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Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Runner
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iPod secrets
Wednesday, April 6, 2005

These may not be secrets but I didn't know about them. I listen to a lot of books and talks on my iPod and a recurrent irritation has been getting half way through an hour long talk and being interrupted only to find that the iPod has lost my place (either because one of my kids has used it or because it needed to recharge). The AAC format does a better job of keeping track of where you left off but it hasn't been perfect.

Why, I wondered, hasn't Apple made it possible to use the scroll wheel to move around in a song? Why, I wondered, haven't they made it possible to speed up or slow down the text of an audiobook? It turns out that they have? I was trying to think about the problem today from Apple's perspective. They don't want to add more controls. The scroll wheel works great as a volume adjuster and that is probably the most common thing people will want to do. The menu, play/pause, next and previous buttons are taken. Hmmm, wait a minute. What does the center button do when a song is playing? It makes a menu selection when not on the song screen but it's free where you are. So I started clicking it.

It turns out that a double click changes the interface so that the scroll wheel lets you rate the song. If you have an audio book, a second double click lets you adjust the speed from slower to normal to faster. Finally, if the song is playing and you hold the button down for a bit and then let it up, the scroll wheel lets you adjust your position within the track! Yes!

I don't know how long this functionality has been in the iPod or how common this knowledge is. I have the feeling, however, that it is not all that well known so spread the word.

(Of course, I could have googled and found out but where's the fun in that?)


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