iPod has many business applications
by Alan Zisman (c) 2004 First published in Business in Vancouver
25-31; issue 796; High Tech Office
Some years, the must-have Christmas present is an over-priced,
over-stuffed animal: something for the kids. This year's must-have was
arguably over-priced, cute (though not particularly cuddly) and
something for the adults: Apple's iPod. As with the Cabbage Patch Kids
of seasons passed, potential buyers often had to go from store to
store, perhaps settling for a different model or colour than their
If you recently bought yourself a full-sized iPod or an iPod Mini, or
received one as a gift, you're probably pleased with its capacity,
style and ease of use. But you may not realize that it has other uses
besides just playing music (or if you got the new iPod Photo model,
First, a few still-common misunderstandings: though made by Apple you
don't need to use it with a Mac. Your iPod will work fine with a
Windows PC as well, at least one running Windows 2000 or XP. For best
use, your computer should have a high-speed port, either a Firewire
port (aka iLink or 1394) or a USB 2.0 port. You can connect it to an
earlier USB 1.1 port, but it will be sluggish transferring files from
your computer to the iPod.
Apple's software also lets you transfer songs from your computer to the
iPod, but not the other way around. In order to make nice with the
music industry, Apple doesn't want you to be able to use your iPod to
copy songs to multiple computers. However, there are numerous add-on
programs that allow you to do just that. Just search any popular
You can use your iPod as an external hard drive. To do that, plug it
into your computer and open Apple's iTunes software. Go to the
Preferences menu item, then to the General tab, and make sure Enable
Disk Use is selected. Now you can use free space on your iPod to copy
and store any sort of file, perhaps carrying that PowerPoint
presentation into the meeting room without having to tote your laptop.
Store a backup of all of your most important documents. (Some corporate
IT departments are becoming nervous, with good cause, about the ease
with which sensitive business documents can walk out the door stored on
iPods or flash memory keys.)
Do you use a PDA? You may be able to replace it with your new iPod.
Apple makes it easy for Mac users. OSX includes an iSync utility that
can be set to synchronize Apple's Address Book and Calendar
applications with an iPod (as well as with a Palm PDA and some cell
phones). If you prefer to keep that sort of data in Microsoft Office's
Entourage (for Mac users) or Outlook (for Windows users), you can do
the same, but it's more work.
You can manually export your Outlook addresses and calendar information
to your iPod, but the process is too complex to explain here. (You can
find instructions for this as well as lots of other iPod tricks at www.extremeipod.com
better would be to pick up a copy of PocketMac iPod Edition ($30- www.pocketmac.net
name, it works for Windows as well. Purchase gets you both the Mac and
Windows versions. The Windows version lets your iPod work with Outlook
data, while the Mac version works with Entourage. (The company makes
other products that synch with Blackberries, Palm and Pocket PC PDAs
and a wide range of phones.) Along with contacts and calendars, you can
also use it to transfer to-do lists and memos, unread e-mail and
Microsoft Word documents.
Once you've got the data on your iPod, all you can do is read it, but
often that's all you need.
Who would have thought that this season's fad gift could be so useful?