iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual
Posted: 9-Apr-2004

Mac Guild Grade

Publisher: O'Reilly


Reviewer: Hazel Valera $24.95

iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual
2nd Edition

Author: J. D. Biersdorfer  
Edited by David Pogue
Publisher: Pogue Press/O'Reilly & Associates, February, 2004
ISBN: 0-596-00658-6
350 pages, $24.95

What the Book is About
This book shows users how to get the most out of iPod and iTunes. It offers an astonishing collection of useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts for using your iPod. Music lovers will also get an in-depth tour of the iTunes application. Everything from importing music, creating play lists to burning your CDs and DVDs including sharing music across a network. The new guide covers iTunes for both Mac and Windows and the new iPod mini.  

Target Audience
This informative 350 page how-to book will guide both new and experienced users to utilize the capabilities of the iPod, as well as the iTunes application, to the maximum. It provides not only thorough coverage of topic for Mac-only users, but also includes detailed guidance for Windows users as well as Mac OS 9 users. For Windows users, utilities that can be linked with the iPod are explained as clearly as Mac utilities. This is not a supplemental manual. It is a stand-alone reference that will walk the reader through simple language and clear graphics how to utilize iPod as a PDA, a data storage unit, and even a recording device.

What to Expect
There are 5 sections of the book:
  • Part One - iPod: The Hardware
  • Part Two - iPod: The Software
  • Part Three - Beyond the Music
  • Part Four - Extreme iPodding
  • Part Five - Appendixes

Part One - Chapters One and Two: This section begins to familiarize the reader with the hardware. It includes pictures primarily of the 2003 iPod model as well as the 2001 and 2002 models. Chapter Two of this section takes the reader through their first synchronization and covers both platforms and will also guide you through the unsupported act of "iPodóto-Computer" copying.

Part Two - Chapters Three thru Six: The Software begins with detailed information on Digital Audio formats (MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF), and bit rates. The author in this section includes a sidebar note on The Law of the Digital Music Land which is an easily understood one-page legal summary. This chapter also includes a section on Free and Legal Music on the web. The fourth chapter in the book covers iTunes for the Macintosh and mainly focuses on iTunes 4, which only works with Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later; there is also some information on earlier versions of iTunes. The Fifth Chapter is strictly for Windows users and covers MusicMatch Jukebox (only software available prior to iTunes for Windows release). The last chapter in this section, Chapter Six, is focused on the iTunes Music Store.

Part Three- Chapters Seven thru Eleven: This section includes chapters on using the iPodís Address Book, Calendar, Games, eBooks, and iSync. The information is well detailed by the author with helpful screenshots. The last chapter in this section, iPod as Hard Drive, details for both platforms how to use the iPod for data storage. The chapter also contains information on how Macintosh users can use the iPod as a Startup Disk.

Part Four- Chapter Twelve thru Sixteen: This section contains five chapters and most readers will not want to miss Chapter 15, Troubleshooting the iPod. Other items covered in this section include: Connecting to Other Audio Systems, Hot Hacks and Cool Tools, iStuff for iPod, and iPod on the Web. The book provides reference and information for both the Macintosh and Windows platforms for all iPod models. The book guides you through all the cool musical and nonmusical things you can do with your iPod, as well as offering tips, tricks and help on troubleshooting the iPod. Chapter Sixteen will provide fun and innovative iPod Web Sites to assist you in everything else the book does not cover in detail.

There are also two Appendices the cover software on a menu-by-menu breakdown, including keyboard shortcuts. Appendix A describes iTunes, and Appendix B goes over MusicMatch and Jukebox Plus.

What I liked best about the book is discovering that my little iPod can do so much more than I realized! About a third of the book deals with iTunes, its formats, play lists and how to rip music so it will burn onto CDs or create a true relationship with your iPod. iPods are an ideal place to download images from your digital camera, an Alarm Clock, an address book and calendar, a player of audio books, recording device or even an external, bootable hard drive. The book will lead you through the ins and outs of playing and recording music, importing calendars and contacts, syncing with your desktop machine, connecting to home and car audio systems and lots more. There is even a wealth of iPod accessories.

There are generous amounts of figures and other graphics on the pages for both Mac and Windows utilities. What I particularly liked about many of the illustrations is how well the layered windows and menus were shown in a single figure. This makes it even easier for "visual" learners such as my self to follow the instructions. I was also pleased to find an Appendix that explain in detail every menu for both iTunes and Music Match Jukebox Plus. I have used both Music Match and iTunes and think this is essential for novice users to have this kind of guidance.

I was surprised that the iPod Mini was not mentioned in the book. I would guess that there are no substantial differences with using the iPod Mini, however I would have liked to have this stated one way or the other. Also, marker tabs on the side of the pages would make it easier to find chapters more quickly. These issues, however, did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book. After reading through the entire book, I found myself much more savvy in utilizing my iPod and iTunes to it's fullest potential.

Mac Guild Grade
A+ (Awesome)

Final Words
I bought my first 40GB iPod a few months after it rolled off the line. After the initial excitement, it has become a part of my life I take for granted. It plays music. It works. What more do you need to know? I picked up this book and now I am really excited again about all the possibilities. I am also really glad to have so much information all in one place.

This comprehensive, clearly written, and entertaining addition to the successful "Missing Manual" series is a MUST have. Whether you own an iPod, or are giving one as a gift, I highly recommend this book as the perfect iPod companion.