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article imageiPod Inside: Standard features of Apple MP3 players

By dpa news     Oct 27, 2007 in Technology
Mini, nano, or classic: no matter what the flavour, iPods are bestsellers. Many love the design Apple's portable music players while others swear by the simple controls.
By Dirk Averesch
The database system, which prevents any software but iTunes from stocking the player, is not to everyone's taste, however. Adventurous types can try their luck with alternative software. They allow for individualization of the player and the installation of additional applications.
iPod-Linux is free software that provides users with more than just another way to fill up the database: for friends of mobile gaming, for example, there is a Gameboy emulator called iBoy. The standard user interface for Linux is available in a palmtop format called podzilla. Users can then install things like music players, pocket calculators, calendar, file browser, picture viewer, painting, recording, text and video programs, as well as numerous games.
According to its developers, iPod Linux runs on first, second and third generation devices. Versions for additional players are still under development. A functional installation routine is currently only available for Mac computers. Installing iPod Linux does not mean going without the familiar Apple firmware.
"After a restart, the boot menu allows the user to select between the standard firmware and Linux," reports ipodlinux.org, the developer's portal.
An alternative MP3 player firmware called Rockbox has been running on iPod models since early 2006. Unlike the original iPod firmware, it can handle playback of music formats like OGG, MP2, WAV and the lossless codec FLAC. It also supports gapless playback, which is when there are no pauses between the individual songs.
Music fans will also appreciate the Rockbox equalizer. As with iPod Linux and podzilla, Rockbox can be individually adjusted, from the display and font to the background. There are also options for renaming song titles on the player or deleting them directly.
Apart from a picture and video viewer, Rockbox also has a pocket calculator, a stopwatch, calendar and various games. The Gameboy emulator Rockboy is naturally also included. iPods of the first four generations, first-generation nanos and the video and mini can all work with Rockbox.
Apple is reacting serenely to the modifications made by owners on the devices.
"We're not really interested in what people are doing," says Apple spokesman Frank Limbacher in Munich. And there's a reason for that: "You can generally restore the original setting with a click in iTunes." dpa jd pmc
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