Book review and Other Items

By Graham K. Rogers

Biersdorfer, J. D. iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual (2nd edition). Pogue Press/O'Reilly: Sebastopol, CA. US$24.95. ISBN 0-596-00658-6

Apple announced last week that, with the success of the Mini iPod in the US, the worldwide release has been delayed until July. Apple stock immediately rose. Investors realise that there is much more to come.

ipod (Missing Manual)Coincidentally, iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual appeared in my mailbox the same day. Totally up to date, it covers not just the standard iPods but mini iPods; and the Hewlett-Packard version.

It is to the high standard of other Missing Manual works, although two illustrations were missing: pre-production difficulties? One would think that for something as small as the iPod, there would be little need for a "Missing Manual" but the depth of coverage shows me what a powerful and flexible tool this is. Not simply a music player, the iPod can double as a PDA, has games and, among other functions, can be configured as a bootable hard disk.

Installation and set up are explained: the PC and Mac versions are identical, but the software recognises Windows and installs the correct iPod system. Biersdorfer includes information on how to install Firewire in a PC.

With attachments, the iPod can be used to download and store photographs from a digital camera, receive FM radio, and record sound. All data can be synchronised with the computer. As well as hardware there are bags -- one with controls built into the straps -- cases and an expensive jacket.

itunes screen

Music is the reason for the iPod and much of the book is concerned with downloading, storage and playing music. Looking at the iPod as a music player, or at iTunes as crippled software, fails to recognise what the two -- operating on both Mac and later Windows versions -- are capable of. Biersdorfer goes a long way to helping users realise the potential.

Salling recently announced an update to the range of phones that can use the Clicker -- it allows you use the Bluetooth phone as a remote control device. In the list now are Nokia phones, including the popular 3650. Coincidentally, within an hour of getting the message from Salling, two students walked into my office with a demonstration of their project: a Clicker-like program for the PC (Windows XP) and the Nokia 3650. It works on Symbian 6 and 7, so they were able to demonstrate it on a Nokia 6600 as well.

After the book review of Apple Confidential 2.0, in the 24 March column, Owen Linzmayer, the author, has been in touch and we have exchanged several e-mails. He asked me if I would point out that he is selling signed copies of the book, at a discount, from Owen Ink payment via PayPal. The cost for those out of the USA is $25.

Apple recently sent out the latest update to OSX Panther (10.3.3). The basic update was 57MB and it took me over 3 hours with the modem. I started to download the combo update the next day at work, but it stopped dead. I had no luck the next day either. Late on the 3rd day, the Internet came back in the office. Rats had eaten through the cables somewhere in the area of the library.

Once I had the Combo download, I realised that at 67MB it was not going to fit on my 64MB thumb drive. I managed to borrow a new 256MB one from a lady who had just bought a new 15" PowerBook. Her PC laptop disgraced itself by dying in a meeting. As a longime PC user, she is still finding her way around but as several people in the department are already Mac users, she has a good support team.

Phuket Mac User Group The enthusiastic Mac users in the south-west have created the Phuket Mac Users Group. The next meeting is at the Tavern on the Hill, Patong, on 5 May 2004. For further information, get in touch with Sam-Erik Ruttman or try their fledgling website.

TMuG A user group is being set up in Bangkok. Meetings are held in the Ban Rai coffee house at the corner of Sukhumvit Road and Ekamai. Ban Rai is worth a visit anyway as it has about fourteen of the angle-poise iMacs available for customer use and a broadband radio link. The group is called the Thai Mac User Group or TMuG. Its second meeting had 20 enthusiastic souls in attendance. Sessions will be held on the second Sunday of each month at 2pm, although for April the meeting is scheduled for the 18th owing to the public holiday period.

Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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