iPod: The Missing Manual Paperback – Nov 26 2006
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Cover iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, and iTunes for Mac and Windows
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, iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, and co-author of The Internet: The Missing Manual.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Author: J.D. Biersdorfer
Publisher: O'Reilly, Pogue Press
ISBN-10: 0-596-52978-3; ISBN-13: 978-0-596-52978-9
Reviewed by: Curt Blanchard, Tucson Macintosh Users Group
I'm a huge fan of the O'Reilly missing manual series. These are the go-to bibles for the times when you need more information than the meager instruction sheets provide. Time was when you could expect a good, thick manual in the box with your software or gadget. No more. These days, if you're lucky, you'll get a Quick Start guide and a link to the company website. This is where O'Reilly/Pogue Press comes riding to the rescue with the Missing Manuals, "The book that should have been in the box".
The new iPod the Missing Manual Fifth Edition is 240 pages and was published in November 2006 and it covers all the new iPods - Video iPods and new 2nd Generation Nanos and Shuffle. Of course, by the time you read this, MacWorld Expo 2007 in San Francisco will have unleashed lots of new things upon us so realize that we live in a fast changing world.
J.D. Biersdorfer, once again, shines with her authoritative knowledge and wit. She covers the subjects in depth but with a light hand - tough to do but she's good at it. She is the computer Q&A columnist for the New York Times and is comfortable with both the Mac and PC platforms. This is important because this book covers the iPod in both worlds.
Biersdorfer starts with the iPod basics and then explores iTunes including playlists and storage. There are chapters on video and photos, on listening via external speakers, stereo systems, etc. and there is a useful troubleshooting section at the end.
This particular edition was printed in full color in Canada. I can understand color for a book on iPhoto, but it doesn't really seem necessary here - even though it's nicer than black and white.
This book is an ideal choice for the new iPodder. If you are an experienced user, you might consider the bigger iPodand iTunes Fourth Edition (300+ pages) which goes into a little more depth. I have to believe there will be a Fifth edition of this excellent book coming shortly.
First off, there is extensive coverage of the new iPod nano, which is Apple's fourth digital audio player combining features of both the iPod shuffle and iPod. Unlike previous iPods, the lack of the remote connector on the nano that is found on the top of many previous models means that a number of third-party accessories will not work with the iPod nano. This sort of information is covered in the book. Also, there is extensive coverage of the video playing capabilities of the standard iPod. In the previous addition there was an emphasis on using Applescript to customize certain features. This edition shows you where to get ready-made scripts, but doesn't go into any detail about how you might write your own scripts. I would recommend this book as a necessary update, but you might want to hold on to the previous edition since there are some items there that are not covered as well or as deep in the latest edition. The table of contents is as follows:
Chapter 1. Meet the iPod: Out of the Box and into Your Ears in 15 Minutes
Chapter 2. Bopping Around the iPod
Chapter 3. In Tune with iTunes
Chapter 4. The Power of Playlists
Chapter 5. Shop the iTunes Store
Chapter 6. Videos Everywhere
Chapter 7. Picturing Your Photos on the iPod
Chapter 8. Other Stuff the iPod Can Do for You
Chapter 9. iPod Out Loud
Chapter 10. What to Do When the iPod Isn't Working Right
Chapter 11. Advanced iPodding
The iPod Nano ships with a brief 'iPod + iTunes Quick Start'. At sixteen pages, the accordion-fold Quick Start is the same size as the Nano, only a whole lot thinner. After you learn the most basic operations of your new iPod, the Quick Start ends and you're on your own.
That's where iPod: The Missing Manual takes over. The first forty-three pages cover operation of the iPod in great detail, describing each menu, including the one that helps you reset your iPod to English if you accidentally set it to display in Greek. The book covers all iPod models, including the standard video iPods, the Nano and the Shuffle.
The real meat of this book is its thorough coverage of the iTunes program. iTunes is where you spend a lot of time importing CDs, creating and organizing playlists, purchasing and downloading music from the Apple iTunes Store and synching your iPod with your iTunes library.
The final chapters of the book cover all sorts of goodies that you'll probably want to do with your iPod just as soon as you figure out you can. Playing slideshows of your pictures on a tv, using your iPod as an address book, a calendar and a portable hard drive are all covered in the book.
The book also describes some less well-known uses for an iPod, like reading text files and recording audio. It even mentions the funky Nike+iPod Sport Kit that tracks your progress when you workout by beaming a signal from your running shoe up to a small receiver that snaps into your iPod.
Easily the coolest thing about the book is that it's printed in full color with excellent photographs, screenshots and iPod menu graphics. The text is easy to follow and to the point.
Apple should bundle this book with every iPod they sell. If you have an iPod and want to learn how to use it for more than just the very basics, I highly recommend reading this book.
The iPod Missing Manual is a great book for beginners to understand the ins and outs of getting the most out of their little media players. If you are someone that likes to throw caution to the wind and just experiment away with every option available until you figure it all out, this book isn't for you - of course you are the type that doesn't read manuals anyway. But, if you want to read through a quick overview of all features and get some cool tips of what you can do, then approach your device as a master, this is your book.
Along with navigating all the different menus and working with iTunes, I particularly liked the chapters covering the extended uses of an iPod. Things like hooking up to your stereo and TV help new users see how their iPod can be more than "just" a digital generation's Walkman.
What I found most unique about this missing manual is how it could really be a great resource for someone trying to decide which iPod to get. Whether it is size, space or playing video and photos along with your music, you can get familiar with the various models and their options before making your purchase. Once you get your device you decide on, you then have a great reference for it.
Perhaps in the spirit the well known Apple aesthetics, this book is very well designed. The full color pages and layout of the book was enjoyable to read. I definitely recommend this title for novice and first timers to an iPod, or even new to a a next-generation model.
Along with the nice visual aspects of the book, the content is readably simple and comprehensive. From every iPod feature to using iTunes to troubleshooting, this book has the information and/or references a number of web sites for even more iPod-related information.
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