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Someone please teach me about iPods and Books on Tape


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Well, now that I live in WA, the trip to Torrey, UT, as well as to our properties in Colorado, are at least two days long. I have an XM radio on the bike, permanently tuned to the 70's channel (which is about when I stopped listening to music and started listening to talk radio).


Therefore, I don't need music, but I want something else to help pass the time on the slab. Enter the thought of an iPod with books on tape.


I've never owned, nor even operated, an iPod. I don't know what size to get. Do they still make the Shuffle and the Nano? Is that enough? How much memory does the average book require? Where do I pay for and download books on tape? Are there many sources? Are some better than others? Do I have to buy a subscription? Etc. Etc.


Once I've got this figured out, getting it plumbed into my Autocom will be a breeze. However, I need some help with the basics.


If it makes any difference, I've got a Mac running 10.3.9.


Thanks in advance.

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Go get yourself a Nano, Nando. The 8 gig iPod ($149) is absolutely plenty for audiobooks. As the files carry predominantly voice, the files are relatively small for hours of "reading" entertainment. Goodness, you could probably fit 20 books or more on it. However, for $50 more, you can have the 16G model, which you will definitely use once you make the leap. You will most assuredly want to dial up "Brickhouse" on demand, if not when you are on the bike, certainly when you are in the hotel. Pack on a season's worth of Top Gear while you are at it.


A very popular audio book site (other than iTunes, which gives you music, movies, audiobooks, games, etc) is Audible.com - take a look and you will see what is available. Plenty. Typically you only pay for what you want ($5/book to $30/book depending on popularity), but it's yours forever.


Peanut won't ride out of the state without her iPod with a good book or two on it - it settles her right down in the saddle making Jake a happy pilot.

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I have tried several services and IMHO Audible is the best. As to iPods, Due to some extremely clever marketing Apple somehow convinced the world that Ipod was synonymous with mp3 player. You can download and listen to mp3 files on any mp3 player, many which are much less expensive and offer vast memory capacity. Also, word has it on the techie scuttlebutt circuit that Apple is about to discontinue almost every iteration of the current iPod family with...well..something.


Depending on the encoding quality you choose to work with an mp3 file will take up 1-3 MB per minute. For spoken word the lower encoding quality is just fine. So even if you went with something very modest, like a 16 gigabtye model that is over 266 hours of playing time for spoken word audio.


As to your computer, an mp3 file could care less whether it is downloaded and transfered from a Mac or a PC.


Lest I come across as dissing Apple I don't mean to, I just hate the confusion it causes when people think they have to specifically buy an iPod to listen to mp3 files.


Hope this helps.

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Another vote for Audible.


All that stuff that bmweerman said is correct. One thing the iPod has going for it, though is aftermarket support. (remotes, cases, chargers, docks, clock radios that have iPod jacks so you can wake up to your favorite tunes, car-specific mounts, and in some cases you can even get a gizmo that integrates your iPod with your car's stereo so you can control the iPod with your car's stereo controls. Personally I think it's a pretty good product, but there are definitely others out there.

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Audible is very convenient but gets expensive quickly if you are a heavy consumer of BOTs. Some other options are NetLibrary which offers a fairly large BOT library for download at no cost (your local library can provide an access code if they are participating in the program and you have a library card), or you can simply check out a BOT on CD from your local library and rip it to your player. I don't see any ethical dilemma in the latter as long as you use the material as intended, i.e. for personal use only and to be deleted after listening.


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John Ranalletta
or you can simply check out a BOT on CD from your local library and rip it to your player.
More, please.


I've noticed that track labeling varies from disk to disk within the same set. Are you ripping an entire disc to one large mp3 track?

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My daughter and son in law recently bought me an ipod (a Nano). Keep in mind (with Nano anyway) it's practically impossible to operate the thing while riding a bike. You might be able to do it if you mounted it up on the bars but the touch controls are quite sensitive and it's not really weatherproof. I added a wireless remote that has a wrist strap that's easy to attach to the handlebars (note, idea stolen from Tom at the Rubber Chicken Rondezvous). With this I attached the ipod to the Autocom via a wire terminating in the glove box.


Here's the item I bought that makes the thing useable on the bike. Seems to work pretty good too.



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Another option is old-time radio programs. There is a channel for that on XM so you can get a taste. I don't care for the old comedies, but the dramas, mysteries, scifi, and westerns can be quite entertaining.


There are several websites where you can download programs for free. Here are a couple:


link 1

link 2


Link 2 is the one I used to get most of my programs, but the search function is not working today when I tried it.


Downloading can be time consuming so another option is to purchase CDs with multiple episodes that you can rip to your player.


I've purchased from this company and the prices are very reasonable.


I also sent you a PM.

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+1 to what Al said about a remote control. You absolutely need to be able to easily stop, start, rewind, fast forward, and change the volume. There are several remotes available, but they vary by the type of iPod they can control. This is important enough that I think you should choose the model of iPod based on the availability of a suitable RF remote for it; "suitable" meaning it has buttons large enough to operate with riding gloves on, and can be mounted securely someplace that is easily reachable while you're rolling.


If you get an iPod, I'd be surprised if you don't end up liking it way more than you thought you would, and put music and other content on it. Podcasts, in particular -- a whole different world of interesting content awaits you, and most of it is free. I considered satellite radio, but I'd rather have full control over what I hear, and be able to skip, replay, change/mix genres, build playlists, etc., which radio doesn't do.


I don't consider myself to be very attached to most material things, but my iPod and my bike are 2 things I'd kick ass over if someone messed with them (beyond harmless practical joking). I wouldn't have figured a gadget like an iPod would rise to that status, but it has.

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If ya have a Zumo, it works better than the IPOD cause you don't need another gadget and you can control it easy while riding. Just download em to the Zumo with the SD card in using Audible. If ya want to use an IPOD use ITunes. They have books on tape as well. I have done both and they work very good. The Zumo is my preference.






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or you can simply check out a BOT on CD from your local library and rip it to your player.
More, please.


I've noticed that track labeling varies from disk to disk within the same set. Are you ripping an entire disc to one large mp3 track?

Most BOTs on CD are already segregated into individual tracks of about 3-5 minutes each so you don't need to do anything but let your favorite ripping software have at it. You can set the software to a fairly low bitrate (quality) setting to save space since all you're doing is capturing voice. And if you have an Apple player you can mark the ripped tracks as a audiobook in iTunes and your Apple player will treat it just like an audiobook (i.e. appear under the audiobook menu, automatically keep your place in each track, etc.)


Also +1 on the old time radio idea, some of those shows are pretty entertaining in a retro way and can really pass the miles on a trip.


Lastly, if (or should I say when) you get a remote be sure to look for one that will let you select playlists, which will allow you to move back and forth between different books and music without having to fumble with the player. I use this one, works very well.


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There is so much free podcast material that you will easily be able to fill up an iPod. I use a 4gb and 8gb (my son's) because I drive a lot for my job.


The Apple iStore literally has mega-gig of free podcast material.



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There are many aftermarket iPod remotes that work very well on a bike and can easily be mounted due to the size/package of the unit.


Apple really does have their shtuff together on this.

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The remote I have been using is the Monster:


It fits nicely on top of the clutch resevoir.




I've been using the same unit for the last year. I can't imagine not having it when on the bike.


+1 on Monster EZ Click thing... only way to go. +1 on Audible.com I like iPod solution for one reason, plug AzAls directly in, control w/ Monster thing.... not connected to bike at all. Wear iPod in jacket pocket. Clean. If you're doing FRS, Cell phone, etc. then integrate w/ Autocom and all will be well as well.


Note iPod controller mounted with 3M sure lock on handlebar clamp cover to the left. Stays on bike. Even a hog!



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