Maybe it was a deal that Apple had to strike with the Devil to give iPods the appearance of legitimate, non-criminal devices. But I’ve always hated the fact that I could choose only one computer to be the “host” for my MP3 collection, and that was the only place I could freely swap my music files back and forth with the iPod.
It’s a limitation that gnawed at me because it ran counter to the very spirit of the device. I bought my tunes and I want to play them anyway I want, and that includes using the iPod to move them from one computer to another.
In case you haven’t encountered this friendly little “RIAA-laden” message, it reads like this when you connect your iPod to a non-host computer:
The iPod “Derrick’s iPod” is linked to another iTunes music library. Do you want to change the link to this iTunes music library and replace all existing songs and playlists on this iPod with those from this library?
Hell no I don’t! I just want to copy the audible book I downloaded earlier (you know, the one I bought) to another computer so I can listen to it while I sift through 350 emails waiting for me in my inbox.
Once again, the enterprising spirit of independent developers came to the rescue. There are a handful of nifty applications you can use to take back control of your iPod. My current favorite is PodWorks 1.1 by Buzz Andersen.
This $6 shareware program provides you complete access to your iPod music, including its proprietary, internal database format. That means you can pull the ID3 data, along with the music, out of your Pod and on to your desktop. You can then copy the music into another iTunes library without a hitch.
Now I can use my iPod the way I want to use it, sharing my music and books among the Macs I own. Thank God for independent developers to save us from corporate compromise and silly limitations.