Fully phat iPod

Admit it, you don’t just love your iPod. You loooove your iPod. But are you getting all you can out of this relationship, asks Nathan Taylor?

The iPod is a lot more capable than people give it credit for. With the host of accessories now available for it, several software hacks and a bunch of features that most people never touch, you can do so much more than you ever thought you could.

Extra, extra

Let’s start with some of its integral features. People tend to focus on the core functions of the iPod, ignoring some of its cooler additions. The iPod is more than just a music player. Get to know the Extras menu – it’ll be worth your while. Here’s a quick list of some of the neat extras you get with the iPod:

1. Stay in touch

The new generation iPods incorporate calendaring and contacts. In iTunes you can synchronise your Outlook or Address Book contacts with the contact details stored on the iPod.

2. Schedule that

Likewise, in the latest iPods, you can upload your calendar schedule from Outlook or iCal to the iPod, ensuring that you never miss another appointment. New video iPods even have alarms, stopwatches and support multiple time zones. All these are available in the Extras menu.

3. Portable storage

Use your iPod as a portable hard disk. The iPod has a huge amount of storage space on it, enough to transport movies, documents, games, programs or anything else you can store on your PC. Take documents home from work or files to your friend’s place. To enable this feature, you need to go to Preferences in iTunes (Edit > Preferences on Windows computers), click the iPod tab and then the Music tab in the iPod pane. Then select the ‘Enable disk use’ checkbox. Now, when it’s connected, your iPod will appear as another drive in Explorer (in Windows) or on the desktop (on Macs). You can simply drag and drop files to and from the iPod as you would any other drive.

4. Take note

The iPod has a note-taking feature, and you can store and view small documents on the device. This is great for things such as grocery lists, task lists and driving directions. You can upload text documents to the iPod and view them with the Extras > Notes function of the iPod. To upload notes, you need to have disk use enabled (see above). You can then drag text files to the ‘Notes’ folder on the iPod drive in Explorer or My Desktop. The files have to be raw text (.txt extension) and can be no longer than 4000 characters. You can’t copy Word documents, but in Word you can Save As and select Plain Text (.txt) as the document type.