[…] Continued from Part 1

Part 1 spoke of Audio-Video Management, Part 2 will deal with a lot more of customization to make your iPod look cooler than you could have imagined.

Part 2 features:

  1. Explorer Icon
  2. Lyrics Integration
  3. Contacts, Calendar & Photo Synchronization
  4. Backgrounds
  5. Themes
  6. Portable Applications
  7. Maximizing iPod Portability

1. Explorer Icon:

When you plugin your iPod and open My Computer, this icon will appear for your iPod. Something like this:

explorer

How to get it?

  • Open Notepad and enter the following:

[autorun]

icon=icon.ico

  • Now save this file as autorun.inf, note that the extension is *.inf
  • Once you have made the file, choose any icon you want and rename it to icon (default extension of icon files is *.ico)
  • Place both these files in the root directory of your iPod.

I always like to add a personal professional touch to things, this is no different, what I have done in my iPod is that both the files ie. autorun.inf & icon are set as system files which means they will not be shown in Explorer unless the ‘Show System Files’ option is unchecked under Folder Options, which generally is not. To do this:

Start -> Run -> cmd -> Enter

Browse to your iPod directory & then type the following:

attrib autorun.inf +s +h

attrib icon.ico +s +h

The above command will set the file with System & Hidden attributes, in order to make the files visible again:

attrib autorun.inf -s -h

attrib icon.ico -s -h

I am attaching a pack of icons that I have in my computer, please note that I have not made these icons and have found them on the Internet.

A screen shot of the icons in the package:

icons

2. Lyrics Integration:

This is a really cool & hip thing to have in your iPod, lyrics of your iPod along with proper id tags and Album Art are the things any music listener craves for. id tags & Album Art has been spoken about in the iPod Power User Guide – Part 1. In that article I advocated the use of iTunes for song management, here is another reason why you should use iTunes – Sound Crank.

Sound Crank is an iTunes plugin to search for Album Art, Lyrics & even ID tags. All you have to do is, install it, start iTunes, play the songs and Sound Crank will show the lyrics and other info in a small windows within iTunes, all you have to do is play the track, it will search it’s database for the missing info and add.

Sometimes you might have to press Sync.

sound-crank

NOTE: It is not accurate, it will sometimes change the track details to what it feels, which means even the tack title. So double check.

Sign Up to Sound Crank

More details on Sound Crank – Click Here

3. Contacts, Calendar & Photo Synchronization:

Syncing contacts is one of the most useful & handy features of the iPods, you can sync your iPod with your Windows Address Book. Same goes for Photos, here you can choose as to which folders you want to sync and iTunes will add/remove images from the iPod with respect to the contents of the specified folders.

  • To Sync Contacts*:
  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Connect your iPod and wait for it to appear in the iTunes Source pane.
  3. In the Source pane under Devices select your iPod. This displays the iPods Preferences.
  4. Click the Contacts tab.
  5. Click the Contacts tab under the iPod tab.
  6. Select the “Synchronize contacts from” checkbox.
  7. From the menu, choose the program that contains the contacts you want to sync with your iPod.
  8. Click Apply.
  • To Sync Calendars with iPod*:
  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Connect your iPod and wait for it to appear in the iTunes Source pane.
  3. In the Source pane under Devices select your iPod. This displays the iPods Preferences.
  4. Click the Contacts tab.
  5. Select the “Synchronize calendars from Microsoft Outlook” checkbox.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. A dialog appears, telling you that a program is trying to access data from Outlook.
  8. Select the “Allow access for” checkbox.
  9. Choose a time limit from the menu:
  10. Click Yes to close the dialog.
  11. Click OK to close iTunes preferences.

* Source

4. Backgrounds1: (for 5G only)

Bored of the white background and wished you could change it? Your wish has been granted by some geniuses and they have for you – The Background Hack. I have edited the background hack resources to have all default images and only change the background with some really slick icons.

Screen shot:

preview

You can change the background to whatever you want. I am attaching a few along with the firmware. The steps to change the background are:

  1. Download iPod Wizard
  2. Connect iPod to computer.
  3. Start iPW.
  4. In Edit Mode drop down at the top choose ‘iPod’.
  5. Press Load iPod Firmware on the side.
  6. Now you should see a bluish image in the window below the ‘pictures’ tab.
  7. In the drop-down go to location 282.
  8. From right choose Load Bitmap.
  9. Browse to the bitmap you want. (Should be 320 x 240 and *.bmp file)
  10. Press ‘Write to iPod’ at the top.
  11. Done.

Here is a screen shot to help you:

bgh

Here are the ones that I am attaching in the Background Hack Firmware:

garden dream

Velocity (320x240)

download ipod theme

5. Themes: (for 5G only)

Like the Background there are several themes for the iPods too, I had some time back made a theme which was a hybrid of the iPod Touch & iPod Classic. You can find the theme, more details & a How To – Here

Here is what the firmware will make your iPod look like:

The left image is of the Music Sub-Menu; the center image is of the Main Menu & the right image is of the Now Playing Screen.

6. Portable Applications:

This is the killer, your favorite applications, your Chat Client, Browser with bookmarks & plugins, FTP Client and what not, all go along with your iPod, no more feeling sad that you don’t have access to your PC.

I have the following Portable Applications on my iPod:

  1. Foxit Reader – PDF Reader
  2. PDF Builder- PDF Maker
  3. Photoshop 7 -The great Photo Editor
  4. Winamp – Music Player
  5. Text 2 Speech
  6. Irfan View – Image Viewer
  7. Limewire – P2P
  8. Firefox – The baap of all Browsers (all plugins, Bookmarks & Passwords)
  9. VLC Player
  10. Thunderbird- eMail Client
  11. Sudoku – Game
  12. OOo – Open Office
  13. Gimp
  14. FileZilla
  15. Clam Win – Anti-Virus
  16. Audacity
  17. AbiWord
  18. 7-Zip- File Compressor

A list of many more Portable Apps

7. Maximizing Portability:

  • Wall Charger:

iPod is a great PMP but lacks battery power and often it runs out of battery and we are left in lurch when we don’t have a PC around, the Apple Wall-Charger comes at a whopping 3,000/- INR. If you feel that it is too costly (I do) and do not wish to spend that sort of amount on a charger you can get yourself the cheaper yet as effective ones. I bought myself a YES charger for a mere 280/- INR.

Image of the Wall Charger I have:

  • Ear-Phones:

The biggest problem with the bundled ear-phones is that they are very uncomfortable, I would recommend you to purchase the Creative EP 630, They cost somewhere around 800/- INR and have a really good Bass output besides are very comfortable.

  • iPod Dock:

An iPod dock is kind of portable speaker system for your iPod, I have purchased the Logic 3 iStation-9. I have written a review on the same – Here

Hope you enjoyed, please do leave a comment or two for my motivation :)

  1. Warranty void if you take a modded iPod for service, if you face a problem in iPod and want to get it repaired, simply open iTunes and upgrade your iPod’s firmware