I use my iPod all the time, and I am really pleased with Apple’s User Interface for the iPod, it’s simple and easy to use. However, “simple” and “easy to use” doesn’t satisfy the geek in me, so I have to tweak. Apple doesn’t give you too many options to tweak the iPod UI. You can change the items displayed on the main menu, you can display the time in the top line of the screen, but that’s about it. This geek wants more. So, why not entirely replace Apple’s firmware with something else, like Linux or Rockbox?
- What can I say about Linux on your iPod? Not much, because I don’t delve too deeply. But I do like the ability to run lots of mini-applications, including games, on my iPod. I never did get iDoom going though. Pure geekiness, but not for me as I missed the usability of Apple’s UI. Download iPodLinux here. Don’t worry, you can switch back and forth between iPodLinux and Apple, just restart the iPod.
- Rockbox is a little more usable but doesn’t have nearly as many apps as iPodLinux. What I like most about Rockbox is the ability to customize audio playback screen with your own format and graphics through WPS (b&w, color). Download from the Rockbox site or this alternate installer for Windows, Rockbox Installer X. Just like with iPodLinux, you can switch between Rockbox and Apple just by restarting the iPod.
Running these was fun, but day to day, I use the Apple firmware. Do I loose my geek cred? I dunno. There are so many little things that the Apple firmware does so effectively, it’s hard to give up, even if I can’t customize it as much as I’d like. Although maybe I’ll wanna Make something….
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I take my iPod device everywhere too. I had a Shuffle but it died a fiery death and I replaced it with a generic mp4 digital player. I think it’s running Linux. It has a few issues though. If you want to advance to the next song, you have to push the right arrow button twice. Despite that can carry photos, songs, ebooks, has a built-in recorder, and can play some movies, I miss my little Shuffle because it always worked exactly the way it was designed. Still, for $70 bucks I’m getting to listen to rich content every day!