Review: Take Control of Your iPod

Finally an iPod book we can all afford (November 4th, 2005)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: TidBITS Electronic Publishing

Price: $10 US

The Good

  • Great price, great information, easy to read.

The Bad

  • Missing how to move your music from an iPod to your computer.

Books don't always lend themselves to the most provocative reviews, but sometimes a primer comes along that's just too good to pass up. I've perused a number of iTunes and iPod books that retail between $20 and $40 and not one covers all the questions asked in a simple and direct way. It's an expensive proposition to amass a proper iPod library, unless you're willing to forgo the printed page and take advantage of the new genre of ebooks.

TidBITS Electronic Publishing has taken a bite out of the rising cost of books with their Take Control series. Take Control of Your iPod: Beyond the Music by Steve Sande is an amazing buy at $10. For a simple 2.1 MB download you get a complete illustrated guide to using your iPod in a PDF (Portable Document Format). Yours to print, read on the computer, and notate to your heart's content. Most computers ship with Acrobat Reader and Preview is stock on all Macs, so searching for a reader application is moot.

An Information Packed Easy Read

The eighteen chapter, 128-page ebook explains how to load a Macintosh system on your iPod, store photos and podcasts, listen to books, run a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, use the PDA functions, how to install text from many different applications, plus install iPodLinux. All for Macintosh and Windows users. The graphics are well notated; the text is simple enough for a beginner, but contains more advanced concepts too. Published in October, it covers all iPods including the iPod Nano and iTunes 5. An update covering the new iPod video is in the works.

The ebook is fully linked, so any software mention or web reference is linked back to the appropriate site, including other relevant Take Control ebooks. The first page includes a link to check for updates too. That's the real beauty of ebooks, they directly connect you with more information, if needed. I'm not a fan of reading books on my computer screen, but this one was definitely painless and didn't tire out my eyes.

The only missing piece in this iPod primer is how to move your music from an iPod to your computer, in case of a crash or other natural disaster. This well-guarded secret seems to exist only on iLounge.com. If you're not sure ebooks are for you, TidBITS Electronic Publishing offers a free 31-page sample PDF of Take Control of Your iPod: Beyond the Music.

by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor


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