Ephpod and Xpod


iPodlounge | All Things iPod | Ephpod. For me itunes is a mixed blessing. I actually like Musicmatch better because it has all the smart tagging and I use Exact Audio Copy for CD ripping. Its a nerd thing, but I love them. And, I really don't like the way that if you make one mistake, you can delete all the music on your iPod because it always asks do you want to sync with the current PC and if you say YES, it silently deleted _EVERYTHING_ on your iPod!
But with EphPod, you don't have to use itunes. It lets you see the music on an iPod. The iPod when docked with a Windows PC does look just like a hard disk, but they hide the music files, otherwise I could just use Beyond Compare 2 to synchronize.
So, what to do. There are two utilities. One is called "EphPod":http://ephpod.com which is a freeware viewer of things on your iPod. That is OK, but it would still be nice to make it just a hard drive and expose all the music files.
I've tried it now and it is a great geek tool. Even lets you synchronize. For instance, with my Dad's new iPod, we don't want ever song to go in, but Ephpod (pronouned eff-pod) let's you have a directory of shortcuts to music. You can then sync to that and only pick up the music that he likes. Kind of cool if a bit nerdy. Very fast, runs at 7-10MBps so pretty much the speed of the drive and USB 2.0 I think. It is much faster than dBPowerAmp which is very slow copying. There are bunch of tips and tricks to using Ephpod (for instance, you want to make sure it preserved MP3 names otherwise, you get a bunch of numeric .MP3s on the iPod). Also, you want to make sure that when you synchronize, you use the shortcut trick because if you have lots of synchronization files, the user interface doesn't know how to scroll, so you can lots of sync directories, but you can't see them in the applications :_)
There is a $30 tool (wow that's expensive!) call "Xplay":http://www.ipodlounge.com/reviews_more.php?id=50_0_6_0_M that does do this, so it looks like a folder, but it costs money. The main thing is that it really makes the iPod look like a bunch of music folders. An ordinary search of the iPod doesn't do that because it has a strange hashing scheme so it is not laid out like a flat directory of music.