iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: March 2005
Pages: 432

Whether it's the ultra-thin, pocket-sized iPod or the vast music library known as iTunes, it seems like everyone is relying on these marvels of technology for their musical needs. CDs and cassettes? They're so twentieth century!But like any cutting-edge technology, improvements come fast and furious. To keep up with all the recent changes to iPod and iTunes, O'Reilly has once again fully updated and refreshed its bestselling Missing Manual. This third edition now reflects the following cool advancements:

  • the fourth-generation iPod, which has a capacity of 10,000 songs
  • iPod Photo and iPod Shuffle: the two newest members of the iPod family
  • Airport Express (featuring AirTunes), a gadget that streams iTunes music wirelessly through the speakers of a nearby stereo
  • the latest version of iTunes (4.7)
Covering all iPod models for both Mac and Windows, iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, 3rd Edition lays bare an astonishing collection of useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts. For prospective iPod owners, it reveals how the iPod can be used as a PalmPilot, a hard drive, an e-book, and even as a GameBoy. Experienced iPodders, meanwhile, will benefit from the up-to-the-minute nature of the book's content. And if the deep reservoir of the iTunes music store is more your style, it's also the ultimate guide to the iTunes software and iTunes Music Store for both Mac and Windows.Like the rest of the Missing Manual series, iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual is written in a witty and entertaining style that makes it an easy read for even the most non-technical of consumers.
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Good book for the basics

By David Peach

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual:

For the owner of an iPod who has not figured out the basic usage of their new device, this book can be a good read. Filled with plenty of useful information to help you get the most out of your iPod especially while using iTunes on the Mac or Windows platforms. It has some terrific humor spread throughout the book to help the reader get through some necessarily mundane sections.

The book is divided into five parts: The Hardware, The Software, Beyond the Music, Extreme iPodding and Appendix.

Part One: iPod: The Hardware

This is obviously the reason one would read the book. Though there is much to learn about iTunes, the book has more appeal to someone with one of the various models of the hardware. The author does a fair job of detailing the differences between the different models and what makes them unique. Throughout the book she works to make sure that each iPod model is covered if it differs from how other models perform a task.

She also talks about the different generations of the main model: iPod. This is where the book becomes confusing though and stays that way until the end. The different models of the full size iPod (as opposed to the Mini, Shuffle and now Nano) are referred to as "generations" by Apple and the iPod community. This book refers to them by their year of release.

In the book:

1st Generation is called the 2001 model. (introduced: November 2001)

2nd Generation is called the 2002 model. (introduced: July 2002)

3rd Generation is called the 2003 model. (introduced: April 2003)

4th Generation is called the 2004 model. (introduced: July 2004)

At first glance, it may not seem like that big of an error. But what if your iPod was purchased in July of 2002? Is it still generation 1? If you bought direct from the Apple store, you have whatever was the latest they had at the moment. But if you bought in any other store, you might have generation 1 or 2.

The problem then is this: by referring to the models by their year of release, someone who knows their iPod's manufacture and purchase date would still not necessarily know to which iPod the author is referring in a particular point. But the vast majority of iPod owners will know which generation they have, especially if they have ever bought any accessories. If someone bought a used iPod, they probably would not know what year it was originally purchased. Therefore they would not know which iPod they had according to the naming convention of this book, though they probably know which generation they own.

That said, the author does a good job in describing the different ways in which to accomplish various tasks based on which model of iPod/Mini/Shuffle you have. Much care is even given to distinguish which versions of the firmware has which features too. A task that is not easily done.

The iPod menus are covered in this section as well as how to connect your iPod to your computer. Because the Shuffle is quite different than the other iPods (no display) there is a complete section just for this model.

Part Two: iPod: The Software

A good discussion of the differing digital audio formats starts out this section of the book. Not all formats will play on the iPod, but are covered anyway for completeness.

iTunes' capabilities are covered in the next chapter. iTunes has many features that will help you in using your iPod. But beyond that, there are many things that iTunes can do as stand alone software that is good to learn. CDs and DVDs can be burned from playlists built in iTunes. You can share your music over a network by configuring iTunes to do so. Internet radio can be "tuned in" with the iTunes software.

Audiobooks, photos and purchasing music on-line fall into this section.

Part Three: Beyond the Music

Need a calendar? There is one in your iPod waiting to be used. The author shows the things that can be done with the iPod that may not immediately come to mind: external hard drive, PDA, gaming platform and electronic book reader to name a few of the extra features of the iPod.

To accomplish some of these tasks better, there is add-on software that can be downloaded freely, or for a small fee. The book tells you where you can get this software and how to use it. The author gives suggestions for both Windows and Mac users.

Part Four: Extreme iPodding

This is where the book becomes most informative. It is very difficult to do a section of a book about accessories, add-ons and hacks, but this book handles it well. The point of this section was not to tell the reader about every product that is available, but to give the reader some insight as to which type of products can be purchased for the various iPods. Usually at least three of each type of product is reviewed with a paragraph's worth of description. Web addresses are given to various sites that carry the different products. This section is a very long introduction to what is available. But, it needs to be long as there are many products available.

If you are new to the iPod and are wanting to know what can be done with it outside of simple listening, this section is worth the price of the book.

The author handles troubleshooting for both the iPod and for iTunes. Many common problems can either be fixed or at least narrowed down by the information in this section.

Part Five: Appendix

This is simply a very boring chapter on every menu option in iTunes. If you know what you want to do in iTunes, but are not sure how to do it, you are just as likely to be able to figure it out by trying every menu item within iTunes itself. Reading this appendix will just cost you more time because you will be sleeping half the time and the information is the same as you would get if you were to just dig through iTunes one menu item at a time.

The keyboard shortcuts are handy to know.

All in all, the book is written in a very simplistic and humorous way. An enjoyable read if you can get over some of the methods used to make it not sound too technical. Obviously I do not like the usage of the year models for the iPods as opposed to their generation numbers. For this reason alone the book is unnecessarily confusing.

For the person who has been using an iPod for much more than just a few months will probably want to skip over this title in that it will probably not give you any more information than what you have learned on your own.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


No wonder it's called The Missing Manual"!"

By Erin

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual:

This book definitely should have been in the box! I learned things about my iPod mini that I didn't read in the User Guide. I can't recommend "The Missing Manual" for iPod & iTunes highly enough. Every owner of an iPod should have it!

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