This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Dumb question: my first iPod

I have recently received an iPod Nano (thanks, Marci).  I have been collecting digital content for many years, so my library is many times larger than what fits on the device itself.  And I expect the library to continue to grow, particularly in conjunction with the podcasts I get to discover.  No problem, I figure.  Apple should be bright enough to design software that makes sure I can keep some stuff on the device all the time while also swapping in new content for stuff I've already heard.

However, the version of iTunes that I have only gives me two primary options: manage it myself, or let iTunes do everything.  And (it seems) that since my library is bigger than my iPod, the second option doesn't really work. 

I'm sure I am just not sensing the obvious here.

So, here is what I would like to do.  Please tell me this is possible:

  • Always keep certain music / podcasts / pictures on the iPod.  (I think I need to put these in a playlist that syncs always.)
  • Always add unlistened podcasts to the device.  (Is there an easy way to tell my iPod that I haven't really "listened" to an hour-long podcast that I haven't finished?  And visa-versa - that I don't want to keep one that I stopped listening to?)
  • Add newly-added, unlistened music. 
  • Finally, if there is room, add random music from my library.

Oh, and is there any way to tell the iPod to keep playing podcasts on the device?  As it is now, it appears I need to start each podcast individually.  Or listen to all music and podcasts in random order.

Update: Sept 2010

I've since upgraded to an iPhone with tons of space and possibly the newest version of iTunes. Most of these problems are resolved.

  • Use a playlist that has those songs. And sync photos
  • There's a setting for podcasts: sync unlistened to podcasts. And a setting for "remember position" or some such.
  • Create a "New Music" smart playlist that grabs the most recent weeks (or months) music. Works well, except for when you import a bunch of stuff from other libraries.
  • And there is a setting for the iPhone that I didn't see with my iPod Nano - fill remaining space on device with random music. Perfect.

Why won't it work?

MAKE North America for 2006