policy or I'm an idiot. I could've sworn when I chose to get my mini engraved a couple months ago they said it meant I couldn't send it back for service. Anyways, their service FAQs page says the engraving will be preserved if you send it in for service, so engrave away
posted by slapshot57 at 7:46 AM on May 26, 2005

Thanks for the discussion so far. Comments/updates/answers:

1) Someone at work just pointed out that the engraving is meant to discourage resale. Interestingly, the main Apple storefront offers free engraving, not a discount. The discount is only on the corporate store.

2) Unfortunately they don't allow special characters of any kind, just letters and numbers. I found that out when I tried to put the (C) symbol in for "Copyright infringement"

3) Other suggestions from offline:
"This machine kills facists"
"Intel Inside"

4) For those making serious or even not-so-serious suggestions: please keep in mind the 2-line, 23-character each line limit.

5) So far terpsichoria's is my favourite but keep them coming. I like the magical realism tip too.
posted by Gortuk at 7:51 AM on May 26, 2005

Kick Out the Jams!
posted by AJaffe at 7:58 AM on May 26, 2005

Bad Mother Fucker
posted by teleskiving at 8:03 AM on May 26, 2005

"Bono," or because it's a Mini, Bono's little brother's name.

Actually, Bono just has an older brother, Norman.

You could always see if they'll now take any of these.
posted by WCityMike at 8:06 AM on May 26, 2005

posted by googly at 8:09 AM on May 26, 2005

It is still covered under warranty but Apple doesn't fix units sent in. They replace them with refurb'd units so you sending it in for repair means when it comes back it won't be engraved.

"!pleH .edisni deppart kutroG"

And indeed, the engraving is to cut down on resale as most people probably get their names on them and no one wants to carry an iPod that says "I love Bobbi-Jo!".
posted by dobbs at 8:10 AM on May 26, 2005

And while I'm here, does anyone know a company that isn't Apple that will engrave an iPod? I'd like to get a logo on the back of one I'm giving away in a contest.
posted by dobbs at 8:14 AM on May 26, 2005

Someone at work just pointed out that the engraving is meant to discourage resale.

That's a small part of it. While it might 'discourage' resale, it prevents return completely. So if you were to buy it for yourself engraved, or for a gift for someone, and you find out they hate pink, or hate their first name, you're out of luck.

That said, I'd go with:

"goes to eleven"
posted by justgary at 8:22 AM on May 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

"You make me sick,
I make music."

It was someone's copyright label, I can't remember who. It's fun to say out loud because it plays with the order of vowels in a musical sort of way.

Oh, and kudos to Capn for the best post of the day!
posted by furtive at 8:55 AM on May 26, 2005

C'est ne pas un iPod.
posted by Specklet at 8:57 AM on May 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the Rejected iPod Engravings link. That made me think of:


Although that may not be the best idea if I ever want to cross the US border with my new toy.
posted by Gortuk at 9:08 AM on May 26, 2005

Three years later, I'm still satisfied with my pod's quote:
"There are many like it / but this one is mine." (22/20 chars)
posted by SemiSophos at 9:19 AM on May 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

posted by kimota at 9:27 AM on May 26, 2005

trapped in ipod factory
please send help
posted by chrismear at 9:31 AM on May 26, 2005

The world is all that is in this case
posted by TimothyMason at 9:34 AM on May 26, 2005

Many good ideas here. I gave one as a gift that says "Reward if Returned" and the phone #. If you really just want the -5, how about 2 lines of ascii art or cartoon swearing?

:: | :: | :: |

*&%%#$$#!@^*& !?!!!
posted by theora55 at 9:59 AM on May 26, 2005

dobbs - jewellers used to engrave things for a fee. i don't know if they still do.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:16 AM on May 26, 2005

And when the refurbished unit comes back from repair it's blank, no music. Yes, if you want any chance of selling it, don't engrave.
posted by scazza at 10:22 AM on May 26, 2005

How about "This device seemed really important in 2005"?
posted by juggler at 10:46 AM on May 26, 2005

You Make Me Sick I Make Music was Soundgarden's publishing name (and my all-time favorite vanity label).
posted by werty at 10:55 AM on May 26, 2005

I'm a consumer whore!
posted by electroboy at 11:04 AM on May 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

Bite my shiny (pink/blue/silver/green) ass!
posted by Monochrome at 11:11 AM on May 26, 2005

teleskilling: That's on the rejected list. They suggest "Bad Mother Fucka" as an alternative.
posted by Monochrome at 11:15 AM on May 26, 2005

Sorry I bolloxed your name.
posted by Monochrome at 11:18 AM on May 26, 2005

All Wrongs Reversed
posted by erebora at 11:20 AM on May 26, 2005

A Witty Saying Proves Nothing
posted by vega5960 at 11:55 AM on May 26, 2005

Drivers license number.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:00 PM on May 26, 2005

The repair/replace things said so far are not completely accurate. You are still under warr but you have to send it in. If you have an Apple store near you this is a bummer - my girlfriend got the free engraving because it seemed like fun. However when the unit went kaput 3 weeks later and she stopped into the store (which is conveniently near her place of employment) they said shoot, if it wasn't engraved we could just swap you another one right here and off you'd go! Instead you can wait a week for it to get to them and come back.

If you will always have to do any repair/replace by mail then this is probably not something to worry about.
posted by phearlez at 12:29 PM on May 26, 2005

Not your IPOD
posted by CJB at 12:38 PM on May 26, 2005

The music is reversible
but time is not (turn back)
posted by OneOliveShort at 12:42 PM on May 26, 2005

"I am (my name here)'s iPod of Doom.
If I'm found: xxx-xxx-xxxx (my phone number)."
posted by spinifex23 at 1:02 PM on May 26, 2005

After reading some of the above suggestions, your email address sounds like a good idea. Could come in handy if your iPod is stolen and later found by a generous individual. Safer than a phone number or address, too.
posted by junesix at 1:41 PM on May 26, 2005


I was going to go with "Toynbee Ideas in Kubrick's 2001 Resurrect Dead On Planet Jupiter" but that's too long.
posted by kindall at 1:47 PM on May 26, 2005

Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. (Do iPod Minis have shiny backs?)
posted by Frank Grimes at 2:44 PM on May 26, 2005

"You live and learn.
At any rate, you live."
(-- Douglas Adams)

So where are the cheap-ass used, engraved iPods? I'd certainly buy one.
posted by NickDouglas at 3:32 PM on May 26, 2005

posted by krisjohn at 5:20 PM on May 26, 2005

I like the Intel Inside idea.
posted by 6550 at 6:17 PM on May 26, 2005

here are two (short) quotes I like that seem fitting for an ipod:

"Time is precious. Do nothing." -- Buddha

"Progress is a comfortable disease." -- ee cummings
posted by katherine at 1:33 AM on May 27, 2005

OK, terpsichoria wins. (Although my wife had a last-minute contender with "MORE COWBELL"). "DON'T PANIC" is simple, classic, and adds the least amount of pretension to the already-fraught act of purchasing an Apple product. Thanks everyone!
posted by Gortuk at 5:10 AM on May 27, 2005

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