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Customer Review

on August 6, 2005
The first computer book I read following the switch from a Windows to a Macintosh machine was Biersdorfer's iPod & iTunes. I had never used iTunes on my Windows machine and also did not have an iPod prior making the switch. The bottom line is that I read this book from the perspective of being an iTunes and iPod novice.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and, most importantly, quickly learned a great deal about these two products. The book is designed to be accessible to the beginner, but at the same time contains a good deal of information for the hardcore user who is not afraid to experiment and do other things that the novice would be reluctant to tackle. I feel it is informative for any user of these products, regardless of experience.

The manual is well-written, and what I especially appreciated about the writing were the author's occasional humorous comments and wisecracks. It is light, and surprisingly readable for being a computer manual. Pop culture references (for example, references to Invisible Man movies, or talk of outgrowing one's Britney Spears phase) make the book a much less dry read than many of its ilk.

I like that the author does not really take a side in the filesharing versus copyrights debate, and offers tips and tricks for both the purchaser of music and the downloader. There are a few instructions in the book that I am sure Macintosh frowns upon, but the book aims to be complete, which is commendable.

There is no getting around the fact that this manual contains just about every last piece of information the user of these products could want. I cannot think of anything that is not covered - everything from different iPod models to shareware to iPod accessories, no stone is left unturned. Everything that is remotely possible with these products, kosher or not, seems to be in the book. It is exhaustive.

The following are a few minor areas where I feel there is room for improvement:

- Most of the illustrations don't really add much value to what's in the text and could easily be deleted without consequence. Some readers enjoy the occasional break in the next, but for me the majority was unnecessary.

- Chapter 6, (Spoken) Words and Pictures, clumsily lumps two completely unrelated topics together. Audiobooks and iPod Photo really have nothing in common with each other. Each should probably be a separate (short) chapter, or should be lumped into some other more relevant chapter.

- Finally, it is not always clear where the Mac instructions end and the Windows instructions begin, or vice versa. It would be great if, for the next edition of the manual, separate Mac and Windows versions be released. This spares the reader the hassle of having to skip a number of paragraphs or pages that do not apply to him or her. If that is not feasible, it should be made clearer which instructions apply only to Mac, and which ones apply only to Windows, using text boxes or icons or some such.

But these are minor quibbles. Overall, this is an extremely informative and well-written manual. Highly recommended.
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