iPod: The Missing Manual

Remember the old days when you bought software or hardware and there was a thick manual in the box? And you never read it? That’s one reason why don’t pack things with printed manuals like they used to. But sometimes — like when you open your new iPod — you wish you had a book in hand with good graphics and well written text. O’Reilly’s Pogue Press answers that need with its “Missing Manuals” series.

iPod: The Missing Manual offers writing that’s chatty and conversational, yet clear and specific, thanks to the editors and to author J.D. Biersdorfer, who produces the weekly computer Q&A column for the New York Times.

The book covers everything from basic “out-of-the-box” information to creating and publishing podcasts. Its design features sharp, high resolution illustrations, a clear “one topic per page” layout, and helpful screen shots.

The information applies to the Nano, Shuffle, and Standard models. If you own a Mini you won’t benefit from the discussion of newer features like the Photos menu, videos menu, the clocks, and viewing artwork and lyrics.

The book will point you to some resources you may not have known about, both online and on your own desktop. For example, how to find and delete duplicate songs. (I had lots.) Or how to safely move the iTunes folder on your hard drive, and options for burning different kinds of discs. You’re also introduced to sites like iLounge.com and iPodNN.com.

The chapter “Videos Everywhere” discusses how to find iPod-friendly videos online, use video conversion programs, convert movie files, and play iPod videos on your TV set. “Picturing Your photos” discusses compatible photo-organizing software and how to create and share slideshows. “iPod Out Loud” discusses using the iPod in your car, with a home entertainment system, and with AirPort Express.

“What to do when the iPod isn’t working right” using diagnostics tools, updating and restoring iPod software, and finding a repair shop. “Advanced iPodding” discusses third party software and hardware, getting ideas for playlists, and how to create and publish podcasts.

The Missing Manuals site offers links to sites and products printed in the book.

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