Hope you're having a wonderful Christmas and holiday season with loved ones and friends. We've decorated the tree, baked cookies, ate way too much wonderful rich food, talked and laughed, and, of course opened gifts. What does a Geeky Mom get for Christmas? An iPod, of course. I'd somehow managed to fill up a 4 gig iPod and still had to un-select a lot of music to fit what I could on there. I love the new Nano he got me--it'll hold 4 times that, so I shouldn't run out of disk space for at least 4 days now.
Trusty Hubby also got me TuneTools for iPod, Multimedia edition. I'm not 100% sure what to think of the fact that the information for this product leads me directly to the tech support page instead of the usual "Gee, look how wonderful our product is!!!111!!!11!!!" page. This generally does not bode well for the product. Nevertheless, the software has, among other things, a transfer feature to move music from your iPod to your computer. This is A Good Thing in case you have multiple iPods in your family, as we do. I discovered rather early on in my iPod life that if you sync an empty iPod or even someone else's iPod on a full iTunes library, iTunes will occasionally cheerfully delete your entire library. This made me Most Unhappy the one and only time this happened. I just KNEW those 1's and 0's were really still in there, but iTunes refused to cooperate in spitting them back out, no matter what I did. Apparently this happens fairly often, because when I emailed Apple about this to try to get my music recopied, they didn't even laugh, they just gave me a download code for my purchased music after I provided them the information they wanted.
I also discovered if your hard drive gets wiped, as has happened to me 3 times in the last year now, and your iTunes library happens to be considerably larger than your iPod, which is my case, you lose whatever's not on your iPod at that point, unless you've gotten smart and backed up your music elsewhere. Most of us are not smart enough to back up their music 'elsewhere', wherever that might be. Then there's also the issue of sharing music. Now, I'm not talking about outright stealing of music, I'm talking about sharing music within your family, although I suppose the RIAA will inform me via certified email/letter/voice of God that there's some fine print inserted on the edge of the CD in microscopic print that I may only copy it to one iPod at a time, and that I agree to this legal contract if I merely touch the outer plastic wrap of the CD.
So after losing my music twice, I decided to back up my music "elsewhere". This included purchasing an external hard drive, which I believe may have added to my score on the Geek test (and if there is no question about this on the Geek Test, there should be). I also decided to save it on a different folder on my computer as well to make importing to different iPods easier. Apple does not always make this immediately obvious. I suppose they want people using their iTunes as often as possible, lest we miss one of the Genius ideas they present. This simple would not do.
So, I browsed download.com and found a free and very useful utility called PodLift. It's not fancy, and you have to follow the instructions carefully, but there aren't that many instructions and they're easy, anyway. It's saved my music a couple of times and has made it easier to transfer music to other iPods. Since it's freeware, you can't argue about cost, especially after all the money spent on iPods and accessories this time of year. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well.
Have a very Merry Christmas!