Info on the apple iPods
My co-worker picked up a 20GB iPod off of eBay last week, and it came with no cables. There's only a firewire port on this model, so we tested it with my Sager 8887. It works great, and you'll need the freeware Ephpod from this site
to transfer songs to the player. His iPod is a Windows-formatted drive, and if you have a Mac-formatted drive, you will need the Ephpod program and also MacOpener to access files on the iPod. MacOpener needs to be purchased, though... so if you can choose, make sure you get the Windows iPod.
Here's the essential info. The iPod works flawlessly through the 8887's firewire port. It also charges the battery while plugged in, so you can forego a power adapter. If you get the iPod power adapter, it's actually a firewire cable with an adapter at the end, so you don't need a firewire cable if you get the power adapter.
My coworker then went and bought a Maxtor firewire card for his desktop at home. He found out that the Maxtor card is incompatible with the iPod. If you are in this situation, save yourself the trouble and get an Adaptec firewire card (3 ports, 30 dollars).
Connecting the iPod to your PC, it will show up as a removable drive, and you can drag and drop files directly to it, but if you do that with songs it won't show up on the iPod's menu. You need to use the Ephpod software or the special version of Musicmatch Jukebox that comes packaged with the iPod to transfer songs to the player, so that it can add the songs to the playlist file that the iPod refers to. Turning on the iPod, it doesn't scan the drive for songs - it just loads the playlist file.
Copying songs from the iPod back to a PC is tricky - you can't do it from within the Ephpod software. And going into My Computer and browsing the drive, you'll only see the folders for the playlists. You have to go into the Windows Folders settings and take the checkmark off of the 'Do not show hidden files and folders'. Once you do this, you'll see the hidden folder in the iPod that has all the songs inside. From here you can copy the songs to the PC.
It's fairly easy to figure out the iPod, and the sound is good. It's not my kind of player, so I don't think I'll be getting one anytime soon. But if you want one, I'm certain you won't regret it. It's solidly built and it's got a nice interface. And it works flawlessly with Windows, and the 8887!