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iTunes and You

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A high-performance automobile is little more than an interesting amalgam of metal and plastic if it's missing tires and fuel. Sure, given the proper slope (and, perhaps, a helpful tailwind), that car is capable of movement, but the resulting journey leaves much to be desired. So, too, the iPod is a less-capable music-making vehicle without Apple's multitrick media manager/player, iTunes. The two—like coffee and cream, dill and pickle, and Fred and Ginger—were simply meant for each other.

To best understand what makes the iPod's world turn, you must be familiar with how it and iTunes 7 work together to move music (and pictures and videos, in the case of some recent iPods) on and off your iPod. In the following pages, you'll learn just that.

Rip a CD

Apple intended the process of converting audio-CD music to computer data to be painless, and it is. Here's how to go about it:

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. Insert an audio CD into your computer's CD or DVD drive.

    By default, iTunes will try to identify the CD you've inserted and log on to the Web to download the CD's track information—a very handy feature for those who find typing such minutia to be tedious. The CD appears in iTunes' Source list under the Devices heading, and the track info appears in the Song list to the right (FIGURE 3.1).

    Figure 3.1

    Figure 3.1 This album's song tracks were downloaded from the Web automatically by iTunes.

  3. iTunes then throws up a dialog box asking whether you'd like to import the tracks from the album into your iTunes library; click Yes and it does, or click No and it doesn't.

    You can change this behavior in the Importing tab within the Advanced iTunes Preferences window. There, you find an On CD Insert pop-up menu. With the options in that menu, you can direct iTunes to show the CD, begin playing it, ask to import it (the default), import it, or import it and then eject it.

  4. If you decided earlier not to import the audio but now would like to, simply select the CD in the Source list and click the Import CD button in the bottom-right corner of the iTunes window (FIGURE 3.2).

    Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 iTunes' Import CD button: Let'er rip.

    To import only certain songs, uncheck the boxes next to the songs you don't want to import. Click the Import CD button to import just those songs that have a check mark next to them.

    iTunes begins encoding the files via the method chosen in the Importing tab of the Advanced pane of the iTunes Preferences window (FIGURE 3.3). By default, iTunes imports songs in AAC format at 128 Kbps.

    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 The Importing panel of Tunes' Advanced iPod preferences pane.

  5. Click on Music in the Library section of the iTunes Source list.

    You'll find the songs you just imported somewhere in the song list.

  6. To listen to a song, click its name in the list and then click the Play button or press the spacebar.
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