Sunday, March 13, 2005 1:23 PM

PodShanking: physical pod on pod penetration.

PodCasting. BroadCatching. QuadBlasting. I guess I just want in on the portmanteau-ery. I submit to you: Podshanking.

PodShanking can be declared a "hack" in the basest sense of that word: as in hackey. This is a jury-rigged, stop-gap solution to a sticky technical problem. Throw more hardware at this problem and you'll solve it better. Throw more software at this problem and you'll also improve it - or do a quick and dirty solution that gets you the same basic results now. The hack? Direct iPod to iPod transfers.

On the occasion of a recent tipple with friend and game master Rob Boudon we found ourselves in this situation: I was recommending to him a great new album by The Kleptones available for free as MP3s via BitTorrent on their site. We were near his apartment so I started to mentally calculate whether it would be simpler for me instruct Rob on how to download the album himself, or wait until I get home and direct connect via AIM... when I was struck by the cruelty of the fact that our physical iPods - the polar end points for this data transfer quandary were inches away from each other in a safe, clean and mutually consenting environment. PodShanking, anyone?

I'm sick to death of our devices fighting us. I bought this iPod to carry music, not enforce an Apple-branded morality to replace my own internal compass. We all know how our devices should work, but in this tumultuous age we do not yet have casual, home manufacturing and so Sony and Apple and TiVo will continue to break our hearts while we must lick their boots. I bought this iPod and I'm going to use it. Phooey.

PodShanking: a method for direct iPod to iPod song transfers

First things first - the transfer is in real time which means that the amount of time it takes to listen to a song is the amount of time it takes to record it. Please comment with suggestions if you have an idea for circumventing this. I consider this to be a hassle but not a deal breaker - it means over the span of a dinner party or evening out you pocket about 3 new albums.


1) An Apple brand iPod to record to.

- 2) A short connector cable with 1/4" headphone plugs on both ends.

3) Any MP3 player or audio source with an headphone port.

- Either:

---- A physical voice recorder attachment for your iPod. I used the Griffin iTalk.
---- Or be running this free software: PodZilla. No Microphone needed. (Via Hack-A-Day)

Here's the lowdown: Anyone can plug in an iTalk and record without installing software. This is ideal for ad-hoc PodShanking (a chance meeting in a DMV line.) The Podzilla option is free, safe, easy and higher quality - but doesn't support newer 4G iPods (anything with a grey dial [yet.])

First set up the MP3-rich "mother pod" - select the album you wish to enrich the "baby pod" with. Make as though to play the music through the headphones and then before the music starts - hitPAUSE.

Second set up the receiving baby pod - either boot up the recording functionality installed with Podzilla and prepare to record, or pop in your Griffin brand iTalk which automatically puts even factory standard iPods into record readiness.

Finally Hit record. After a few seconds (the iTalk especially needs a moment to ramp-up if you wish to avoid song clipping.) Then uppause the mother pod. You are now Podshanking.

When the music has been transferred, simply unplug the baby pod and synch up to iTunes when you return home. Your music will drop into a folder called "Voice Memos" where they will need to be renamed appropriately.

In summary: Podshanking: to transfer music between iPods directly via headphone ports with a minimum of equiptment and preparation. Better solutions are certainly out there and the best solution of all is if we could simply ask for the features we want and have them built into the next MP3 player we buy. Until that time our captors are making us more self-sufficient and inventive. PodShank in public. Be visible. Mod.

Yes -
does strip out Apple DRM.
Boo -
The Griffin iTalk records an iPod specified 8kHz, 16 bit mono WAV. Go with Podzilla if you can.



At 11:11 AM, Anonymous said...

The one thing you forgot to mention is that the audio quality on the voice recorders is ass. The bitrate is purposely limited to something like 18k or so. Nice idea, but it just isn't quite as advertised. Now, the linux-on-ipod doesnt have this limitation, and can record at higher bitrates.


At 11:48 AM, Brett said...

I didn't realize that the recording rate was that low - but I mentioned that the Podzilla bitrate was higher. Either way: precisely as "advertised."

At 12:36 PM, George said...

yes, recording quality from 3rd party devices is no more than 8 khz as far as I know. Also, you often get the sound from the harddrive spinning included in the sound.

with podzilla, however, you can set the quality to 44.1 khz (cd quality) or even 96 khz (probably overkill)

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's APPLE that limits the bitrate problem, not Griffin (8khz, 16bit MONO WAV). Could it be to please the RIAA?

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous said...

This *does not* remove all of the DRM from an iTunes track (contrary to popular misconception). Apple redundantly encodes some of the information in watermarks will are copied along with the audio. The only known modifications that will damage the watermark also damage the track beyond recognition.

That being said, I hear of people that will burn a purchased song to a CD and re-rip it thinking that it makes the song DRM free. Just remember before you go sharing your music on e-mule, Kazaa, or whatever network you share music with that your iTunes ID is encoded in the watermark. So it can be traced back to you.

-Joel Johnson

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous said...

Both the iTalk and Podzilla record only mono.

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous said...

Joel, you're saying that Apple is including "analog" watermarking as well as the digital watermarking in the files? Can you point to any details on this? That would require them to encode the files on the fly... seems pretty unlikely.

At 5:19 PM, josh said...

so, you have to get a new ipod interface that totally changes, or drop $40? isn't there any easier way?

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous said...

oh well, at least he likes They Might Be Giants...

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous said...

Hey, this does what it says it does - a quick and easy way to transfer files to a mate that you wish to check out some music you have.

It works. You can get an idea of the music, but if you want the full quality song then you go buy it yourself!

You see how many hard core file sharers there are in here!

At 8:32 AM, J. Kent said...

And this relates the the Nintendo DS how? I'm confused. How is an Apple iPod going to get my DS browsing the web, or running Linux? How about we stay on topic. There are places like if you want news about the Apple iPod. I'm sure there are pleanty of sites dealing with the TiVo also. I come here for one reason, to stay informed about the Nintendo DS. The Mod Gods is supposidly "Dedicated to modding the DS for all" is it not? Dedicated is a strong word. Brett, I think you guys should change the mission statement if you want to continue posting unrelated stuff.

At 9:31 AM, Brett said...

What about that "quadblasting" joke? - I thought that was pretty funny. All part of the "invisible" site beneath the hardcore DS agenda. The vibe, analysis and humor consistent from post to post.

I'm all for being responsive to readership - but I've got zero patience for anyone who tells me I'm off topic in this diary of speculation, and conversation starters.

My editorial and artistic guidelines grant me freedom to vary anything at any time to make improvements. Sometimes that means risks that you won't like. I'm sorry about that, obviously no one wants to say something unpopular, but display patience and courtesy when you make your thoughtful comment.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clever idea, well presented. Just one thing: the "Apple-branded morality to replace my own internal compass" isn't about morality at all -- it's about legality. It doesn't matter whether you think DRM is good or bad, we agree to it when we buy from iTMS and we should stay away if we prefer some other license.

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous said...

to the guy who said that doing this or re ripping a cd DOESN"T remove drm... That was a stupid statement. Riping a cd converts it from wav to what ever now that will still have the dmv but if you copy it back to wav it will lose its dmv

also you also said that podshanking will keep its dmv. Unless they are putting an audible singnal (morese code esque) that is imposible. That would also wast more time because the program would have to open the song, find the code, decrypt it.... and you could take out the dmv with a simple wav editor....

Look deeper into this stuff

At 10:27 AM, daved said...

Do this in your room late at night, Apple would never approve.

BTW, you need 1/8" ends on the audio cable, not 1/4" as stated.

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous said...

Don't be retarded. Recording predates cassettes and all technologies are unique.

He didn't claim that Podshanking was bringing fire to mankind- its a little process that has it's place and that's legitimate. Why you gotta be a prick about it?

At 10:51 AM, soundfromwayout said...

In this world it's shank or be shanked

At 3:44 AM, Pomme said...

And I have to say that if you're tired of manufacturers that block some hardware or software things, go buy yourself something else than a f*****g iPod !! Haven't you heard of MP3 players that work like USB drives, so you don't need ANY software nor hardware to get full quality music share ?

At 10:29 AM, Brett said...

My iPod was a gift from my boss.


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