Master Your Media

I'm packing for a trip on short notice--loading my video iPod while frantically throwing jumbles of clothes into a suitcase. I already have 25GB of music loaded, but since iTunes doesn't import my DVDs, my iPod is "video" in name only unless I spend a bunch more money at Apple's online store.

Fortunately, just as Jack Bauer knows alternate routes through L.A. rush-hour traffic, I have a few tricks for get around iTunes and adding those movies to my player. I can even transfer my favorite viral videos from YouTube and copy commercial-free TV shows from my TiVo. I can improve my iPod's music playback, too, by ripping a perfect copy of a new CD or by downloading free songs from Internet radio stations.

I'll explain these and other tips for media conversion, portable playback, and related tasks--a trove of useful information, whether you use iTunes, Windows Media Player, an iPod, a Zune, or some other tool. My flight may be taling off in just 24 hours, but my iPod is going to be ready.

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