1. New iPod or Better Playlists?

    brian on 2008.02.03
    at 10:22 pm

    I received an email from a good friend down in Brooklyn a couple days ago. She asked for some advice regarding her iPod that I think may be useful for others in her situation. In short, thanks to her love of podcasts she had filled her iPod mini to capacity. She was writing to ask for advice on purchasing a new one. I offered this advice first, so that she might be able to better decide if a new one was truly needed, or whether a few small changes to her settings might serve her equally as well.

    The only thing I might mention before you run out and buy a new iPod is to consider the syncing capabilities of iTunes and playlists for your podcasts. I have had to employ this on my iPhone, since it’s only 8GB. I created a playlist in iTunes with which the iPhone syncs that’s a good sampling of my larger library. Then I left a couple gigs to play with. With that I can load on videos and podcasts.

    What I have done is chosen which podcasts I’m likely to listen to on the iPhone and I sync only those to the phone. I also limit those to only the last three unlistened episodes of each will remain on the phone when I sync next. There are lots of options on how to do this (you can say only un-listened-to podcasts get synced, or have larger or smaller numbers of podcasts that remain on your iPod after a sync (e.g. give me the most recent 5 podcasts). Once you do that, then you have a steady amount of podcast data on your iPod that doesn’t grow after every sync. Back on iTunes you can archive all the old shows, if you think you’d ever listen to them. Also, podcasts you’re not likely to listen to ‘on the go’ you can keep on your iBook. Sudden urge strikes? At any time you can grab a specific episode and drag it on to your iPod without restructuring all of your hard work!

    Once this is all set up, all you have to do is plug the iPod in, perhaps daily, and iTunes does all the hard work for you. In fact, on newer iPods, if you sync and there are partially-listened podcasts, each device (iTunes, your iPod) knows where you stopped listening and if you then continue to listen to the show on either device, it picks up right where you left off. Very cool.

    This method may make your old iPod feel new again! I’m not trying to talk anyone out of a new iPod–I certainly enjoy new toys–but this may be all that’s needed in this case. iTunes has really powerful playlist and smart playlist capabilities that are mostly unknown to the general public.

    That said, if your iPod is in the two-year-old range, then it’s battery is probably starting to decline. New iPods have better batteries and are more power efficient. Also remember, Apple Stores will give you a 10% discount on the purchase of a new iPod when you recycle your old one at the time of purchase.

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology


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