So you’ve got your shiny new iPod, and want to know what exactly you can do with it. Good luck with the “manual” that comes with it – you’ll learn how to charge your iPod, how to install the software for it, and precious little else.
That’s why you need iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual. You get the basics (learning the controls), you learn the software (including setting up an iTunes account), and you learn what the thing does other than play music. Did you know, for example, that with a few tweaks your iPod can act as a digital address book and appointment calendar? It’s true, as long as you’ve got Outlook 2003 on your PC, you can take your calendar anywhere you go. Too many pictures for your wallet? No problem: dump ‘em onto your iPod and go. Wish you had a pin drive? Use that extra iPod space to store the files you need. This book shows you how.
There’s a valuable discussion of the various digital audio formats that you’ll encounter, along with an explanation of why your new iPod can’t play some of them. There’s a guided tour of iTunes as well, though I’d have liked to have seen a bit more detail about making custom playlists and things like that.
I found that I knew most of what was included in the first three sections of the book. Of course, I’ve been fiddling with my Nano since Christmas, so I’ve learned a lot just by trying things out on my own. The really valuable part of iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual for me was the fourth section – Extreme iPodding. Much of it, unfortunately, relies on you owning a Mac and being able to program in AppleScript, but there are some great shareware titles that are available for Windows systems out there, and this section tells you where to look.
The troubleshooting section is also a great resource. Everything from resetting your iPod to replacing the battery (NOT something Apple wants you to do, by the way) is covered – including software updates for both iTunes and the iPod. This section all by itself is something that every iPod owner should be thankful for – and it’s really something that Apple should have included with the iPod.
iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual is pretty basic in a lot of areas. Experienced iPodders should be taking a look at iPod and iTunes Hacks, also from O’Reilly. But if you are just starting out with your first iPod, this really is the book that should have come in the box, and you need to read it.