iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual Paperback – Mar 30 2006
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About the Author
Jude Biersdorfer has been writing the weekly Q&A column for the Circuits section of The New York Times since 1998, and she occasionally writes feature stories and how-to articles for the same section. She has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times Book Review and the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design, among other publications, and has contributed essays on the collision of pop culture and technology for the books The Education of the E-Designer (2001) and Sex Appeal (2000), both published by Allworth Press. She is the author of iPod Shuffle Fan Book and iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, 3rd edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book also does an excellent job of showcasing iTunes, which has now become a central point for downloading and enjoying all types of multimedia content, and is basically Apple's ambassador to the non-Mac world. Chapter 7 of the book showcases iTunes as a store. Since for many people, the iTunes Music Store is the first feature that they want to try out when using iTunes for the first time, this book does the important job of making that task easy.
In summary I highly recommend this book to all people interested in the iPod and iTunes. Amazon does not show the table of contents, so I do that here for the purpose of completeness:
PART 1: IPOD: THE HARDWARE
Chapter 1. Meet the iPod
Parts of the Pod
Charging the Battery
Earphones-Apple's or Otherwise
The iPod Menus
Chapter 2. The iPod Sync Connection
The iPod Software CD
Using USB 2.0
Connecting Your iPod by FireWire
Your Very First Sync
Varying the Auto-Transfer Theme
Chapter 3. The iPod Shuffle
Meet the iPod Shuffle
Using the iPod Shuffle
Using the Shuffle as a USB flash drive
PART 2: IPOD: THE SOFTWARE
Chapter 4. Digital Audio Formats
Introduction to Digital Audio
Compressed Audio Formats
Other Podworthy File Formats
Chapter 5. iTunes for Macintosh and Windows
Introduction to iTunes
A Quick Tour
Ripping CDs into iTunes
Getting Other Files into iTunes
Deleting Songs and Videos
Burning a CD or DVD
Printing Playlists and CD Covers
Playing Songs Across a Network
Chapter 6. iPod Multimedia
Listening to Audio Books
Chapter 7. The iTunes Music Store
Welcome to the Music Store
A Store Tour
Searching and Shopping
What to Do with Purchased Content
Music Store Billing
PART 3: BEYOND THE MUSIC
Chapter 8: iPod Games and Other Extras
Chapter 9: The iPod as External Drive
The iPod's Hard Disk Format
The iPod as External Hard Drive
Storing Data Files on the iPod
Deleting Data Files
Unmounting the iPod Drive
Chapter 10. Connecting the iPod
Connecting the iPod to a Stereo System
Using iTunes with AirPort Express
Connecting iPod to a Car Stereo
PART 4: EXTREME IPODDING
Chapter 11. Hot Hacks and Cool Tools
The AppleScripted iPod
More Mac Shareware
Software for Mac and Windows
More Windows Shareware
Recording Your Own Podcasts
Chapter 12. Troubleshooting
Apple's Alphabet: The 5 R's of iPod Repair
The iPod's Self-Help Modes
iPod Hardware Problems
Troubleshooting the iPod Shuffle
Headphone and Remote Problems
Problems with Song Quality
Problems with the iTunes Music Store
Software Updates for iTunes
iPod Software Updates
Where to Get Help Online
Chapter 13. iPod on the Web
Points of Interest at Apple.com
Software Updates for iTunes
Fun and Informative iPod Web Sites
Appendix A: iTunes, Menu by Menu
Appendix B: iPod as Organizer
Appendix C: iStuff- Gadgets for Your iPod
Appendix D: iPod as ebook Reader and Newsstand
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.
The chapter on iTunes is pretty extensive and covers all the functionality from importing CDs to working wth playlists and the Music Store. There's a nice chapter on using the iPod as an external drive, a nice trick if you're looking for an extra place to back up that presentation you're travelling somewhere distant to make. I also liked the chapter on Hacks and Cool Tools with its good list of extra software you can find to help you do things like better manage your library and iPod or create your own podcasts.
It would have been nice if the author covered the JHymn package which lets you back up your purchased music, but I can understand the hesitancy due to legality questions -- but it's my music that I bought and paid for, darnit!
The author might also have given a quick nod to covering running presentations from your iPod, but that's a serious edge case so the utility of it in this book might have been marginal.
This really is a nice book if you're at all interested in doing more with your iPod.
In particular, I was impressed with the flow of the book. Too often new iPod users feel they have to buy music from the iTunes Music Store to use their iPod and directly bypass their legal CD collection. Biersdorefer doesn't introduce the iTunes music store until chapter 7. She logically starts with the iPod itself and the proper care and maintenance thereof, making sure new users can properly use and understand their iPod before they even hook it up to the computer. The book then moves from the iPod hardware to installing the software, adding songs, photos, and videos. After the user understand all that he then introduced the music store along with advanced concepts like using the iPod as an external hard drive. Finally, she introduces basic and advanced troubleshooting. Other books I've read on iPods organize their concepts based on themes such as hardware and software, rather than the actual flow of how a user might use their iPod. While you can easily pick up any chapter and learn something, beginner iPod users would be best serviced starting at, well, the beginning (how's that for straightforward logic?).
Throughout the book, Biersdorefer uses extensive pictures and screen shots to illustrate the concepts described. I'm always impressed when an author does this, because not everyone likes to sit in front of a computer learning something. Good visuals help a reader learn a concept while not sitting at the computer. In addition, her explanations are clear and easily understandable without requiring knowledge of technical jargon.
Biersdorefer also included just about every iPod tip and trick I know such as all the idiosyncrasies of photo formats the iPod can display and how to put DVDs on iPods. I honestly can't think of a single iPod concept the beginner or intermediate iPod user needs to know that isn't covered in this book. While I consider myself an iPod expert, I still learned a thing or two and would recommend this to basic users as a book to read cover to cover to understand how to use an iPod. Intermediate users can use this manual as a reference for tools or procedures they don't often do and don't want to rely on the whim of internet searches. For example, I know I can use my iPod to do iPod presentations but I probably won't remember how to do it until my new presentation. Biersdorefer covers the topic extensively so all I have to do is pick up his book. The only iPod concepts this book doesn't cover is advanced tinkering such as installing Linux or how to boot your Mac off of it.
In general, this is a impressive book for the beginner that wants to know everything their iPod can do and a great reference manual for advanced users.
Pros: Covers it all in straightforward easy to understand language accessible to beginners without talking down to experts.
Cons: iPod not included. Waaah.
What was a real surprise to me is there are several iPods that have different functionality, and those differences are seldom explained, this bood does a fair job on those. But I have discovered that the iPod I have is very unique, and will not support many of the newer features and accessories, even though it is less than 3 years old.
I will be watching for the next version of this book to see if there is more enlightment on the compatability issue.
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