This is the official weblog for Hacking iPod + iTunes, a brand spankin'-new book from Wiley that explores the limits, fringes, and weird edges of the iPod. Sure, the iPod is tough to hack, because Apple has locked it up pretty tight. But that doesn't mean there aren't a zillion little tweaks and tips we can use to mess around with our iPods and iTunes.
To give you an idea of the book's flavor (which is not vanilla) here's part of the introduction:
"A whole book about that?"
That was the reaction of a non-iPod-savvy friend when I told him I was writing a book about cool and wacky things you can do with your iPod and iTunes. He believed that when you get an iPod, you push a button and listen to music, period. He thought the iPod was simply a music player. He's a smart guy, but he was misinformed.
My skeptical friend would be surprised to learn that there are already a few good books about the iPod. This one is different from the others. In this book, we spend most of our time out on the fringes, outside the mainstream of features, focusing on the tricky, little-known, and unusual. A topic does not have to be useful to be included – it just has to be interesting.
There are plenty of topics we don't spend much time on. For example, we don't get into the basics of how to transfer songs to your iPod, but we do talk about how to transfer weather forecasts to your iPod.
The term "hacking" has gotten a bad reputation. Many people think of hacking as something evil, exploitive, and criminal. In recent years there has been a trend to reclaim the word and return it to its original, more noble meaning: creatively reshaping the world to make things better and more interesting. Hacking is about innovation, exploration, learning, and fun.
Hacking doesn't have to involve high technology. You can hack anything. My wife Barbara hacks her delicious pumpkin bread recipe by substituting applesauce for oil to make it more healthy. Holding a tiny nail in place with a pocket comb so you can hammer it is a classic hack. Heloise of "Hints from Heloise" fame was a household hacker. MacGyver was a famous hacker with a long-running TV show. When you figure out a secret route to the airport, you're hacking.
In this book, we hack iPod and iTunes by prodding, poking, and playing with them. I hope this book makes your relationship with your iPod and iTunes even better than it is, and you find many new and wonderful ways to get more out of your gadgets as you peruse the hacks. I also hope the book inspires you to explore and find your own nifty tricks and tips for improving your digital life. Have fun with the book, enjoy your music, and happy hacking.
And by the way...that skeptical friend wound up buying his own iPod. I sent him an iTunes Music Store gift certificate for his birthday.