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iPod and iTunes Hacks by Hadley Stern

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Hack #3. Store Digital Photos on Your iPod

A couple nifty products from Belkin allow you to store your digital snaps right on your iPod.

An iPod comes with an immense amount of hard drive space, while your digital camera's memory cards fill up too quickly. This digital divide can be traversed successfully with a little help from Belkin.

Belkin makes two products that allow you to transfer your digital images from your digital camera to your iPod: the Media Reader (http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=&Section_Id=201526 &pcount=&Product_Id=158350; $109.99) and the Digital Camera Link (http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=&Product_Id=173207; $89.99). With the help of either of these products, you can literally store thousands of images (depending on the size of your iPod and your digital camera's resolution) on your iPod.

The Belkin Media Reader

To use the Media Reader, remove your camera's memory card and insert it into the appropriate slot on the side of the Media Reader.

Tip

The Belkin Media Reader supports: CompactFlash (types 1 and 2), SmartMedia, Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick, and MultiMediaCard.

Now, connect the Belkin Media Reader to your iPod. The Reader works with generation 3 (G3) and later iPods with the newer thin-type FireWire connection. If you have a generation 1 or 2 (G1/G2) iPod with a regular FireWire connector or an iPod mini, you cannot use the Media Reader.

Once you plug in the iPod, a screen shows up with your memory card's information. In the case of Figure 1-1, the Media Reader tells us the media type, the number of photos, and the amount of memory used on the card. You control the Media Reader from your iPod; to import the images to the iPod, just select Import on your iPod.

The Media Reader Import screen

Figure 1-1. The Media Reader Import screen

Once the import has begun, a status screen shows up, as shown in Figure 1-2. Depending on the number and size of your images, you could be in for a bit of a long wait. You can't pick and choose which images you want to import, so if time is not on your side, edit your images in your digital camera before transferring them.

You can view roll information on the iPod, too. Media Reader's Roll Info metaphor is similar to the one iPhoto uses; each import creates a new "roll." You can delete rolls directly from the iPod, as shown in Figure 1-3.

The Media Reader Importing screen

Figure 1-2. The Media Reader Importing screen

The Media Reader Roll Info screen

Figure 1-3. The Media Reader Roll Info screen

Once the transfer is complete, plug your iPod into your computer. If you haven't set up the iPod to work in Disk mode, open up iTunes, select your iPod in the Source window, and open up iPod preferences by clicking on the iPod icon in the lower-right corner of the iTunes window. Select "Enable disk use," and your iPod will mount as a device on your computer.

Your images will be in a topmost directory (called DCIM) on your iPod. When your iPod is in Disk mode, it behaves exactly like a hard drive. You can copy your digital photos from your iPod to your own computer and then discard them from your iPod.

The Belkin Digital Camera Link

The Belkin Digital Camera Link removes one step from the Media Reader procedure by connecting the digital camera directly to your iPod. Instead of removing your camera's memory card, inserting it in the Media Reader, and connecting the Reader to your iPod, you connect the Digital Camera Link to your digital camera and then to your iPod. There is no interface on your iPod; instead, you tap a button on the Digital Camera Link to get the transfer going. The main advantage of this process is that there is no card to remove. You just take the USB cable from your digital camera and, instead of plugging it into your computer, plug it into the Digital Camera Link. The FireWire cord from the Digital Camera Link then plugs into your iPod.

The Digital Camera Link works with any mass-storage DCF-format and PTP-compliant camera (which includes most digital cameras). Visit Belkin's site (http://www.belkin.com/ipod/cameralink/) to find out whether your camera is compatible.

The Digital Camera Link has a three-stage LED light that communicates what the device is doing. While importing, the LED flashes green; when it's done, it goes solid green. A double flashing red light tells you that your camera is not compatible with the Digital Camera Link; a single flashing red light tells you that your iPod is full (a solid red light let's you know your battery is low). If you opt to verify the data transfer, a flashing yellow light indicates that this process is under way. Like the Media Reader, the Digital Camera Link stores the images on your iPod's hard drive.

Neither choice is necessarily better. The Media Reader is more versatile, because even if your camera isn't supported, chances are that the media the camera uses is. However, the Digital Camera Link is a great, direct solution for transferring images. Either way, storing your digital photos on your iPod is a great hack that makes owning an iPod even sweeter.

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