Got an Ipod, Now What?

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Steve CDN

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As a follow up to my initial discussion to learn about Ipods HERE  I'd like to learn how experienced Ipod users have dealt with some questions I have now that I got my 80GB Ipod.

How do you maintain the battery charge, other than connecting to the USB connection of the computer?  The USB connection on my laptop does not have the current capacity to support my Ipod, and luckily I have a USB PCMCIA card where I can plug into 110VAC.  But I find this impractical.  What are my options?

I'd like to listen to my Ipod in the motorhome through the dashboard radio. What interface do you recommend?  combination battery charger and fm transmitter or separate components?

Should I stick with Apple accessories or are third party accessories OK?  Any brands to avoid?

I installed Itunes and find it to be clumsy.  I have an installation of Winamp with an Ipod plugin that I'll try as an alternative.

What kind of video files does the Ipod video support? 

Thanks for all suggestions ;)
 

caltex

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Steve, I have used the FM transmitter, the tape deck insert and direct connection.  The performance is in the inverse order.  The FM transmitter doesn't work too well where there a lot of stations (SF Bay area for example), you get it set and a few minutes later you have interference.  The tape deck insert worked better for me, but is a problem for newer RVs that don't have a tape deck in the radio.  If you are lucky and your radio has a auxiliary direct input that works best.  Mine was on the back of the radio so I had to run a connector out from under the dash.  Still it beats the alternative.

My battery will last as long as I want to drive in a day, so I recharge it overnight.
 

hleap

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Steve,

I do a lot of traveling and use my ipod in the car extensively. I had tried a number of wireless FM modulators in the past with limited success. One required batteries, another had poor signal strength, and they all had a limited number of channels that you could broadcast on. About 8 months ago I purchased this one by Kensington. Works Great! I have demo-ed it to a few of my friends and they all bought one. Short of rewiring your car or RV for a modulator that installs in the actual coax antenna line, I think this is the way to go. It has 3 presets so I tune my car radio to all 3 presets and if I encounter interference going down the road I can easily change the channel. You can tune your presets to any available FM frequency and so you are not limited to a few selections at either end of the FM dial (like most are). And it charges your ipod when you are plugged in. Obviously I have been very happy with mine. Check it out....

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5231073

Howard
 

Steve CDN

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Thanks for the suggestions on ways to use the car radio.  I noticed the Kensington on Amazon and it's the same one you have Howard, plus they have a $15 rebate available.

I seems like the Ipod is a cottage industry for accesories, where you can end up spending more on accessories than the Ipod, not to  mention carrying all the stuff around.

The other consideration is whether I want to use it with my home stereo system, which would require yet another interface with audio cables.

 

Tom

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Steve said:
The other consideration is whether I want to use it with my home stereo system, which would require yet another interface with audio cables.

That's the way I went Steve. I merely installed/attached a cable to each of the sound systems at home, in the coach and on the boat. I just move the MP3 player from one to the other and simply plug in the mini plug. Haven't sprung for an iPod yet though because we're quite happy with the MP3 players we have. But, when it comes time to replace, I've known for some time that the choice will probably be iPod.
 

Steve CDN

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I have to say I am really trying hard to like Itunes.? Since having used Creative Mediasource for a few years, I find Itunes seriously lacking in functionality.? Is it just me, is it because Itunes is reflective of Apple style software, or is it a lousy program?

Anyone interested in downloading a manual for their Ipod,? it's available CLICK HERE
 

Tom

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Steve said:
I find Itunes seriously lacking in functionality.

What functionality does it lack Steve? What is it that you want the software to do that it can't?

Edit: BTW anyone who tried to use an iPod with a PC a couple of years ago would be elated with iTunes. A friend/neighbor bought an iPod back then and, when we tried to use third party software on my PC (the only thing available for iPod/PC at that time) to copy his CDs, it was pretty ugly. IIRC we took 2 weeks to copy the stuff over. We'd start the process and it was so slow that the battery on his iPod would die before we were done. iTunes in comparison works very well for copying/ripping CDs to an iPod.

This is from a non-user of iPod, but someone who has allowed his PC to be used for copying from (their) CDs to iPod for several folks.

As Smoky said in another topic, it lacks the bi-directional file transfer feature of, for example, the Creative software that I use for my Creative Jukebox III MP3 player. But, for straight ripping from CD, I've found it to be flawless and very easy to use.
 

Bob Buchanan

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>> How do you maintain the battery charge, other than connecting to the USB connection of the computer?
====
Steve, as others have commented, a charge also lasts me all day - though I have it plugged into 12v while underway. I have not found need for any docking accessories as yet.

>> What interface do you recommend?? combination battery charger and fm transmitter or separate components?
====
I too have a great rig dash radio now and was able to buy a cable that connects to an AUX input from the rear of the radio. I have, but rarely use the FM thing. It actually works well for me, but with the dash radio in the rig and a cassette interface in my Jeep, I'm OK w/o it.

>> Should I stick with Apple accessories or are third party accessories OK?? Any brands to avoid?
====
The only accessory I had need for so far was a nice leather case to protect the unit and to have means to carry from my belt while biking. I find tons of speaker systems with iPod docking, but I'm more into speakers having more separation that 8-10 inches. There are some nice 3rd party car units with docking charger that plug into your cigarette lighter and auto connect to FM for about $100 or so. But I am fine w/o such devices.

>> I installed Itunes and find it to be clumsy.
====
You speak higher of it than I do. :)? However, Steve, I think if you are patient it will become an OK means to move stuff to your iPod. That is "all" I use it for - and have gotten pretty good at it - with fewer emotional outbursts. You might try using the proper case when spelling iPod and iTunes in public places. I read somewhere that if you don't, the SW gets a bit upset. ;)

>> What kind of video files does the Ipod video support?
====
MPEG4. Which is not what other media players will use (that I know of).? So .. you have to convert other formats to MP4 prior to loading on the iPod. I download a file to my PC, convert there to MP4, then load to my iPod library and then to my iPod. Later versions of iTunes were supposed to do that, but I have not been able to convert a single downloaded video file as yet via iTunes. Not only does the converter take forever to convert to mp4, it just doesn't work when finished. Main problem is that the sound track will not play, or just one channel will play.

Here is the third party package I use to convert. It's fast, works, and is a free download -- with donations accepted. There are a number of them on the market so shop around.
 

Steve CDN

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Bob,

Thank you for the link for the mpeg4 converter.  It's an area I have no experience with, but will download it and experiment.

What functionality does it lack

Tom,

I'll reserve comment on functionality until I get more experience with iTunes.  I should have said I was unhappy with the interface, the ability for customization.  The search function can be misleading because of the manner in which results are presented. 

Based on my first looks at iTunes store, they seem to cater to rock and rap fans with no content of standards and crooners...real music!  ???
 

Steve CDN

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A shortcoming of iTunes based on the way I am using it is that iTunes does not scan my music library for new additions since the last time iTunes was opened.  I may be using the program incorrectly, but now I have to make notes of the albums or tracks I add to my collection and then add these tracks or folders {albums} manually.

Am I missing something in iTunes?
 

Shayne

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You guys lost me a long time ago on Ipods.  I'm still trying to figure out 8 tracks, vhs, CDs, DVDs, and FM radios.    The more I read the more confused I get.  And have no idea what Tbow is.
 

Shayne

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Proves just one thing only  As an electronic wizard  I make a darn good ditch digger with a bad back without a shovel handle.
 

Smoky

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Steve:

I agree with you on iTunes.  I was a creative jukebox man for many years and found it to be much better when moving stuff back and forth between the juke and the pc.  Part of it is a more intuitive interface, and part of it is, as Tom mentioned, the lack of a 2 way process.  Part of it is also a learning curve.

There is no question in my mind, that on a standalone basis, the iPod has the best little box going.  It is the integration with other boxes which I find sometimes frustrating compared to Creative.

At any rate I am full blown iPod now and my Creative is collecting dust.

For integrating with car or coach, I tried 6 different FM rigs before I found one that worked really well.  Most of them are junk.  I ended up with the Transpad that I purchased at Best Buy for about $40.  It has a number of accessories, but I use the docking station that plugs into my cigarette lighter.  This answers your question about charging.  Whether it is turned on or off, it charges whenever it needs to be charged and then turns the charger off.

The output is strong enough to overcome all but the very strongest stations, so it works well in metro areas.  However it also has up-down buttons that will change the output frequency.  So if I am driving and move into a strong station area, I just go up or down on my radio until I find a clear spot, and then press the up or down button on the Transpad until I hear the music coming in.  Easy to do with one hand while driving.  And does not happen very often because of the very strong output level which overpowers most stations.

The Transpad also has a preprogrammed button which will preprogram 5 frequencies and cycle through them.  I never use that because I found the up down buttons so easy to use as I travel across the country.  The docking station is only slightly larger than the iPod and is shaped the same.  It sits on a cigarette lighter pedestal that can swivel in any direction.
You can check it out at the next QZ rally.  ;D
Smoky
 

Steve CDN

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Smoky,

The feature I miss in iTunes, unless I have missed it is the feature Creative calls the Media Sniffer.  Each time a track is added to your library collection, the progr detects it, and auatomatically adds it to the database.  I don't believe iTunes does that, so you have to remember every track you add to your library and then add each track individually.

This answers your question about charging.  Whether it is turned on or off, it charges whenever it needs to be charged and then turns the charger off.

My research into the subject has indicated that not all iPod docks are built with regulated baterry chargers.  So people report having their batteries overcharged and damaged by some of these unregulated devices.

Apparantly the Kensington falls into this category.

How can you tell if the charger is regulated or not?    trust the salesman? ;D ;D ;D ;D
 

Smoky

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I never thought about that issue.  all I can say is that after a year of sitting in the cig lighter, it still works great.  In fact it is sitting there right now.  It turns the charger off when it is fully charged.
 

Steve CDN

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I would like some guidance on using podcasts.  I thought I downloaded a group of podcasts feom PBS then thought I sync'ed them to my iPod.  The iPod displayed the podcasts, but when I selected one of the podcasts, the iPod crashed and displayed the apple logo.

The same thing happened with each of the podcasts listed.

Have I gone wrong or do I have a faulty iPod?
 

colleenfl

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The best way is to purchase the cig adapter cord you can purchase at an apple store, it plugs into your cig lighter and into your ipod the cord has control buttons on it, this device plays right out of the car speakers it is much better clairity then the cassette tape one. No special wireing or  any thing just plug it into the lighter thats all you have to do.

As far as charging your ipod should have come with a charger. It is a white square box shape you plug into an outlet and then you also should have another usb cable which is a little differnt then the usb for downloading onto the ipod. This is how you charge.

Sometimes we hook up to our golf cart as in last night for halloween. We have a speaker we plugged our charger into an inverter the inverter connected to our battery and then the cable from ipod to speaker very simple and was great riding around halloween night playing halloween music as we drove around the neighborhood.

Good luck

Colleen
 

rhmahoney

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>> How do you maintain the battery charge, other than connecting to the USB connection of the computer?
====
I use the dedicated dock for mine.
The generation 2 has a firewire dock to supply power and output is via a stereo cable to RV dash radio.
The nano has a dedicated power and data connection to the Alpine dash radio in the RV and displays track data on radio screen.
The Jeep has a cassette player, so use a cassette adaptor there on battery power alone, recharging from the RV dock.

>>The feature I miss in iTunes, unless I have missed it is the feature Creative calls the Media Sniffer.  Each time a track is added to your library collection, the progr detects it, and auatomatically adds it to the database.  I don't believe iTunes does that, so you have to remember every track you add to your library and then add each track individually.



>>A shortcoming of iTunes based on the way I am using it is that iTunes does not scan my music library for new additions since the last time iTunes was opened.  I may be using the program incorrectly, but now I have to make notes of the albums or tracks I add to my collection and then add these tracks or folders {albums} manually.

Am I missing something in iTunes?
========

iTunes must be told to add tracks to its library. Sounds like you are running 2 or more media management programs at same time...a surefire way to generate frustration and confusion.

Open iTunes and sort by date added. This tells you when you last updated the library.
Now open the Other music manager and sort the same way. On the Mac I would select the short list of new to iTunes tracks from the window in  the Other music manager to the iTunes window. Or, copy them out of  the Other music manager to a folder, go to iTunes file menu and select command "add to library" Or, after placing the tracks in the desktop folder, drag them onto the iTunes window.

Rather than this multistep mishmash, I would just Import the into iTunes first. But iTunes is all I have ever used so I have not needed to unlearn how other programs deal with the issues. In my case I let iTunes manage the 350 GB library. As I add new music, I let iTunes worry about how to file it.

The latest generation of iPods can transfer music from computer to computer within your home network as long as all of these computers are authorized by the iTunes store.
 

Steve CDN

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Russ,

Thanks for the additonal info.  Does the iPod support only music downloaded for iTunes and music ripped from CD's?  I am having some difficulty with music I recorded as MP3 files from streaming audio.  I have a program designed for recording streaming audio which I subsequently split into individual tracks and add all pertinent identifying info...title, artist, ablum etc.

These latter tracks, when played on the iPod sometime skip to the next track before the end of the track.  I have not seen this behaviour on ripped tracks.

Does iPod require some specific parameters in an MP3 file or should I be sending my iPod 80 MB in for service?
 
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