Five things you never knew about iPod

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2 August 2006
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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.