May 19, 2005

44 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod

There's no question when it comes to portable music players: There are iPods, and then there are all others. In my humble opinion, no single line, not even the famed Sony Walkmans, have created an entire accessory economy coming even close to that still growing with iPod users. Just peruse iPodLounge's considerable listings and reviews if you need any convincing. The funny thing is that iPods aren't even the most fully featured devices, despite their good looks and nice interfaces. Like where's the built-in FM receiver? Naturally, this leads us to exploring additional ways to get what we want from them.

So you have an iPod? Even if you've tried podcasting, whether just listening or even broadcasting, you've just scratched the surface. If you really want to push the envelope, check out "50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod" (it's only 44, actually). The list ranges from the conventional (FM transmitters) to the highly creative, such as making a RAID array from Shuffles, or using your iPod as a universal remote via a clever sound-to-IR converter.

Perhaps the best ideas were the ones that combined existing solutions in a new way: "Wake up to your mp3 collection: Using an iPod with iTrip and a normal radio alarm clock, tune the radio to the frequency the iTrip is broadcasting to, set the wake-up times on both devices for the same time, and your music will play through the alarm clock when it goes off." (I'd err on the side of having the iPod wake first, or you're likely to get a blast of static from the radio -- although that could be highly effective for the intended purpose. ;^)

Another one I liked was the Linux-based text-to-speech application mentioned, particularly if it can announce the iPod's navigation menus. Then you don't have to pull out the iPod if it's in your pocket, or watch the menu display if you're driving. But it's best left for those more tech-savvy, as it appears quite experimental. Unfortunately, most of the third-party iPod remotes currently available don't offer menu navigation features, buttons, or screens. There's definitely a product niche gap here for a more robust RF remote.

Some of the other ideas are just fun, even if they aren't practical -- a testament to the iPod's versatility and deep customer adoption.

Incidentally, I found the link to this listing from Lifehacker, a great tech lifestyle blog, right up there with Engadget and Gizmodo.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard