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12-02-2007, 19:46
Everyone¢s got an opinion on iPod, and everyone thinks they know the player inside out. They¢re wrong. Here¢s five facts you never knew about Apple¢s almighty music machine.

1) iPod¢s notes are intelligent

Possibly the most underused ¡extra feature¢ of the iPod is its notes capability, and it¢s not just plain text the player understands, but HTML too.

It means you can link words to other notes, folders of notes, music files or videos.

Some people have made e-books for iPod, using hyperlinks to turn the page, skip to chapters or associate rich elements like video clips. They¢re coded as you¢d write a ¡normal¢ hyperlink, but referencing files instead of web pages.

Check out Apple¢s online feature guide for full instructions and turn your ¡pod into a digital book depository!

2) Speak, and iPod will listen

iPod doesn¢t just play music, it can record too, although add-on microphones from third parties don¢t give great quality because Apple has capped the software. Apparently, it¢s a ploy to stop gig-goers using their ¡pods to bootleg performances.

Still, there are ways around Apple¢s software limits. Install Podzilla, a special version of Linux, on your player and it¢ll open up the restrictions and let you plug any mic you like into the headphone socket for top-notch recording anywhere.

3) European iPods are better for you

Because of sensitive ears on the eastern side of the Atlantic, or maybe due to health-conscious legislators in Brussels, iPods bought within the EU have their volumes capped. It¢s ¡safer¢ that way, apparently.

American ¡Pods are much louder, presumably because of the inherent toughness of Yankee eardrums, but there are several work-arounds available should you be stuck with a criminally quiet European player.

For a start you could upgrade Apple¢s bog standard ear-goggles to a more effective set of in-ear buds. These should help reduce the hullabaloo from the outside world, so you needn¢t crank your music so loud.

Failing that, there are software patches to remove the volume limit. You¢ll be risking your hearing with those though, as an un-capped iPod is surprisingly loud.

4) It¢s bigger than you think.

Like a grown-up pissing contest, Apple keeps upping the capacity of its iPods. We¢re up to 80-gig now, but even the largest full-size iPod packs more space than Apple advertises. Why? Let us fill you in.

See, spinning the iPod¢s hard disk uses a hefty chunk of the player¢s precious battery. To save it spinning all the time Apple uses RAM memory.

The 80-gig model has 64-meg of memory to cache songs from the hard disk. It¢s from here that music¢s actually played, as it uses much less power than the iPod¢s spinning disk.

5) iPod nearly unseated a High Court judge

As part of the Apple Corps versus Apple Computer case a High Court judge in London considered out loud whether he should step down from hearing the case as he owned one of Apple¢s players, and therefore might not be considered impartial.