In the four years since its introduction, the iPod has proven to be a versatile little device. Despite a relatively closed architecture, hackers have found their way in. Content creators and software makers put information at your fingertips when you're on the go. Would-be designers have added to the fashionable stylings of the now-ubiquitous white ear buds. Hardware makers and enthusiasts have augmented the iPod with new add-on gadgets. Here are a few dozen things you can do with your iPod besides listen to music.
Note: This page is a bit outdated; it was published just after the first iPod shuffle came out and before the release of a video-capable iPod.
Just expose the antenna on your iTrip FM transmitter and you can broadcast your iPod's music library to any radio a short distance away. Useful for silencing loud radios or just messing with people.
The piPod software will guide you and your musical friend to some of the best pizza places in New York City.
Rather than buying the iTalk for $40, you can install a program called Podzilla on your iPod and use a regular old microphone to record high quality audio.
If you're out shooting and don't have enough room on your camera's memory card for all the photos you want to take, offload them to your iPod with Media Reader, erase the card, and shoot away.
Combine the iPod with early 1990s mobile phone tech, and you can play music and make calls with the same slim device. Fits neatly in the pocket of some very large pants.
Approach someone with the signature white ear buds, smile, and trade headphone jacks to get an earful of your new friend's music.
Griffin's iBeam turns your iPod into a laser pointer (for presentations, annoying people at the movies, or exercising your cat) or a flashlight. If only it would shine the currently playing song info.
The backs of the larger iPods are very shiny and make pretty good mirrors. Here are some folks who've documented this feature.
As your iPod gets older and grow more rebellious, it'll eventually want to get a tattoo. O'Reilly is happy to help with this guide to creating your own iPod tattoos. No word on any available piercings.
With the iTalk or Belkin Voice Recorder, your iPod has audio-in capability as well. Record notes to yourself, interviews for later transcription, or just ramble into it and share it with the world (see podcasting below).
Pair your iPod with a Tivoli PAL (Portable Audio Lab) unit and take your tunes anywhere, sans headphones.
If you're sufficiently clever about Linux, you can install a text-to-speech app on your iPod, making it possible to listen to your menus or text files through your ear buds.
Phil Torrone made a hand-cranked contraption for charging your iPod shuffle. It's still in the experimental stages so there's no word on how many cranks it takes for a full recharge.
Thieves in several cities have reportedly been targeting folks wearing the iPod's signature white headphones and stealing their iPods. Look at this as an excuse to get some better headphones.
Podtender contains recipes for over 900 mixed drinks.
Brush up on US historical documents by perusing the US Constitution to your iPod "while listening to Avril Lavigne and Method Man".
HeadlinedNews.com recently reported that "Memphis woman was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after she bludgeoned her boyfriend to death with an iPod" but was later revealed to be a hoax. Still, the 60GB iPod Photo is a hefty chunk of metal...
All iPods, except for the shuffle, come with calendaring functionality built in, so you can sync your desktop calendar to your iPod and keep track of where you're supposed to be and when if you're out and about.
American Rhetoric has made available audio versions of many famous political speeches, including MLK's "I Have a Dream" and JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner".
Keep track of the news and what your friends are up to by putting their RSS feeds on your iPod.
Unsatisfied with just listening to music on his new iPod shuffle, Jim Wright enlisted some friends' shuffles and made a RAID array out of them. "As far as the Mac is concerned, it's just another drive on the system."
Well, not real movies, but by scrolling through thousands of screen caps from a movie while playing the audio from the same movie, you can kinda sorta simulate the effect.
Linux runs on everything these days, and the iPod is no exception. Not sure how many existing applications run on Linux for the iPod, but I'm sure efforts are underway to port many useful apps.
No need for turntables at some clubs these days. Some DJs just play from their iPods and some clubs even invite patrons to plug-in and play something from their own personal iPods.
If you pull the guts out of an old Sony Walkman, you can stow your iPod in there and wear it around pretending it's 1987 all over again. Hipster chic!
I guess if you're going to be buried in a box six feet beneath the ground for the rest of time, you may as well bring along some music to keep yourself occupied...until the battery runs out.
Solio is a solar powered charger for the iPod that also works with popular mobile phones and PDAs. Wouldn't it be cool if the entire back panel of the iPod were a solar cell so you'd never need a charger?
The iPod shuffle is so small that it fits nicely within a case of Altoids. Punch a hole in the top for your headphones, and people watching you listen to an Altoids tin will think there's something curiously wrong with you.
With the recently introduced iPod Photo, you can store up to 25,000 photos in your pocket. Take it to grandma's house for a little slideshow of the grandkids' latest adventures or take it along to dump your digital photos onto when your camera's memory card gets full.
Drop some phone tones on your iPod, make number playlists to dial, and play them back to dial phones. Not sure if this still works on modern pay phones or what, but if you've ever wanted to build a red, blue, or green box, this is an easy way to do it.
The mirrored surface on the reverse of the larger iPods makes for a good emergency make-up mirror, as this woman demonstrates (second photo down).
Using a voice recorder attachment, you can record your thoughts on your iPod, dump it to your computer, publish it to your web site in such a way that people can download your musings to their iTunes Library, sync that with their iPod, and listen to you babble about something on their way to work. It's called podcasting and hopefully it'll get much easier than that.
If the hard drive in your iPod dies, it turns out that with the proper converter, you can just replace it with a normal-sized 3.5" hard drive. Not that you'd want to, but still cool!
The iPod is too popular not to have inspired Asian knockoffs. Here's a Chinese version of the iPod mini. It's got a USB 2.0 connector, plays MP3s and WMA files, and contains a built-in FM tuner. I'd love to see what the OS looks like and how exactly the navigation works...cause it doesn't really look like that wheel scrolls.
With two iPod Photos aligned in the proper manner, you can view stereoscopic (3-D) images just like our forebears did in Victorian England. Save this one for the next time you have friends over for tea in the parlor.
Using an iPod with iTrip and a normal radio alarm clock, tune the radio to the frequency the iTrip is broadcasting to, set the wake-up times on both devices for the same time, and your music will play through the alarm clock when it goes off.
Keep track of your contacts on the iPod with built-in software. Supports standard vCard files.
Note: Actual number of fun things you can do with your iPod may not equal 50. No refunds.