My iPod Runneth Over

It finally happened. After an year and a half, I’ve finally managed to fill my 10 gig iPod.

This may not seem like a particularly impressive milestone to some — after all, I know people who’s music collections are upwards of 100 gig, But for me, as someone who doesn’t steal music off the Net, hitting the 10 gig milestone took some doing.

A good chunk of my “music” collection in iTunes (the software that controls what goes on the iPod, as well as the manager for my Power Mac’s music collection) isn’t music at all — it’s audio books downloaded from As such, I can safely back up these books to CD or DVD, and reclaim a good chunk of space on my iPod — I haven’t done so yet primarily because I wanted to see what iTunes did once your iPod exceeded its limits.

The short answer is that it ditches all of your normal playlists in favor of a new uber playlist it creates. I’m not exactly sure how it decides what ends up in this playlist — I think it’s picks based on song popularity (how you rated it) and frequency (how much you play it). In any case, it also blows away all of your normal playlists, leaving you in the lurch if you’ve come to depend on your own selections. Personally, I found this to be more than a bit clunky — why couldn’t you just tell iTunes to import songs belonging to certain playlists, rather than allowing it to conduct its own Borg-like assimilation of your music collection?

Granted, the automatically-built playlists still exist — the ones that sort songs by album, genre and band, but while these are useful, they can’t hope to replace my randomized “WNKE” radio playlist, or my “Heroic” and “Libertarian” lists, all three of which I frequently used during my commute.

Now it could be that my old, first-rev iPod just isn’t smart enough to do what I want it to do — the newer models certainly have more capabilities in every other area, so I suspect they’d be better at this as well. Still, the ham-handed ditching of my playlists bothers me. There may be a solution to this — there are a heck of a lot of iPod tools out there — but I think I’m going to deal with it by offloading my books and bringing the iPod’s inventory back down under 10 gig.

That should hold me for the time being and buy me time to look around for a more graceful solution — as well as a better understanding of how iTunes does what it does. If anyone out there as suggestions about how to manage my overflowing iPod better, I’d love to hear ’em — e-mail me at

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