So I finally got myself an iPod, thanks to The Girl.

Through various twists of replacement policy and iBook promotional antics, somehow she ended up with two 20GB 4G iPods, both of which she's been planning to sell off on eBay to end up with some cash and an iPod Mini. Well, it finally occurred to me this weekend that I needed to buy one of those iPods.

Lately, I've been only been listening to streaming radio at work, since I don't really have the hard drive space on my PowerBook for music, and loading up the work PC with MP3s is pretty unpalatable. I miss the days when I had a 40GB library at work, but between company policy where I am now and having lost that whole library in a hard drive crash back then, I'm hesitant to go there again.

Enter the iPod. I was reminded of its presence in The Girl's office, still boxed up and shrink-wrapped, at a moment when I was thinking about podcasting and thinking about my lack of hard drive space. So, I gave in and snapped it up.

Thus far, I'm pretty happy. Sure, I'd been looking at the larger capacity models that came with a dock and remote, but this one was the right price at the right place and the right time. I was also lucky that she had an iTrip she was selling that just happened to work satisfactorily for playing MP3s in my car - something that's been a bit of a quest of mine for years. While it's true I do have an in-dash Blaupunkt MP3 CD player in my Ford Focus now, it's also true that 20GB certainly outweighs 700MB.

The few snags I've run into so far mostly have to do with the fact that it seems like my desired usage pattern of the iPod isn't quite supported. See, I don't want to have a massive library on my PowerBook, to be synched in part onto my iPod. I have a library on a file server at home, and I want to use the iPod alternately as a music store away from home for iTunes on my PowerBook and as an MP3 player while I'm driving. I don't want any music at all on my PowerBook. Problem is, though, the iPod isn't quite a first-class citizen in iTunes. Party Shuffle doesn't work, and I had a few problems with making sure metadata (like ratings and last played date) made it into iTunes.

Oh yeah, and I wish they'd turn down the wheel sensitivity way down when setting a song's rating. At present, it's just a bare millimeter of a finger's twitch to leap from 1 to 5 stars. Might just be me.

But, for the most part, I'm very happy to have my own music at work again, and the potential of tinkering with smart playlists and podcasts are exciting to me. That, and the fourth-generation iPod is just an elegant, slick joy to hold.


Archived Comments

  • Congrats--if you'd like a free license for PodWorks (, let me know :-).
  • No, its not just you. The rating sensitivity is way too high, trying to set four stars, while half awake on the morning commute, is a near impossibility.
  • Agree about the sensitivity of the wheel in general. Regarding your usage, have you thought about moving your PowerBook's iTunes Library file to your file server? You could then manage the iPod from the file server's library. If you still want to be able to sync the iPod on the go, you might set up a separate account on your PowerBook whose iTunes Library is local and use fast user switching to go back and forth when you want to sync. Not seamless but it should work. At least I hope it does--that's how I want to go when I start converting all my CDs.
  • Tim: I think I have some more playing to do, but moving my iTunes Library to the network server wasn't quite working. There *is* the option to do so in the preferences, but things don't seem right: CDs still import to the local drive, and it doesn't seem like any metadata gets saved there. And then there's also the issue of how the thing acts when the network share isn't available, and how I can maybe get the share automounted when I go online at home.
  • I'm very jealous Les...I've been coveting a iPod for quite some time now.. I've promised myself I could get one once I get my MP3 collection squared away and organized. About 1/2 way thru getting the tagging completed, on 45G worth... Can you say time consuming? I knew you could..
  • My usage pattern seems more or less the same as yours. The way I supported it was to make a smart playlist called "entropy" which is set to only include songs which haven't been played in the last 6 months (this number goes up if anything sneaks into my iPod which has been played recently when there's still unplayed stuff which isn't on it), arranged by album, limited to 25GB (I have a 30GB model). Then I have a playlist called "currently digging" for the purpose of loading specific albums on. Finally, I set the iPod to shuffle by album.