A portable iTunes replacement

Cross-platform Floola is one of the few, if only, portable music players that not only works with your iPod, it will work from your iPod, too.

There are a lot of music jukeboxes out there that aren't iTunes that work with iPods. Cross-platform Floola is one of the few, if only, portable music players that not only works with your iPod, it will work from your iPod, too. The program's fully compatible with your desktop iTunes installation, but can be run from the iPod itself.

The features it offers are comprehensive and robust, including music, video, note taking, and photo support. The latest version includes Google Calendar synchronization. The interface is simple, bordering on simplistic, and is rife with minor imperfections. Don't let that keep you from checking it out, though, because there's an incredible amount that you can do with Floola. It can also copy songs from your iPod to your computer, grab videos from the Web, and, if you want, convert them to audio-only. It supports podcast catching, playlists, and will tell you if a song is not on a playlist. The Edit Song window lacks tags, but will--among its many features--reveal the absolute location of the song on the iPod, cracking Apple's labyrinthine system.

Floola is a work in progress. The conversion utility is buggy, and newer iPods won't be compatible with the iPod-specific fwid hardware code. Instructions on how to obtain it are available in the Floola FAQ. Floola also doesn't play well with non-Apple jukeboxes, and you might need to use the iPod firmware repair available in iTunes or Floola to get it to work. Despite these problems, Floola is truly portable and works well enough to be considered a strong iTunes alternative.

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