Three Good iTunes and iPod Books Compared
Book Review

Secrets of the iPod, Fourth Edition
by Christopher Breen
TechTV / Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-321-24564-4
$19.99 US, $28.99 CN, £14.99 UK
364 pages

Macworld magazine star contributor Christopher Breen’s Secrets of the iPod, Fourth Edition is a strong addition to his bibliography. Written in a clear, yet not annoyingly folksy style, Chris takes you through a complete iPod learning experience.

Unlike some recent iPod publications, Breen does not give short shrift to older ‘Pods, so if you have one a first or second generation iPods, you’ll not feel left out. Also included is coverage of the new addition to the iPod roster, the iPod Mini.

After walking readers through mechanical operation of the various versions, Breen gives a thorough explanation of iTunes version 4.1 (the latest as of the early 2004 publication date). Both Mac and Windows software are covered. Even though I’ve been tuned into iTunes since the beginning, I learned several cute new tips and tricks about copying music to and from the iPod, and how to more easily share music over a network.

The Apple Music Store, aka iTMS, is a welcome addition to those of us tired of hassling with peer-to-peer music sharing software, and the attendant legal and technical obstacles. While not perfect, iTMS is legal, convenient, and its digital rights management (DRM) is not overly onerous. After reading Breen’s chapter on how to navigate iTMS, all you need is a credit card and a willingness to spend.

In case you’ve not yet bankrupted yourself at the Steve Jobs Music Emporium, Secrets covers the current choices in iPod accessories for portability, car, and home stereo use. The mini-reviews are worth reading, especially to people shopping for car connectivity accessories. Chris convinced me not to get an FM adapter, and spring for the old but reliable cassette adapter.

If you’re buying an iPod, or already have one but don’t think you’re getting your money’s worth, a couple of hours with Secrets of the iPod, Fourth Edition will be time well spent.

MyMac rating 5 out of 5

How to Do Everything with iTunes for Macintosh and Windows
by Todd Stauffer
Osborne / McGraw-Hill Publishers
ISBN 0-07-223196-3
$24.99 US, $34.95 CN, £16.99 UK
264 pages

Doing everything is a tall order. Stauffer comes quite close to achieving his goal. This book is a fine guide for iTunes newbies to mid-level users. Unlike the other two books reviewed here, this is not an iPod book. You’ll need to go elsewhere to learn to Pod.

The more advanced topics that Stauffer covers are in Chapter 9, “Fun with Digital Audio Files.” You’ll learn more detailed information on audio file encoding, and the basics of how to capture and encode analog signals, such as cassette tape recordings.

How to Do Everything
has good production values, with plenty of screenshots and straightforward text. It’s a fine manual for iTunes, but if you’ve got an iPod, it’s not the book for you.

MyMac rating 3.5 out of 5

iPod & iTunes Missing Manual, Second Edition
by J. D. Biersdorfer (edited by David Pogue)
Pogue Press / O’Reilly Associates
ISBN 0-569-00658-6
$24.95 US, $36.95 CN
350 pages

If you like the Missing Manual style of writing, you’ll find this book to be like meeting an old friend. As readers know, I love the Pogue Press / “MM” writing style and production values, and this book is a fine addition to the series.

Author J.D. Biersdorfer covers the required ground; hardware for various versions, including the iPod Mini, iTunes, the Apple Music Store, and the latest and greatest iPod accessories. Windows users need look no further, as MusicMatch software gets plenty of coverage, along with all the other subtle
Windows-specific features.

If you’re torn between this and the aforementioned , you’ll find equally good information in either one. Pick the book whose writing style appeals to you more.

MyMac rating: 4.5 out of 5


And the winner isSecrets of the iPod, Fourth Edition, with iPod & iTunes Missing Manual, Second Edition only a tiny bit in second place.


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