1. Rate Your Songs
The song rating feature is one of the most underused features of iPod/iTunes --
even though it's quite easy. While the song is playing on your iPod, press the
center Select button three times, then scroll the Click Wheel to add or subtract
stars. Press the Select button again when you're done. This not only changes the
rating of the song on your iPod, but also the rating in iTunes -- when you next
sync your iPod, that is.
2. Rip a CD Directly Into a PLaylist
Here's a bit of a time saver. If you have a new CD that you want to rip to hard
disk and also add to a pre-existing playlist, you can do the ripping and adding
in a single step. Just insert the CD into your PC's CD drive, select all the
songs on the CD within iTunes, and then drag the songs to the desired playlist
in the Source pane. When you start the rip, the CD tracks will be automatically
added to your library and to the selected playlist, all in a single step.
3. Find and Delete Duplicate Tracks
After you've used iTunes for awhile, you're bound to end up with at least a few
duplicate tracks -- songs you've burned or downloaded more than once. Since
storage space is valuable, it pays to periodically go through your library and
delete those duplicate tracks, freeing up space for newer music.
Fortunately, iTunes has an easy way to identify duplicate tracks in your
library. All you have to do is select View > Show Duplicates. This lists all
tracks that share the same name, in alphabetical order. Examine each of the
duplicate tracks, and delete one or more instances as necessary.
4. Find Out What Playlists Contain a Certain Song
Ever wonder what playlists contain a given song? That is, do you have Something
in more than one playlist?
All you have to do is select the song in question (anywhere in iTunes),
right-click it, and select the Show in Playlist option. This expands the pop-up
menu to show all the playlists that contain that song. Neat!
5. Add Album Art
By default, iTunes accesses the iTunes Store to find album art for all tracks
you rip to your PC's hard disk. The unfortunate fact is that the iTunes Store
doesn't have art for all albums, which means you could end up with a significant
portion of your music library without any accompanying artwork.
To add or change album art for a track in your iTunes library, click File > Get
Info, then select the Artwork tab. To add new artwork, click the Add button,
then browse your hard disk for the replacement art file.
And where do you find album cover artwork? The best place to search is
Amazon.com, which has artwork for the millions of CDs it sells online. Just save
the artwork to your hard disk, or copy the artwork from the Amazon site and
paste it into the Get Info dialog box in iTunes.
6. Use your iPod as an Alarm Clock
That's right, you can use your iPod as an alarm clock. All you have to do is set
the iPod's internal alarm, then choose the playlist you want to hear when you
wake. To set the iPod's alarm, select Extras > Clock > Alarm Clock > Alarm > On.
Scroll to Time to set the wake time, then to Sound to select a wake-up playlist
(or annoying beep). When the wake-up time comes, your iPod wakes up and starts
playing (or beeping).
7. Use Your iPod as a Calendar
The iPod and the iPod nano (but not the iPod shuffle) both let you import many
different types of calendars, including those in Microsoft Outlook. To use your
iPod to view calendars, you first have to configure your iPod for disk storage.
Start by connecting your iPod to your computer, then open the iTunes Software.
In the Source pane, select your iPod, then select the Summary tab. Check the
Enable Disk Use option, then click the Apply button. You're now ready to start
working with calendars and contacts.
Once your iPod is configured properly, syncing your Outlook calendar to your
iPod is a relatively easy process. Start by connecting your iPod to your PC and
opening the iTunes software. Next, select your iPod in the Source pane and then
select the Contacts tab. In the Calendars section, select Sync Calendars from
Microsoft Outlook, then select either All Calendars or selected calendars from
the list. Click the Apply button, and your Outlook calendar will be transferred
to your iPod.
8. Back Up Your Music
The music you rip from CD or download from the iTunes Store is stored on your
computer's hard disk -- and, eventually, synced to your iPod. But what do you do
if your hard disk crashes?
Fortunately, iTunes 7 lets you make a backup copy of your purchased music to a
data DVD or multiple CDs. Just select File > Back Up to Disc. When the iTunes
Backup dialog box appears, choose to back up your entire library or only iTunes
Store purchases. Click the Back Up button and you're prompted to insert a blank
CD or DVD into your computer's drive; do so and then follow the onscreen
instructions to complete the backup. (You'll be prompted to insert additional
discs if your library is too big for a single disc.)
9. Work around Copyright restrictions
By default, Apple limits how can use the music you purchase from the iTunes
Store. You can play a song on only five PCs, and you can't play it on any music
player except an iPod.
So what do you do if you want to play a track you purchased from the iTunes
Store on your non-Apple music player? While such an action is technically
prohibited, there is a workaround.
Essentially, what you have to do is burn the protected track to CD and then rip
it back to your PC in MP3 format. When you burn the track to CD, the encrypted
wrapper is removed as the file is converted from AAC to CD Audio format. Then
when you rip the track from CD back to your hard drive, there's no DRM
encryption to worry about -- and you can play or burn the track however you
10. PLay YouTube Videos on Your iPod
One of the most popular video sites on the web is YouTube (www.youtube.com).
You're probably used to viewing YouTube videos in your web browser, but it's
also possible to download YouTube videos to watch on your fifth-generation iPod.
The key is the iTube program, downloadable for free from www.benjaminstrahs.com/itube.php.
All you have to do is enter a URL for the YouTube video; iTube then finds the
file, downloads it, converts it to MP4 format, and then imports it into the
iTunes software. It's that easy.