Pod People

It has been going on for quite some time now. Pay attention on the streets and you’ll notice the proliferation of distinctive white earplugs. The attached technology is hidden within the folds of coats. The owners resist the temptation to show off in order to protect it from the weather and from grabbing hands. This summer there will no doubt be a grand revelation as extra layers of clothing are shed and the Apples are brought out into the open. I will be one of the people displaying the fruit, for I am now one of them: the Pod People.

With the arrival of the iPod Shuffle, the iPod Nano and the iPod Video, the Apple Mp3 brand has reached an all-time high of hipness and portability. This trinity has the market covered: the sturdy, relatively cheap Shuffle on one end, and the more vulnerable and expensive Video on the other, with its video capabilities and enough memory to suck up the average person’s entire CD collection. The Nano holds the middle ground in price and memory, packing a large amount of music – and pictures – into a tiny gizmo.

As apparent in the significantly titled booklet Your iPod Life, these are not just mp3-players, they are a lifestyle and it’s all about the accessories! There are protective jackets, special iPod speaker-sets, fancy earplugs, all kinds of nifty cables and doohickeys to give your iPod extra capabilities or longer battery-life. Author Dan Frakes has picked what he considers the best items and shows you where to find them both on and offline. You could easily bankrupt yourself buying all the neat stuff available.

Once you have pimped your iPod and feel ready to actually start using it, there are several guides to help you get the most out of it, and of its conjoined twin, the music managing program iTunes. Three of these guides are listed below. You might want to flip through them to be sure they cover ‘your’ iPod – in the current editions, only some cover the Nano and none cover the Video.

When your ears start to bleed from incessantly listening to music and you need a change, why not start the aural equivalent of a blog and make a Podcast? In Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide you will learn how to find and download podcasts, as well as how to make your own and start sharing your dazzling thoughts with the world.

And if that starts to bore you, why not hack into your iPod to make it do things that Apple failed to put on the menu, like reading e-mail? You can also learn how to open it up and replace the battery, saving yourself a bundle of cash. Not for the faint of heart or technophobic, iPod & iTunes Hacks has the goods on modding your Pod. If you don’t know what modding means then you should give it a pass.

As with all things hip, a countermovement has emerged. Members scoff at the leader of the pack and proudly tote the ‘superior’, lesser known brands favored by those in the know. I do not claim to be a hardware expert and they may well be right to scoff. But I’m off to buy a bumper sticker that says: ‘iPod, do you?’ And then I suppose I’ll have to go and buy myself a car…

Books Reviewed:
Your iPod Life
The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the iPod
iPod and iTunes Quicksteps
The Rough Guide to iPods, iTunes & Music Online
Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide
iPod & iTunes Hacks

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