What is this 'iPod' you speak of?
December 16, 2006 7:35 AM   Subscribe

So, I've got my lady an iPod for christmas, and I'd like to preload it with some vids - help me understand Apple's way of doing things...

I've got my girl a 30-gig video ipod for Christmas, but I'm a bit of a stranger to Apple products. I've seen my buddies setting up their iPods, and there seems to be a lot of 'enter your email address here to LOCK this ipod to your computer FOREVA!' type DRM stuff going on.

Basically, I'd like to charge the thing up, connect it to my WinXP laptop, and then shift a few TED Talks onto it. I don't have iTunes on my laptop and ideally I'd want to do this through an Explorer interface, with no wizards, no authorisations and no DRM involved.

Am I going to inadvertantly lock the iPod to my laptop, or use up one of the 'authorised computers'? Or am I just a total Apple n00b who doesn't get the beauty and elegance of Apple?

Posted anon cos she reads Metafilter sometimes
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
iPods do not get locked to your laptop. What you are thinking is the iTunes DRM (for media purchased through iTunes).

You cannot do this through explorer. The iPod has a special index file that needs to be updated, and explorer doesnt know how to do that. You could try EphPod, or Winamp, but you probably will have the best luck with iTunes.

So have no fear! Even if you purchase DRM media for it, your GF can add her computer as an authorized computer on the account, and still play the DRM media on her PC.
posted by SirStan at 7:40 AM on December 16, 2006

DRM only applies to iTunes Music Store purchases. You're confusing it with the Auto-Sync functionality, which associates an iPod with a particular computer. Your main issue here is that when your girlfriend hooks it up to her computer, the content on it could be erased during Auto-Sync. It won't do this instantly and will ask first. She simply has to click no.

You also can't copy content from your iPod to iTunes on another computer with iTunes itself. This is the only form of "copy protection" that applies to stuff not from the iTunes Store.
posted by cillit bang at 8:18 AM on December 16, 2006

The iPod and iTunes do want a monogamous relationship. In your scenario, you'd put some songs on the iPod from your computer. When she gets the iPod and connects it to her computer, the first thing iTunes will notice is her computer is not your computer and offer to replace the songs on the iPod with the songs on her computer [If her computer has no content, you effectively erased the iPod]. Thus wiping out the stuff you put on the iPod from your computer.

There are apps that let you copy the content on the iPod to her computer -- I use Mac so don't know which is best for Windows. You'd just import the music on the iPod into the gf's iTunes and then when you sync, it will copy the files back to the iPod and from then on, the relationship between your gf's computer and the iPod will be intact. Check out iPodLounge for advice in how to best do this. This process isn't pretty or automated. But you'd only do this once.

It would be great to be able to get content for an iPod from multiple computers. I believe this restriction was done at the behest of the music/movie industry to slow down piracy. Apple did recently add a feature to iTunes that lets you download paid for content from the iPod to a computer, but that doesn't help you with non-purchased content.
posted by birdherder at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2006

There's Anapod, but it costs money and again, it's rather ridiculous that you have to install an application to interface with a music device.
posted by juiceCake at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2006

If your goal is just to improve the out of box experience for your girlfriend, then you could load the thing up with videos and some music on your computer. When it comes time for her to sync it to her own computer, make sure you've also added the media to her own iTunes library first, then she can just overwrite what's there with her own (newly enhanced) collection.
posted by Good Brain at 9:56 AM on December 16, 2006

Seconding what Good Brain said. It's a pretty painless way of doing stuff.

As for juiceCake:

Windows Explorer doesn't understand the iPod's database. The database is there for feature flexibility, development flexibility, and power consumption concerns. So no, I don't see this as ridiculous at all.
posted by secret about box at 10:17 AM on December 16, 2006

Windows Explorer doesn't understand the iPod's database. The database is there for feature flexibility, development flexibility, and power consumption concerns. So no, I don't see this as ridiculous at all.

That's great. I do. Different people, different priorities. I can't simply connect the device and move files, I think it's ridiculous. An indexing application on the device and any features should accomodate this, for me. So yes, I see it as entirely ridiculous. I imagine opinions differ on the matter.
posted by juiceCake at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2006

As someone who has received a pre-loaded iPod: please just give it to her without touching it first. Part of the joy is opening the package and being able to put your own imprint on it (naming it, establishing playlists, etc.) and that is diminished if someone else does it for you. Burn the things you want to give her on a DVD and give her that too if you want, but don't "break in" your gift to her first.
posted by cali at 12:43 PM on December 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

Check out Apple's forum and tutorials online to get an overview. Get freeware ISquint to convert your videos for IPod use
posted by DudeAsInCool at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2006

I think cali makes an excellent point. I don't (and won't) have an iPod, but with any such device you really do develop some relationship with the device. So it's really valuable in "thoughtful gift" terms to just give her the chance to do it her way. Give her DVDs of the video/etc. And if you need to keep all this a secret since it's a surprise gift, any degree of screwing with her iTunes on your own may be a really bad idea...
posted by allterrainbrain at 4:53 PM on December 16, 2006

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