Complete makeover with all color illustrations, a new size, and more concise content - still the iPod book to have if you're only having one" />

Applelinks iLife Review - iPod The Missing Manual 5th Edition

7368 The first four editions of Pogue Press/0'Reilly's iPod The Missing Manual represented evolutionary development, sticking closely to the now-classic TMM format and formula. That definitely wasn't a bad thing, since the Missing Manual series are among the best-ever computer and consumer electronics reference volumes.

However, with iPod The Missing Manual, 5th Edition, the mold has been broken with entirely fresh formatting and appearance. For one thing, this latest iteration is substantially smaller-dimensioned and thinner at 240 pages rather than 315 for the 4th Edition, which was actually called "iPod and iTunes The Missing Manual." This is more titular simplification than a diminishment in scope, since there are still two long chapters cumulatively occupying 68 of the book's 240 pages covering iTunes and shopping at the iTunes Store.

The book's cover is now in a bold black and green theme, with a quintet of colored iPod nanos gracing it in contrast with the previous edition's copious white spaces. Inside, all illustrations are now in glorious color instead of the earlier book's grayscale, and the page, chapter, and topic information appears in OS X - style Aqua title bars, albeit positioned at the page bottoms. Text and to titles are now in a spartan sans-serif font (Helvetica? - there is no longer a colophon page) instead of Adobe's Minion and Formata Condensed typefaces that were used previously.

I have to say my reaction to these changes is mixed. I really like the look of the classic Missing Manual seriies, and I definitely prefer serif fonts for reading, but on the other hand, the full-color images look great, and the book is now a more handy size with the material inside more concisely presented, which arguably makes it a more efficient and accessible reference volume.

Presumably the switch to full-color illustrations made it necessary or at least logical to completely re-engineer and freshen the lbook, and the price has also been reduced from $24.95 to $19.95. Notwithstanding the lower number of pages, this book still provides a very thorough guide to getting the most out of the iPod (and iTunes).

Something that has gone missing, however, is any instructions for, or more than passing reference to, earlier generations of the iPod - models now covered include only the 5G full-size iPod U2 and Video, the 2G nano, and the 2G shuffle. This is arguably a sensible and necessary rationalization, but if you have an older iPod, it may be better for you to look around for a remainder were used earlier edition of iPod The Missing Manual.

The instructions that are provided for the current iPod models are considerably leaner and less prolix than in the earlier books. Authorship is now solely credited to J. D. Biersdorfer,, and Peter Meyers now takes sole editing credit, which was previously shared with Missing Manuals series creator David Pogue.

iPod The Missing Manual 5th Edition is arranged in 11 chapters - down just one from the bigger 4th Edition, but substantially re-engineered.

Chapter 1 is called "Meet The iPod: Out Of The Box And Into Your Ears In 15 Minutes," which thematically sets the pace and motif for what is to follow. Covered in this chapter ar concise descriptions of the current iPod model families, plus short tutorials on unpacking a new iPod, installing iTunes, locating music, connecting the iPod to computers, charging the unit, and using the various controls.

Chapter 2,"Bopping Around The iPod," tells you what you need to know about getting the most out of playing music on the iPod, how to navigate and manipulate the menus, searching for songs, adjusting volume, exterior appearance maintenance, playing games on your iPod, and security tips.

Chapter 3, "In Tune with iTunes," has 33 sub-heads addressing topics from changing the size and look of the iTunes window through finding and rating songs, improving playback quality with the Graphic Equalizer, editing, adding artwork and lyrics, using iTunes to managing configure the iPod, making backups, and much more.

Chapter 4, "The Power Of Playlists," tells you what you need to know about creating and to managing playlists on your iPod, and even burning them to a CD.

Chapter 5 is "Shop The iTunes Store," with instructions and tips on buying songs, albums, movies, videos, books, and games at Apple's online iTunes Store, and what you can do with them once they're downloaded. There is even a section addressing issues dialup users will encounter with the iTunes Store.

Chapter 6, "Video Everywhere," gives you the lowdown on using videos and movies on your iPod, whether they're ones you download from online sources or that you create yourself with a digital video camera and Apple's iMovie.

Chapter 7 is about "Picturing Your Photos On The iPod," using the iPod as a photo archive and slideshow device, either on its own display or outputting to a TV.

Chapter 8 brings you up to speed on all the "Other Stuff The iPod Can Do For You," such as serving has an electronic address book or calendar, a stopwatch or world clock, a portable hard drive, text file reader, and audio recorder.

Chapter 9, "iPod Out Loud," tackles taking your iPod on the road, playing it through FM radio speakers and connecting it to an automobile stereo system, alternate power sources, connecting the iPod to your home entertainment system, streaming music over Airport Express or through portable speakers, and where to find cool iPod stuff.

Chapter 10 is the troubleshooting chapter, entitled "What To Do When The iPod Isn't Working Right." It begins with the "5-Rs" of iPod repair - Reset, Retry, Restart, Reinstall, and Restore, with corresponding tutorials on each category. There is also a section on understanding the iPod's battery messages and some tips on prolonging battery life, as well as on AppleCare, finding professional repair help, and Apple troubleshooting resources.

Chapter 11 takes you into the world of "Advanced iPodding", - add-on software, iPod nanos for runners, using alternate headphones, podcasting, and finding the latest iPod news. There is also a 10-page Index.

iPod The Missing Manual 5th edition really is a resource you should have if you own any current model iPod and want to get the most out of it., and of course much of the instructional material will be relevant to earlier model iPods as well. At the new, lower price of twenty dollars, it's a better deal than ever. I have to concede once again that I lamented the passing of the classic Missing Manual look with this edition, but the attractiveness of its full color presentation compensates a fair bit, and while I'm partial to the more prolix and detailed text content of the previous editions, I'll concede that for the average iPod user, this slimmed-down approach makes sense and the book will be more likely to be referenced frequently than it would were it a thicker and more imposing tome.

iPod: The Missing Manual Fifth Edition
By J.D. Biersdorfer
ISBN 10: 0-596-52978-3
ISBN 13: 9780596529789

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Charles W. Moore

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