Free your iPodRockbox turns your iPod into a FLAC- and OGG-playing, open-source monster.
>> Every MP3 player comes with software on it, but it's not always what you want. I mean, maybe it doesn't play the file formats you want. I know this one doesn't. Or maybe you wish it had more games or other features. I'm Tom Merritt from www.CNET.com. On this edition of Insider Secrets, I'll show you how to make your music player play and do, whatever you want. Listen to me. ^M00:00:20 [ music ] ^M00:00:33 This is my iPod. It can't play Algorbus [assumed spelling]. It can't play Flac [assumed spelling]. It can't play Pong. Or can it? That's an Og file playing. That's a Flac file. And that my friends is Pong. And that interface you're looking at is something called Rock Box. It's open source firmware that puts any music player under your control. I'll show you how I installed Rock Box on my iPod in Windows and the steps are similar for other music players and other operating systems. First, head to www.RockBox.org to download the software and get the manual. Even if you hang on my every word in this video, you should read the manual carefully. See all the music players it works with? Choose the manual for you. Then download the appropriate Rock Box software. For the iPod video, I also needed to download the Fonts Package. Now, connect your music player to your computer. You need the player to be seen by the computer as a hard drive. For the iPod, make sure enabled disk use is checked in iTunes. Once you've applied that change, close iTunes. Now, extract the zip files of the Rock Box software to the music player. You should see a file called .rockbox on your player. Next, unzip the fonts folder into the .rockbox folder. Now we have the Rock Box folder on your iPod, but the iPod doesn't know how to run it. For that we need something called a Boot Loader. This will tell the iPod whether to boot into Rock Box or the normal iPod software. The manual should have instructions on where to get the Boot Loader. With the iPod plugged in, run the Boot Loader software. Once you've run the Boot Loader and followed the manual's instructions, disconnect the player and reboot it. You should see the Rock Box screen. The default theme is pretty ugly so, go on into the settings menu and choose browse themes. You can change the theme there. And if you don't like any of the included themes, you can download more from www.RockBoxThemes.org. That's where I got that mix tape theme. If you want access to the music you already had on your player, you know, from iTunes, you need to activate the database. Go into the database section and it will prompt you to initialize. After you initialize, all your iPod files will be available. From there you can just drag and drop files to add and remove other music. And don't forget the plug ins. These are external apps that extend the functions of Rock Box. Lots of games, but also some utilities as well. Oh, one last thing. Don't forget, your iPod software is still in there. If you want to boot into the iPod interface, restart your iPod by holding down Select and Menu and as soon as you see the Apple logo, set the hold switch to On. Your iPod should boot into it's normal interface. So now you have a dual boot iPod that listens to you. Good boy. That's it for this edition of Insider Secret. I'm Tom Merritt for www.CNET.com. Such a good listener now. ^M00:03:28 [ music ]