The first 6 hours with my iPod Mini have gone well, but I thought I’d use this post to sum up my experiences so far in case someone else finds them useful.
1. You can use an iPod with USB 1.1
Apple recommends that you use USB2 but it’s still possible to use USB 1.1 with no problems. You will of course find that file transfers are much slower than they would be using USB2 or Firewire but if you’re stuck on a machine that doesn’t have those (like I am for now) then it’s not the end of the world.
2. The iPod Mini comes with an AC adaptor
I never knew this, and had I known I’d have been more keen to buy it sooner. It means you can charge the iPod without needing to plug it in to a computer – handy if you are on holiday and have left your computers behind, for example.
3. Doing full recharge/discharge cycles early in the iPod’s life extends the life of the battery
According to this iPodLounge article, doing 5 full recharge/discharge cycles boosts the Mini’s battery to 10 hours – 2 more than the advertised estimated time. Which will be good for very long train journeys (although now most trains provide an AC socket by the seats).
Merely having iTunes installed on its own doesn’t work. You have to install both. You can probably guess I realised this the hard way 🙂 .
5. You can browse the iPod in Windows Explorer – sort of
Arguably the iPod isn’t much more than a very small removable HD with a few fancy buttons on the front and so like any other removable disk it appears in Windows Explorer (apparently using the FAT32 file system). You can therefore use your iPod like a HD, or at least you could if the files were sorted logically. Your music appears in the hidden folder ‘D:\iPod_Control\Music’ (where ‘D’ is the drive letter assigned by Windows to your iPod, and the files are installed in various folders below that. It’s not exactly intuitive but it’s one way of getting to them. Accessing your calendar, contacts and notes is somewhat easier, thankfully – they’re in unhidden folders at the root of the drive.
6. ID3v2 tags confuse the iPod
I use dBpowerAMP Music Converter to create my MP3s, because it uses the Lame encoder which is the best around. If you have it set to create ID3v2 tags (as opposed to ID3v1), then the iPod won’t be able to read the data from it. They’ll still play but say you had 4 songs by one artist on it and one of those songs used ID3v2 tags, only those 3 with ID3v1 tags would appear on the menu.
If you’re considering buying an iPod yourself, I hope this is helpful to you. I’ll probably have more to add as I get used to using it, so stay tuned.