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    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    cohPod - The one dollar iPod

    Fact 1: I really like iTunes. It is a cool music player and it's pretty good in managing a complete MP3 library. I am importing all my CDs and LPs and vinyl singles into iTunes on a Mac. I still have some work to do but I am heading towards to an LP and CD free living room.

    Fact 2: I want an iPod. I don't have one right now. Here's why. First of all I think they are pretty expensive. Today a 4 GB iPOD nano costs 259 EUR (July, 2006 Belgian Price in Apple Store). A 4GB iPod can hold about 1000 songs. That's 0, 259 EUR per song. In real money that's more than 10 BEF per song.

    Second reason ... if I had an iPOD ... when would I use it? Well, at work, at home and in my car. Using the iPod on my MTB or while running (Nike+iPod :-)) would be nice but if I want to cut prices I have to sacrifice some features.

    So I came up with the cohPOD. The cohPod only works in my car (c), in the office (o) and at home (h).

    The cohPod is available in two editions: a 700 MB model and a 4,7 GB model.

    Here's how it works:

    Step 1: choose your cohPod model
    Pick a bank CD-RW (700 MB) or DVD+/-RW 4,7 GB), take a pen and label it cohPod.

    Step 3: Create a cohPod playlist on your main iTunes computer
    In my iTunes library on my Mac I created a cohPod playlist. I dragged all the songs I wanted on my cohPod to this playlist. Make sure the total size of the playlist does not surpass the capacity of your cohPod (700 MB/4,7 GB).

    Step 3: Burn the cohPod playlist to your CD-ROM
    To do this manually, right click on the cohPod playlist and choose Burn Playlist to disk. This method will also work if your main iTunes library is on a PC.

    I am working on an Apple Script which will automate this step. However the script did not make it in the RTM version of the cohPod. It might be included in cohPod SP1 or in the long rumoured cohVideoPod.

    Step 4: Listen to the cohPod in my car
    My Car CD player plays MP3 CDs, unfortunately it does not support DVDs. In other words, the 700MB cohPOD works fine in my car without any cables. The 4,7GB model is currently not supported.

    Step 5: Listen to the cohPod at work
    My Office PC runs Windows XP (no SQL Server on Mac yet ;-(), so I wrote this little VB-script to import the cohPOD playlist. All I need to do is launch the ImportCohPod script (via Launchy) and I there you go ...

    Here's the importcohPod.vbs

    'Frederik Vandeputte

    'Change to match your CD drive
    FolderToAdd = "e:\"

    'Set objects
    Set objApp = CreateObject("iTunes.Application")
    Set colSources = objApp.Sources
    Set objLibrary = colSources.ItemByName("Library")
    Set colPlaylists = objLibrary.Playlists

    'Are you sure?
    answer = MsgBox("Are you sure you want to import " & FolderToAdd & " into you cohPod Playlist?", vbYesNo, "cohPod")
    If answer = vbNo Then
    End If

    'Delete old cohPod Library if exists
    Set objPlaylist = colPlaylists.ItemByName("cohPod")
    If Not (objPlaylist is Nothing) Then
    End if

    'Create new cohPOD playlist
    Set objPlaylist = objApp.CreatePlaylist("cohPod")

    'Add files to cohPod playlist

    answer = MsgBox(Cstr(objPlaylist.Tracks.Count) & " songs added to your cohPod Playlist (" & CInt(Cstr(objPlaylist.Size/1024/1024)) & " MB)", vbYes, "cohPod")

    The 700MB cohPod holds about 175 songs, the 4,7 GB model holds about 1200 songs. A rewritable DVD costs about 1 EUR these days. This means the cohPOD costs less than 0,001 EUR per song. Compared to the 0,259 EUR per song for the 4GB iPod Nano, this is really cheap.

    Secondly the cohPod does not require any cables. Not for synchronizing, nor for playing it in the car. Which makes it a true wireless xPod.

    Third plus: battery life. Have you ever seen a DVD run out of batteries?

    The cohPod doesn't look as flashy as Apple's iPods. It doesn't have all the cool features of the iPod (color screen, Photo's/Video's, multiple playlist, ....). People always talk about features ... but all they do with an iPod is playing songs, clicking next and previous and I can do all this with the cohPod.

    Two more pics of the cohPod connected to a Mac and to a PC.

    Some interesting resources:
    iCame, iPod, iScripted: Scripting iTunes
    iTunes COM for Windows SDK


    Peter said...

    Brilliant stuff !! Have you got a patent yet ?

    Anonymous said...

    cool ! do they sell this at mr. good deal ? :-))