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Shuffle That Data! Using Your iPod as a Data Repository

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OK, so you've sprung for the iPod Shuffle. You learned how to play Shuffle Roulette. (Random mode on! Click! Song. Click! Song. Click!) But you want more, more, more. The iPod shuffle can hold more than music; it can also hold your data. Larry Loeb looks at some of the tools that can help make your data synchronized and accessible.
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OK, you've sprung for the IPod shuffle. You learned how to play shuffle Roulette. (Random mode on! Click! Song. Click! Song. Click! AUUUGHHH! Celine Dione song!! Kill me!!!) But just having your music served up to you on an amusing basis is somehow just not enough. You desire more. You want to store some data on the thing, just to show up your nerd friends that keep flashing the USB flash drives that they have on their keychains in your face. But you also want the data you store to be the real deal, and that means it has to be synched with what is on your machine.

Well, let's try iSync—that little bit of Apple-supplied software. It's designed to sync stuff like calendars and whatnot. Just fire it up, plug the shuffle into the USB port, and...nothing. The shuffle doesn't show up as a device at the top. iSync doesn't know about USB devices. And we seem to be Surely Out of Luck.

Hah! I Say

There are indeed ways to keep stored data fresh on your shuffle. Let's start with the first things first. When you insert the shuffle, an iPod icon shows up on your desktop if you enabled disk use in iTunes. (Just click on the iPod icon at the bottom-right side of the iTunes window to bring up the dialog box that allows you to enable disk use as well as the slider that sets how much space to devote to data.)

A simple and cheap way to sync your data is to just click open this icon and manually put the right data on the shuffle. That may be simple, but it's not elegant. We need some sort of program to do this potentially complicated task for us. That's why we have all these electric toys, right?

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