More bandwidth than a fistful of flash drives

| Comments (2) | Software
Problem Statement
Once upon a time I had an old hard drive based iPod upon which I loaded my music collection. At some later time, I bought an iPhone which I loaded with some (though not all) of my music. At some even later date, the machine I was using to sync with went defunct, but that was OK because my music was still on my iPhone and it stayed there even after started syncing with my MacBook Air. Stayed, that is, until I installed iPhone release 2 which decided to blow away my entire collection as part of the install process, leaving me with no music. The good news is that I still had that music on my old iPod (those hard drives are tough). Your mission, should you choose to accept it: resurrect the collection.

Complicating Factors

  • The battery on the iPod is dead, so you can only get about 5 minutes of runtime without a power supply.
  • That generation of iPod can't be powered from USB.
  • The Air does not have Firewire.
  • iTunes doesn't want to let you suck data off an iPod anyway.

The bottom line here is that copying the data directly onto the Air seems impractical

Eventually I ended up plugging the iPod into my FreeBSD machine, which has a Firewire port. I used gtkpod to copy the music onto my hard drive (~10 GB). I then went to Frys and bought an 8GB flash drive ($29.99 + $15 mail in rebate, so a lot cheaper than a 16 GB) and copied half my collection onto the drive, then loaded it onto my Mac. Rinse, repeat. Elapsed time start to finish... Actually, I don't know cause I'm still copying the second half onto the flash drive; FreeBSD's USB drivers aren't very good. But it's taken me about 10 hours so far. Probably would have been faster to use the network.

One more thing: If you want to keep your files in an ordinary directory—which I do—you need to frob the "Keep iTunes Music Folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding library" toggles in the iTunes advanced preferences when you add the music to your library. Otherwise, you end up with two copies, the one you started with and the one iTunes makes.


It sounds like it may have been a bit easier to plug a microphone into your iPod, fire up GarageBand, and record your own cover versions of all your music onto the new drive.

You don't have a friend with a Firewire Mac that you could borrow or use?

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