I’ve had my iPod for nearly a month and in that month I’ve managed to get my hands on some iPod swag that I deem to be essential for all iPod owners. So for all you iPod fans out there, here it is, the post of all that is essential in the world of iPod Swag!
1. Belkin Clear Acrylic Case, for 2nd Gen iPod Nano.
This thing is the bomb! The first thing I did with my iPod nano the day after I got it, was drop it on the ground. I was so upset because now it has a scratch in the aluminum finish. The beauty part about these Belkin cases is that the front of them is colored to coordinate to your nano (or you can mix and match if you want), but this colored front hides any damage already on the front of your iPod.
Pros: It has a click wheel protector that does not reduce the sensitivity of the click wheel, hard screen protector for the color screen on the nano and a carabiner clip that you can actually rely on to keep your iPod firmly attached to your belt loop, or in my case, to my purse. It attaches to the iPod securely.
Cons: The headphone jack port is a little tight. Some headphone cords that have large plastic plugs will not fit neatly through the jack port on the case. This can easily be fixed by digging out the port just a little bit with a scalpel or box knife, or you can just use the headphones that came with your iPod. The other issue I have with this case is that it’s really not designed for you to take it on and off a lot. If you do, it will not stay on your iPod as securely. I’m not sure if that’s a flaw. Most people that would buy this case would never take their iPod out of it, but I like to coordinate my iPod’s outfits to my own so… we’ll call it a minor setback. Also the iPod will not fit inside an iPod docking sleeve with the case on, so if you dock your iPod to charge it, as opposed to plugging it into your laptop, you may wish to consider an alternative case.
2. iMode Alarm Clock/iPod Docking Station
There are nicer versions of this toy out there that have better sound. My husband got me this one because he wasn’t entirely sure I would enjoy it. The truth is, I love the thing. I can dock my iPod to it and it charges the iPod. You can play music directly from your iPod and wake up to a playlist of your choice. The sound quality isn’t all that, but it’s not bad for a clock radio at all. This clock radio only has one con and that’s the size. It takes up a fair amount of space on a night stand and almost deserves a home on a dresser, rather than on a bedside table. Also, this particular radio comes with a host of docking sleeves so it will work with every iPod from the iPod mini to my new second gen nano and a remote so you can control your iPod from across the room!
3. Belkin TuneCast FM Transmitter
In some areas, FM transmitters are not the way to go. The simple fact is, in major cities where the airwaves are flooded on the FM band, you should consider using a direction connection to your car stereo via an auxiliary cable, as opposed to going wireless. Where I live, I can get clear enough signal on an FM transmitter that it makes them a very viable alternative to using an auxiliary cable when your stereo doesn’t have an auxiliary jack on it. I’ve used three different FM transmitters and the Belkin TuneCast is by far my favorite for clarity of sound and lack of interference. Also, Belkin thought of some very nice things like plugging the end of the headphone jack into the top of the transmitter when it’s not in use so you don’t get dust and junk inside your iPod when you plug it into the transmitter. Also, the car adapter plug for the TuneCast is not some flimsy little thing that will bend if someone accidentally steps on the plug when they get into your car.
I know that when I first got my iPod, I went on and on about iTunes and how much I loved it because it worked like I expected it to work. These things are still true, but iTunes has one fatal flaw. My laptop has a gig of ram, and while it is an older machine, it’s still not a slouch. There is no excuse for iTunes that will justify making my laptop act like it’s swimming through peanut butter other than coders who just didn’t care. This has been a big frustration for me because photoshop doesn’t give my machine as many issues as iTunes does. As a result, my husband went on a search and found me alternative software for transferring files onto my iPod. That software is Floola.
Floola is by far and away the most essential iPod swag that I’ve managed to get my hands on because it is small and it runs directly from your iPod. You sacrifice space for one song to have Floola on your iPod. You do not *have* to use iTunes after you’ve used it to transfer one song onto your iPod. You can use Floola on any windows machine/linux box/mac. It is not necessary for that machine to have iTunes installed in order for you to use floola to transfer music onto your iPod. Floola is also ridiculously easy to use and it understands and builds smart playlists.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of essential iPod swag. At the very least, go give Floola a download and see what you think. It’s free, though I have to say those guys deserve a donation if you like their software. They did a beautiful thing when they wrote Floola.