I'm off to Austin, Texas in March to speak at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.
In an ideal world, the presentation topic would be "Survey of Alien
Music 101: First Contact", but instead it's an iPod panel. Fret not: we
can make iPods cool.
Needless to say, step one will be to install Linux. Why? Because we
can. You can, too, provided your iPod isn't a 4th-generation (click
wheel) or Mini, Photo (rich bastard!), or Shuffle, though support for
those is coming soon. If you haven't seen how yet, check out these
There's really no reason not to try it — you can always reset your
iPod, and even when the software is installed you can dual-boot the
original firmware by resetting. The bad news is, you can't really use
Linux to play music yet, as the software isn't optimized to the point
of working without skipping. The good news is you get some nifty games
and (most importantly, as Phil Torrone points out) audio recording ability. That's worth dual-booting, especially for us (ahem!) musician types, though 3G-iPod only.
Of course, you could just go build your own MP3 player out of an Altoids tin,
but that wouldn't really be an iPod, would it? And if you can't play
Asteroids on it, it's not really a useful tool for music: iPod Linux it
Found something useful for music-making with your iPod? Let us know; hit comments.