I feel ridiculous and petty and self-absorbed posting on such a frivolous topic as this, in
the wake light of the incredible and horrific tsunami disaster, but...
I must add my name to the list of people who love their iPod. But it wasn't love at first use. I quickly discovered that it's not so easy to keep your 20G iPod updated when you have 21+ gigs of music on your computer. You can't just let it automatically synch with the song files on your computer (well, you can but it's too random in the selection of songs it picks and chooses to upload). So, I spent the first while manually synching; going through my collection, picking and choosing 18gigs of files to upload. At first, that worked okay, but I realised it'd be too much work to have to keep manually uploading new songs/removing old songs. There must be a better way.
And I found it. Now I've instructed iTunes and iPod to automatically synch only the playlists/smartlists I have checked off. Here's what I've done:
I created a smartlist called "My Favourite 6G's". This is a playlist that contains 6gigs of songs that have either a 4 or 5 star rating. I've selected this playlist to be synched between the computer and iPod. This way, I always have loads of my favourite songs ready to roll.
I also created a smarlist called "Least Played 2G's" to synch as well. This is a list of songs that, as the title suggests, are the least played songs in my collection. This way, it ensures that songs I haven't heard in a long time will also be rolling through my shuffle. Then, when these least played songs get played, they automatically are removed from that smartlist at the next synching and are replaced by other 'least played' songs.
I also have a smartllist called "Last 150 Songs Added". As it suggests, this list keeps track of those songs I've recently imported to iTunes. This way, I have access to all the latest songs I've added.
I have a few other usual lists too, specific to genre, mood, etc., and these get synched as well.
Basically, it means that I have loads of great songs, a bunch of songs I haven't heard recently, and the latest additions, all ready to go on my iPod everytime I synch it with iTunes. My iPod is now just a little over half-full (about 10gigs), with just under half of my total music library.
Had I known about this feature, I probably would have given serious consideration to getting a 4G iPod mini, rather than a 20G version. It would be no problem to tweak those playlists to smaller sizes, say 2 gigs of Favourites, 1 gig of least played, the last 50 songs added, etc....
If you're thinking of getting an iPod (Matt), you might want to think of this approach, and save yourself some money by getting a mini.