The iPod is a most beloved device. iPod owners are able to store a large portion of their music and, in newer models, video and photo collections — within reach at all times. This allows for what most folks do with such treasures — enjoy and share them. But things are not so perfect as this feel-good phenomenon would otherwise present. Although the owner of an iPod does own the device, she or he must conform to the protocols and parameters of the iPod “system.”
The iPod has been inextricably tied to iTunes since the third generation of iPod was introduced in April 2003. Additionally, the online iTunes Store is the Web hub for purchasing media compatible with iPod. While media obtained through other means can be downloaded to and played on an iPod, only media purchased from the iTunes Store can be transferred to the iTunes software application and subsequently stored, managed and played on a personal computer. To make things even more stringent, when media purchased through the iTunes Store is copied from an iPod to a computer, it will only play on a computer that is authorized with the account used to purchase the media.
For the record, when an iPod is connected to a personal computer, iTunes is the software application that allows — and is required — to manage the audio and video collections on the iPod and the computer. While this seems to offer a nice and tidy partnering of a device and its apparently perfect counterpart, this proprietary relationship has been a source of frustration for those iPod owners who would otherwise prefer to have the freedom to expand their digital horizons beyond this so-called synergy. Subsequently, this is where iPod users draw the line.
No truer an adage than “necessity is the mother of invention” has been coined and applied to the field of technology. As such, YamiPod and SharePod have been developed and introduced as applications designed to offer frustrated iPod power-users the option to manage their media their way. As with any third-party application, there is a slightly steep learning curve and adaptation process; however, these two “freedom fighters” have earned their place in the continuum of freeware. And yes, they are free.
Both applications offer the integration of an iPod with any personal computer and without the restrictions of the iTunes environment. This does not violate any licensing agreement or adversely affect the marketplace in any way. It is merely an alternative to opening up the confined parameters of a tremendous device for those who want to experience the most from their media.
You can find these applications at www.yamipod.com/main/modules/home and www.getsharepod.com.
iTunes is a great application, but it just isn’t for everyone.
Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self own and operate Wired Northwest LLC in Redmond. Submit your questions to: email@example.com or go to www.wired-nw.com.