When the iPod first came out, it was regarded as Apple’s greatest saviour, and those people who did say that were spot on. The iPod has become the golden cash cow that all companies strive for in a product. Bring out any related 3rd party product and it will be snapped up.
However, is it all that special? Sure it saves you from taking your computer around with you while you listen to your favourite MP3s, but so did a portable MP3 player. It looks good…so how does that help performance?
It has video playback! Hmm…I think I could be beaten here…however it has been found that under 6 million user have actually downloaded anything video related, that is 4% of users, so not a great success.
The iPod family is large, and expensive. The iPod suffle is the cheapest of the lot, however it has little in the way of usable features that make it stand out from the MP3 players…also no USB port. The Nanos do look nice, and show a little picture of your artists album, easy to see when in your pocket.
So I have devised 5 new ways on how to spruce up your iPod so that it actually seems like something worthwhile.
Better iPod # 1.
Why have 4 GB when you are only going to store many hundreds of MP3s, impossible to hear on your 1 hour commute. Why not use the capacity to save your private work, documents or other sensitive information? The iPod however can not be used as a full time hardrive, it will break in a few weeks. Simply mount it in the Finder (turn on Enable Disk Use in the iPod section of iTunes preferences, and say install Mac OS X on it. If you’ve just completed a large installation, use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your OS X set-up to your iPod…just in case.
Better iPod # 2.
DJ with your iPod. Set up the ultimate party playlist in iTunes, and sync it to your iPod. Plug it into the party amp with a mini jack lead, lock it out of harms way, and then party away. You should make up different playlists so that you can cater for different audiences.
Better iPod # 3.
The iPod calendar. If you use iSync on your Mac to sync your iCal calendars, you will have appointments on the go. You can choose which iPod calendars you copy, including ones you’ve subscribed to as well as ones you’ve made yourself. You can’t sync to-do list items, but date events copy across ok. Go to Extras > calandar to view a month at a time on your iPod screen. Days with appointments are marked, and clicking on one will show you everything about that appointment.
Better iPod # 4.
Better music encoding. The default encoding of tracks for iTunes is AAC 128kbps. This plays in iTunes and iPod but very little else. Consider raising the quality level of the encoder to 192kbps, open iTunes’ preferences and click importing. If you want more compatible encoded results, switch to MP3 encoding instead. Pick the highest quality, and use 192kbps, and variable bit rate.
Better iPod # 5.
Accessing the iPod music files. There is a simple little bit of software that allows you to access the tracks (just say you lost the originals, obviously :)), and it is called Audion (for Mac), which is now free. Launch Audion, connect your iPod and either click on the iPod icon or choose your iPods name  ghost-audio.com  from the iPod menu. The playlist window will show all the tracks on your iPod. You can drag files in, and you can drag items out.