From the Kenosha News on 12-24-06

Get the most from the iPod you get or give

If you give or receive an iPod this year or have one already, here are some tips to help you get the most out of it. First, the basics: You need a computer and iTunes software in order to get the music on and off of your iPod. That computer does not need to be a Macintosh; iTunes runs fine on Windows. Your iPod will come with the necessary cable to connect it to the computer; this will also charge your iPod using power from your computer.

There are several ways to get music for your iPod, but it must all go through iTunes. Music services that offer downloads for wmf files (Windows media file) will not work with an iPod. Download iTunes software for free from iTunes.com. With iTunes, you can either purchase music from the iTunes store or you can import music from CDs that you already own. Once purchased or imported, use iTunes to copy the music to your iPod.

One of the best ways to enjoy your music is to build “Playlists.” Create a regular playlist by clicking the File menu and dragging down to New Playlist. Give the playlist a name, e.g. “oldies” or “favorites.” Then drag songs from your “Library” in iTunes to that playlist. Another option is to create a “Smart Playlist,” also under the File menu. Name it, and it will give you a brief form to fill out which will then automatically select songs from your library based on a specific artist, genre, composer, play count, etc. Once your playlist is created, you must move it to your iPod. If the songs in the playlist don’t yet exist on your iPod, it will copy them over as well.

If the information about a song appears incorrect (it doesn’t quite know what genre to apply to much of my French music.) you can set the properties of the song by right-clicking on it and modifying items like genre, artist name, and even the volume. You can also rate your songs with one to five stars.

If you have one of the newer video iPods, you can use it to play movies, TV shows, and other videos. I see they even had games like Sudoku, Tetris, and Solitaire for $4.99 each at the iTunes store. If you have a Macintosh computer with OSX, use the built-in iCal calendar software to transfer your schedule from your computer to your iPod.

Here are a few handy tips for using your iPod when it’s not connected to your computer:

1) When playing a song, click the center button and use the wheel to rewind or fast forward within the song. 2) Click and hold the center button when the song you want is displayed on the list to add it to the “On the Go” playlist. 3) You can rate a song by clicking the center button twice and using the wheel to rate you song from zero to five stars.

Past related articles include one on podcasts ( 8/27/06) and one on using your iPod for storing files ( 6/25/06). See them on-line at www.sabbarpublications.com.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 12-24-06