When Lisa and I first bought our home she also bought me a 30gb iPod as a house warming present. At about that time I switched to iTunes as my music player because of the fact that I could manage my iPods music with it. However, I have never been truly happy with iTunes. Sure, it is pretty nice - but it could be better. Just last week in fact I was lamenting about some of it’s shortcomings to my friend Jason.

He had asked me if I would recommed getting an iPod and if there was anything about them I didn’t like. Honestly, there is nothing about the hardware I dislike. However, as I talked to him about it a couple of things came to mind that really annoy my about iTunes. First, I can’t easilly get music off of my iPod and back onto my computer. For instance if I buy a song at the iTunes music store at work, put it on my iPod, and then go home, there is no way for me to add that song to my library (well there is, but I have to use other software). Another thing that irks me is that the ratings I apply to music on the road are lost on my copy of the song in the library. It would be great if I could synchronize just the meta data from my iPod to the iTunes library if it won’t let me copy the whole song. But, alas, I can’t. At least not with iTunes.

Today I upgraded to winamp 5.09 and while doing so I noticed a plugin called ml_pod that claims to provide iPod integration! Well, I had to check it out - and so far, I’m impressed.

After our trip to Vegas I bought an iPod Shuffle. My shuffle is associated with my home PC. So, when I am at work if I plug it into the USB port iTunes tells me it can’t do anything with it other than erase its contents and replace them. However, ml_pod has no such qualms. Instead it loaded it’s contents into the media library pane and let me start listening through my computer’s speakers. Sweet! Not only that but it appears I can synch ratings or sync the whole deal. Plus I can easilly pull music off of the iPod and put it on my machine. That will come in handy tonight when I upgrade my home PC because I downloaded 3 more new songs recently while at work and will want them in my main library at home.

All isn’t perfect though. First it doesn’t have the autofill option that iTunes has for the shuffle, but frankly, I can live without that. And if I want that I can just fire up iTunes every once in a while. Another potential problem is if Apple changes the format of the information stored on the devices drasticly with an update to iTunes. At that point ml_pod will not work and I’ll have to wait for an update. However, it seems like the ml_pod developer, Will Stevens, is on his game and won’t let ml_pod fall too far behind.

I’ve only been using it for an hour now so It is hard to say if it is my new favorite music player - but definitely put winamp back in the race. And for now, it is the only one I will use at work since iTunes is useless to me here.



Thanks for the tip. Ihave actually switched to using MediaMonkey - as it better serves all of my needs than either iTunes or winamp currently.


Winamp 5.2 now has an Autofill feature;