Camera Operator / Editor
handbrake icon

One of the reasons why I purchased an iPod touch was for the ability to watch movies. The screen was much bigger on the iPod touch making it a lot easier to view a full-length movie. I have many movies on my computer as well as a large DVD collection, all of which I wanted to somehow get onto my iPod touch. Thanks to a wonderful app called Handbrake, I can now easily convert DVD’s and other movies on my computer to use on my iPod touch. Not only does Handbrake convert DVD’s to the iPod format, but it also converts to PSP, Xbox 360, AppleTV, iPhone, and for use on your computer. Here’s how:

  1. Download the Handbrake application if you have not already done so.
  2. Insert a DVD into your computer or locate the movie on your computer you would like to convert.
  3. Open up Handbrake and select the movie.
  4. It will scan the movie and then show the information about the movie concerning the time, chapters, and titles.
  5. If you are using a TV series DVD (e.g. Seinfeld) you have to be very careful about how to select the titles because there are multiple episodes on each disc.
  6. In this situation, select the title number from the “Title” menu, change the name of the file name under “Destination” to correspond with that title number (e.g. “Users/Mason/Desktop/Movies/Seinfeld Episode 1” for Title 1, etc). Then, you must click “Add to Queue” after each time you change the name and title.
  7. Usually, there are out-takes, extras, or what not towards the end of most TV series DVD’s. Make sure don’t select those if you don’t want them.
  8. To make sure you are selecting the right title numbers, just look at the time of the title (usually short times) and if you still aren’t sure, click the “Picture Settings” button and it will show you snapshots of that title.
  9. Click the “Next” button in the bottom right corner in the Picture Settings window and you can browse through the scene to double-check if it’s the scene you wanted.
  10. After you have added all the correct titles and corresponding file names to the queue, select the “Toggle Presets” button and choose the format you want to convert the video to.
  11. For example, I would choose Apple > iPhone & iPod touch if I wanted to use the video on my iPod touch.
  12. Once you’re done with that. click “Show Queue” then click “Start”.
  13. The biggest trick is to make sure you are always choosing the right titles and then adding them to the queue with the right file name in sequential order.
  14. Movies that already on your computer are ready to convert once you’re in Handbrake: just choose a format (iPod, PSP, etc), a destination for the converted movie to go, and then click Start.

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When I got my iPod touch, the one thing that frustrated me was the email function. I have several email accounts — work, personal, and the one that comes with my ISP. The only problem was none of these accounts worked with the iPod touch’s Mail application because they require the use of my ISP to send outgoing messages. Thankfully, incoming messages can be received anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.

About a year ago, I signed up for a Gmail account and really never got to using it because I already had email accounts. Recently, I thought I’d give it a shot and see if I liked it — and surprisingly, I did. For a web application, the customization is almost endless — from themes, to keyboard shortcuts, to calendars, ‘to-do’ lists, and more. After downloading the Gmail Notifier for Mac OS X, I felt satisfied with using Gmail as my main email. Then I had to figure out what to do with all my other email accounts…

Thankfully, Gmail is so customizable that it allows auto-forwarding of your other email accounts. Perfect. Now, I can use Gmail as a “hub” for all of my email accounts. What if I want to send emails using one of the other email accounts’ addresses? Easy. Gmail allows you to add your mail accounts and send mail using those email addresses through Gmail. Now you must be asking how I did all of this? Here’s how:

Get Mail From Other Email Accounts

  1. Sign into your Gmail account, or if you do not yet have one, sign up for one.
  2. Click on the Settings link in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Enable POP and IMAP under the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section.
  4. Now, go to the Accounts section and click the “Add another mail account” link under “Get mail from other accounts:”.
  5. Type in your email address and click Next Step.
  6. Enter the correct settings for those email accounts.
  7. Also, I recommend that you make a label for those emails by checking off “Label incoming messages:” and selecting “New Label” from the drop-down menu.
  8. If you Gmail to remove the email message from the other email accounts after it has been forwarded to Gmail, un-check “Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server”.
  9. Now add the account by clicking the Add Account button.

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Use Gmail To Send From Your Other Email Addresses

  1. Assuming, you are already signed into Gmail, go to the Settings link.
  2. Next click on Accounts.
  3. Under the “Send mail as:” section, click on “Add another email address”.
  4. Once you have entered that email address and clicked Next Step, click Send Verification.
  5. Check that email account you just added for a message from Gmail that will verify the account.
  6. Once you’ve clicked on the link in the email message the account will be automatically added.

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One more thing I should tell you. If you are planning to use Gmail on your iPod touch, make sure you add the account manually so you can use IMAP. Otherwise, the on the iPod touch automatically uses POP. The beauty of IMAP is it allows you to sync your mail with your devices (laptop, iPod touch, work/home computer, etc). Follow Google’s instructions so you won’t get confused.

If you want to be able to send mail from your other email addresses, you can do that from Gmail’s website (choose “From” drop-down menu when you compose mail). If you’d like to reply to the message using the same email address it was sent to, read these instructions. You can also make a default email address from Gmail by  clicking “make default” next to the email addresses under the ‘Send Mail As’ section in Accounts.

Many families have more than one iPod synced with their computer. It can be hard to manage multiple iPods assuming there are different tastes of music in the family. To solve this, you can either create multiple user accounts or you can create a new library for iTunes:

  1. To create a new user account, open up System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Accounts preference pane.
  3. In the Accounts preference pane, click the lock in the bottom left corner to access your settings.
  4. Once you have done that, click on the plus sign right above the lock.
  5. In the drop-down, type in the username and password for the new user account and then click on Create Account.
  6. To create a new library for iTunes, hold down the Option key as you open up iTunes.
  7. You will be prompted with a window asking you to Quit, Create Library, or Choose Library.
  8. Select Create Library and choose a location to save the library contents.

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Although Apple made the iPod so user-friendly, they seem to have forgotten that we may want to transfer music from our iPod to our computer. When you plug in your iPod to your Mac, and click on the iPod in Finder, you should see 4 folders: Calendars, Contacts, Notes, Photos. Notice, that there is no Music folder there. To magically get the music from the hidden Music folder on your Mac, download Senuti.

  1. Load up Senuti with your iPod connected to your Mac.
  2. Select the songs you want to copy over to your Mac.
  3. In Senuti, click on the Copy button.
  4. After importing, move on over to iTunes.
  5. In iTunes go to File > Add To Library.
  6. After clicking on Add to Library and Finder window should appear. Select the Music folder and your iPod’s songs will be imported into your iTunes library.
  7. Do not play any of the songs in iTunes during the import or it may cause iTunes to not respond.
  8. Once done importing, all of your music should be in your iTunes library.

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If you are a Mac user then you have probably heard of the many alarm clock applications for the Mac that wake your Mac up by playing iTunes songs. Apparently, Apple snuck an alarm clock into the iPods. To access it:

  1. Go to the iPod’s main screen, choose Extras.
  2. In the Extras menu, choose Clock. Once you get to the Clock menu, choose the country that you live in and a city (you live nearby).
  3. Once you have your city and time set up, click on the clock that shows your city.
  4. A new menu will show up saying: Alarm Clock, Change City, Daylight Savings Time, Delete This Clock, and Sleep Timer. Select Alarm Clock from this menu.
  5. In the Alarm Clock menu, turn the Alarm on and select the Time menu to set the time to wake up.
  6. If you made playlists for your iPod, then you can select a playlist from the Sound menu.
  7. This alarm will run each day, so turn the alarm off for when you don’t need it on.

Some of you may have an old or outdated iPod that you want to sell for money so you can go buy a newer, better iPod. I was in this situation, where I didn’t want to deal with eBay because there are not buyers that really want an outdated or old iPod. I searched around and somehow came across this website called NextWorth. I checked out one of their programs called the iPod Exchange, which basically tells the company how well your iPod works and looks. After filling out this form, I sent them my shipping address and I got this pre-paid UPS shipping box with bubble packaging for me to put my iPod in. The box also included shipping instructions and a phone number to call for any issues. I waited one business week for Nextworth to check out my iPod and compare it to what I put on the form, and then they sent a valid Bank of America check. So far, I have had a good experience with NextWorth and if you are interested in getting your money’s worth for your iPod, you should go check it out.