There are many useful items that when used properly can make your iPod shiny and new again. First, for any digital audio player you need to have quality content. My 2 favorite places to get cheap or free content are GoMusic.Ru and G2P.org. GoMusic is a Russian site that charges between 10-15 cents a song and they give you a whole album discount. So basically it is like $1.25 an album. They do require you to charge your account before you buy and if you spend $30 up front they give you 30 free tracks. Sound to good to be true? Well this one is for real. The first night I paid for this I kept expecting to either get ripped off or have someone try and steal my credit card #. Well neither happened. I kept a close watch on my credit card bills and nothing ever showed up suspicious. This site is not to be confused with Allofmp3 which I will not even bother linking to, since they have tried to add false charges to credit cards (article via AndrewTeman.org.) The first night I got 19 albums just to make sure I got my moneys worth in case they tried to scam me but they never did. I have been using it for about 9 months (still on my original $30+30 tracks) and it is still running.
The other site I found is G2P.org. This is a site that was made to very accurately aim Google's search capabilities to find MP3 indexes in any shared online servers. Translation: lots of music from lots of people. So it works like p2p networks except it searches anonymously and the peer you are linking to is Google. That being said you do still have to be careful when downloading from these servers. Since some people think they are clever they try to fake you out sometimes by naming the visible link something different than the actual link. Just make sure you right click on the link and scroll down to properties and make sure than the link actually leads to a .mp3 and not a file that is titled mp3.exe (the fuckers got me once thankfully Norton caught it.) This is a great way to find live non-copyrighted music. I can't say for sure how well it does for downloading copyrighted music because downloading this would be illegal and I cannot endorse it. So I suggest you steer clear of the hundreds, and hundreds of copyrighted tracks that you WILL find. ;)
Second, the fun part, are the freeware iPod apps.
1. vPod This allows you to sync music to your ipod from any computer with or without iTunes and still be played by your iPod.
2. Pod Player is a iTunes esc player that allows you to hook up your ipod to any computer and play your content regardless of whether or not that computer has iTunes. The bonus and the best part is that it allows you to extract your music from your iPod to any specified folder.
3. Cdex allow you do compress and rip cd's directly to your ipod without having to first put them onto your computer.
These 3 tools are essential for the cheap bastard in all of us. A full tutorial is avalable from our friends at lifehacker.
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