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>> Ever wish you could manage your iPod with something other than iTunes or from any computer you want? I'm Tom Merritt from cnet.com. On this edition of Insider Secrets I'll show you how to free yourself from the iTunes chains. Floola is donation-supported software from managing your iPod and on top of that it's cross-platform which means it can run on Windows, Mac or Linux. Let's take a look at it. Go to floola.com and download the version for your OS. When you unzip it you have a choice. You can either run it on your PC or unzip it on your iPod directly and run it from there. That way you can use any computer to manage your tunes. Now if you just reformat it or you've never used your iPod before, you'll need to run iTunes at least once and put at least one song on the iPod. Once you've done that, close iTunes, then launch Floola. The first time it runs it will set itself up; mine asked me what kind of iPod I had then it warned me that I had an unknown version of iTunes. I pressed yes to continue, it worked out fine. The interface looks and works similarly to iTunes. It has all your songs sorted by artists, album and genre as well as any play list you've created. Adding items is easy. Go to the item menu, choose add, then just drag the files into the window. Once you have them all in, press the add button. There's also an option to add You Tube videos directly from the web; sounds cool but I couldn't seem to make that work. It also ran a little slow so I put in fast mode. Here's how to do that. Go to Preferences, choose Advanced, and check the fast mode box. This will make Floola start and close a little slower but it should run faster the rest of the time. Also, make sure you close Floola before you unplug your iPod. One really interesting thing is how easy Floola is to uninstall. From within Floola, go to the Tools menu, choose Advanced, then choose uninstall, then just delete the Floola program--done. So it's worth trying out since it's pretty easy to get rid of. All in all if you just can't stand iTunes or you want a way to manage your tunes on multiple computers, Floola will be useful for you. I do highly recommend reading through the instructions on floola.com to get the most out of the software. Also Molly Wood suggested a couple of others called EphPod and X-Play 2. So you might want to check those out as well. That's it for this week's edition of Insider's Secrets. I'm Tom Merritt for cnet.com--enjoy your independence.
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