I'm pretty sure this isn't news, but it's news to me. Not that I'm an iPod expert, but I figure if I just found this out maybe I can inform some of you. It turns out you can rate the songs on your iPod from the iPod itself and have those ratings sync back to iTunes.
I'd always been intrigued by the My Rating feature of iTunes (there's a built-in "My Top Rated" playlist on the iPod) but never found it that useful to me because I spend very little time listening to music while using my home PC. This is one of the reasons I don't use the popular music recommendation service Last.fm. Plus the idea of going through my songs one-by-one to rate them has never been that appealing. Since most of the time I spend listening to my music is when I'm commuting and I have my iPod on shuffle, I always thought this would be the ideal time for me to rate my songs - especially because it would sort of force me to rate songs I don't like as much. If I was just rating songs in iTunes without listening to them I would probably just jump to the ones I really like.
Turns out this is actually possible and probably has been for some time. Unfortunately Apple's release notes for iTunes are scant on details and practically nonexistent so it's hard to know how long this has been around. Apple's support site also has very little info on this - I only found mention of it in the Fifth Generation iPod Features Guide - which makes me wonder if it was a new feature with these models. Anyway, here are the instructions from the features guide:
You can assign a rating to a song (from 1 to 5 stars) to indicate how much you like it.
You can use song ratings to help you create Smart Playlists automatically in iTunes.
To rate a song:
1 Start playing the song.
2 From the Now Playing screen, press the Center button until you see the rating screen
(showing either bullet points, stars, or a combination of both).
3 Use the Click Wheel to choose a rating.
Note: You cannot assign ratings to podcasts.
Something else I'll point out is that by default the scroll wheel controls the volume when you're playing a song. You can hold down the back and forward buttons to fast forward within a song. The firs time you press the center button you have a different kind of progress indicator - a diamond rather than a bar. In this mode the scroll wheel controls fast forwarding and rewinding. Pressing the center button again puts you into the 5 star rating mode. Pretty cool.
Technocrati tags: iPod