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PCs: The Missing Manual by David A. Karp, Andy Rathbone

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Chapter 8. Digital Music Players

Digital music players are the transistor radios of today’s generation. They store music in a cigarette pack–sized box, letting you stuff thousands of songs into your pocket. Plug a pair of headphones into the earphone jack, and you have enough music to ride the subway for, say, two days without repeating a tune.

This chapter describes the Apple iPod (and its various subspecies) and competing players made by Creative Labs and other companies. You’ll learn how to connect the players to your PC using either iTunes or Windows Media Player—two of the most popular and easy-to-use music jukebox programs. Finally, you’ll find out how to copy music to your digital music player and, if it has the capacity, how to use it for taking your contacts, calendar, and notes on the road.

Choosing a Digital Music Player

After nearly 10 years of evolution, digital music players now come in two basic types: the iPod, and everything else. Apple’s sold more than 20 million iPods, capturing more than 75 percent of the market, and leaving hundreds of competing players scrambling to woo the remaining music lovers. Industry analysts don’t see Apple’s monopoly disappearing anytime soon.

Apple won the market because it simplified a few things that only seemed easy: buying a player, buying digital music, and copying that music to the player. For starters, Apple’s iPod comes in three easy-to-understand sizes: small, medium, and large. Creative Lab’s Web site makes visitors choose between ...

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