iPod tips and tricks.

I just discovered that it is possible to charge your iPod and listen to it at the same time, at least if you have “hard disk mode” enabled. I previously didn’t think this was possible. Whenever I disconnected it before, I would right-click the little green icon in the system tray, and choose "Disconnect hardware. This worked fine for disconnecting it, but also stops it charging if you leave it plugged in.

The trick here is to go into My Computer, right click on your iPod’s drive letter, and click “Eject.” Useful if you’re in a coffee shop as I am now, and your battery is low.

Any other iPod tips or tricks you’ve found useful?

If you have an Audiobook ripped from CDs it will show up under “Music” instead of in the “Audiobooks” section.

To force any audio file into the “Audiobooks” section (I do this with books from CD, keynote speeches and presentations and the like… just about any spoken word), rip it in the AAC format. Then go change the file extension from “yourfile.m4a” to “yourfile.m4b”. This will trick iPod into thinking the files is a protected AAC file, and it will show up under “Audiobooks”.

To speed up browsing your videos in iTunes, set a jpeg image as the poster frame instead of iTunes’ default, which is to grab a frame from a certain point in (10 seconds I think). Add a jpeg instead and you can avoid a short delay when you click on a movie file (as iTunes actually scans the video to seek the poster frame).

To do this, drag and drop any art (DVD cover or movie posters work well) to the thumbnail window in iTunes. Then right-click your video, go to “Get Info” then the “Artwork” tab and select then remove the default poster frame. This will leave your jpeg as the new poster frame.

I recommend a tiny little program called “Music Rescue” (formerly “Pod Util”). It’s a tiny little exe that you keep on the hard drive portion of your iPod and you can use it to get music off your iPod in case you need to. I keep a very good iTunes library and didn’t think I’d need to extract music from my iPod, but just the other day I wanted to make some ringtones for my phone so I loaded it up, pulled a few tracks off my iPod and went to work editing them down for my phone.

On the topic of install-free applications you can store right on your iPod, I also recommend Floola. It’s like being able to take iTunes with you wherever you go, though it’s not nearly as robust as iTunes, and it’s pretty slow – but it works. Manage your playlists, videos, audio books, podcasts, even Internet Radio (native support for Last.fm) – whatever, even add songs to your iPod playlists when you’re not at home. Plus, you can get it for Win, Mac and Linux, so keep all three on the iPod and you’ll always have a version capable of running on whatever platform you find yourself in front of.