Some time ago (actually over the year now) I bought iPod Shuffle as a simple replacement for my old 256MB USB memory stick.  I'm still using it mostly as USB memory, but sometimes when I have to travel (like tomorrow at 6 AM πŸ™ ) or during the flight I'm using it to listen to the music (that's why I bought iPod not ordinary USB which was cheaper).

What drives me crazy when I want to listen music form iPod is iTunes.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not anti-Apple fanatic. Just getting several MBs of download, just to get my device synchronized … and QuickTime as addition (which BTW doesn't get removed on iTunes removal) … and two processes running in background … is a little annoying and in my opinion to heavy for the purpose of just synching device.

I know several people who are using iTunes and are perfectly happy, it just so happened that I'm not (and I know also few others who are sharing my opinion).

As usually I work with Windows desktop (what a surprise πŸ™‚ ) I was looking for some solution which will let me synchronize my iPod without iTunes on Windows Vista. For search engines and maybe others looking for solution I'm posting some results.

Solution 1: Winamp + plug-in

I think everyone knows Winamp – well known media player which is around for few years. With some additional plug-in it supports synchronization with iPod very well.

 

Solution 2: Windows Media Player + plug-in

Here things get a little complicated. I didn't manage to find free and functional solution. I've reviewed several plugins and I choose two which performed well, both paid. First is XPlay which looks OK, but for me it has little disadvantage – it doesn't support Vista at this moment.

Second, MGTEK dopisp is plug-in which integrates iPod with Windows Media Player. It works with Vista and WMP 11. iPod shows up just as additional device to synchronize in WMP.

 

Unfortunately to get it working on Vista it has to be installed with UAC turned off. After installation and enabling UAC it works OK even on standard user right. At this moment this is trial with 2 month expiration period. Final pricing and availability isn't available yet.

 

One more thing if You want to share music between WMP and iPod – music format. Of course iPod doesn't recognizes WMA and WMP doesn't recognizes Apple formats. If You want to use it on both "sides" just keep it in old fashion MP3 format.

If we are talking about listening music on MP3 players \ iPod – here is interesting article Sound Output Levels of the iPod and Other MP3 Players: Is There Potential Risk to Hearing?” which deals with influence of various types of headphones and volume level on Your hearing. Worth reading.

 

Not really about Directory Services but I hope somebody will find it useful.